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How to Ride a Motorcycle in the Rain

How to Ride a Motorcycle in the Rain

Oct 1, 2019

If you’ve been riding a V-twin cruiser motorcycle for years, you’ve probably ridden in the rain during one or a few of your daily cruises or long trips. Rain is part of the norm, especially during the winter and spring seasons, but this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy riding your motorcycle. Riding in the rain can be fun so long as you’re aware of what to expect and take precautions.

Instead of merely tucking away your motorcycle when it starts raining, consider learning how to ride a motorcycle in the rain in a safe and exciting way. Here’s our step-by-step guide:

Rider’s Checklist for Your Riding Adventures

Just like any normal riding routine, you never know what lays ahead or what kind of weather you’re going to encounter, so take some time to check your motorcycle before heading out. This will ensure that your motorcycle is in perfect condition to ride safely in challenging conditions.

  • Check that your motorcycle tires are properly inflated and have the proper tread depth for safe riding.
  • Ensure that your brakes are 100% functional and identify any wear on the brake pads.
  • Inspect your V-twin motorcycle for any brake fluid or oil leakages and top them up if low. If you’re a beginner trying to learn how to ride a motorcycle in the rain, knowing how to do a full motorcycle inspection is crucial.
  • Map out your riding route and an alternate route, especially for long trips, just in case it starts raining heavily or something unexpected happens.
  • Wipe down your motorcycle windshield, goggles, and helmet visors with anti-fogging treatments to ensure better visibility when riding in the rain.
  • Check that your motorcycle lights are working properly - headlights, brake lights, and signal lights.

Understand the Dangers of Wet Riding Conditions

When riding in the rain, it’s important to be alert of potentially dangerous wet riding conditions so you can navigate the streets in the city or the highways during long trips safely without putting yourself and others at risk. Here are a few things you should expect as you learn how to ride a motorcycle in the rain:

  • Decreased Visibility

When riding in the rain, visibility is greatly reduced for both motorcycles and vehicles. This means that seeing further ahead will be a challenge. It’s advisable to wear reflective clothing and or bright colored riding gear to improve your visibility on the road. It’s wise you always be prepared for any weather conditions, so adjust accordingly and practice riding more defensively.

  • Reduced Traction

When it rains, road surfaces can become slippery due to oil spills from cars or trucks, which reduces traction on your motorcycle tires. It’s wise not to ride your motorcycle on puddles, painted lines, tar snakes, manhole covers, and any metal crossings. This is important when learning how to ride a motorcycle in the rain as you don’t want to find yourself drifting on the road. Ride behind car tire tracks when raining to gain better traction.

  • Obscured Obstacles

Heavy rain can make riding even harder as the rainfall can easily obscure uneven surfaces, potholes, and bumps on the road that can be a safety hazard. When riding in the rain, maintain a constant speed and slow down gradually, squeezing your clutch, and coating through any water puddles. When riding at high speed, don’t brake abruptly as it could reduce traction. Always look ahead in front of you to watch out for any dangerous situations.

  • Braking Challenges

As you learn how to ride a motorcycle in the rain, you should know how to increase your braking distance as braking will be more challenging than riding in dry conditions. The lack of traction in wet conditions is a risk factor to keep in mind. Ride your motorcycle as vertical as possible and avoid sharp leaning so you can provide your motorcycle tires with as much contact as possible with the road. When braking, apply lighter pressure to the front brakes.

  • Lightning and Blocked Roads

If there’s lightning striking during your ride, find an indoor rest stop immediately and wait for the lightning or the rain to stop. If the rainfall is moderate with no thunderstorms, you can continue with your ride with no worries. Also, beware of blocked roads along your riding route. Look up the latest road and weather updates to stay a step ahead.

Get the Proper Riding Gear

Before you ride on your motorcycle, make sure you have the right gear to protect you from the elements. In the motorcycle gear world, you’ll need water-prevention clothing - water-resistant and waterproof gear. Here’s what you need for your guide on how to ride a motorcycle in the rain.

  • Waterproof Clothing

These include riding jackets or one-piece suits for riding in the rain. Look out for clothing with overlapping seams that don’t align and zippers that have a flap or flaps that cover the zipper completely. Jackets should have long cuffs to cover your riding gloves and have a tightening mechanism around the cuff of your riding gloves. You can also get plastic bags to cover valuable gear during heavy downpours.

  • Waterproof Riding Boots and Gloves

If you ride every day, you’re likely going to be riding in wet conditions more. So, get yourself a quality pair of waterproof riding boots and gloves to deter any water penetration. They should fit tightly but comfortably. Make sure also to carry a small backpack or saddlebag to carry additional dry clothing or carry some additional wet geat in your tank bag.

  • Full-Faced Riding Helmet

Even as you embrace these tips on how to ride a motorcycle in the rain, don’t forget the basics of wearing a protective helmet. A full-face helmet with an anti-fog visor, electric defrost function, and a breath guard is highly recommended. A clear shield is recommended. If you’re using a ½ or ¾ face helmet, wear goggles and use a balaclava for additional outer layer protection with straps that easily loop under your arms. This will help keep away water from your skin.

Precautions to Take

Unlike riding your motorcycle on any other day, you’ll need to ride smoother and smarter in wet conditions. Use less lean angle, make smoother throttle adjustments, and gradually apply brakes early. Be cautious when approaching intersections and look out for any oily or slick sections of the road. Find a dry line and stick to it if you can. Taking these precautions will help you avoid any danger and get to your destination safely after having a great ride.

Improve Your Riding Style and Comfort

For more on safe riding, read up about motorcycle passenger tips and our tips for highway riding.

Learning how to ride a motorcycle in the rain is not complete without the right comfort level. Of course, you want the best out of your motorcycle. Give your ride a custom look with stylish parts and accessories that you can install yourself like a new exhaust kit and mufflers or improve ride comfort with a new windshield or aftermarket motorcycle seats for cruisers at West End Motorsports. Contact us at for your orders and enjoy free shipping on all orders over $99.