Who doesn’t love the rains! However, wet roads are the ultimate challenge for a rider, whether a beginner or a seasoned one. Potholes, damp clothes, water droplets on the visor add to the challenge. Maybe riding in the rain isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it’s hard to resist the fresh breeze and the scent of wet earth! Here are some tips to stay safe while enjoying your monsoon rides -
1. Choose the right gear – Gear with waterproof liners is a must when riding in the rain. Various versions of waterproof liners are available today, Gore-Tex being the best of them all. Alternatively, use a good pair of rain gear such as the Rev'it! Nitric 2 H2O rain jacket and Sphinx Rain trousers that are designed and engineered to fit properly over the riding gear.
Make sure the jacket sleeves overlap the gloves and pants overlap your waterproof boots, and tighten the jacket neck to avoid water from seeping in.
2. Ride at a reasonable speed - Nowadays, while some bikes come with riding modes suitable for the rains, ultimately it is self-control and sound judgment that are required to avoid a mishap. Avoid high-speed corners and be aware of your bike's limits. Wet surfaces reduce stopping power considerably and lower the feedback of brake pads. ABS helps a lot in such situations, so we recommend that you don’t switching it off. In a nutshell, avoid over-speeding and ride at slow, reasonable speeds.
3. Avoid trailing vehicles, especially on highways - Even with all the waterproof gear, visibility is compromised big time while riding in rain. Droplets of water on the visor tend to distort vision and opening the visor doesn't help much either, unless riding at a slow speed. What can make the situation more challenging is trailing a car or any vehicle, as it’ll just splash muddy droplets on your visor, reducing visibility even further. Therefore always maintain a good distance from other vehicles, or better still, switch lanes if possible.
We would suggest opening the visor a bit, to allow better visibility in case it starts to fog up. And use hazard lights to improve your visibility to other vehicles.
4. Lube all movable parts - All movable parts like chain, side stand, levers, etc. need lubing more often during the rains. A brake or clutch lever going hard will impact the braking function and reduce feedback to a great extent. A brake lever without proper lubing will result in staged/choppy movement, which can result in unwanted stopping force, especially in slow traffic.
Wet mud and sand collect on the chain and its joints. Therefore, cleaning and lubing the chain really helps increase its life and reduce the rattling sound.
5. Know your tires - There are bike tires made specifically for different purposes and surface conditions. A sport-touring tire like Michelin Pilot Road 4 performs outstandingly in wet surface conditions, while a tire with smooth tread like Michelin Pilot Power 3 performs better in dry surface conditions.
Make sure your tire has enough tread left, else it could result in Hydroplaning- a phenomenon where water between the tires and the road surface cannot be removed quickly enough, resulting in loss in traction.
We would always stress on riding slow and steady in the rains. Stay safe and enjoy the good weather!