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Thread: Riding in the rain

  1. #1
    Registered User jgr451's Avatar
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    Riding in the rain

    It is that time of year again...when it is ride whether it's raining or not,or take the car.

    I fear and dread the wet and rain.I can manage it at some speed in straight lines and gentle corners...and I am not speaking of the discomfort either..

    I would like to hear from people who are comfortable cornering at speed in the rain and wet?What thoughts, techniques,cautions give you confidence cornering in the rain?Is there a rule of thumb calculation for decreasing corner speed?For example, in dry conditions I have used the rule of thumb of taking corners in mph at the speed posted in kph(60 mph instead of 60 kph);now,with the K and its very sophisticated(to me anyway!) handling,I am using the double it calcualtion(if posted at 40kph,it is safe at 80 kph).

    I do not want to discover the limits of traction in the wet,the hard way!

  2. #2
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    I just completed a tour to Mt. St. Helens and back to Calgary, most of it was in the rain. I had just installed a new pair of Metzeler Z6's on my R1100RS the day before I left. After riding 3600 Kms, much of it on mountain roads in the rain, I can say that they had great traction on most of the roads I rode. I was able to confidently corner at over the posted warning speeds on most of the corners. There were a few exceptions on some sections of road that had recent paving done. I did not trust those surfaces since they were still extremely smooth and slick. I never felt the tires slip out on me at all.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2019 F850GSA

  3. #3
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    #1 thing to remember:

    The amount of traction you have in the wet is inversely proportional to the "high mileage" capabilities of your tires.

    Same as with cars.

    Many 491 runners are in denial on this point. Some are skinned up.
    Kent Christensen
    21482
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  4. #4
    brooksie
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    Seeing as you live in a rainforest, you should be able to give us All pointers after enduring the next 6 months (or more) of our rainy season!


    I bet you haven't grinned so much in quite awhile since getting your new ride!

  5. #5
    James.A
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    rider in the rain

    That's a Randy Newman song. Oops, wrong forum........ While I never set out to ride in the rain, I enjoy it when it happens. I love the challenge. Cornering at speed?, forget it. Exercise extreme caution and enjoy.

  6. #6
    ian408
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    I don't like riding in the rain either. But it's a fact of any long
    distance ride you take.

    As far as traction, be careful of things like steel plates, painted
    lines on the roads, RR tracks and especially during early rain
    because oil and other crud is washed off the road surface then.
    Increase following distance, reduce speed. Become even more
    visible.

    If you're comfortable (dry and warm), that's half the battle
    right there.

    Ian

  7. #7
    dlearl476
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    Good rubber helps a lot. The new tires with high Silica compounds are great in the wet (one of my biggest criticism of older tires like Metzeler 33s and Metronics).
    To Ian's great list I'll add be even more gentle in changing directions and avoid the center of the road where most cages drop oil off their sumps.

  8. #8
    Registered User jgr451's Avatar
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    These are all thoughts I have had:good tires,gentle throttle and steering inputs,slow down;but you watch the mc races in the rain and still see high speeds and dramatic cornering lean angles.Sure the racers have great skill and special tires.But is it actually safe to ride, ie corner fast,in the rain?
    I am well aware of the tiny contact patches of the 2 tires...

  9. #9
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    Originally posted by jgr451
    These are all thoughts I have had:good tires,gentle throttle and steering inputs,slow down;but you watch the mc races in the rain and still see high speeds and dramatic cornering lean angles.Sure the racers have great skill and special tires.But is it actually safe to ride, ie corner fast,in the rain?
    I am well aware of the tiny contact patches of the 2 tires...
    Remember that those races are not being held on public roads with paint stripes, oil, tar snakes, etc.

    First, do take it a bit easier.
    Second, as others have mentioned, avoid those places you know will be slick.
    Third, consider how often it has recently rained. Rain in portland, oregon is somewhat rare in the summer. This means that with the road is very slick when it finally does come. It takes a good shower or two to scrub the roads. FWIW, yesterday I leaned over further in the rain than I did a week or so ago.

    As to how much traction you actually have...it's hard to say. 80% is the rather intangible number that I've heard/read many times. But that number means little if you run out or hit a slick spot.

    The only way you will know is to ride in the rain. This isn't a sarcastic answer. You will need to find out how much you are willing to push it. Riding in the rain is an everyday occurance around here (though you can't tell by how people drive!) nearly half the year. Since moving here, I've become much much more confident when riding in it. It's hard to describe, but I've gotten a much greater feel for how much traction I have at any given moment.

    dunno if any of this helps.

  10. #10
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    I agree that the rain's no place to explore traction limits.

    One way to "read" the amount of traction available is by noting the amount of force necessary to push the bars to start a turn. You know what it feels like to initiate a turn in the dry; when wet, the force required to change directions is reduced.

    The composition of the road also affects traction. In some places, there's more roughage in the pavement. On these surfaces, a motorcycle can be quite secure even in the wet. Of course, you musn't assume that just because there's good traction *here* that there'll be good traction around the corner!
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  11. #11
    ian408
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    It's starting to sprinkle on this side of the hill. Which reminded
    me of the clown whose radiator must have blown up earlier this
    week. Antifreeze all over the place.

    When evaluating the surface of a road, look for the tell tale
    "sheen" that an oily substance leaves behind. After a good rain,
    you'll see it in the center of the lane and at intersections. Use
    caution at the limit line. To hit the sensor, you'll be right in the
    residue from cars.

    Ian

  12. #12
    Registered User jgr451's Avatar
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    Yes it is heating fuel season and roof repair time.I came upon a nice long slick of diesel followed by drops where the fuel truck's hose was left to drain on the road;then some roofer lost a bucket containing a semi liquid tar which spread for about 50 yards on the road,followed by the battered bucket itself.
    Wouldnt have wanted to come upon either unprepared to make avoidance manoeuvers!!

  13. #13
    El Dookey loves to ride. 99007's Avatar
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    I ride in the rain

    You just have to feel your way into and through it. There is no way I take my usual corners at my usual speeds, but if there has been a good clensing rain, then I probably motor around at 60-80% of my "normal" speed.
    As others have said, staying warm and dry is more than half the battle. If you are comfortable, then things go much better.
    Besides - rain is good, it rinses all the bugs off my coat.
    Don't winterize; Rounderize!
    www.yearroundriders.com

  14. #14
    Retired from riding rad's Avatar
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    Re: Riding in the rain

    Originally posted by jgr451
    I would like to hear from people who are comfortable cornering at speed in the rain and wet?What thoughts, techniques,cautions

    Traction is important, but I don‘«÷t feel it is the overriding concern in rain. Traffic and visibility are far greater concerns. A hard rain in commute traffic scares the poop outta me cause the spray from the trucks makes you almost impossible to see. On the other hand, two lane roads without traffic are a blast in the rain. You would be surprised how much traction you have as long as you don‘«÷t have mud and debris across the road to worry about. That be‘«÷n said, I never push my bikes to their traction limits in rain.

    The best thing to do is wait until a nice steady rain is fall‘«÷n, suit up and go riding on some nice curving type roads when there is little or no traffic. Make sure you have good water proof gear, good tires and a fog free visor. Spend a number of hours just making yourself relax and you will gain confidence.

    If you have ABS you should also find a deserted section of road and practice braking so you can find the traction limits in the wet. This does put you at a slight risk but I feel it is better to have found your traction limits in wet or dry before you need to make that first emergency stop in the real world.


    A couple of things that may help: keep speeds lower than in the dry, give more following distance and no abrupt changing of direction, accelerating or stopping. One thing I do is generally ride in one gear higher so my RPM‘«÷s are a bit lower because I can not accelerate as fast as in the dry.

    Last important tip: Do not ride in the rain unless you want to! You are at an increased risk so do not put yourself at that risk unless you really want to.

  15. #15
    Registered User jgr451's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the thoughtful replies and words of wisdom!

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