Riding tips for Wet Weather Conditions

Riding tips for Wet Weather Conditions

With the rain season is right on our door step, it seems the appropriate time to address one of motorcycling’s biggest challenges for riders – wet weather riding. One of the most important things to consider is the fact that motorcyclists are more exposed to risk than motorists, especially in the rain. The risks associated with wet weather riding are easy to summarise in these 5 key categories

  • Two wheels instead of four
  • Traction
  • Painted lines
  • Surface changes
  • Vision

Let’s look at each category in more detail in order to understand the risk better and what to do in order to minimise these risks

Two wheels instead of four

In case of a wet road surface, it’s important to understand your and your motorcycle’s limitations. This means you will not be able to turn a corner at the normal speed that you would when the surface is dry.  Your lean angle will have to decrease drastically to ensure that you don’t lose traction. Two wheels will automatically allow for less traction than four wheels in wet conditions. It’s important to also apply both brakes when riding in the rain. However, insure that you are in an upright position and that you only apply as much as what is necessary to slow down and stop in control without losing traction. It is easy to make the mistake of applying too much back brake or to apply the front brake too aggressively. When riding in the rain, you need to be a hundred times smoother than normal

Traction

There are so many elements that contribute to traction, or the lack of this in wet weather conditions. Let’s look at throttle control. Aggressive acceleration when entering a corner, midway or when exiting a corner, will most definitely minimise your traction.  Traction is in other words your tyres’ ability to stay connected to the tar or service that it is traveling on (the contact patch).This is why throttle control needs to be smooth and the condition of your tyre needs to be according to standard road worthy requirements.  Your tyre must have the necessary tread pattern to disperse of excess water that limits traction. Braking distances will also need to increase and in most cases by double the distance to insure that you have enough time and space to stop your motorcycle in. Any excessive braking could lead to an aqua-plane scenario that minimises the necessary traction required

Painted lines

When riding on a dry road surface it’s perfectly acceptable to cross over painted road lines whilst turning or braking. The complete opposite is true in wet weather conditions.  Touching a line when cornering is 99{02c0c177ee4fd9beaa1f7860c90a8df2b6c3227773fff8a5ad31f40277892f83} of the time guaranteed to end badly. You will lose traction the instant you touch a painted line. Consider the fact that you are transferring more weight onto one side when leaning over and you only have two wheels providing traction. This is the reason why your lean angle needs to be minimal to ensure maximum traction. When riding from robot to robot in the rain, it’s important not to leave braking too late.  Braking in an upright position on a wet surface is crucial, but if left too late you may still need to apply brakes by the time you get to a painted line. Prevent this at all cost

Surface changes

Light rain tends to bring old oil and diesel to the road surface. For this reason I prefer heavy rains that at least wash the dirt away. Surfaces like this is extremely unpredictable and in all honestly almost impossible to control. When riding in the rain, it’s important to avoid the middle section of a lane as it’s the most common area where a car or truck could have spilled oil or diesel. The only warning sign, which is generally too late, is a slight multi-coloured reflection that you may see in a puddle or on the road surface itself. This is a clear indication of a surface change that prevents traction. Most incidents in the rain where riders say they cannot remember what happened, is caused by oil or diesel brought to the surface due to rain

Vision

Although all the elements above are extremely important to consider when riding in the rain, don’t forget to pay attention to your vision. Our visors don’t come out with wipers and in the rain they tend to fog up instantly. There are a few things you can consider that may help. Look for anti-fog stickers that most motorcycle stores sell. They come in clear as well as tinted colours and are easy to apply to the inside of your visor. Personally I find opening your visor slightly will also help.  In case of heavy rain it is not recommended to continue riding because it may turn out to be very difficult for you to keep your visor clean in order to see. Some riders even spray a silicone lubricant on the outside of the visor that helps the water to just slide off

Wet weather riding is challenging and extra precaution should be taken when it comes to your own rider input. This refers to how you control the motorcycle, as well as the fact that you need to think for other road users around you who may contribute to a dangerous scenario in the wet.

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