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June 1, 2013

Riding in the Rain: Precautions & All You Need to Know

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Depending on someone’s experience in motor biking or skill set they posses, riding a Motorcycle in the rain can be counted to anything from a Pleasurable one to a Nightmare. In any case, riding in the rains can be considered at least a little more complicated, a bit dangerous and most probably both the rider and the bike would be subjected to a good hard bath.


A few riders avoid rains to make their life a bit simple and less complicated, but on the other hand riders wait for the annual rainfall to start their ride as they consider riding in the rains to be a more pleasurable because of the cool and pleasant weather, less traffic conditions seen and more or less being their personal choices. If you’re one of them belonging to the first category of making life a bit simpler, be assured that sooner or later you’ll be confronted with it, willingly or not.

With the rain gods about to hover over our heads soon, let’s take riding in rain as learning a whole new subset of skills that can be seen as a challenge rather than a life threatening threat.

With the Basics in mind;

Let’s Cover Up

The Value of a full face helmet is known only at the time of rains as riding at higher speeds with a modular one or a half face helmet would make the rain drops sting like bees. Adding to that, the thunder storms or breeze that lifts up things on the road can bring something straight onto your face if you suffer a bad luck that day.

Having Suitable gear to face the rains is vital. May rain suits or liners work very well for slight showers but with heavy precipitation that can test any kind of rain suits and it is sure going to give you surprises by rain water seeping inside and making you cold and uncomfortable. All rain gear has to undergo an extra job of fighting wind resistance along with strong water currents tagged along with the wind trying to seep in.


Planning for a long ride on a rainy season with anticipated rains, it is better to check the rain gear prior to the ride to make sure things are OK and can withstand rains making ride more pleasurable and warm.

Also remember to wear thermal liners during rainy days as they can potentially keep you warm. Getting wet in the rains can be very disturbing and can be very distractive that keeps the concentration away from the roads which is potentially very dangerous. So, preparation is the first step for a successful rain ride.


Rain water on Tarmac can make roads which were once gripper to a sloppy skid pad for motorcycles. Rain water also prevents the tyres from getting a good optimum operating temperature and retaining its coldness thus proving to be fatal in most cases. There are few roads that give good traction during rains and vice versa.


The idea to test the traction limits is to use the rear brake carefully up to a point of lock-up and use that as a marginal value to use the brakes. Take precautions before doing this test as doing this on an inclined or a chambered section will let the gravity do its job and push the rear wheel out of its line.

To be Careful Zone includes repaired roads that can have loose gravel, tarred payments, concrete roads, intersections/ blind turns with oil spillage and debris washed out to the road by water. Be very careful with rail road tracks, trolley tracks, plates and painted road dividers and cross-walks which can be very slick when run over at wet conditions.

Hydroplaning is also one such nightmares in wet conditions that can be experienced, but again take a deep breath as it’s more likely to happen to cars that have slightly flat tires when compared to rounded ones on motorcycles.


Generally rain oriented tyres that are designed to meet wet conditions have water channeling that effectively channels the water out. Remember, just as in dry, softer compound tyres offer better traction than medium and hard compounds.

Rain Vision

Vision in rains is more important as to see where the bike is travelling. A clean clear Poly glass shield plays a vital role in wet riding. Although some fogging might build up during a visor down ride at slow speeds, a pin lock visor equipped helmet can eliminate the fogging completely. Another effective way of reducing the fogging up of lens at lower speeds is to open the visor a notch up that lets the fresh air in and reduce fogging to a great extent.

clip_image005High Visibility equipment like Yellow or Orange Visors that come with the helmets are also advised for accurate visibility during dull weather conditions. Hi-Visibility rain gear that comes with reflective stripes that can reflect light at an easy distance of one kilometer or so would come in very handy on highways especially during night rides.

Get Positioned

Maintaining a safe following distance behind an on-going vehicle is very important as following too close can cause a crash or rear ending. It is always advisable to let the tail gating rider pass ahead of you or a gentle hand out movement indicating that he’s following too close would work and back him off. As many don’t understand hazardous outcomes of tailgating, it’s our responsibility to wake them up to reality as our life depends on that too.

Wind & Thunderstorms

It is never advisable to ride during thundering as a streak of light falling from the sky can cause distraction or simply knock you off as happens quite often in Texas. Again with wind, as most of the sports bikes are fully faired ones the cross winds it would be subjected to might be too much that it would be really hard to keep the bike positioned in one straight line. Yamaha R15 owners would know this trauma better.


Some seasoned riders keep their bikes in parallel with cars or larger vehicles allowing the bigger vehicles to take the crosswinds and spare the motorcyclists. Again, care must be taken not to ride on the opposite direction confusing the on-coming vehicles.


Having said what needs to be done and what not during a rainy ride, gaining experience on this part is up to each individual. However if you’re caught in a situation that you feel it’s too complicated or difficult to handle, the wisest decision that a seasoned rider takes is to pull-over to the nearest safest place and wait until things improve.


Although Panic is the common denominator of all sorts of rider oriented crashes, learning on the fly, not pushing too far more than you can handle is the key to a successful biker. Always remember “Never go faster than your guardian angel can fly

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