Updated: Feb 10
Living right here in the UK we know all too well about riding in the rain already. Here at Anybikebought.com we do not believe in "the biking season" because we ride all year round so every season is a biking season to us. We are not summer bikers. It's not really the ideal situation "oh it's hammering down with rain let's go for a ride," although we love to ride an enduro in the rain why not!? Life is about experiences so come rain, hail, or sunshine like we have said before we will be riding but will you? Do not let a bit of rain dampen your riding days! If you use your bike everyday to commute to work on then you will know all about riding in the rain already!
When it rains (especially heavy rain that sits on the road surface) it creates a layer between your tyres and the road surface. The surface becomes slippery and If you’ve got the wrong bike gear you’ll also suffer - waterproofs are a must. One of the most important things about motorcycle clothing is to make sure that it actually fits you. A helmet that is too big will not protect you properly if you fall off. Gloves that are too big will allow water in and down your sleeves into them and boots that are too large will also allow water in. This will lead you to become irritated whilst riding in the wet and distracted, this in turn will affect your concentration levels and that is something that you cannot allow to happen whilst riding on wet roads. In the harsh UK winters you need to make sure your motorbike clothing is not only waterproof but fits correctly too. When you first set off riding in the rain it always feels the worst after around ten minutes, but then you gradually become accustomed to the rain making your clothing wet. Wearing a neck warmer helps to save that feeling of rain hitting your bare neck and making you a lot colder a lot quicker than if you were to wear a decent neck warmer or jacket that covers the neck area.
What sort of Helmet do you wear?
If you ride with a visor or open face helmet then you’ll need to make changes when riding in the rain.
Visors steam up when it’s raining, but you can get pin-lock systems which are designed for anti-fog, insert lenses which stop the visor steaming up, or the old fashioned way is just to leave your visor open slightly and let the wind blow the steam away. Open face helmets don't have the same ventilation issues, but hail stones hurt, even more at 30 mph. It helps to wear a bandanna across the face.
We are now in modern times where bikes are loaded with the latest safety features to further assist the rider and make you safe on the road. From ABS which all new bikes are boasting now, rather than a few years ago when you had to pay extra for the ABS version of certain bikes. To Traction control systems, these will all work and further assist you when riding in wet conditions.
Hazards to be wary of
Pot holes, newly surfaced roads, manhole covers and road markings will all be hazardous to ride on in the rain. It’s simple physics – try to avoid braking on such surfaces heavily and if you need to cross a road marking for instance it's always best to ride across them in a straight line to avoiding the bike sliding.
A puddle can cover deep potholes, road markings, or manhole covers, so try to avoid riding through them if you can. If not, always ride through slowly.
Petrol or diesel spills are dangerous in the wet and even the dry to be fair. The one advantage of riding in the wet is that it’s sometimes more identifiable as oil gives off a rainbow-coloured sheen on a road’s surface – it's safe to say avoid patches that look like this!
If you use your motorbike on a daily basis then you really need to look for a tyre that is going to give decent grip in the wet, stick to all-weather tyres all year round.
Now braking in the wet needs to be done smoothly and safely. This will prevent your wheels locking up, which in the wet is going to cause your motorcycle to slide from underneath you. Do not grab a handful of front brake if you see a hazard, as you will be straight off in the wet. Apply your brakes smoothly and you can still brake hard - practice this in a safe place so you get familiar with it. You should know your bike and how it works and feels when you brake. It could be the difference between having "an off" or not.
It's wet, it's raining and you're approaching a corner - corner as you normally would, don't stiffen your bottom up because it's raining and wet. You need to relax and look ahead into the corner, leaning your upper body into the corner and taking the weight off the top of the bike will limit the lean angle into the corner and maximise the grip. When coming out of the corner you need to accelerate gently as you pick the bike up from coming out the corner, you do not want to be accelerating and still leaning whilst coming out of a corner. That is a bad situation to be in.
Reduce it - this by far is the most important message to remember when riding in the wet.
Riding in the rain is not difficult it just requires you to take a few more precautionary steps.
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