Riding in the rain - Suzuki Burgman Forum
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post #1 of 48 (permalink) Old 04-05-2011, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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Riding in the rain

I am a fairly new rider with not too many miles in the seat. Up till now I have only been riding when the roads are dry. Whenever I see the weather report that they might be rain I'm a little hesitant to take the bike out too far from home. I would appreciate it if you experienced riders would give me a few pointers on the strategy of riding in less then perfect weather. I have questions like how do you clean the rain drops from your visor. How do you deal with rain drops on the windshield and many more questions associated with riding in the rain. Living on the West Coast we tend to have more rain days .
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post #2 of 48 (permalink) Old 04-05-2011, 09:26 AM
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Re: Riding in the rain

I've read somewhere that fairly new tires retain about 80% of traction in the rain. The rules for riding in the rain are simple - stay dry and warm, slow down and keep the distance in front of you and make sure that no one is following you too close. Wear a motorcycle rain suite or waterproof jacket, waterproof gloves and boots. If you are looking over the windshield, you don't need to worry about rain drops on either windshield or your visor. The wind will take care or this. If you are looking through the windshield, there are water repellants on the market such as Rain-X that help keep the windshield clear. Helmet visor has tendency to fog in the rain. It usually clears once you start moving. Some helmets come with a Pinlock anti-fog lens. Most people who installed it liked it. This is basically it. Happy riding!

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post #3 of 48 (permalink) Old 04-05-2011, 09:37 AM
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Re: Riding in the rain

I found the wind will blow the drips of water off the visor if your above the air flow. If your behind the air flow, not that much goes on the visor, or in my case, glasses. As for the windshield, rain and bugs are the main reason why you should be looking over the windshield and not through it. The windshield is just that, or In my opinion, it should be called a wind "deflector". What is fun to watch in the summer rain, is the bugs that will wash off in about 10 minutes.

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post #4 of 48 (permalink) Old 04-05-2011, 10:59 AM
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Re: Riding in the rain

One thing to be careful of is the time period when it first begins raining. If there has been a prolonged dry spell since the last rain oils can build up in the surface of the road. When the rain first starts those oils rise to the top and make a slick combination. Once it has been raining for a few minutes the oils will be carried off and you will get back most of the traction you have on dry roads.

Same caution goes for paint markers and water. When the painted markers on roads get wet they are slick so be careful when turning or braking while crossing them. Also be careful when coming to a stop that your foot is not going down on one of them as your foot can slip out from under you.

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post #5 of 48 (permalink) Old 04-05-2011, 11:07 AM
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Re: Riding in the rain

As Buffalo wrote, be careful about the paint markers on the road. Also, anything metal that you'll ride over. Railroad tracks, manhole covers, etc. Practice this summer in the dry for what you'll encounter in the fall and winter. If you practice, it becomes second nature and you'll avoid the hazards without spending too much time thinking about it.

Rain-X is your friend. I use it on my visor all the time. In fact, I have a bottle at work as well as at home in case I find on the commute that it had begun wearing off. If there isn't much moisture, and you don't have much speed, just turn your head to the side for a second and all the water drops will come off. Then turn to the other side to clear it too.

You really do not want to be looking through your windscreen. Cars have windshield wipers. I haven't ridden a bike yet that did.


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post #6 of 48 (permalink) Old 04-05-2011, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Riding in the rain

Thank you very much for all your advice. I must be not understand the concept of looking over the windshield rather than through the windshield. If I was looking over the windshield would it not be logical to assume that raindrops and bugs would now be hitting my visor rather than the windshield and create a problem for me.Please excuse me for asking this rather basic and simplistic question. I am inexperience and would rather find out before hand rather than while I'm out on the bike in the rain.

Another point that has been sitting in the back of my mind is while attending the riding school it was pointed out to us that we should not ride in the center of the road because of potential dangers from dripping oil left by cars. It is okay to ride on either side of center when the roads are dry. During the rain, the water collects in the grooves on either side of center. To avoid these I would have to ride on the outside of these grooves which would put me very close to the center or the curb of the road.Do you guys ride in the grooves left my car traffic. Please advise which is the safest route to take.
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post #7 of 48 (permalink) Old 04-05-2011, 03:43 PM
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Re: Riding in the rain

Don't sweat the rain. I did quite a bit of touring in BC last year (8500km) in both wet and dry. The Burgie has excellent weather protection, so is much more comfortable than many other bikes when it's wet.

Your questions:

You don't need to worry about water beading on the windscreen. The airflow quickly whips it away even at moderate speeds, so it's not am issue.

Water will only get on your visor when you're stopped, and if it becomes a problem, sitting up a bit and putting your face in the airstream will clear it. Some of the better riding gloves have a bit of fabric sewn on the left hand to use to wipe water away, but I rarely use it. I keep a soft cloth in the glovebox to wipe off water if necessary.

Water on the pavement will generally pool on either side of the driving lane. The center of the lane may have slippery on it, but don't sweat it. A minute after the rain starts in earnest, the oily crap is rinsed away and you don't need to worry about it. Half an inch of standing water is not a concern, either. Motorcycle tires are shaped quite differently than car tires and do not hydroplane the way a square-profile car tire will. A car tire pushes the water forward and eventually climb on top of it, causing hydroplaning. A motorcycle tire is much narrower and generally pushes water to the side.

As for riding in rain, heed the advice about oil film on newly wet pavement, and most definitely watch for those slick yellow and white pavement patties left by Highways. They are truly greasy when wet, downright treacherous. The other important thing is tires. The OEM Bridgestones are general-purpose tires that work well enough for most, but which may not be the best tire for the rain. I just finished researching tires for my cruisers, and the Dunlop 404 is widely hailed as the best wet-weather tire for larger bikes, better than the Metzeler ME880, Pirelli MT66 or Michelin Pilot. Unfortunately, the 404 isn't made in Burgman sizes, so I'm still shopping around for a good rain tire. This is what I've found to choose from. https://docs.google.com/View?docid=d...=1&hgd=1&hl=en. At this point, my inclination is to take my dealer's advice and go with the Metzelers, but I'm not finished looking around. (Does anyone have a recommendation for a solid rain tire? )

Finally, stay dry. A good rainsuit doesn't cost much, and makes a huge difference. It's easy to get wet, and and then it's almost impossible to stay warm. It's not likely that you'll be riding for hours at a time from Nanaimo, but I know West Coast rain, and you can get soaked through to the bone in two minutes. Invest in some good waterproof gloves, too. I have a pair of AllStar Apex DS gloves for weather, and they kept my hands warm and dry through hours of freezing rain last fall. There is an MEC in Victoria where you can get quality underwear (underarmour) that keeps you cool when it's hot out and warm when it's freezing, and I recommend it for any weather. An ounce of prevention, and all that.

So don't be afraid of the rain. I ride in all weather, short of a snowstorm. (I tried that once and didn't like it.) You'll find bits of gear that will help you stay comfortable, but there really is nothing to be afraid of. Except the drivers in BC ...

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post #8 of 48 (permalink) Old 04-05-2011, 03:55 PM
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Re: Riding in the rain

Good questions and observations. Regarding looking through or over the windscreen, this is what I've found. No matter how fast I go, at some point, I'll slow down and the rain will land directly on me. Then I'm looking through rain drops on my visor and rain drops on my windscreen. If one is bad, two didn't make it any better.

Some windscreens are impossible to look through in rain. The Givi AIRFLOW is one. The upper adjustable portion gets beaded over and it is only slightly better than looking through a bathroom window. I've had times when I've been riding in the early morning hours and the road dipped in a valley where there was some fog...and the OEM windscreen and mirrors both fogged over in seconds. You would think the wind pressure would clear them off, but it didn't. All those are reasons to get a windscreen you can look over, because while you may chose to not ride when rain is in the forecast, you can't predict when you'll encounter that fogging condition.

As I wrote before, RainX is your friend. I've never needed a wiper attached to my glove finger yet when using it, and I've ridden a little in the rain these past few years.

If your visor fogs up, that's normal. There are lots of products you can use on the inside of the visor to help. One I've used in the past, is liquid dishwashing soap. Smear it on the inside, let it dry, and wipe it off. The soap contains glycerin to cut grease, and is the same active chemical in most anti-fog products...and it doesn't cost much.

When I first began riding again, I read various articles about riding in the center of the road. Some said not to under any circumstances. Another had a good point. The only place you really encounter an accumulation of oil is where cars stop. So avoid the center when you come to stop signs and lights. As you've pointed out, when it rains, the water pools up in the tire tracks. When that happens, I'll usually move to the center. You can also find the water isn't pooled up, if you're following another vehicle. At times like that, I'll move into the tire track...but it all depends on conditions.

I'll move around from one place in the lane, to another. It all depends on the conditions. Often, I'm moving just to be seen. It seems "wrong", but I'll ride in the right tire track on I-5's HOV lane. I'm only feet away from the cars I'm going by...but they can see me coming in their rear view mirror. If I'm over to the left tire track, and especially if following a car, I'm invisible and where I'm riding appears to be an empty space for a car to pull into. It must work because I've only hit my brakes hard about 7 times in over 55,000 miles of mostly freeway travel. (I also wear a hi-vis yellow safety vest that helps make me more visible.)

I found one thing though that keeps me from riding in the center of the lane. In the first year of owning my Burgman, I got 3-4 punctures. I haven't had any since that first tire. The difference is that I usually don't ride in the center. The cages out there do us all a service by picking up the metal debris on the road in the tire tracks. When you ride in the center, they haven't had the opportunity to clean it off for you, so you pick those nails, screws, cotter pins, etc. in your tire.


Ebenezer - 2011 Honda NT700V 26000+ miles
Deborah - 2008 Suzuki Burgman 400 ( AN400K8 ) 27,389 miles (Gone, but not forgotten.)
Barak - 2007 Suzuki Burgman 400 (AN400K7) 48,969 miles. (Gone, but not forgotten.)

IBA# 49894
True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder to 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

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post #9 of 48 (permalink) Old 04-05-2011, 04:33 PM
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Re: Riding in the rain

And you forgot to Mention OIL, and Oil thats come up from under the Surface of the Asfalt when it rains real Light.

On the first Picture Somebody told Me these were Rounds simlar to a Bullet and the firing pin in the Center to Blast the Asfalt, I SEE These every where with Paint marks around Circle & Squares & Triangles

The rest of the Photos are Slippery Spots included Pegs, Reflector Markers, Which do Slip as soon as you drive over them in Wet Conditions..



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post #10 of 48 (permalink) Old 04-05-2011, 04:44 PM
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Re: Riding in the rain

Here in the sunny and dry Pacific Northwest we ride in a lot of rain, and I never leave home without this.

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