We all want to ride our motorcycles in the fairest of conditions, and often that means when the terrain is dry and smooth. But what if you must ride in the rain? If so, you should prepare for it and consider following our tips for riding a motorcycle in the rain.
Your goal when riding in the rain should be to protect yourself and others from potential risks and, if possible, your motorcycle, too. But before we can look at the ‘how’ part, let’s go through the dangers associated with riding in the rain to help you understand what you are up against.
The Dangers of Motorcycle Riding in The Rain
Riding in the rain can be dangerous. You could quickly lose control and crash your motorcycle, damage people’s property or your motorcycle, or even get sick from the wetness.
Below are the dangers to look out for.
1. Extreme Stormy Conditions
It’s dangerous to ride in the rain under extreme stormy conditions like lightning, thunder, and hailstorms. These conditions increase panic and could even result in direct injuries, and you wouldn’t want that.
Hydroplaning refers to a situation when a water layer forms in front of your motorcycle’s tire faster than the bike’s weight can push it out of its way. This prevents the tire from directly touching the ground. So, you lose ground traction, making it hard to control the bike.
3. Tire Skidding
Your motorcycle will likely lose 25-30% of tire traction when it rains. You are more likely to slide if you ride faster or do not pick your spots correctly.
With heavy rains come many obstacles on the road, such as fallen trees and bridges, debris, and landslides, which often turn hazardous.
5. Reduced Visibility
It’s harder to see clearly during a heavy downpour as sometimes the surroundings turn foggy. Realistically, it’s hard to make a sound judgment on the road when you cannot see correctly.
10 Riding in the Rain Motorcycle Tips
After identifying the dangers of riding a motorcycle in the rain, you should know how to stay safe and possibly protect your favorite bike. Below are the top 10 tips to consider.
1. Wear the Right Wet-Weather Motorcycle Gear
Wearing the right wet-weather gear will protect you from getting wet. Here are the must-wear items:
- Full-face helmet – to protect your face. It should preferably have an anti-fog visor to keep fog away. But if it lacks it, get an anti-fog spray and apply it to the helmet’s visor.
- Riding boots to keep your feet dry and warm
- Riding gloves, which should preferably be waterproof, to keep your hands dry and warm
- Bandana to keep your neck and collar area dry
In addition to the above gear, it may be necessary to have a waterproof backpack for your laptop, phone, other electronics, and even books if you are a student commuter.
However, you can use a plastic bag in its absence, even though a plastic bag is not as reliable as a waterproof backpack.
2. Ensure You Can See Clearly
It’s dangerous to ride in the rain if you can’t see clearly. Remember, water is likely to splash on your visor, and the cold weather could cause it to turn into fog.
It’s essential to wipe off the water from your visor. You may, however, not have to do that if your visor has anti-fog properties.
3. Be Visible
It’s crucial to be visible to other road users, especially from a distance, when riding a motorcycle on-road. In that case, you should do the following:
- Keep your headlamp on but avoid high beam as it reflects and blinds your eyes during a heavy downpour
- Wear a helmet
- Wear a reflective vest on top of your riding jacket.
4. Look for Dry Lines/Surfaces
Once you decide to ride your motorcycle in the rain, you’ve to pick the right spots to ride on. It starts by targeting the driest lanes you can find.
The more you ride on the dry lane, the safer you are likely to move. It also means there’ll be less mud on your bike, and thus, the risks of damage are fewer.
5. Avoid Smooth and Shiny Surfaces
Shiny surfaces may attract you but might be danger zones in disguise. It could be a paddle forming out of a deep pothole. Also, avoid paint lines on the road as they are usually slippery.
Other things to avoid include pavement sealers and anything on the road that is metallic.
6. Do Everything Gently
The worst mistake you can make when riding in the rain is to hurry things up. So, first, ensure you slow down as soon as the rain hits you.
While at it, ensure you apply the bike’s brakes progressively to shed off mud and water while promoting safety continually.
Furthermore, keep your cool. Don’t panic even if the rain becomes too much or you suddenly lose control.
7. Stand Up Frequently
There are two reasons why standing up frequently when riding in the rain is advisable. First, it helps you get rid of the water that might have collected on your lap as you ride in the rain while seated.
Second, it helps you stretch your legs, given that you are more likely to get tired riding in the rain than in dry conditions. Generally, the body employs more energy to navigate a bike in the rain than on the dry ground.
8. Loosen Your Grip On the Bike
While tightening your grip may appear like something that gives you control, it doesn’t! On the contrary, it makes you work harder and tires you more. Loosen your handgrip when riding in the rain.
9. Seek Shelter and Wait for the Rain to Stop
No matter how well-geared you are, it’s dangerous to continue riding in the rain during extreme stormy conditions like thunder, lightning, and hailstorms. In such a case, the safest approach is to get somewhere where you could shelter.
It’s also advisable to look for shelter when you are not geared, and there are only light showers. You may never know; the light showers could make you sick.
10. Clean Your Bike and Gear for the Next Ride
It’s essential to clean up your bike and gear after riding in the rain. The radiator is likely to have accumulated mud, and so are the plastic and metallic parts.
You must flush the mud and debris out, preferably with a stream of pressurized water. But before you do, allow the radiator to cool down.
Also, clean your helmet and other gear before your next ride and store them well.
I get you, Alex. Does this mean I Shouldn’t Ride in the Rain?
While motorcycle riding in the rain is not ideal, you can improve your on-the-road safety by observing the above tips for riding a motorcycle in the rain. But overall, consider avoiding the rains if you can, especially during extreme stormy conditions.
People Also Ask
There are many concerns about riding a motorcycle in the rain. We’ve gathered a set of questions that most people ask concerning the matter. Check them out below to enhance your knowledge of the subject.
Is It OK to Ride a Motorcycle in the Rain?
Though the rain doesn’t provide you with the ideal riding condition, you can safely ride if you wear the right wet-weather gear and remain cautious by slowing down, picking dry lanes, and being visible.
How Do You Not Get Wet in the Rain?
You can avoid getting wet in the rain by wearing waterproof gear from top to bottom.
The ideal gear for staying dry in the rain includes the following:
- Full-face helmet
- Waterproof riding jacket
- Waterproof riding pants
- Riding boots
- Riding gloves
Can Rain Damage Your Motorcycle?
Yes, rain can damage your motorcycle if it gets to the fuel tank, engine, and metallic parts. If it gets to the engine, it’ll mix with the engine oil, forcing you to change the oil, and if it gets to the fuel tank, it could cause sputtering or total failure to start the bike.
Additionally, if the rainwater wets the motorcycle’s metallic parts and you don’t wipe it down in good time, they could rust.
How Do I Get More Traction On My Motorcycle in the Rain?
Remember, you lose up to 30% of tire traction when riding in the rain. However, you can make up for that by slowing down when taking turns and ensuring you brake earlier.
What Do You Do with Your Motorcycle After It Rains?
You must clean up your motorcycle once the radiator cools. Ensure you get rid of mud and any other debris from all hidden places using pressurized water. After cleaning, dry the bike and store it away from moisture, preferably indoors.