April 17, 2008 at 3:37 pm #1287grizzleParticipant
I’m new to the motorcycle thing… I’m a Floridian who’s looking to sell his (old) car and get a bike to use as my primary transportation.
I’ve been looking at the Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD… I really liked the weight of the bike and my riding position when I was last at a dealership.. there is one thing that worries me though. Rain.
I plan to take the MSF course this summer and get my motorcycle endorsement on my license, and get a bike shortly afterword… being a resident of Florida, during the summer we get rain practically every day, around the same time, usually for an hour or so. Since I’d be riding this bike to work, school, and back home, is this really something I need to be concerned about?
The road I’d be travelling on is a two-lane highway with a fair amount of traffic, but the speed limit never goes above 45 even during the stretches where there isn’t really much, and the one-way ride is 7 or 8 miles at the most. Should I really be worried about rain, considering that I won’t be able to pull over and wait it out?April 17, 2008 at 4:52 pm #5655KickprivateParticipant
You should research rain and find your owner answer on this. Rain riding is a very personal preference. I myself, love riding in the rain and will sometimes wait for it to start raining before I go for a ride. My buddy however won’t ride his bike at all if he thinks it may rain. Fear is in the beholder.
~Not your average hairless monkey
KickApril 17, 2008 at 6:05 pm #5659MattParticipant
When I picked up my bike, I did so in 0 degrees C (30F) with rain and light snow. If you keep your speed down, modern tires are incredible things. Also, speed limits tend to be set for worst case scenarios. So if you ride at the posted limit (or slightly under) and keep watch for posted warning speeds on corners, the bike will be able to handle it.
I’ve driven what I thought were pretty crazy Florida mid-day rains (turns out my “crazy” is your “everyday”). I’m not sure I’d be comfortable on a bike in those… Heck, I wan’t comfortable in my car! I just organized my days to keep me off the road about 11:30am (which was when the rain hit every day for the week I was there).
That said, try not to ride on the road right when the rain starts (They’ll talk about this in the MSF – basically the initial half hour of rain rinses all the oil off the asphalt and can be dangerous in that time).
Also, I highly recommend a set of Fully-rainproof textiles (I wear Joe Rocket Alter-Ego pants).
Physical and Mental preperation makes the difference between totally miserable and enjoyable.
As Kick says, it’ll all come down to personal comfort and preference.April 17, 2008 at 11:48 pm #5661grizzleParticipant
Yeah, I’ve read up a bit on a few websites and it seems like a textile jacket and gloves are in my future. It doesn’t usually rain like crazy, so I figure I’ll be alright, but from what I was reading (as well as from common sense), leather = bad for my situation.
And I’m really starting to realize how Florida weather is much more of a blessing than a curse… I couldn’t imagine riding a bike in the snow and the cold… I spent a year and a half in the Chicago metro area and I was scared to death to drive my car in that, so I can’t imagine riding a bike through it.April 18, 2008 at 12:20 pm #5670MattParticipant
You’re gonna want pants too. If not from a protection point of view, then from the not getting soaked to the bone. It takes very little rain to soak jeans, but a lot of sun to dry them out. And when you are cruising at 40mph, any wetness on you is really bad news.
Now, in my defense, there was no snow on the road, and no snow was accumulating when I rode my bike home. I’m not *that* crazy…April 18, 2008 at 4:28 pm #5676BenParticipant
Waterproof overpants are a must for crappy weather. As a side note, I ride rain or shine, and I really don’t like riding in the rain. Sure it looks ‘tough’ because your on a motorcycle in the rain while all the poser riders are taking the car instead, but that is pretty much the only good thing about the rain. Tires slip, you get wet, its harder for people to see you etc…
If I had to choose between it being 100 degrees or it raining, while both are unpleasant I would rather ride in the desert than a tsunami.
~Best Beginner Motorcycles AdminApril 25, 2008 at 12:31 am #5805ohio2112Participant
I just got my Honda Nighthawk 250 about a month or so ago and have been riding to work everyday. As a result, I’ve been in the rain a couple of times. The first time I had no rain gear at all. All the water immediately pooled into my crotch and soaked that area completely. My boots got soaked and my thighs and groin were drenched. My leather coat kept the top part pretty dry, but there was some moisture. My advice – rain pants! I ended up getting the Tourmaster Defender 2 piece. I even got the black with a big yellow and white/reflective stripe across the chest, arms and back for increased visibility.
As for riding on wet roads, it still makes me nervous, but I just slow down a bit and take it easy on the turns. Otherwise I don’t mind it too much.April 25, 2008 at 12:34 am #5806ohio2112Participant
Oh, and I agree with Ben. You definately look like a badass when your riding in the rain. Most guys I know only ride if it’s warm and sunny, and living in Northeast Ohio, spring is not always cooperative, so they only end up riding a couple of months at best. I know one other guy at work who brings his Goldwing in every day rain, shine or cold, like meJuly 1, 2008 at 6:33 am #8147AnonymousGuest
There is a book out by a GP Racer from England about survival techniques for riding in the rain on highways and local streets! Go to Barnes & Noble and lookup this book! There is alot of info better than the MSF corse or CLASS! These guys have the best motorcycle Police Unit in the World! And this Guy tought them how to ride in the rain! I took the GP Rain corse back in 95 at the King Racing School in England and it was the best investment I ever made towards riding a Superbike or any motorcycle in the Rain!!! There is a great deal you must learn about throttle control,brake control for the front & rear and steering movement! Your turns are upright most of the time. NEVER brake on any of the white markings on the Roads! Unlike Europe & Canada,their Road Markings are ruffed up! They have a slight Grit to them so your tires won’t slide on them in the Rain! In the US, there is no such thing! While riding in Dry conditions, Be as Smooth as possible with throttle, gear shifting (mostly up-shifting when you tend to jerk the bike the most) During the Down-shift, stay in a Low RPM and keep the throttle constant and slowly let in the Clutch! (SMOOTHLY) and Brake with 2 fingers (Index & Middle) This is more Important than anything else YOU will Do!!! Never Shift Gears in a Turn in the RAIN!
Remember this! Road Racers don’t have to contend with 18 Wheelers, Road Hazards, People on their Cell phones and just common Stupidity that gets US KILLED!!!
TO SURVIVE YOU MUST STRIVE TO STAY ALIVE! IT BEGINS WITH KNOWLEGE!!!July 1, 2008 at 1:12 pm #8149six-shooterParticipant
I think most everyone has summed it up pretty well… if you are going to drive in the rain, slow down, and be sure to have rain gear… You’ll be amazed how wet your shins get just riding after the rain, not to mention in the rain.
Good choice on the Vulcan 500. I have been thrilled with mine!July 24, 2010 at 12:21 pm #27726veda815Participant
Here is a good article on riding in the rain:
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