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

  1. #1
    Neglected Bike Adopter
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    What's your experience and advice for riding in the rain?

    My sad R850R is currently my only vehicle so when I commute anywhere I'm commuting on it, and the last couple days I've ridden in the rain for the first time since I acquired it. Haven't mounted my windshield yet, but now I want to. The summer and early fall rains here in TN tend to be downpours. The rides were short; I was just a bit too lazy to put my actual rain suit on, and got pretty wet.

    The rain rides got me curious, and now I'd like to hear from you other commuter folks about your rainy rides. Anything you'd like to say regarding your experiences, advice, and gear recommendations for rain is welcome. Especially anybody who lives and rides in the Pacific Northwest.
    Owner of the saddest 1997 R850R you ever did see.

  2. #2
    Registered User jandhumphreyme's Avatar
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    I can feel your pain, for years I would fool myself into believing that it wont rain much or I'll be ok and not stop to put on my rain gear, never worked out. I finally wised up and got some good waterproof gear. Boots, pants, jacket, gloves or glove liners. I have a Motoport jacket which has a waterproof liner, tested many times and I can remain completely dry in day long downpours, it's removable which is good for days with no rain and obviously wont do a lick of good if I'm too lazy to put it on. My pants are Aerostitch AD1's, these are goretex lined and are waterproof as well, also tested in multiple daylong downpours and because the gortex is present all the time, they are ready to go anytime it rains. Gloves are a problem with me, I've never found any that are really waterproof all day mostly because water runs down the liner of my jacket and will pour into gloves, so I put on Playtex rubber gloves and put my leather gloves over them, the Playtex gloves are inside my jacket liner so water runs right off them. Boots, there are lots of good options for boots, I was a big fan of SIDI "On Road" boots, those were completely waterproof, however I don't believe they are made anymore, there are lots of good options folks here will weigh in on. I currently use Aerostitch "Combat Lite" boots, excellent boot for everything but rain, blasted things leak like a sieve, so I drop back to what Mom did to us as kids, bread bags, they work in a pinch and are quick to put on. When the temperature drops, and the threshold is different for everybody, for me its around 55 degrees, I put on heated vest and use it. Rain soaked gear will wick heat away much more effectively than dry gear, and if you've a long way to go can be one of the most miserable experiences out there. With the above combination I've ridden 12 plus hour days in downpours in relative comfort.

    I try to constantly remind myself traction is not normal, I increase the distance between myself and the car in front of me, don't pass aggressively, don't corner aggressively, don't tailgate anyone. Tire tracks on highways tend to hold water so I ride outside these, don't want to hydroplane. I've done what I can to make sure my bike is visible, I have installed reflective stickers on the back of my bags, wear a white helmet, and a bright colored jacket. If it's raining so hard that I cannot see a safe distance in front of me, I pull over until the worst has passed.


    Good luck
    So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
    And we never even know we have the key

  3. #3
    slave to gravity skibum69's Avatar
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    Rubber will keep out water better than anything but how hot is it going to be? How much of a pain in the butt is it to get on? I have an old jacket and pants I can get on over my fathers and it keeps me totally dry. I only carry it when I'm wearing non waterproof gear such as my leathers. A pair of oversize rubber gloves work well as they will go over gloves and up over the cuffs to keep it all dry.

    I also have a top of the line Klim Adventure suit which is Gore Tex. I got wet for the first time in the 7+ years I've owned it just this past summer. That being said I'd never washed it or done any maintenance or treatment to it so it was probably due. I have since done the full wash and Nik Wax tech wash and spray on DWR treatment so I'm hoping to be back to dry again.

    I ride mostly as normal in the rain but I do leave some more following distance and watch more carefully for everything if the visibility goes down much. Agreed on the water in the wheel ruts but for me some of my bikes have narrow front tires that just slice through water without fear of hydroplaning. Wider rubber requires more consideration.

    Rubber rules!
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  4. #4
    Registered User TracerBullet's Avatar
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    I have Klim gear as well as a Roadcrafter. I actually prefer the RC because it is one piece.
    As far as riding the basics have been mentioned above. I become a little more vigilant about cornering, following distance etc.
    The pen is mightier than the sword….unless some one is trying to stab you with the sword….then it’s the sword…..definitely the sword

  5. #5
    Registered User bluehole's Avatar
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    I am an occasional fair weather commuter. I hate riding in the rain. That being said I find my self caught in the rain far more than one would expect. I currently have good rain suit that is effective in keeping me dry. I am giving serious consideration the some Aerostich (Gore Tex) gear. I like the idea of not having to change or add an extra layer when I get ambushed by rain. I have BMW riding boots that keep my feet dry. As for gloves, I use those in the attached picture. I can't remember how I came across them. I have been told they are used for handling chemicals. I have no idea if that is true. They are absolutely waterproof. My commute is 35-45 minutes and they are comfortable for a short commute. They do not breathe so I do not think they would be well suited for all day riding. I have not experienced water coming coming off the gauntlet and working it's way back down into my jacket sleeve. One of my motorcycles is naked. The other is naked except for a moderately sized windshield. Perhaps the airflow keeps the water flowing away from my hand and keeps it from coming down the gauntlet.

    Because I do not have a fairing my ability to ride in cold weather is limited. I generally avoid commuting if the temperature is in the 30's. I am not sure I would commute in those conditions with a good fairing. In the winter I often see frozen spots on the road where water seeps out from the median or curb days after a rain.

    I used to commute on the local highways, but a few weeks ago I found a more scenic...more relaxed route (actually, found a couple of alternatives). The trip is a few minutes longer, but so much more enjoyable. If you can find a pleasant ride to work I encourage you to try it. I think you will find it is worth the extra time.

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  6. #6
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    I live in Puget Sound area and my new job, just over a year, has required me to either ride a bus and adhere to their time schedule or ride my motorbike and set my own schedule. (its due to parking availability) I happily choose the latter. That being said, I rode all last year in every weather condition. My ride is relatively short around 1/2 hour, depending on traffic. I chose to use a laminated jacket/pants set from First Gear.

    https://www.firstgear-usa.com/produc...manjaro-jacket

    My bike did have fairings and an adjustable windshield but this set has kept me 100% dry. I also chose the Hi Viz jacket for added safety. The only downside to this set is the lack of liners. I do have to wear a sweatshirt during the 30 degree weather and a mesh jacket during the 80+ weather. As most NW people always carry a sweatshirt around in their vehicle or near them, this was nowhere near a deal breaker. Good luck with gloves.

  7. #7

    Aerostich VeeWipe Squeegee

    This little gadget makes it easy to keep your faceshield clear, it works way better than any glove I’ve used with an integrated wiper.

    Pin-Lok’s Anti-fog Insert Lens for your faceshield is another wonderful thing for keeping your vision clear.

  8. #8
    Neglected Bike Adopter
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post
    This little gadget makes it easy to keep your faceshield clear, it works way better than any glove I’ve used with an integrated wiper.

    Pin-Lok’s Anti-fog Insert Lens for your faceshield is another wonderful thing for keeping your vision clear.
    I already love my Pinlock visors, but that squeegee is brilliant. I really want one now.
    Owner of the saddest 1997 R850R you ever did see.

  9. #9
    slave to gravity skibum69's Avatar
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    I need a squeegee and a new pillock for my helmet.
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  10. #10
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    Big difference between a 30 min or less commute and hours riding in the rain.

    My Joe Rocket Survival suit works well as long as the front zipper flap is folded over properly for a 30 min commute.

    For touring though layers work better so I am leaning to mesh with a liner for the top and mesh pants. As it gets colder you can add the waterproof inner liner to the top as well as puff jacket and then thermal fuzzy under garment and then water proof over pants to the bottom. When it gets wet just add plastic rain jacket and waterproof gloves.
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  11. #11
    #13338 PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisinsc View Post
    For touring though layers work better so I am leaning to mesh with a liner for the top and mesh pants.
    I lack sufficient foresight to make this work very well. Where I ride - mostly in the great plains and mountain west there is often a 30% change of rain every day for weeks and storms come up quickly. After a few times thinking "it will only be a sprinkle" only to ride into a deluge I have had to rethink things. And, even if it hits as just a sprinkle taking off my jacket parked in the rain beside the road to install a liner just fails to work for me.

    So for the past 23 or so years I have ridden with an Aerostich Roadcrafter of Darien jacket which needs no liner and only in the worst conditions needs an outer rainsuit.

    And I'll add, a rain liner for pants is a cruel joke.
    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
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  12. #12
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    Seattle commuter here. I have an old Olympia Phantom one piece suit that gets sprayed with Camp Dry just about every autumn. I add the liner when it gets chilly. I wear my work clothes underneath so it’s an easy transition when I get to the office. Pinlock visor in yer lid really helps, too. BMW usually makes good gloves for all seasons, and a squeegee on the glove’s first finger is a necessity for me. YMMV.

  13. #13
    RK Ryder
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    I lack sufficient foresight to make this work very well. Where I ride - mostly in the great plains and mountain west there is often a 30% change of rain every day for weeks and storms come up quickly. After a few times thinking "it will only be a sprinkle" only to ride into a deluge I have had to rethink things. And, even if it hits as just a sprinkle taking off my jacket parked in the rain beside the road to install a liner just fails to work for me.

    So for the past 23 or so years I have ridden with an Aerostich Roadcrafter of Darien jacket which needs no liner and only in the worst conditions needs an outer rainsuit.

    And I'll add, a rain liner for pants is a cruel joke.
    My Motoport mesh jacket and pants have liners for both. As Paul says, it's a real nuisance taking off gear to put gear on under the outer layer. I rarely use the jacket liner and when I do, simply for warmth. I haven't taken the liners when touring for years.

    Instead I use a bright yellow construction rain suit over my mesh gear and most of the time for moderate rain, the jacket only. The pants are quite easy to get in and out off even with riding boots. Of course I did have each leg cut open to the crotch and had Velcro added. I can strip those pants off as fast as any of those guys in the film, The Full Monty. 😁
    Paul F. Ruffell
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Knights of the Roundel #333

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