Motorcycle Rain Riding: What to Wear

Rain RidingTHE BEST PART ABOUT RIDING IN THE RAIN: Having ridden through every imaginable type of rain condition all over North America, I consider the best part about rain riding to be that period for about an hour after the rain stops, when everything is wet and clean. Sort of like Mother Nature getting out of the shower, reinvigorated to take on life.

Of course, that perspective can be influenced by other factors, including the temperature, and how windy it might be, but there is something uniquely refreshing about riding through rain and continuing to ride after the rain stops….

RIDING MOTORCYCLES IN THE RAIN

Motorcycle riding in the rain isn’t for everyone. Some riders are so concerned about avoiding rain, that they may avoid riding if there exists even a remote possibility of rain in the forecast.

And of course, they would also miss many fine riding opportunities, regardless of whether it rained or not.

Others ride every day, in good or bad weather. (Heck, some riders even brave the snow! Which is another subject altogether).

If you are a rider who ventures out of town for overnight excursions or longer, you need to be prepared for rain.

And if you are a rider who commutes to work, regardless of rain, you will absolutely encounter wet weather – and at times, LOTS of it.

In brief, whether you are on a cross-country tour, or heading to work on Monday morning – if it’s raining – the main things that you need to accomplish are staying warm and dry while riding with a higher level of safety awareness.

Let’s take a look at our options for staying dry during wet-weather motorcycle riding, from head to toe….

MOTORCYCLE HELMETS IN THE RAIN

A full face helmet offers the greatest protection, not only in terms of a motorcycle crash, but as well, in terms of protection from wind, rain and cold. Even so, if you have a full face helmets with built-in vents, one thing to remember is to close the vents before it rains. Otherwise, by the time the water starts seeping into your hair, it’s too late.

If you ride with an open face helmet, instead of a full face helmet, then of course you’ll want to ensure you have a helmet visor handy to keep the rain off your face.

A half helmet offers the least protection in a crash, and offers the least protection from the rain. Hopefully, if you are caught in the rain with a half helmet, you’ve at least got a good pair of goggles to keep the rain out of your eyes.

MOTORCYCLE RAIN JACKETS

Motorcycle riders can be prepared for wet weather in two primary ways:

1) Wear a heavy-duty, waterproof motorcycle jacket (or)

2) Carry a lightweight motorcycle rain jacket with you (that goes over your regular motorcycle jacket)

In either case, you’ll want a rain jacket with a high collar, that seals securely against your neck, to keep water from dripping inside.

Either jacket will need sleeves that seal securely around your wrists, to minimize water coming in from your hands.

And, particularly if you have a lightweight rain jacket that goes over your regular motorcycle jacket, you’ll want to ensure that it fits well. If it’s too small, or too tight, it won’t be easy enough to get on when you need it, and you might be inclined not to bother with it while on the road: which means it’s almost as if you didn’t bring a rain jacket in the first place.

And if the rain jacket is too large, it can flap around and be a distraction, and even let rain enter from your waist.

Motorcycle jackets that are promoted as “waterproof” often need to have waterproof spray applied to the jacket periodically, and especially the seams. (Check the instructions for any particular jacket).

Even purpose-built, lightweight, motorcycle rain jackets, that are rolled up and stowed away until called to duty, may require an occasional application of a water-repelling spray to keep you dry when you most need it. (Again, it depends upon the apparel construction, check the manufacturer’s instructions.)

Motorcycle rain jackets are somewhat of a minimum level of wet weather protection. If you have ever been caught on a motorcycle ride, without any jacket at all, you know how much those little rain drops can sting as they are pelting against your skin, or a thin shirt.

MOTORCYCLE RAIN PANTS

If you ride a motorcycle with a windshield, you benefit from some upper body protection against the wind, rain and cooler temperatures. In that case, typically the first thing that will get wet is your legs.

However, with or without a windshield, your legs are going to get wet fast. Even if you have a full-fairing that offers protection down to your feet, enough rain is going to get your legs wet, even if it’s just from the general splashing and spray from other cars or the low-hanging, roadway mist.

The point is that rain pants can be easily overlooked by some riders, but they are an important piece of gear for staying dry.

Like a regular, heavy-duty motorcycle jacket, you have two primary categories of motorbike rain pants:

1) Motorcycle pants that are primarily made for crash protection, and secondarily, are also waterproofed for wet-weather riding

2) Additionally, you can also bring along a rolled-up pair of lightweight motorcycle rain covers for you pants and pull ’em on when needed

Either style of motorcycle rain pants should seal around you waist and ankles to minimize the potential for water seeping in.

Some motorcycle rain pants are made in an “coverall” or “bib” style, which means they reach up over the front of your torso, which offers additional wet weather protection from any rain that might come in through the zipper of your jacket, or under the waist of your jacket.

Furthermore, some motorcycle rain pants also have elastic stirrup straps that anchor the bottom of the rain pants to the bottom of your boots, preventing them from creeping higher to expose more of your legs to the elements that necessary.

Additionally, motorcycle rain pants may have suspenders which help to keep the pants securely positioned, not only while riding, but also while standing or walking around.

Keep in mind that the same fitting precautions noted about motorcycle rain jackets, also apply to motorcycle rain pants: If your overpants are too tight, you’ll be less inclined to actually use them. If they are too loose they’ll flap around and be a distraction, and are more apt to let water in.

ONE-PIECE MOTORCYCLE RAIN SUITS

The obvious advantage of a one-piece motorcycle rain suit is that there is no open waist area where water can enter.

Also, while stored on the bike when not in use, a one-piece suit is typically more compact than a two-piece suit of similar material construction. So, there’s a space-saving advantage.

Additionally, particularly with the proper size, a one-piece suit is less bulky than a two-piece suit.

The main disadvantage to a one-piece motorcycle rain suit is that it is not as quick to put on and take off. In fact, depending upon how big your feet are, it may be easier to remove your boots before you put a one-piece suit on, or take it off. And that is even taking into consideration that the ankles are usually readily expandable! (Having said that, motorcycle pants may require you to remove your boots, too, but overall, a one-piece suit is more cumbersome to put on and take off).

As a practical consideration, it can be a little quicker to take a bathroom break when you are wearing a two-piece suit, compared to a one-piece suit.

Further, if you are out on a ride, and it’s looking like it might drizzle a little and you really don’t want to put on your full rain gear, with two-piece rain gear you can elect to simply wear the jacket or the pants, as the situation warrants.

Bottom Line: With a one-piece suit, it’s all or nothing!

Note: Personally, I have found that I prefer to use a one-piece suit when commuting, since I can put the thing on and take it off while inside and out of the rain at both ends of the commute. While touring, or for all-day riding adventures, when I’m getting on and off the bike throughout the day, going inside cafes and restaurants, or gas stations as needed, and grabbing my wallet, camera and other items from various pockets, a two-piece suit is more convenient: In spite of that, I still prefer the one-piece suit for additional warmth, a smaller storage size, and its compact fit.

WATERPROOF MOTORCYCLE GLOVES

Motorcycle rain gloves are similar to motorbike rain jackets and pants, in that there are two flavors:

1) Motorcycle gloves that are made for routine wear and are also waterproof (or)

2) Motorcycle rain “covers” for gloves, which are secured over your routine gloves and are stowed on your bike when not in use

“Waterproof” gloves that are made for general use (like their cousins in the jackets and pants departments), may also require a periodic dose of waterproofing spray – check the instructions from the manufacturer.

And like their cousins in the jacket and pants department, purpose-built, rain covers for gloves (some are more like rain mittens), that are worn over your existing gloves, typically offer better wet-weather protection, particularly in heavy rain, and/or for longer exposure to the elements, such a long commute, or for all-day riding in the rain.

In either case, a longer glove gauntlet that extends well over the sleeves of your jacket will help to keep rain from getting down to your hands.

A peculiarity for riders on bikes with fairings is that the wind dynamics behind your fairing may create a reverse force of water running down your sleeves and into your gloves. This is contrary to the obvious frontal force of rain and wind on a bike without a fairing or windshield, where the rain is being forced over your gloves and onto your sleeves.

Unfortunately, you won’t find this out until you are actually riding in the rain.

The solution, of course, in such a scenario, is to place the gauntlet of your gloves under your jacket sleeves. This may seem counter-intuitive, and would only apply to some riders behind certain fairings, but the result is warmer and drier hands.

Warm, dry hands maintain a vital role in keeping a rider in control of his/her bike when the environment may demand higher precautions. Cold, wet, numb hands will not respond as fast which can be bad news if you need to brake suddenly, especially if you need to brake suddenly on a wet road, which requires even more skill and dexterity.

The obvious point here is that warm and dry hands are NOT just a point of comfort, they are a safety factor, as well.

WATERPROOF MOTORCYCLE BOOTS

Well, if you recognized a pattern here of having two categories of rainwear for each part of the body, it follows through to boots, as well.

1) You can buy motorcycle boots that are inherently waterproof, which means that if things get wet, your feet are already protected

2) You can buy motorcycle rain boot “covers” that are stored away until needed and only then pulled over your regular boots before things get wet

And just like with rain jackets, pants and gloves that are promoted as “waterproof,” supposed “waterproof” motorcycle boots will likely need periodic maintenance to keep them “waterproof.” (In my experience, waterproof motorcycle boots require more maintenance than any of the other pieces of motorcycle rain gear).

Motorcycle boot covers, which are often made of nylon or rubber, offer more wet weather protection, particularly for prolonged rain riding. They can be easily stored and put away and don’t take up much space. The rubber ones are more sturdy but can be a little tougher to stretch on and off your regular boots. These over-boots offer the best option for keeping your feet dry in a heavy deluge, or during all-day rain riding conditions.

PURPOSE-BUILT MOTORCYCLE RAIN GEAR

It’s important to note that rain gear for motorcyclists have special requirements, so it’s best to get rain gear that is specifically manufactured for riders.

Motorcycle rain gear needs to be durable enough to hold up to the rigors of being exposed to the elements while enduring high speed winds (riding 64 mph is the equivalent of a category 1 hurricane). As well, the same material needs to breathe, which means it needs to allow perspiration from the rider to escape, otherwise the biker will get bathed in his own sweat. So, your rain gear needs to keep rain from getting in, while letting perspiration (smaller water droplets) out. In other words, not all rain gear for other applications can hold up to the rigors of motorcycle wet-weather riding.

Also, the outside pockets on any of the jackets or pants may not offer as much wet-weather protection, compared to inside pockets. Which means, some items (such as your wallet, or a pocket camera), may need to be relocated to a more secure inside pocket, while preparing for rain.

WATERPROOF MOTORCYCLE LUGGAGE

While you’re keeping yourself warm and dry, you want to ensure your gear is kept dry, so you’ll have a dry pair of clothes to fit into later on.

Even if you have waterproof motorcycle luggage, it’s a good idea to enclose  some, or all, of your clothing and other pertinent items, within sealed, waterproof bags. Resealable plastic bags, like the kinds for kitchen freezer use, serve the function rather well. For larger amounts of items, some luggage retailers also offer much larger sealable plastic bags, that can even be compressed, to remove air. Not only does this offer more secure wet-weather protection, but also, as any experienced rider knows, anything that can be made more compact is better suited for motorcycle travel.

MOTORCYCLE SAFETY IN THE RAIN

All this talk about riding motorcycles in the rain should be concluded with a note on riding safely in the rain.

For any rider who has ridden a lot in the rain, it’s easy to take it for granted. An experienced rain rider may look at wet weather in a similar fashion as most car drivers do – “Oh well, it’s raining.”  Stated another way, wet weather is just not a big deal to an experienced, wet-weather rider.

However, a higher safety awareness should be maintained.

Even though modern motorcycle tires do provide very good wet-weather traction under ideal conditions, the reality is that most roads are not ideal. There can be gas, oil, paper, leaves or any of a number of things which can reduce traction on a dry day, but are much more slippery when wet.

Painted road lines, plastic road lines, manhole covers, metal bridge gratings, steel construction plates and rail road tracks, are some of the routine things that can be part of any rider’s experience, and all of those mentioned pose a higher level of risk to a rider when they’re wet, because those make for some VERY slippery surfaces.

More than ever, when the roads are wet, a safe rider should:

  • Allow more space between the traffic in front and behind
  • Allow more distance for braking
  • Be more attentive to “not” braking while leaning or turning
  • Be ever mindful that the car drivers with cell phones glued to their heads are less likely to be as alert to the conditions as you, and are quite likely to oblivious to your presence….

Wishing you Safe Riding.

MCg

MCg

"Wandering Around" is my motto: Up and down the California Coastal Ranges; the Rockies; the Appalachians; the beaches of both North American coasts; and everywhere in between. Any two wheels with a motor and a full gas tank will make me happy.
MCg

43 thoughts on “Motorcycle Rain Riding: What to Wear

  • One area that I see overlooked many times in wet weather is the use of dark colored rain protection. Be sure your rain gear is minimum of high-vis yellow. Best to wear gear with reflective stripes or carry with a high-vis vest like construction workers wear.

  • I wear chest high waders made for trout fisherman then as long as your jacket seals the top of them you stay dry even submerged up to your chest.

  • Location: Vancouver, WA area
    Type of riding: Work Commute and Pleasure Riding (about 12,000 mi. per year)

    I usually ride year round, the only thing that stops me and my personal rule is if I walk out to my bike and see ice on my windsheild, then that’s a car day to work. 2008 Harley Electra Glide Ultra Classic.
    I bought a Joe Rocket riding suit and also a set of Frogg Toggs jacket and pants, I always find that the crotch is the first to go in any rain suit and that is extremely frustrating! to feel cold water soaking your crotch 10 minutes into a ride is miserable! And I didn’t go cheap on the Joe Rocket ($400.00) or the Frogg Toggs! (about $150.00).
    I remember when I was a child the Portland Police motorcycle cops used a Lap/Leg Apron on their Harleys, I cannot find any of these made any more except for mopeds and usually in the UK. I Also found reference to Langlitz Leathers making these but when clicking on the link in their website all I got was an error message.
    So, Long story short, If anyone has a reasonable idea of what works besides wearing swimming trunks under my rain suit, or just going commando! I have no idea what to do next.
    Frustrated rain rider here.

  • I keep a bit of both. I have dryrider trousers for if I know it is going to rain and I pack a wet overcoat for my jacket. If I am not aware of rain I wear draggin jeans and pack a pair of overtrousers.

    also put ‘Rainex’ on my visor to help pool the drops and keep the visor up half a click to keep the fog away. Slow down and stop if you are not comfortable – all key parts of the ‘common sense’ riding experience.

    Had one ride where I had a one piece suit on and was getting a chilled ‘nether regions’ and couldnt understand why. Pulled over and realised that I had not closed the velcro outer strip so the flaps were funnelling the icy cold water straight into my crotch… brrrr.
    Another time I struggled into my one piece – zipped and sealed it up only to discover I had not got my keys out of my jeans pocket….. LOOOOOOOONg day THAT one ..

  • Ok, so here’s a question. I am a VERY large lady. I’ve done a couple of trips cross-country, and in April, dealt with some SERIOUS heavy weather down around the Gulf Coast region of the US (Mississippi/Louisiana/Texas). I had a rain-suit in a super-size that I purchased from a motorcycle outfitter, and it didn’t survive the trek from Texas to Virginia and back. Not ONLY did it not fit properly — it ALSO did not work as a rain protectant — it leaked EVERYWHERE, to the point where I ended up in Louisiana in the middle of a rainstorm and got off my bike and dumped almost 3 quarts of water out the bottom of my pant-legs! Where do the extra-large ladies (size 26/28+ US) find rain gear that both fits and works? I can’t find it anywhere — it’s almost like nobody believes that large ladies ride bikes!!!

  • Every summer I do my motorcycle vacation. Going through many States and sometimes Canadian Provinces, we always hit rain somewhere. My Ultra Classic has ABS so that helps with control, my boots are Ariat waterproof boots and have never failed to keep my feet dry. I don’t have very good luck with keeping water out of my pants, however. I just bought a new set of rain gear (two piece) with a longer back on the jacket, so hopefully my crotch will not get soaked this summer. In four days I’m heading from GA to British Columbia via CO, AZ, NV, CA, WA, OR (and a lot of other states of course). It will be about 7,000 miles so I’m sure some of it will be wet. I don’t mind riding in the rain as long as I can see a good distance ahead. It really smells great out on the open road immediately after the rain stops. So fresh. Sure beats city riding.

  • What about suggesting that in rain, it is safer to use the rear brake rather than only the front brake.

  • Used to ride a suzuki burgman scooter, and if it was just light to mild rain, I could stay almost completely dry due to the fairings and leg protection (legs are tucked into the bike). Then, I moved on to a honda shadow spirit, and the first wet day I noticed the front wheel slings water all over your legs. Not cool. Plus, being a cruiser style, there’s like no storage. So, I had to quickly get together some storage options to carry some rain gear.

  • Yes, it is really important tips for everyone who prefers motorcycle for travelling. According to me, people should keep those things that make safety while riding on bikes. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Having lived in Hawaii for about 9 years, I never minded the rain at all. When it stoppped raining the warm tropical trade winds dried me completely and quickly. Of course I reduced my speed and I still had to pay close attention to the painted lines and manhole covers and the like, but now that I live in Kentucky I avoid the rain at all costs. If I happen to get caught in a sudden summer shower/downpour, well, so be it. Riding in the rain definitely isn’t for everybody but it’s all part of the riding experience.
    Be safe everyone!

  • thanks again for all the great tips. In toronto canada , I ride through rain near half the riding season. I do enjoy it and yes its great practice. Embrace it , dont fear it. use common sense.

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  • I agree with your post!! but if you ride motorcycle in the rain, don’t ever you cornering on tight curves.. Btw, its a nice info!! goog luck with your website… if deign, visit n follow my blog, okay!! thanks

  • At the Shaolin Temple of Motorcycle Rain Riding, the monks teach the ancient art of safely riding on wet pavement.

    There is much to learn, and most students never master it, but the guiding principle is “Ride BETWEEN the raindrops, Grasshopper!…LOL

    Be safe, have fun!

  • Good waterproof clothing that you can carry in the panniers when not required and always a towel rond yourneck in the rain

  • In my hey days mbiking in Wales we saw all seasons thro with a belstaff wax jacket and trousers and rubber gum boots for footwear (trousers over the boots of course !), not to glamourous maybe, but always guaranteed dry on arrival. Carry a pair of shoes or trainers with you for your destination for dancing or whatever!
    Severe frosts would see the daily newspaper go down the front under the jacket. Always ex army wool gloves and leather mittens over the top – wet yes maybe but mostly not cold.
    We had little money for the top gear and all it worked well, the belstaff jackets and pants will last you a lifetime if you wax them every few years and don’t rip them. In desperate times we would stop and warm hands on the exhaust pipes.
    Ahh….those were the days) now live in West Australia and dont have the same problems for some reason????

  • Tropical rain is HEAVY; when it pours, it pours hard. So being well prepared is the best way to enjoy hours riding under dark clouds & deafning noise of the rain and road impact, here in India, particularly in the monsoons in full bloom.

    MY preparations include a good waterproof jacket over my riding jacket plus waterproof lowers over my pants. I would be wearing anti-skid pvc shoes just-above ankle height ( these I carry religiously inside my tool box during the monsoons). And waterproof rain gloves, a must.

    I mix proportionate ethanol in petrol during monsoons, so that even if water drips inside the tank, it will mix with the alcohol & burn off. In India, it’s not mixed by the dealers.

    And offcourse a full face helmet with a anti-fog visor.

    This setup has kept me high & dry in the most ferocious of showers, enabling me to ride on.

    Happy motorcycling,
    Anirban.

  • I have just started wearing a full face helmit. Anti fog cloths or spray is a good idea also. A cheap Walmart rain suit and a couple of the bags it came in for socks are my rain gear I also have some of those dish washing gloves if it gets real bad. I spray my old jean jacket and shoes with scotch guard so most of the time I dont need rain gear

  • I love riding in the rain – there’s been times when I’ve had to weave through cars that have parked in te middlwe of the road because the rain was so bad ! I wear a Bates leather jacket. I Dubbin it once every 6 months or so, and find it quite adequately rain proof. I have leather pants which are almost as waterproof, but if I get cvaught in denim, I just get my legs wet.

    Perversley, one of the best things about a ride in the rain is lowering yourself into a steaming bath afterwards !!!

  • First of all I live in Australia, I have a car and I have a bike. My bike is my main means of getting to and from work. In the rain I have learnt to keep the bike in the driest line possible. Cars do come in useful for something after all. You just follow the drier tyre line on the road. Not so important in the country that little tip. Avoid anything anything painted on the road like arrows etc. The paint has little glass beads in it so you can see it at night.
    Now, I ride a ’99 Honda ST1100 and the only time I really get wet is sitting at lights as the fairing tends to work well. Riding along splashing from cars etc would be the only offender. Since the heavier type rain doesn’t happen that much I bought a set of cheap plastic waterproof pants and jacket to wear over my usual clothing. Oh and if it’s just plain cold it also keeps most of the wind chill factor at bay.

  • Came up from Granby on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park and smack into a hail storm at 12,000 feet September 2009. I was in first gear with my flashers on and cages stayed away. At 10,000 feet it turned into a raging downpour and down at the bottom in Estes it was dry as a bone. Go figure. I believe the pucker factor went down through my seat, through the tires and helped hold the road. It was only marble size hail and full leathers and helmets got us through unharmed.

  • My wife has nver been on a bike in the rain and we are planning our 1st multi-day road trip for late May to the Lake Placid and Finger Lakes in New York. We have purchased rain gear…….I’m just hoping she won’t get ‘turned off’ riding the first time we encounter rain!

  • I am originally from Seattle but now live in Ohio. Rain is fact of life and I’ve not melted yet.. If you want to ride you learn to ride in the rain. If I see lightening I pull over, but as long as the wind isn’t too bad I ride. We tour several states each summer and will always get caught in the rain, but when it finally stops and the sun comes out it is always worth it. I waterproof my boots every month with bear grease, have Olympia waterproof gloves which really are waterproof, Frogg Toggs 2 peice rain suit and cruise along just fine. Yes, I still get a bit wet, but I’ll dry eventually. I’m more concerned about the road than getting wet. Slow down, watch for road snakes and the “other guy” and just grin and bear it. And if you have to pull off under an overpass on the freeway you get to meet other bikers and have a great time anyway. It’s all a matter of perspective.

  • Additions I recommend:
    1. If you have the option, wait out the first 15 minutes of a rainstorm to let the rain wash the oil off the road (from Proficient Motorcycling).
    2. Be extra careful of these two road hazards when riding on wet roads: the painted lines on the side and center of the asphalt and those patches of smoother asphalt road crews lay down on cracks to seal. Both of these are much more slippery than the regular asphalt. (I’ll never forget the first rain I rode in and my rear tire caught the double yellow line on a curve – instant adrenalin rush as the rear wheel slipped!)
    Ride Safely! Just Ride!

  • My first motorcycle wreck was on a Suzuki 50cc when I was 16. Leaning just a little too much on rocky asphalt meant a case of road rash that I still remember- even though I went down at 10 mph.
    If you pretend you are driving on ice when the road is wet, you will not have a problem- even if you miss a little “fun”!

  • Hi.. getting wet is not my biggest concern when it rains. Visibility is my concern. There is a lot of traffic on my daily commute, and I am frequently stuck in it. When it rains my riding glasses get steamy, and drivers also have visibility problems – anyone on the road needs to be to be as alert as they can. My solution is often to take my glasses off.. I don’t care about a wet face, or any other discomfort the rain may throw at me.. I care more about seeing where I am going.

  • Rain is just liquid sunshine, as far as I am concerned…my easiest to use rain protective wear is an old duster, heavy, lined, waxed cotton, very water repellent. I also carry a set of frogg toggs for outer wear, which doubles the rain factor in keeping dry. I also carry a set of waterproof hiking gaiters in store in order to keep the majority of water off of my lower legs and feet. I drive a ural patrol with mud/rain shields so very little rain makes it’s way to my lower extremities. One other option to keeping drier is that I use an ATV style tank bag, primarily because the handlebars on the ural are very low set and no risers or triple tree, so the hanging style of ATV tank bag keeps my knees protected also

  • A tip if you do not have waterproof gloves. Stop at a grocery store and get a couple of the light plastic bags they use for vegetables and fruit in most produce sections. In fact, I have a couple stored away in every jacket and on every motorcycle I own. Because they are light, they do not interfere with using your bike controls. And because they are long enough they protect you up towards your elbow including the weak spot between your jacket and gloves. Some times I prefer using these bags with a light glove to using the bulkier waterproof gloves.

    A similar tip is to use plastic grocery bags to help “waterproof” your boots. I have used both of these tips when I was caught in heavy downpours without my regular wet weather riding gear. You will stay dry, but will eventually get “clammy” if you use plastic protection for a long time. But they work in a pinch!

  • I crashed in the rain years ago, in a turn, with oil on the road, going too fast (only 25 mph) and breaking too hard after the guy in front of me, who I was too close to, crashed. Do NOT do anything too hard, whether it’s turning, braking, accelerating, decelerating. Smooth transitions is what it’s all about. Take time to get your head around wet riding if you never have or haven’t for some time.

    Stay dry, Ken

  • In Oregon’s Willamette Valley you either ride in the rain or hardly ride at all. Good, protective waterproof gear is a must, and I heartily recommend the Aerostich Darien jacket. The thing will endure rains that cause normal folks to start building arks. It dries quickly and just keeps on being there, a solid wall between me and the wet stuff.

  • I must be very lucky as I do not have to add any rain gear. When it rains I get wet, when the sun comes out again I’m dry within an hour or even less. I live in Thailand & ride a FLHXSE

  • In addition to all the stuff already mentioned, I keep a 4 oz. container of Rainex and a supply of Bounty paper towels with my rain gear. When rain is imminent, put rain gear on first and then treat your lexan face shield with Rainex on both sides. It will bead the water up and markedly improve your vision.

  • Hi Mark, I have a Suzuki v-strom DL 1000 which as you might know does not have the option of ABS brakes, only the DL 650 comes with this option. Now, BMW GS model motorcycles that have ABS also have a cancelling switch so that when you ride in gravel or dirt they actually don’t work against you. If the TCB brake system works like an ABS will it also work against you in dirt or gravel? Thanks.

  • After riding to all 56 County Seats of Montana this summer I learned, often the hard way, about rain riding. I wore a full face shield helmet, and fought the infernal fogging when the temp and moisure hit, and had a few OMG moments when vision deteriorated and the claustrophopic fear set in. Then one day while swimming laps with my swimmers snorkle, it hit me, I could reduce helmet condensation by venting my breathing thru a modified swimmers snorkle. It worked! Now it is a vital as my thumb wiper. The other trick I learned to clear vision at 70PMH is to p;oke my head out around the windshield and let the windstream blow raindrops off the face shield. The classic ride was when 3 inches of rain dumped in two hours. I pulled off the interstate to get under a bridge overpass only to find 50 riders headed to Sturgis has plugged up all available space. Talk about no room at the in. Had to ride 15 miles to the next town to escape Mother Natures cleansing. Rubber chemical handeling gloves over my leathers also came in handy as the y cover up to the forearms. Happy riding!

  • A very important fact we learned in safety class 20 some years ago, that was not mentioned, & and for someone new to rain riding is: When it first starts to rain, if your on the road, pull over for the first 10 min. to allow all the oil and gas that is sitting on the road to wash off. This will allow for a safer ride as you continue on your route. Safety first!

  • Robert,

    It’s simple, you have a dual disc brake set-up on your front brake system. Although some people decide to “split the difference” in this equation and put the TCB on the master cylinder. The TCB is designed to replace each banjo-bolt on each caliper.

    So basically remove the existing banjo-bolts , replace with the TCB valve, bleed it and your done!

    Note; the Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki and most Suzuki models all use the 10mmx125 thread to replace existing banjo-bolts.

    It’s that simple!

    Contact me if you have any questions,

    Mark Lipski
    903 569 2998

    Also I have not had rave results for the TCB on the rear brake even though it is physically impossible for it not to function. The main braking performance and control is up front.

  • It used to bother me to rain in the rain, but no more. One, I got a new set of tires which improved handling & traction. Second, (after break-in period) when riding out in the rain, I did a controlled rear-brake test. Applying the rear brake on a flat, smooth (wet) and empty street, I was able to calibrate just how much downforce I could apply to the rear brake before locking up the rear. I did this several times (up to 30 mph, and gradually applying more force) and I was surprised how hard I could hit it and quickly learned the “wet braking zone” on my rear brake. Combined with a lighter front brake touch, I confidently ride in wet weather in traffic.

    Find out the sweet-spot on your rear brake in the wet to understand how your bike’ brakes react in the wet.

  • RainRiders,

    Staying dry is important but staying safe is most important. When you hit your brakes in the rain the traction of your tire’s footprint decreases dramatically.
    This means less control for steering while braking, and the only other option is Anti-Lock or ABS brakes.
    The TCB brake system is not a true ABS but rather than spending a lot of cash or buying a new bike with ABS you can replace the banjo bolt and get nearly the same effect.
    I am the Inventor of the TCB and feel free to call me anytime for more information.

    Mark Lipski
    903 569 2998

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