The majority of motorcyclists tend to avoid riding in inclement weather, but if you’re someone who loves riding your bike year-round, then learning how to ride a motorcycle in the rain safely, is crucial. For some, riding around when it’s raining is an everyday thing, especially if they live in a part of the country that receives rain nine months out of the year. But if it rarely rains where you live, you don’t want to be caught out in a downpour on your bike, unprepared.
Key Takeaway: Using the right gear, body angle lean if you’re riding a cruiser, the proper braking ratio, and sticking your head in the mirrors can all work to keep you safe when you’re riding in a downpour. Additionally, wearing a motorcycle helmet speaker system can keep you informed regarding weather conditions and may even help you to avoid a downpour altogether.
Keep on reading to find out how you can stay safe riding your motorcycle in the rain
Using The Right Gear
If you don’t want to store your bike in the garage for the duration of the rainy season, or you just want to be prepared for that rare rainstorm in your part of the country, your first step is getting the right gear.
When it comes to motorcycle safety, comfort can be a major factor. When you’re riding in the rain, your comfort will involve using waterproof gear, especially waterproof boots, and gloves. A waterproof jacket will help to keep you warm and dry when you’re riding around, however, these jackets usually come with a steep price tag. Make sure the jacket you choose is brightly colored and made out of reflective materials in order to remain highly visible to drivers.
An anti-fog face shield is another important piece of gear that you don’t want to get caught without when it’s raining.
Cover Your Brakes
A skilled rider will be able to bring their bike to a complete stop in just five seconds, but if you keep a couple of your fingers on the brake you can stop even faster. In the rain, this can be a matter of life and death.
When it’s raining you should also make sure you lengthen your following distance. Most motorcyclists ride four to six seconds behind a vehicle when it’s raining. This will give you more time is you have to swerve or brake quickly.
As you probably know, a heavy downpour will make the streets slick, but some areas will be much more dangerous than others. This includes metal bridge expansions, metal bridges, manhole covers, tar snakes, and painted lines.
When it’s raining you never want to stop in the middle of a lane. The rainbow colors on the streets that are caused by diesel residue or oil tend to be much slicker than anything else you’ll come across on the road.
Dangers of A Railroad Crossing
In the rain, a railroad crossing will be extremely dangerous. Even on a normal day railroad tracks will deserve more focus. When it’s rainy you’ll want to pay even more attention to a railroad crossing. When you approach, make sure you take the tracks as close to perpendicular as you can, safely. Doing so will make it less likely that the tires will slide on the steel.
If you’ve learned how to ride a cruiser motorcycle, riding one in the rain will put your skills to the test. With this type of bike, body position is very important. Using body lean will keep the motorcycle upright, putting more rubber on the street in order to improve traction. When you lean off the bike make sure you smoothly transition in order to avoid upsetting the chassis.
Keep That Head in the Mirrors
Sticking your head in the mirrors is probably the best rule for rain riding to follow. Since the human head weighs around ten pounds, this extra weight can help you make tight turns and can also allow the bike to take a more upright position.
Make sure you practice this technique in dry conditions first. Keep in mind if you’re riding with huge ape hangers you probably won’t want to try this technique.
Earlier, we briefly touched on the importance of smooth transitions, if you’re riding a cruiser and how using body position to keep your bike upright is crucial in wet weather. But smoothness is essential for all aspects of riding in the rain, especially when it comes to braking. Avoid grabbing the brake lever sharply. Instead, use the front brake in combination with the rear. If you’re riding a cruiser then you’ll want to rely on the fifty-fifty braking technique when it’s raining. For other types of bikes, you’ll use twenty percent rear and eighty percent front when it’s raining. When you use the rear brake it can help to keep the chassis stable, which is crucial for riding safety.
Staying Ahead of the Weather
Wearing a motorcycle helmet speaker system like the Cardo Unisex-Adult Scala Rider Motorcycle Communication and Entertainment System can keep you in contact with your family and friends while allowing you to enjoy music while you ride. More importantly, you can listen to FM radio and catch any important weather reports which can warn you early that inclement weather is fast approaching. These systems will also allow you to answer calls hands-free, making it a versatile device that can come in handy in an emergency.
To learn more about these motorcycle helmet systems and leading models, click here to read our buyer’s guide.
Fortunately, ABS power, traction control, and tire technology continue to evolve each year, allowing you to properly equip your bike with brakes and tires that can easily handle slick surfaces. How to ride a motorcycle in the rain can take patience and practice. We hope the tips we’ve included here will help you get back home safely and slowly, even in the worst inclement weather conditions.