Author Topic: Singing in the Rain.........sort of  (Read 4332 times)

Offline elvin315

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Singing in the Rain.........sort of
« on: May 17, 2011, 07:40:02 pm »


  • First Gear, Tourmaster, Hein Gericke, with Aerostitch at the top of the heap, will all provide protection from the asphalt and the weather. Some better than others.  I use Joe Rocket Ballistic jacket and pants that have kept me dry during most wet rides. Look online for product reviews.
  • Rain means lower temperatures. Invest in heated clothing and hot grips. You'll have to manage the electric usage (a voltmeter helps here) but it's very much worth it. I have a long sleeved Gerbing jacket liner and find it keeps my whole body comfortable. If you keep your body core warm it keeps your arms and legs from shutting down. I don't have hot grips and maybe never will. I don't usually ride is extreme cold and the heat from the Gerbing's heated sleeves has always been enough to keep my hands warm inside my heavyweight winter gloves, but that's me. Many swear by heated grips.
  • For the occasional heavy downpour and gullywasher I keep a set of Frogg Toggs rolled up in the trunk They roll incredibly small. I suggest the Pro Angler style. The pants are bibbed with suspenders. They won't slide off your butt while riding and provide a second layer of protection to your chest where you're pelted the most by the rain and road spray.
  • If caught without your rain suit or wearing a summer mesh jacket, carry a large trash or leaf bag to wear under your jacket if it starts to leak. Just poke head and arm holes in it and pull it on. Pack a dry T-shirt too. Like a dry pair of socks, a dry Tee is a heavenly thing when you're wet and cold.
  • Aerostich sells latex overgloves. I use them over whatever gloves fit the temps of the day. I tried Playtex gloves first, being the cheapskate that I am, but even their biggest size is too tight over leather gloves. The Aerostitch latex gloves are a perfect fit.
  • Boots are a whole thread in themselves. I'll just say this. I don't believe anything is truly waterproof. Just get "waterproof" boots that fit comfortably and allow you to shift without drama. Carry extra socks in plastic shopping bags. When your "waterproof boots" give up change your socks and wear the bags like oversocks. The boots can be soaked but the bags will keep your feet dry.
  • For grey overcast skies I switch to yellow lensed safety/shooting glasses. They improve vision in gray and misty conditions.
  • DO NOT USE RAIN-X. It may damage the plastic shield and they're too expensive to risk. Keep a good coat of wax on the screen to bead off the water. Wax both the outside and inside surfaces. Do your faceshield too.
  • Don't forget to close the air vents in your helmet. I hate wet head.


  • Give up your tall windshield. Either cut it down or buy a separate short shield. If you're planning an extended X-Country ride you know your going to run into rainy weather somewhere. Looking through that tall splattered shield gets old real quick, and craning to look over it just leads to a sore neck at night.
  • SMOOTH is the key. No sudden inputs to the bars, no grabbing a handful of brake, and no abrupt throttle changes.
  • I increase my following distances and keep in the tire tracks of other vehicles. I let them push the water and oil aside thus decreasing the chances of me hydroplaning or slipping. Stay out of the middle of the lane (especially at stop lights, stop signs, and toll booths). That's were all the oil and diesel accumulates.
  • Avoid the painted road lines. They don't provide the same traction as blacktop. Same goes for steel plates, grates, and RR tracks. Cross them upright (little or no lean) without touching the brake and keeping a steady throttle. As always, cross RR tracks at right angles.
  • Apply the front brake before the rear. The shift of weight to the front presses the tire against the asphalt for more traction and forces the water out through the tread sipes. During braking the rear gets lighter and easier to lock up. The front tire pushes the water aside leaving a path for the rear tire.
  • In the rain I select a gear higher than I would normally. This keeps the engine revs down and out of the meaty part of the power curve. Less chance of spinning the rear wheel on acceleration and keeps it from breaking traction from engine braking.
  • I jam pieces of foam pipe insulation into the foot scoops and windshield vent (Rifle or Cee Baily). I also block the rearmost set of vents in the lower fairing panels. This supplies warm air to my feet and blocks a lot of water. Do Not Block The Forward Vents. These cool the exhaust pipes and blocking them can cause the fairing to warp or melt.
  • To improve my presence to others around me I use driving lights up front and Bucksports Tailbrights on the rear of the bags. Genuine Fog Lights with yellow lenses mounted low on the leading edges of the fairing are better. I've also added the brakelight function to my rear signals. They still flash to indicate my lane changes but they also glow bright when the brakes are applied. The stock taillight/brake light unit still operates as normal. See the FAQ for details.
  • You not only have to adjust your technique in the wet, you have to readjust your attitude. You can't hurry to get to that dry motel room. That mindset focuses on the destination and not the ride. One careless move by you or another vehicle will get you. Just resign yourself to the fact that you're sitting outside in the rain and that you're gonna get very wet. After that you can concentrate on the operation of the bike and avoiding trouble.
  • As much as I hate to admit defeat I will seek the shelter and  warmth of a cafe or truckstop if the rain becomes relentless. Resist the temptation of the handy highway overpass except to quickly put on your rain gear. You've all heard of Target Fixation ("You steer where you look."). Well cage drivers do it too and you don't want to be their target. Search YouTube for clips showing Police Cruisers being hit by vehicles while their drivers look over as the cop writes another driver a ticket. Classic target fixation. If they can't avoid hitting a Police Cruiser with it light flashing what makes you think they'll avoid hitting you?

Now, after saying all that, and at the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, I don't slow down much in the rain. I like to move faster than the surrounding traffic. I don't want to end up as someone's hood ornament. If they can't see us on a clear day what makes you think they'll notice us under adverse conditions? Our narrow tires do a better job of cutting through water than  wider car tires do. Cars slow down and become rolling roadblocks. I "LOVE" when they flick on the hazard lights while still moving. With the hazard lights on, their turnsignals don't work so you have no clue as to their lane changes. They're saying, "I'm really scared to be driving under these conditions but I'm too stupid to pull off the road." I naturally avoid puddles and adjust my speed when I feel I'm overdoing it but generally I feel quite comfortable in the rain.

As always, ride your own ride. What works for me might not work for you.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2014, 01:03:17 am by elvin315 »