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Thread: riding in the rain

  1. #1
    Rally Rat RGVILLA's Avatar
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    riding in the rain

    I rode to and from Pittsburgh yesterday in a driving rain. it was like being in a bathtub at 65 mph. my usual apparel is full leathers covered by a rubber rain suit. kept me dry but hot. recently i purchaseda pair of hein gericke pants with armor and a goretex liner. I also inherited a BMW summer jacket with armor and a goretex liner from my brother, Roland Villa a MOA life member who rode an R1100RS and died from pancreatic cancer. I also have a pair of supposedly water proof REI shell gloves to go over my leather gloves. The goretex liners kept me dry but the coat and pants got soaked, as did the gloves. I foolishly had put away my gerbing jacket liner and the only thing I had on over a t-shirt was a bullet proof vest I use as body armor for protection (and in my job) The ride one way is 60 miles and I was very cold at the end, the wet jackets and wind acted to really cool me down. I could have had more clothes on underneath the outerwear but that is a hassle. I'm looking for suggestions as how folks deal with this, and comments on what your preferred riding in the rain apparel is. We get about 37 inches of rain annually here and I commute daily so not riding in the rain is not an option. I take the cage occasionally, but whats the fun in that? Ride Safe

  2. #2
    Stressed Member jmerlino's Avatar
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    I have a Firstgear rain suit and I've been tremendously pleased with the performance. During the Cape Fear 1000, it rained pretty constantly, culminating in a very heavy downpour for the last 50 miles. I was wearing my leather jacket and Firstgear HT overpants under the rain suit, and they both stayed pretty dry. When it rains, I wear a pair of LaCrosse hunting boots. I've never tried it, but I think you could stand calf-deep in water with these and they wouldn't leak. They're not the greatest riding boots in the world, but they're better than wet feet.

    I haven't found a good glove solution yet. Aerostich makes an overglove thing that's supposed to be waterproof, and I might order a pair of those.
    --Joe Merlino - Modified '82 R100RT

  3. #3
    Still Wondering mika's Avatar
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    With the gear you ride in take a look at frogg toggs. I met several riders on my excursion to the Maratine Prrovinces that ride in leathers and swore by their frogg toggs and how they handled the rains we were all running into.

  4. #4
    Dances With Sheep GREGFEELER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M1ka
    With the gear you ride in take a look at frogg toggs. I met several riders on my excursion to the Maratine Prrovinces that ride in leathers and swore by their frogg toggs and how they handled the rains we were all running into.

    I'll second the Frogg Toggs suggestion.

    In my experience, a lot of the companies who market "waterproof" riding gear either have never actually used their products on a bike in the rain, or they are content to just be technically accurate while missing the point of making a product you'd actually like to use in the rain.

    Example: mesh riding gear with zipin "rain proof" liners. I always though having the water barrier inside (underneath) the mesh would get you a soaked jacket and pants which would only act as "wicking" material in the rain and make you cold. One day I was about 100 miles from home and got caught in the rain. So, rather than put on the rain suit I had over my mesh gear, I tried the liners to test my theory. I was right. So rule #1 is that the rain barrier needs to be on the outside. ;-)

    Rule #2 is that your rain gear needs to breath. Where I live (southern Idaho) it's almost always cool when it rains, so my rubberized nylon First Gear rain suit works great. But in the midwest and southeast you (I did) will die of the heat and humidity. On my trip through that area last summer I found the Frogg Toggs much cooler and yet excellent at keeping me dry. They may not last as long, but no more than I hope to have to use them, still a long time, and they pack down light and small. A hint: carry some plastic grocery sacks to put over your boots before pulling on the pants - makes the process *much* easier.
    Greg Feeler
    BMW MOA Foundation Secretary, Ambassador & amateur K-Bike collector, it seems
    1972 R75/5, 1990 K75, 1990 K1, 1992 K75S, 2003 K1200RS

  5. #5
    Rally Rat empeg9000's Avatar
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    I wear one of the early Joe Rocket Ballistic two piece suits. It has a gortex liner. I've been in a few down pours, most recently when bringing my Beemer home for the first time. The jacket and pants keep me very dry. The thing they could have done better would have been to make the flap covering the zipper a double overlapping flap. In a hard rain I usually get a little leak through in the zipper area. Nothing horrible, just damp. The biggest downfall is the venting isn't so great, that's probably why its so waterproof though. When it's 85 and above and humid I pretty much roast. I have yet to find truely waterproof gloves except my OR hiking overmitts but they are combersome to use on the bike.

  6. #6
    Rally Rat PAULBACH's Avatar
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    Another Vote for Frogg Toggs

    I caught caught in a downpour recently but had the Frogg Toggs in the paniers. Pulled over and put them on. Keep dry and they do breathe nicely.

    Nicely priced compared to Goretex gear.

  7. #7
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    riding in the rain

    Froggies; the only way to go. I have 4 rain suits and hate three of them. Use your textile riding suit (BMW, Dainese, First Gear, 'Stich whatever) for light or intermittent rain, and put the Froggies on over top for all day rain or heavy rain. They're light, comfortable, and they breathe.

    Your rain gauntlets will leak if you don't tuck them into your sleeves. Try the Aerostich glove covers.

    Riding an RT, GT, LT, or airhead RS also helps, but a bit more expensive.

    Rinty

  8. #8
    Dances With Sheep GREGFEELER's Avatar
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    Dry gloves

    I've used the Gortex overgloves from Olympia for several years and they do keep your hands dry. However, the inner liner tends to pull out with your hand (or regular glove) if they are damp. http://www.olympiagloves.com/gloves.html
    Greg Feeler
    BMW MOA Foundation Secretary, Ambassador & amateur K-Bike collector, it seems
    1972 R75/5, 1990 K75, 1990 K1, 1992 K75S, 2003 K1200RS

  9. #9
    25-MPH NEXT 1OO MILES PacWestGS's Avatar
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    I have two thoughts about riding in the rain:

    Do I want to stay dry (because of work clothes), what is the outside temperature (above or below 85), how far am I going (an hour or more)?

    Having lived in the South and other high humidity places (like Southeast Asia), putting on Raingear seems counter-productive. No matter what it's made of. You will sweat more than the wet you get from the rain, the rain actually feels good if it's warm enough. If it's cool out then any good rain-suit that will keep you dry inside.

    How far am I going, eventually nothing is completely waterproof, you will get wet somewhere.

    My advice rgvilla would be to consider packing for the rain (your work clothes and equipment in a waterproof bag) and wear what ever makes you comfortable and warm/cool enough for the distance you commute. Then change into your work clothes and reverse the process going home.




    But no answer would be complete if I didn't tell you what I use up here in the PacNorthWet:

    I have/had been using a FirstGear Kilimanjaro Jacket and HT-Overpant with really good success. (Damp-Butt-Syndrome if stopped in traffic) I've washed and re-treated it with Nixwax four times already.

    That has been replaced for commuting with a 1-pc 'Stich' Roadcrafter (Wet-Crotch-Syndrome if stopped in traffic) But that was a torential down-pour, otherwise it works very well. A little warm in the summer even with the vents open.

    Summer (Temps over 85) FirstGear Kilimanjaro AIR-Jacket w/liner and HT-AIR-Overpant w/liner (I once rode through six-plus-hours of a heavy down pour with this jacket and stayed completely dry underneath it, the liner worked very well. But like Gregg said, the exterior shell collected water and channelled it straight into my gloves. When ever I would stop I'd have to remember to stand up for a few minutes so the trapped water could run out from between the outer MESH jacket and the Liner) But it did work for keeping me dry from neck to waist and wrist to wrist. I haven't had a chance to test the HT-AIR-Overpant liner in the rain, becuase if its raining I wear the standard overpants.

    Boots: I wear AlpineStar Effex Gore-Tex boots. (Don't forget to tuck your street pants inside or they wick water up the leg)

    Gloves: I haven't found a pair yet that are waterproof but keep the gauntlet inside your jacket sleeve and have good grip when wet (some leathers get real slippery when wet)

    And just remember that temeratures between 40-60 degrees are the prime cause of Hypothermia if exposed and wet. Wet at 70-degrees going 70-mph equals 40-50 degrees wind chill (that's an estimate). Your body core-temperature will get cold enough if exposed long enough. DAMHIK

    Take care

    Doc
    Russ
    "If you took the time to really get to know me...you'd be wasting your time, because I'm exactly who you think I am"

    (Life comes at you pretty fast "Pay it Forward" - Have no regrets when the end happens)

  10. #10
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Frogg Toggs!

    I'm with Feeler on all points here. I love my FT's and have used them often, including hundreds of miles through the remnants of hurricane Dennis on the way up to Lima last summer.
    Another good thing I can say about FT's is that they are great to have along even in dry weather. I've taken a few weekend trips in the spring and autumn when the forecast included WIDE temperature spreads. Bringing both mesh and regular gear is just plain not an option, especially with camping gear on board. But the FT's make an *excellent* wind-break over mesh gear for those chilly mornings.
    2012 R1200GS
    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad
    http://www.thethingaboutcars.com/

  11. #11
    Rally Rat RGVILLA's Avatar
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    riding in the rain

    a few things I didn't mention. my BMW goretex boots kept my feet perfectly dry. I always pack my work clothes in one of my side cases and nothing has ever gotten wet in there, they are the BMW cases. My Rev Pack tank bag stayed perfectly dry on the inside. My nolan helmet let a few drops in. I have the anti fog liner and put cat crap on the shield and had no problems with vision out of the shield.

    Doc, I don't mind getting wet if it is warm, for years I rode with nothing but blue jeans and an army field jacket, I'm well aware of the hypothermia problem, two days ago the temperature here was well above 90 with 100% humidity. The BMW jacket and Hein Gericke pants work well in a light rain, but this was inches in a few hours. I also have a First Gear Hypertex Jacket that I bought used in Lima last year. It has kept me dry in light to moderate rain. No liner the outer shell is waterproof, but it doesn't breathe and gets hot as hell on the warm days here. I agree whole heartedly that the waterproofing needs to be on the outside.I am looking for something that I can put over my leathers to protect them. I wear the leathers in the winter into early spring when the commuting temperture is in the 20's and thirties. Sleet is more a problem them and the rubber helps keep me dry and warm. The temperature yesterday was probably around 60 F. I passed on other rider who was pulled over under an overpass, stopped he was okay just soaked, had on leather chaps and a leather jacket, no rain gear, anyone want to guess what he was riding?

    Looks like i will check out the frogg toggs. thanks for your input everyone
    Ride safe

  12. #12
    A question for the frog tog owners. I'm looking to get a pair, but need to know if I will need the next size up if I wear them over my gear? Or should I jest order my normal size...

  13. #13
    67-year-old Teenager indygt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpjensen
    A question for the frog tog owners. I'm looking to get a pair, but need to know if I will need the next size up if I wear them over my gear? Or should I jest order my normal size...
    My advice is to go up a size. The best scenario is to find a Frog Toggs vendor at a rally and try them on over your riding gear. That's how I acquired my first set at the MOA rally in Midland, Mich.
    It's definitely the best rain gear out there for the money and breathes so well you could wear FT to jog in the rain. Makes a gret windstopper, too.
    As with most apparel, watch out for hot exhaust pipes - the material will melt.
    My current set came from a golf supply place, via Ebay, and features a pullover top with hood and chest pouch pocket. The zip front tops work well too.

  14. #14
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    Look for Frogg Toggs at any sort of sporting goods/outdoor store. Best to try on over your gear. There I was, standing in the store, stooping into riding position just to make sure they'd fit well for riding use. Glad I did.
    2012 R1200GS
    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad
    http://www.thethingaboutcars.com/

  15. #15
    25-MPH NEXT 1OO MILES PacWestGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Veg
    There I was, standing in the store, stooping into riding position just to make sure they'd fit well for riding use. Glad I did.
    Did you hold your arms out?
    Russ
    "If you took the time to really get to know me...you'd be wasting your time, because I'm exactly who you think I am"

    (Life comes at you pretty fast "Pay it Forward" - Have no regrets when the end happens)

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