Riding in the rain question - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
Riding Proficiency Tips and suggestions for improving the rider's safety skills and riding techniques

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post #1 of 59 Old 06-26-2018, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Riding in the rain question

As a new rider I try to avoid riding in the rain, but have been caught in it a few times anyway. Having traction control and ABS is reassuring but I'm wondering about cornering.

My question is, does the bike give any indication that the tires are approaching the limits of traction in a turn, or does it just suddenly lose grip and fall?
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post #2 of 59 Old 06-26-2018, 07:37 PM
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My .02 is from non-ABS bikes

When hard on the throttle in the rain without TC I'll feel the rear tire dance around. A little warning, but if you ignore it or hit some polished metal you can find yourself on your ass pretty quickly. I imagine that with TC you're protected a bit more.

Braking hard on wet pavement while leaned over is a pretty good way to get horizontal before you even realize what happened. I'm interested to know how bikes with cornering ABS handle that situation. I ride with an abundance of caution in wet weather.
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post #3 of 59 Old 06-26-2018, 07:38 PM
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The problem with riding in rain is the change in available grip. On damp roads in some conditions you can drag the pegs in confidence. Riding when rain is steady means more care. Newer grooved cement roads do rather well in maintaining grip. Asphalt roads are where surprises crop up. They tend to be slicker to start with, but where there are tar strips or patches where tar comes to the surface they can be a big problem. Rain hides these sometimes. Oil on the road is a bigger factor on asphalt. On ANY surface any painted lines or signs in the road surface are to be dealt with very carefully. If you know the road, that can add confidence. But on all occasions my survival instincts are a bit higher when riding in the rain. As far as warnings go, if just a tar strip it might slip and then be ok. But if it decides to slide, not many are going to be able to pull the bike out of that.

Doesn't hurt to slow down some........

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post #4 of 59 Old 06-26-2018, 07:41 PM
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Assuming you aren't "pushing it" you should not have a problem. Most bike tires do fairly well in wet. Avoid slick surfaces like tire snakes, manhole covers and paint, but even when you get on them, if you ride conservatively you won't go down. I don't know of any real warning sign you are approaching the limit, but I would simply not approach the limit on the wet.
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post #5 of 59 Old 06-26-2018, 07:43 PM
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Sometimes you will get a warning, other times you will be sliding and thinking...wth? I run 50/50 tires so I never push them on wet surfaces and to be honest even when I ran street tires I always "slow down some" as RealShelby put it because it's just not worth a crash to be someplace a few min early. When it's dry...game on.

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post #6 of 59 Old 06-26-2018, 07:51 PM
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Your bike will most likely slip and grip a couple of times before dumping you, but that so much depends on the road surface.
The most dangerous time is during rain after a long dry spell. Roads can be quite treacherous then. The next tip is to watch the road surface carefully - a shiny worn surface will generally give less traction than nice new chip seal, or asphalt. Road markings can also offer very poor traction and should be avoided where possible.
Likewise traffic lights where cars sit and drip oil.

It is quite surprising how much ultimate grip you can get from a good surface with warm tires on touring roads, but be very careful on high volume roads around town.
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post #7 of 59 Old 06-26-2018, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, so from what I gather, if I avoid slick patches and don't do hard breaking or accelerating, things should be fine.

So in general, is it safe to go as fast as car traffic around curves or is it better to go slower?
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post #8 of 59 Old 06-26-2018, 08:10 PM
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In the wet, slow down a tad. Corners should be taken with less lean angle, starts and stops with more care. Aside from those you should not have many issues. My '15 650 XT is my only form of transport and I routinely ride in the rain. Skill wise, not too difficult. Snow holds its own fun. My biggest worries are two - seeing through a rained-up visor, and watching for dummies in cars who are driving an attitude instead of their conveyance.
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post #9 of 59 Old 06-26-2018, 08:17 PM
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I worry less about going slower and more about things like realshelby eluded to, changes in traction. I concentrate on riding smoother rather than slower.

My bike has traction control, ABS and select-able engine mapping. My normal riding in rain never engages them. I can hammer the brakes or really twist the throttle and feel the systems work....but when I am thinking ride smooth, the electro-gizmos are not even in play.
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post #10 of 59 Old 06-26-2018, 08:19 PM
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One thing that will help is doing some riding on mild gravel and dirt roads that will get you familiar with how the bike handles on uncertain surfaces.
That way when the bike does slide a little on a wet surface you are prepared.

Mind mud and sand tho...not much fun and very treacherous.

In theory you still have 80% of the traction in the rain but that can vary wildly. In particular the first part of a rain at intersections ...stay out of the centre of the lane ...oil builds up and it can be pure black ice when the first rain starts.

The painted traffic lines are wicked as well and it's hard to tell how slippery they are......so a little slide on a gravel road will prepare you for a little slip on a painted line.

Tire choice of course makes a big difference....road tires are pretty good in rain. 50/50s some like Mitas E07 are quite good, others can get "exciting".
Put the time in, don't avoid the rain and get some time with it so you your confidence grows. Enjoy.
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