Motorcycle Forum banner
1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live in the pacific northwest and it rains a lot (maybe not as much as other places, but we get our fair share) and I just stared riding about a month ago. Well we are starting to see much more rain coming down. I want to ride my motorcycle and I have a rain suit, should I man up and ride in the rain or should just wait until next summer.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,892 Posts
You should learn to ride in the rain, but at your pace and carefully. Reg Pridmore talks about it in his book Smooth Riding.
Another option is to practice riding in the dirt, so you get the feel of the bike moving around under you. And when you fall over no real harm is done.
Can I assume you are somewhere to the left in WA.

UK
 

·
American Legion Rider
Joined
·
26,003 Posts
I've always said if it's raining when I need to leave then no bike. But if I ride and it starts raining, deal with it. The first thing though is get some good rain gear. That will make all the difference in the world. And remember, the first rain after a period of dryness is the most dangerous. After that daily rain is just wet. But to be honest I'd never recommend a new rider to ride in rain. It does up the danger level several notches. So learn to ride well before adding the rain hazard.:wink2:
 
  • Like
Reactions: Porky

·
Visionary
Joined
·
5,272 Posts
Don't let rain scare you, but you do need to learn a few things abut riding in it. You'll only learn them by doing though. So if you feel confident on dry day, your probably ready to take a ride in the gentle rain, not pouring where you can't see, but with plenty of water on the pavement. The key word is to be smooth, smooth acceleration, smooth turns and smooth braking. Just like you do on a car in the rain. The key is to keep the tires working for you, not sliding. Some tires are much better than others in the rain, so look around online for info on your particular tires or you can ask here. I ride on Michelin Commander 2s, and Dunlop E4s, both work well for me wet or dry, I've also had some that didn't do nearly as well so do the research if your going to ride in the rain a lot.

One hazard you need to watch out for in the rain is slippery surfaces, steel plates, railroad tracks, and painted lines get slippery when wet. Make sure your upright, and extra careful when crossing things like that, and don't stop and put your feet down on something slippery.

Stay out of puddles, you never know which one has a crater hidden in it, there are some hilarious youtube videos of what happens to folks who ignore that advice. :)

Speed isn't really an issue as long as you have good tires, your new so your probably going slow anyway but I usually back it down to the speed limit or a bit over in the rain on the interstate to give me a little cushion ( 65-70), but that's more a mental reminder to myself to be a bit cautious than any real limitation.

Heavy rain causes visibility issues, especially in the dark which is when I ride to work, for now try to avoid downpours until you gain some experience on wet pavement, then you can work your way up to interstate travel in a downpour while dodging the lightning bolts :)

For the record I commute 140 miles a day by bike, and while it's not as wet here in Pennsylvania as your area I'm still usually riding in the rain a couple of days a week. I've never minded riding in the rain, possibly because my MSF course was taken in 2 days of absolutely nasty pouring, cold rain, after that I think I was conditioned to it :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: ketchboy

·
SUPER MODERATOR
Joined
·
9,142 Posts
White paint at intersections, oil droppings in the center of the lane, RR crossings, especially diagonal ones, Deer in your area and mine, Idiot's that pull out in front of you in all areas, too much throttle and too much braking or aggressive leaning in corners, especially with over inflated tires and riding too fast for conditions make riding in the rain MUCH more dangerous than in dry conditions. Hydroplaning also happens with bikes in heavy or 'pooled' watershed areas.

This is a challenge for even the most experienced riders!

I am like Larry (HOG) in that unless I absolutely have to, I won't leave on a ride if it's raining. If I get caught out in the rain then I just suit up, go and ride with more caution.

I rode to work Monday but Tuesday and today, it's raining so I'll take my F150 and stay dry!

Sam:)
 

·
Aging & Worn
Joined
·
4,547 Posts
During the first year that I rode, back in 1985, I had at least one thing going for me… I had spent the first 40 years of my life on two wheels without motors, so I understood balance and sand and corners and visibility and a lot of the key aspects to being on two wheels that are important to learn.

So by the time I was riding on two wheels with a motor in between, the only thing I really had to acclimate to, was that motor.

I wasn’t sure, at highway speed’s, how safe I felt, but I got stuck in a rainstorm that I could not help, and I had to learn the hard way, that the bike was very stable and got me home just fine, as long as I didn’t do anything crazy.

As far as rain suits are concerned, I’m not against them, especially if you have one and you know the weather is going to be bad. In that first rain storm that I went through, it was a pouring rain and I found myself wiping my face shield frequently with my left hand. At the time, I was riding with a full face helmet, and I am very glad that I was. I can imagine that riding with a half shell and glasses, might’ve been more precarious.

Incidentally, it took two weeks for my leathers to dry out, and I had 2 inches of rain in my boots.

So I guess what I’m saying is, go out there and ride in the rain, and learn what it’s like. But if you already have experience on two wheels without a motor just remember that you’re doing things that are more accelerated pace. Some of the same rules about riding in the rain in a car apply to a motorcycle as well. So if you’ve driven a car in the rain, just think about some of those lessons you have learned, and try to apply them as appropriate in your situation, on the motorcycle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,625 Posts
I live in Seattle. I have a few rules about the rain. Mainly, I never ride during the first rain if it has been dry for a couple weeks or more. Also, I give myself plenty of time and I take my time. I hit my back brake repeatedly when slowing to a stop (I should really get the brake lights that do that). Also, I have two helmets, one is blue and one is safety orange. Whenever it is rainy or gray I wear the orange one.

Something people should know is that the word "rain" has a much different meaning in the PNW than it does in the rest of the world. Rarely does it really rain here the way these guys in the Midwest and back east understand rain.

And something you should know is, if you live here and wait for a sunny day to ride, your bike will get awfully rusty ;)
 

·
Aging & Worn
Joined
·
4,547 Posts
.............For the record I commute 140 miles a day by bike............
I have to say.........My “job” would have to be pretty damn special, to go over an hour each way!! It might be great to some, to say to themselves, “hey; look at all the seat time I get, on my bike,” but still!!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,892 Posts
Do tell?! How IS rain different in the PNW??
Like most things it depends who is telling the story.
Just reading about Easter Island where the author says they only get 49 inches of rain per year. For me, only would imply less than 10 inches, or the dummy might have meant 49 mm. The PNW gets 30 to 45 inches per year, depending on location. Heavy rain is 6 inches overnight. Waihi in NZ has large crowns in the roads, and 18 inch gutters for the foot paths. ( Side walks ) Heavy rain is when the road floods because the rain can not run off fast enough. Heavy rain bounces off the pavement, sometimes up to 4 to 6 inches. Pokes you in the eye in Port Alberni BC. I have not seen rain as hard in the PNW, as I have in Hawaii or NZ. The left coast of Vancouver Island can match most places for heavy rain.
Downtown Honolulu roads can flood up to about 12 inches in heavy rain, especially when the tide is in.

Most of the rain in The PNW is ride able in, although a lot of riders would chose to park. There is not a lot of thunder storms and resulting rain out here, and hardly any hail.
NZ has awesome thunder storms. You need to go East of the Cascade Mountains over here, where the rising heat in the summer, creates the clouds for the thunder storms.
Calgary in Alberta gets the large hail.
The most excitement for the Seattle area, is when the wet roads freeze. They see so little of this, that most keep driving at regular speeds. It creates chaos. A spot next to the window in a bar is well worth the admission.

UK
 

·
Moderator - Loves All Motorcycles
Joined
·
1,251 Posts
I rode home from a friend's house in a rather strong thunderstorm less than a month after getting my license. Here's what I learned:

- All The Gear, All The Time - Seriously, once the rain gets especially heavy or hail gets involved any exposed skin gets battered and beaten. I like pain, but this is pain on a whole 'nuther level!

- The first 30 minutes or so of a shower are super slippery - On my Buell it felt like riding on wet glass until the ground got soaked. You could feel the tyres wander a little more in curves than they normally would even on a soaked day. Take it extra careful if you happen to ride into rain from a dry road.

- You'll get to find out what parts of your bike don't like rain! - Again, on the Buell I learned that the high beam switch and whatever bit in the speedo that illuminates the high beam indicator has a short when super wet. So if I turn on the high even once during a heavy downpour, once I turn it off the high beam will also turn off, but the indicator won't. And jostling the switch makes the indicator dimmer or brighter.

- Winds - Given the smaller and more aerodynamic footprint of motorcycles I (falsely) assumed that high winds don't matter as much. Oh gosh that's a lie. When I rode into that storm the winds changed dramatically without warning. The entire dynamics of the bike seemed to change in high wind and there was an additional effort to keep the wind from blowing me off the road that I've never had to deal with before.

- I dab a waterless wash/wax on my helmet visor so that water beads off in the rain. It's a really cool effect to see and makes you feel like you're piloting a spaceship...only more wet.

I can't wait to see what winter throws at me. :D
 

·
On The Road Again!
Joined
·
4,204 Posts
I can't wait to see what winter throws at me. :D
Winter will throw road salt all over you and your bike.
Your precious baby will have rust in places where you didn't know it
had places. And when that salty water gets into the electrical connections,
you'll have all kinds of fun.
Once they put down the road salt, my bike is parked until after
the first good rain storm in the spring.
 

·
Moderator - Loves All Motorcycles
Joined
·
1,251 Posts
Winter will throw road salt all over you and your bike.
Your precious baby will have rust in places where you didn't know it
had places. And when that salty water gets into the electrical connections,
you'll have all kinds of fun.
Once they put down the road salt, my bike is parked until after
the first good rain storm in the spring.
Oh I know. Three of my cars and the two big bikes are going away for the Winter. If all goes well my winter ride will be a Honda Helix or some "beater" bike that I won't care so much if it got salty. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,625 Posts
I have to say.........My “job” would have to be pretty damn special, to go over an hour each way!! It might be great to some, to say to themselves, “hey; look at all the seat time I get, on my bike,” but still!!
It all depends on where you live. An hour each way is commonplace in Seattle. l know lots of people that commute 3-4 hours a day. There is no work where they can afford to buy and they can't afford to buy where they work. Some of the schools that are traditionally known for being top notch because they are in wealthy neighborhoods are having serious problems because teachers can't afford to live close to them, so they don't apply to teach there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,625 Posts
Like most things it depends who is telling the story.
Just reading about Easter Island where the author says they only get 49 inches of rain per year. For me, only would imply less than 10 inches, or the dummy might have meant 49 mm. The PNW gets 30 to 45 inches per year, depending on location. Heavy rain is 6 inches overnight. Waihi in NZ has large crowns in the roads, and 18 inch gutters for the foot paths. ( Side walks ) Heavy rain is when the road floods because the rain can not run off fast enough. Heavy rain bounces off the pavement, sometimes up to 4 to 6 inches. Pokes you in the eye in Port Alberni BC. I have not seen rain as hard in the PNW, as I have in Hawaii or NZ. The left coast of Vancouver Island can match most places for heavy rain.
Downtown Honolulu roads can flood up to about 12 inches in heavy rain, especially when the tide is in.

Most of the rain in The PNW is ride able in, although a lot of riders would chose to park. There is not a lot of thunder storms and resulting rain out here, and hardly any hail.
NZ has awesome thunder storms. You need to go East of the Cascade Mountains over here, where the rising heat in the summer, creates the clouds for the thunder storms.
Calgary in Alberta gets the large hail.
The most excitement for the Seattle area, is when the wet roads freeze. They see so little of this, that most keep driving at regular speeds. It creates chaos. A spot next to the window in a bar is well worth the admission.

UK
Pretty much what he said, but I will add this...UK lives on an island right off the coast, and he almost certainly sees a lot more rain than I do. I RARELY get more than an inch or two in a day. Most of the rain here is very tolerable. In 2014/15 I rode my bike consistently through the winter. Between September and April there were about 35 days that I chose not to ride. About half were in January, another quarter in December, IIRC.

At my cousins' place in Ontario, we would be outside eating lunch and my cousin would say, "Mom, I felt a drop." That was the warning. You packed up and got inside. My understanding is that much of the Midwest and east coast is this way. It takes quite a rain to push us indoors here, save for the winter, when it's cold, wet and slimy all the time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,625 Posts
Winter will throw road salt all over you and your bike.
Your precious baby will have rust in places where you didn't know it
had places. And when that salty water gets into the electrical connections,
you'll have all kinds of fun.
Once they put down the road salt, my bike is parked until after
the first good rain storm in the spring.
One thing I LOVE about this place...no salt. If they put anything down it's sand.
 

·
Ace Tuner
Joined
·
3,549 Posts
The only thing I can think of to add is "neutral input".

If you find yourself hydroplaning, use neutral input with your steering meaning don't give it ANY input at all.
When leaning a little in a turn and you discover traction is pretty much gone, stop applying pressure to the bars and let the bike 'go neutral'.
The same rule applies when a cage runs you off the road and into slick grass or mud... Neutral Input. :wink2:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
It is important to be comfortable when riding in rain. Get good riding jacket and overpants that have a high level of water resistance. You'll want it to have ballistic armor in the right places in case of a spill. Also, waterproof boots are important. Gloves are a must. I've used my thumb to clear off fog from the clear plastic face shield of the helmet. On a full face, I pop the face shield slightly open, so it can let air in to prevent fogging, and clear with my thumb if required. You'll use the fingers of your glove to wipe the rain off the outside of the face shield and also windshield if you have it.


The only way you'll know exactly what it is like is to actually do it. Regular practice in rain will help you to hone your riding skills. The feel is different and the only way is to experience it. Most slick is the concrete drives into gas stations. They've been polished by car tires and the surface is usually troweled smooth by the concrete works, making them very slippery in rain.


Also, roads paved with limestone rock will be very slick. Okinawa rains an average of 79 inches per year, during the monsoon in Spring it rains daily, sometimes raining straight 24 hours for days. 11 years ago when I still had it, I could actually scratch my little 33 HP 1987 Suzuki LS650 Savage in 3rd gear on these roads. However, with practice and care and daily riding, I was able to do these roads on my bike, which also was my back and forth to work commuter.


Tires are important, too. I found that Kenda Challenger tires were terrific on mileage and cheaper than other tires, but they had little traction on wet roads compared with better tires, truly spooky. Pirelli MT66 Route tires were a much more surefooted tires in rain. Unless you are a dirt poor college student living hand to mouth, I'd make sure I have decent wet weather tires on my bike.
 

·
American Legion Rider
Joined
·
26,003 Posts
I have to say.........My “job” would have to be pretty damn special, to go over an hour each way!! It might be great to some, to say to themselves, “hey; look at all the seat time I get, on my bike,” but still!!
It certainly depends on where you live. I used to ride an hour before getting into another 30 minutes of commute traffic if I was late. Not late and it was an hour and 10 minutes. People move far away from that **** which is why the long commute. Others live in the congestion.
 

·
Visionary
Joined
·
5,272 Posts
That's sort of what I do too, my winter ride on salty but not frozen roads is my oldest bike, it's not a beater but it's got 93k miles on it, a couple of scratches and a bit of corrosion here and there. Cleaned up it still looks fine but if you look really close it's starting to get that lived in look :)

When it freezes and snows, I switch to my Subaru Crosstrek...

Oh I know. Three of my cars and the two big bikes are going away for the Winter. If all goes well my winter ride will be a Honda Helix or some "beater" bike that I won't care so much if it got salty. :)
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top