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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
One of the reasons that I stopped riding my dirtbike was that I took a spill (edit: on the road) on a corner that had a patch of gravel. Today I would probably keep my bike as upright and slow as possible as I take the turn, although I am still not sure if the weight of the bike and rider would be enough to find traction in gravel.

Now for the past month we had been having good weather and I haven't had a chance to ride in a full downpour or rain soaked road.

The question had been asked to many riders, "how do you ride in rain?" and the answer has been "Very carefully, no sudden moves, turn slowly" and Chris from PRS even said "Walk the bike around the corner"

Now which words don't I understand? all of them except the one with walking the bike around the corner.

Of course we try to do the obvious like avoiding larger puddles on water on the road, or gently steering (in a more upright turn).

but "How carefully do we need to ride?".
1. Can we take a normal corner with a gentle counterbalanced lean (going lets say 10kph, 15kph)?
2. Can we go straight at any speeds and as long as we are relaxed on the handlebars, the bike will continue to go straight (even if we begin to hydroplane)? or will the hydroplaning take the bike sideways regardless of your steering?

I will also assume that the weight of the bike + biker will play a role on keeping your tires contacting the ground, so slower speeds would probably be best to get the best traction.

3. How much is no sudden moves? like the gentle curves on Westminister highway I use countersteering at 120kph. So lets say we drop it back down to the speed limit of 90kph and taking it easy. Is that enough?

4. If we hit an oil + water patch while turning, is there a recovery method to keep the bike from sliding, or to let the bike slide until it regains traction? now all this is probably at speeds of only 10-15kph so I don't expect to skid more then a few feet?

5. when do we walk the bike around the corner? as I'm sure the traffic would love you for that.

6. No front brakes? just rear brakes?

7. New pirelli tires with chicken strips on the side. Worn the middle but not yet the sides. More dangerous in the rain? (I would assume so). Can we sruvive the rain if we ride gently? ie. just easy leans enough to get around the corner at slow speeds?

I would appreciate your inputs and hopefully with your pointers I will again practice in the neighborhoods before heading out to the highways for a full rain ride. The next few days seems to be raining so this would be a good chance to practice the Vancouver winters.

Thanks again...

Ralphael
 

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Twin A
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I stopped riding my dirtbike was that I took a spill on a corner that had a patch of gravel.
this above isn't a good sign. When I ride dirtbikes all the corners have gravel..lol
if you're scared to ride your bike in the dry you should avoid the rain. unless you want to get the experience then by all means go ahead, you have to learn sometime. go easy, be smooth, don't lean as much. just ride slower and conserve traction. riding in the rain isn't that bad, the worst of it is getting wet and dealing with reduced visibility.. with good gear it's just another fun day on the bike.
I suggest riding your dirtbike more on gravel and uneven terrain. this will teach you how to control an "out of control bike" since you'll be dealing with all the spins and slides that come with dirt riding. when bad things happen on a bike you usually don't have time to think. this is when experience and instincts take over. Riding a dirtbike will help you build these instincts faster.
 

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At any legal speed limit without actual puddles you don't need to worry about hydroplaning. Our round tire profiles create a boat shaped oval contact patch that is very good at wedging water to the sides.

In the rain, or indeed on ANY slippery surface, pushing the bike down into the turn more than yourself ala dirt or motocross style is a better way to deal with any sliding issues. The bike may let loose a bit but it won't tend to want to high side you when it hooks back up.

Once the roads are washed clean after a couple of days you'll be amazed at how much traction they actually have even in a hard rain. It's the half to full day after a long dry spell that things are really UGLY and Chris' idea of walking it around isn't that far fetched for as long as that condition lasts.

In the rain I always use a combo of front and rear brake. First, you'll get more stopping force that way. Second the rear acts as a traction sensor for the front. If it starts to lock up then you know that's as much as you're going to get for that stop. But it may not be the same a block away. Wet traction is very linked to local conditions and that may be as simple as a spill in one area at a previous time. So you never really know.

And of course there's the common sense things as well. RIde a bit slower but stay with the traffic. LEave a little more distance between you and the vehicle ahead. Slow down a touch more as you come up on a left turner wanting to cut in front of you. DOn't make it TOO obvious or the left'er may take it as you're turning or slowing for them to cut out. Just a little and be ready. And stay of the center of the lane where all the oil drips out of the cars and trucks. Stay in the wheel tracks. Watch out for the BIG white painted zones like in cross walks if you're trying to turn while going over them. They are typically quite a bit slipperier than the regular wet pavement.

And install a big power face shield wiper on your helmet with a wad of duct tape.....
 

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What's the speed of dark?
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Read Kieth Code's "a Twist of the Wrist" and understand the physics of a bike in motion. It applies to all riding, but riding in the rain just makes for a much smaller margin of error. So if you are doing it wrong now, you'll screw up that much easier in the rain.

In the rain, you're dealing with all the same forces as in the dry - except now you have less traction. Traction is a concern only when you are changing forces - like when you are accelerating. When you are cornering, if the bike is already banked over and turning, and the throttle is constant, it will keep turning forever, no matter what the surface adhesion is. However, it's the transition into and out of a corner, and how smooth you are in a corner, that matters (see "changing forces" above!).

The simple deal here: be super smooth. Get you're braking finished before you start a turn (and your question about "no front brake"? Don't be stupid - the front still is giving you 90% of your braking power, so don't NOT use it. Just be smooth, and don't use it in a corner (until you know how). Using the back brake in conjunction with the front is always smart (unless you're racing - another chapter...), as it settles the bike better and minimizes dive. When cornering, use a constant amount of throttle (not NONE) to maintain your speed (i.e.: don't slow down in a corner, or speed up, until you know you got the traction, or that you are straight up and down).

And modern tires have really good traction in the wet - more than you think (but don't force the issue!). But make sure you're not using super-performance tires intended for warm use (like a Bridgestone BT012SS versus a BT014 or BT020). This is where sport-touring tires shine - they may not be great on a race track, but they work well in the wet.

And I swear by a double lens face shield (a second lens applied to the inside of the regular shield - get it a most bike stores). Doesn't fog up hardly ever, so I can leave it closed all the time, which keeps water drops from getting on the inside. And I'll say it a gain - it doesn't fog!
 

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Newbie Poser Squid
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1. Can we take a normal corner with a gentle counterbalanced lean (going lets say 10kph, 15kph)?

A/ At that speed there is no problem. Street tires have surprisingly high grip on wet road (excluding oily wet road).

2. Can we go straight at any speeds and as long as we are relaxed on the handlebars, the bike will continue to go straight (even if we begin to hydroplane)? or will the hydroplaning take the bike sideways regardless of your steering?

A/ Yes, the bike will track as long as you're not doing the death grip or abrupt with the throttle.

I will also assume that the weight of the bike + biker will play a role on keeping your tires contacting the ground, so slower speeds would probably be best to get the best traction.

A/ Not rocket science here, in the wet, slower is safer because there is more time to react.

3. How much is no sudden moves? like the gentle curves on Westminister highway I use countersteering at 120kph. So lets say we drop it back down to the speed limit of 90kph and taking it easy. Is that enough?

A/ Just watch that throttle hand and no hard braking while leaned over. Smooth is the key. As for sudden moves, you should not be doing that regardless what condition it is. Its bike riding not break dancing.

4. If we hit an oil + water patch while turning, is there a recovery method to keep the bike from sliding, or to let the bike slide until it regains traction? now all this is probably at speeds of only 10-15kph so I don't expect to skid more then a few feet?

A/ Depends on how big is the oil patch is but if you hit is while leaning over, chances are the front will slide or even tuck. If it's wet road and you're doing reasonable speed for the condition it may slide a few inches. Anything more and, either you're on a supermoto or Gary McCoy, you're down.

Rear end slides occur , more often than not, is you been too hard on the throttle.

5. when do we walk the bike around the corner? as I'm sure the traffic would love you for that.

A/ That was a figure of speech.

6. No front brakes? just rear brakes?

A/ Use both but still rely more on the front.

7. New pirelli tires with chicken strips on the side. Worn the middle but not yet the sides. More dangerous in the rain? (I would assume so). Can we sruvive the rain if we ride gently? ie. just easy leans enough to get around the corner at slow speeds?

A/ I would not worry about it. If you got chicken strips from dry condition, I guarranty that you would not go past them in the wet. If you do, you most likely go down.


I would appreciate your inputs and hopefully with your pointers I will again practice in the neighborhoods before heading out to the highways for a full rain ride. The next few days seems to be raining so this would be a good chance to practice the Vancouver winters.

These answers are based on my many years riding over the winter months. I may not be right on all of them but I don't think they will lead you wrong. Ridinng in the wet is not that bad really. Heck, I even rode up and down SFU in the winter when I used to atend school there (one time in in the snow..haha)

Its the cold, icy roads in the early morning that worries me. If that is the case keep your bike at home and take transits.
 

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one more thing that hasn't already been mentioned: Wear high viz clothing!

Just think of all the cagers with their latté on the dash fogging up the windshield while chatting on the phone and wipers on high; they can't see much and aren't paying enough attention to notice.

Also even though you've changed your riding habits to suit the road conditions I would guess that 90% of the cagers don't. They drive around like it's a hot August day and then wonder what happened when they crash, "must have been oil on the road! I'm suing the city!"
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Its not raining at the moment, but heading out the door and hoping for some rain.

Really appreciate the tips and your time to type them out.

Thanks.

Ralphael
 

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practice....

find a nice piece NON TRAFFIC road....start at 10km/hr...brake.... repeat brake harder... repeat...brake harder..you will feel your traction level change. increase the speed...repeat. do the same with the rear....then both

why...1) get used to braking in the wet...especially for emergencies. 2) feel the influence speed has on traction

as far as corners go... i have always leaned into the corner with my body first... and then the bike. i found that this requires much less lean angle and gives you a safety margin... DO NOT TRY THIS AT SUPER LOW SPEEDS>>> the bike will want to fall over.... im talking at like 30km plus.

ride..ride..ride...your fear will dissapear... not your caution... but fear..which makes you ride stiff...and actually magnifies any problems you have
 

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One Lump Sum
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Hahahaha OH NOES NOT GRAVEL, MY DIRTBIKE WILL SPIN OUT! I wonder why they put the word "dirt" in front of "bike"? I could swear they were meant for clean pavement...

Give it a week and he'll write us a manual on "how to ride an R1 in wet weather".
 

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Be very carefull turning at intersections on bus routes, lots of oil on the road in those places.

If you ride all year get a out door thermometer. You can have sun with water run off and as soon as it hits the shade its ice.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Hahahaha OH NOES NOT GRAVEL, MY DIRTBIKE WILL SPIN OUT! I wonder why they put the word "dirt" in front of "bike"? I could swear they were meant for clean pavement...

Give it a week and he'll write us a manual on "how to ride an R1 in wet weather".
Yes Commander Keen, I lowsided on the road on a dirtbike, took out the foot pegs and got knee scrapes and my pride bruised at that time. I have been fearful of corners ever since. I didn't expect the gravel patch on a corner.

When you are riding in actual gravel, dirt and sand, you learn to dig in and pack it. On pavement they act more like ball bearings and they tend to glide you over the road.

This was when I'm young and foolish; and I will admit that now I am just foolish.

I figure I can edit/summarize your feedback and some from the R1-forum right here on this thread. Why wait a week :rockon but I think bafflebrain did the best in answering all the questions.

I did about 5 hours of rain riding today, through westminister highway and through the alex fraser bridge to find that riding in the rain is very much like dry weather riding except it is wet.

Did a few hard braking to see what traction I had and other then the fact that the disc brakes were wet and takes a bit longer to react, the traction was fine (especially on my new pirelli tires :rockon ).

The other interesting fact, to me, was that all the oil patches were colorfully marked. So as long as I avoided the circles of colors, I was fine. I accidentally steped in a circle of oil to find that they were very slippery indeed.

The most valuable lesson that I learn today is to trust your tires; otherwise your fears will tend to move the bike in the wrong direction. The words of PRS echoes in my head as I found myself turning wide on westminister highway, drop your elbows, relax your arms, countersteer, push the handlebar to get a tighter turn; and all this, while rain was streaming down my visor thinking that the tire wouldn't hold and this will be the day I slide into the median.

Thanks indeed to all that shared. I am now an official rain rider and will continue to do so. Love the rain!!!

Ralphael
 

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i was riding downtown the other day..... this guy in a car beside me said

"Hey!! you riding in the winter?"
"Yea"
"Your crazy hahaha"
"Yea, it's fucking cold though, and didn't have my proper gear"

ROCK ON!!! RAIN RIDERS lol:rockon
 

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Discussion Starter #13
ROCK ON!!! RAIN RIDERS lol:rockon
ROCK ON!!!:rockon

I was lucky that my skiing wetwear shell fitted right over my gear; so I was really toasty in my Rain Rider type gear.

Breath deflector, finger rain wiper and water proof tank bag completed the whole ensemble.

The only thing that I didn't like about rain riding were the drivers. On the highway going at 110kph, I kept a 4 second space between the car in front and myself, and cars keep passing me to insert themselves within that space. Their intervals were about 0.5 second spacing.

but other then that.... wind blowing at about 31kph sidways and frontal wind at 110kph with rain streaming down my visors, I found the experience very exhilerating!!

Ralphael
 

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Posing with conviction
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Sounds like you did quite well and learned a lot on this ride Ralphael. Riding in shit weather is good training.

So you found people kept sneaking in front of your safe zone. There is a lesson there. 4 seconds of space between you and the car in front is too much. If you tighten up and you feel you are going too fast with that amount of space then you should back off on your speed and let people pass you. If that gets too dangerous then you have to figure out another strategy. But 4 seconds is too long between vehicles as people will tell you. 2 seconds is considered the safe median space. In the rain, my guess in your situation would be about 2.5 seconds. If it is too hairy with that distance then you shouldn't be on the road, new rider or veteran.

You will find that heavy and/or blowing rains are easier to ride in than a light misty rain as the visor will clear off easier. The rain will bead and fall off when the rain is coming down.

I do a lot of commuting style riding and loathe the light mist. If it is going to rain, bring it on.

I can't recall... have you taken a motorcycle safety/riding course?

And thank you for not mentioning the brand or model of bike you are riding.
 

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One other thing... The leaves. Be really careful of the leaves including cedar droppings. They are full of oil and can bring your bike down in a minor or major way.

A lot of chat goes into talking about how slippery the roads are for the first 30 minutes or so when a rain begins especially after a long dry spell. At this time of year there are lots and lots of leaves and needles on the ground that are issuing oil that is quite slippery. Residential streets and, of course, more rural areas can be covered in them or get the residue from embankments even after it has been raining for a few hours or even an entire day.

Be mindful of this.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Sounds like you did quite well and learned a lot on this ride Ralphael. Riding in shit weather is good training.

So you found people kept sneaking in front of your safe zone. There is a lesson there. 4 seconds of space between you and the car in front is too much. If you tighten up and you feel you are going too fast with that amount of space then you should back off on your speed and let people pass you. If that gets too dangerous then you have to figure out another strategy. But 4 seconds is too long between vehicles as people will tell you. 2 seconds is considered the safe median space. In the rain, my guess in your situation would be about 2.5 seconds. If it is too hairy with that distance then you shouldn't be on the road, new rider or veteran.

You will find that heavy and/or blowing rains are easier to ride in than a light misty rain as the visor will clear off easier. The rain will bead and fall off when the rain is coming down.

I do a lot of commuting style riding and loathe the light mist. If it is going to rain, bring it on.

I can't recall... have you taken a motorcycle safety/riding course?

And thank you for not mentioning the brand or model of bike you are riding.

Yes at PRS. I am still applying their teachings at every moment of my ride.

Thanks for 2.5 second rule. I'll see if this is comfortable next time I'm out (which is probably tomorrow as playing the rain is addictive :rockon ).

I rode through fog one night and all it does is stick to your visor. The finger wiper does wonders for fine mist.

Ralphael
 

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Federal Protection
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Here are my tips for riding in the rain:
#1 - Buy a twin or triple
#2 - buy 2 extra sets of rims (front and rear) and mount with pro rain only tires....
#3 - Buy damn good gear that will stay "un soaked" for the majority of your rides
#4 - No matter what the 'manual says' use gas with an octane of 87 only (lower power of course......;)
#5 - Buy a programmable ECU - Map it for Rain
#6 - Hold the fuck on tight when you ride... and lean off like your racing
#7 - Get in front cause ya don't want 'spray'
#8 - disregard 1-7 if your a noob.....cause "rain is shite" and you shouldn't be riding in it, less it's solid rain (sleet, snow... that stuff) then giver er shit..even if your a noob
 

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Oh yah...guess I have to post a disclaimer for my above post..... This is the 'Noobie' section...everything above is total bullshit, well not everything.

But surely the part about buying a twin or triple is.....
 

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And if you want some real tips I would be glad to go on a rain ride with ya...just PM me....we will go do some Big Bore rain stuff...... hahaha
 
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