How to Ride a Motorcycle in the Rain
Riding in the rain comes with lots of safety hazards but it can be an awesome experience so long as you're prepared for it. RyanF9 shares over 21 tips that will make your next ride in in the rain safer and more enjoyable.
Tip1: Gear up properly. You can love riding in the rain so long as you’re dry. Pants over boots. Jacket over pants. Gloves over jacket. Vents open (not much water comes through, and better for fog. Counter-intuitive). Pinlock lens (make it yellow, helps define stuff).
Tip 2: Stuck without gloves? Grab a plastic pair from the diesel area.
Tip 3: Put on shit while you’re still dry. Especially gloves. Putting on rain pants when already wet? Use a plastic bag.
Tip 4: Ride with ziplock bags – I put my phone in mine ‘cause Gore-Tex is expensive.
Tip 5: On that note, stand up often to clear water. Most waterproof gear will soak through when water pools.
Tip6: IF you buy waterproof gear, make it hi-viz, and keep it with you.
Tip 7: Watch for painted lines, manhole covers… anything that’s slippery when dry is slippery-er when wet. Also oil dangerous when rain first starts falling.
Tip 8: Don’t tighten up / tuck up. Sit upright and loose. You’ll get colder faster. Which means it’s time to take a break sooner. Don’t try to cheat out of that.
Tip 9: Lean body more in corner, lets you have less lean angle, less strain on tires. More grip.
Tip 10: Obviously put bike in TC / ABS, ride slowly, leave more braking room, etc.
Tip 11: Just do everything more smoothly. Slow acceleration. Slow brakes. Slow turns. Sudden movements will lose you grip. Like driving a car on snow, Canada.
Tip 12: Funny, but rain doesn’t make pavement that much more slippery. On good asphalt with good tires, I’ll bet most of us wouldn’t need to change riding style at all.
Tip 13: Oil – stop in the tire tracks, not centre lane. Otherwise you’ll lose the front under braking, or pull away… sideways. Don’t follow old British cars or Harleys.
Tip 14: Metal or wood bridges - very slick when rainy, esp. old wood.
Tip 15: Following distance – more braking distance, reduces spray. Awesome. Rain-X helps, as does my potato hack (link). Also make sure no one is tailgating you, so you don’t go from riding a bike to riding the roof of a car.
Tip 16: Puddles – here in MTL, they hide anything. Also aquaplaning, especially if you’re on old tires that are worn flat and have the sipes gone. PR4s aren’t that safe when you wear them like a car tire, just saying.
Tip 17: Manhole covers – everywhere, and un-announced, unlike train tracks or bridges. Plus they’re usually raised or lowered from pavement, so you’re bumping up or down while losing your coefficient of friction. Sucky.
Tip 18: Diesel – look for tell-tale rainbow. And smell! We’re used to using our eyes and ears. But often you can smell diesel at a stoplight if there’s a spill around.
Tip 19: You’ll be surprised what tires can do. Just don’t surprise them. Ease into things – load suspension before going full brake, etc.
Tip 20: Softer suspension – less likely to overload your tires.
Tip 21: TRUST your grip in an emergency. A lot of riders will run wide of turns and hit things because they’re afraid to lean it over more / brake harder. But your tires have more than you think.