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Thread: What's your experience and advice for riding in the rain?

  1. #16
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Big Sky Country
    Way back when, Annie and I were on our way from Fairbanks to Dawson City, YT along with a friend. The friend was wearing a new MotoSport riding suit. We made the turn off of the Alaska Hwy onto the Taylor Hwy towards Chicken and were hit by a downpour of mixed rain and hail. Our friend was leading and he soon pulled over to put on his rain gear liners. Annie and I stopped to wait for him. Forever imbedded in my memory is the image of my friend, in his underwear, sitting in a stream of hail filled water and trying to put on his rain liner for his pants. As he was finishing this useless endeavor the downpour stopped and the sun came out.

    We were hit with another downpour as we road thru Chicken and were on the Top of the World Hwy. It was as muddy as I have ever seen it and we learned later that the road had washed out behind us and a Forrest Service employee was swept off the road and died. We were feeling pretty proud of ourselves when we hit Dawson, all three of us had sphincter fighting moments in the mud. Soon four guys on Goldwings that had been behind us showed up, so our chest thumping was over.

    When the rain stopped on the TOW it was followed by dense fog. Here we are at the border crossing:

    Kevin Huddy
    Silver City, Montana
    MOA# 24,790 Ambassador

  2. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2022
    Antioch, CA
    I used to commute rain or shine in the SF Bay Area but I stopped because I'm a little anal about cleaning up my bike(s) if I get caught in the rain. I don't enjoy spending 1-2 hours cleaning up my bike(s) after each day's commute in a damp'ish garage.

    For gear, I've accumulated not only dedicated rain suits for riding in the rain but a number of riding suits with rain resistant linings. I've yet to find a suit or liner that kept me 100% dry during a 45-60 minute commute (each way...average commute over the years).

    As for riding in the rain, in addition to what others have said, I would say smoothness is key. If you give yourself ample room you can avoid most instances of panic braking. Try your best to avoid any sudden changes in direction and speed and you should be fine. Of course you also want tires made for wet weather riding, usually any of the newer sport touring tires should do the trick.

  3. #18
    Registered User CABNFVR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Hendersonville, NC
    I have weather alerts on the GPS. (Weather Channel app Bluetooth to the GPS.) We've been through some extreme weather and the best advice I can give is take it easy. Some people we know love track days, but I've always said if you want to learn throttle and brake control ride 500 miles in the rain.

    We had brand new FirstGear suits in 2019 and our first ride was in a deluge. We got soaked. We bought Klim (Latitude and Altitude) suits and they do an excellent job of keeping us dry. But remember, nothing is 100% dry if you stay out long enough.

    Oh yeah, and watch for those weather alerts. (Tornadic weather near Chatsworth GA in 2021).
    Chatsworth GA.JPG
    "Have BMW. Will Travel"

  4. #19
    I also commute but the RT is not my only vehicle. Reece's rules for riding in the rain:

    1. If you can, avoid it. The enhanced risk and the reduced pleasure of riding make it a losing proposition.

    2. If you must ride in the rain have a strategy and be prepared to execute. (The rain liner in your garage doesnt do you any good on the road)

    3. Pinlock! Critical to keeping that visor fog free.

    4. Rain liner that goes "over" your riding jacket easily acessable probalby on your right pannier or topcase.

    5. Water proof gortex boots.

    6. Water resistant pants.

    7. Full faring bike like the RT... in the slip stream, even in heavy rain, the rider can stay practically dry.

    8. BMW 2in1 gloves. Mine work great at keeping the hands dry.

    9. Heated grips on.

    10. Put your gear on before it starts raining. And, if you're in it and it turns heavy, pull over in a sheltered area to get out of it... be late, don't be dead.

    11. And the bonus: Take it easy on the turns with wet tar snakes; you'll quickly be introduced to your ABS feature.
    R. Reece Mullins 2022 Sport Blue R1250RT (Anja)
    MOA # 143779
    MOA Charter Club #364
    2024 rally Co-chair

  5. #20
    slave to gravity skibum69's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    New Melbourne, NL
    Rain liners-is that an oxymoron?
    ITSteve: ride in peace my friend
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  6. #21

    Heated visor

    I could never keep my visors from fogging up, even with Schuberth pin locks, chemicals, etc., so I bought a Bell Helmet that accepts a heated visor. (I think they are intended for snowmobiles) Very reassuring in those hot, humid thunderstorms to be able to see. Works well. I plug it into my battery-charging SAE connector.

    (I also have heated jacket, but seldom use it. It is plugged in to an EzCan, e.g., straight to the battery via its own connection.)

    For rain gear, my leather pants and jacket work OK for occasional downpours, for a while, but get soaked if I endure too long. I have rain gear, but seldom get it out, because I mostly try to avoid riding in the rain.

  7. #22
    I don the rain suit jacket and pants if after looking at the weather app for the latest radar suggests it's prudent to do so
    The lion does not even bother to turn his head when he hears the small dog barking.

  8. #23
    #13338 PGlaves's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    "Big Bend" TX
    My advice is water repellent riding gear with Goretex lining. My preference for 30 years has been Aerostich. Klim is also excellent I am told. I think some of the BMW branded stuff is good too. Any gear with a rain liner is total nonsense to me. If I didn't have my Stich I would have a rainsuit to put on OUTSIDE my riding gear. Sometimes in the summer I wear mesh vented riding pants or riding jeans and if so I try to remember to have my rain pants in the bike.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell

  9. #24
    Enjoy The Ride saddleman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Huntersville N.C.
    Good tread depth is the first thing I would recommend. I ride almost every day regardless of the weather. I use Columbia Omni-Tech breathable rain jacket with a hood and rain pants. I walk in to Bass-Pro Shops with all of my riding gear on & try them on. I always ride with Gore-Tex boots & I have Gore-Tex gloves. I've rode all day in tropical storms and never get wet. My pinlock visors always work for me. If the pinlock fogs up it isn't sealed correctly. Depending on your handle bar height your gloves might need to go over the sleeve or inside of it. If your arms are level it doesn't matter. If your arms are raised up a little try the gloves over the sleeve. If your arms are down from level you might need the sleeve to go over the glove. I don't trust my mirrors near as much in the rain.
    Dave Selvig
    2009 Red 1300GT
    2004 Black 1200LT
    2000 Canyon Red 1200LT

  10. #25
    Registered User snotty54's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Grand Cayman

    Running in the Rain

    After years of different gear, I've migrated to Klim gear with the Gore-Tex waterproof lining. I have an Aerostich Roadcrafter which I used for years with a cruiser with little to no wind protection, but consider it old technology because it depends on a coating to make it waterproof and it wears off. I think the two First Gear jackets I purchased (very cost effective) also used the coating system for waterproofing and they eventually leak. 99% of my moto travel is over the road, and although one of my close moto friends will just stay in the hotel another day to let the rain pass, I find that inactivity, even though I may get some work done, as unattractive as I'm overseas for the moto trip, and want to keep going. I also use weather information and the inexpensive Garmin access to weather and traffic via an app on my phone to the NAV Vi, and can view when a cold front band is coming and usually pull into a gas station or convenience store and wait it out, then roll on. Upgrading to Klim gear several years ago has resulted in staying dry enough to be comfortable all day in rain. Admittedly, heavy rain should always be avoided and I always pull over somewhere. I've never had to wait more than an hour for it to get lighter. Light rain one can run in all day if the gear is working. Also have the pinlock inserts, waterproof gloves (Joe Rocket ones on Revzilla-$30!). 3 years ago I took advantage of a BMW rad sale and bought that BMW neon lime coloured mesh jacket with waterproof removable liner and the waterproof pants because the sale price could not be ignored (75% off I think). During the hot times of year in Asheville, I wear the mesh jacket on day rides, which I only started having this past year, with the liner in a sidecase. The heat relief in the mesh jacket is worth the risk of getting wet, plus I'm never that far away from my home there. For any over the road trips I use the Klim gear. Had a get off in October and the Badlands Jacket and Pants completely protected me, not a scratch or bruise. Unfortunately couldn't say the same for the boots, but I digress, This thread about rain. Other then the occasional day ride excursion with the BMW Mesh Jacket, I ride with the Klim gear and usually just need to zip up the vents, and keep going.

    BMWMOA 201086//BMWRA 44991

  11. #26
    RK Ryder
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    London, Ontario
    When traffic pulls off the road during a major downpour, get back on the highway in unison with the other traffic otherwise you could be in danger attempting to enter traffic once the flow has resumed.

    Normally, by riding a bit slower than normal, using less leaning and allowing for longer stopping distances, riding in the rain, even all day rainfalls, have not been an issue for me. However I once put myself in a very dangerous situation that could have easily been avoided. Early one morning my riding partner was intent that we leave the rally early. Although I wear a mesh suit and it was only raining lightly, figuring the rain would not last, I made the mistake of not putting on my rain gear. My RT usually keeps me dry in light rains.

    Once on the road, the light rain became a major downpour. Pulling over onto the almost non-existent shoulder of this two lane road was not an option as deep ditches bordered the road. It was about thirty miles before we reached a town with a restaurant where we took refuge. During that ride I became soaked and although the temperature was mild, I suffered the early onset of hypothermia.

    If there is rain, always wear the gear that keeps you dry.
    Paul F. Ruffell
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Knights of the Roundel #333

  12. #27
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Tucson, Az

    What's your experience and advice for riding in the rain?

    First if you don't have to ride in the rain....Don't. If so be careful......
    Heading up to the 100,000' Ride in Denver I saw some pretty serious cells brewing to the west, near Raton Pass. Being an old guy I pulled over to put on the gear before I needed it. Good thing too. I figured that I could get past it before it ate me. Wrong. The storm was moving a little faster than I thought and it was black inside if it. I couldn't understand why the truckers were pulling over until well into this mess when the hail started. They didn't want chipped paint!!!
    My gear was a Marmot waterproof jacket over a BMW Airflow jacket with Gortex overpants. Nice and dry and they each pack down to the size of a water bottle and breathe. If I'm headed out, I take the kitchen sink.........Nothing worse than being soaked and trying to put miles on.
    I had to smile at the HD guys hunkered down under the overpasses. I guess black vests and bandanas don't do much to keep you dry.
    I read once that HD guys check the weather in the morning to see if they are going to ride......Beemer guys check the weather that morning to see what gear to wear.
    Embrace the suck!!
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    Just an old guy here. Killin' bugs at a rapid pace since '68. Desert dweller.
    Current force: '77 R100/7 ,'85 K100RS-Aug84, '85K100RS-Aug84, '85 K100RS-June85, '93K1100LTSE, '93 K75LTP, '98 R1100GS, '08K1200GT, (2)'72 CB 750s, '76 Honda CB500,

  13. #28

    what would you take for that K bike? I'm just a few hours from you
    The lion does not even bother to turn his head when he hears the small dog barking.

  14. #29
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2023
    Metro DC
    If the word "rain" appears in the forecast, I have all the gear with me, either wearing it or in my pannier. The best investment I've made in this regard is my Aerostich gear - I rode 10 hours back from the MOA rally in Vermont years ago in a constant downpour and was still completely dry by the time I peeled myself off the bike.

  15. #30
    Registered User kbasa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Sonoma County, California
    Stay relaxed on the bike. Get those shoulders relaxed on down and keep those elbows loose so you can respond if things get slippery. You can't steer with your shoulders, arms and elbows locked into a rigid box.

    Avoid stripes and that reflective paint on the roads and be careful about that greasy spot down the middle of the road. We have green painted bike lanes on some of our roads and if I have to cross over them, they can be super sketchy and slick. If you live on the west coast, be super careful in the winter on roads that are on the north side of a hill - they'll get mossy and will be slipperier than ice.

    Get decent wet weather gear, stay warm, stay loose and watch for the snotty parts. Your tires will give you more grip than you might expect. I was fortunate to take CLASS on a rainy day and learned all about adhesion in wet conditions - they're higher than you think, but can go away quickly if surface conditions change.

    And don't feel like a wuss if you elect to take the bus.

    I'm not a fan of rainsuits, so I've always tried to buy gear that is, on its own, waterproof. Same for gloves and boots. I hate doing the underpass rain suit dance, so waterproof gear always.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

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