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I snuck out for a spin between rain showers today while the roads were still wet. How much traction do we actually lose on wet pavement? Seems like I read 7% on here a while back, but can't remember what the topic was. I ride super-cautiously and almost presume the bike is gonna slide out from under me on every turn. Not very much fun and I come home sore from being so tight on the bike. Can anybody give some comparative feedback on dry/wet traction? Thanks in advance.
 

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I snuck out for a spin between rain showers today while the roads were still wet. How much traction do we actually lose on wet pavement? Seems like I read 7% on here a while back, but can't remember what the topic was. I ride super-cautiously and almost presume the bike is gonna slide out from under me on every turn. Not very much fun and I come home sore from being so tight on the bike. Can anybody give some comparative feedback on dry/wet traction? Thanks in advance.

You actually have more traction than you realize on wet roads as long as you use common sense. Being overly tense can cause you to make mistakes unrelated to the wet road conditions. Sand and gravel is what you should worry about even in dry conditions.
 

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A light rain and the 1st 20-30 minutes are the worst, especailly if it hasn't rained for awhile. Oil from vehicles that leak is on the surface and the rain makes it extra slick till it washes away. Watch out for paint stripes, cross walks, and road arrrows and such. good rain gear is important, leathers only work for a little while and get heavy when wet. Even with a windshield, a fullface helmet is great to have in the rain. Try riding through the neibhorhood a couple times in the rain to get used to what its like so you wont be so nervous when you're out and get caught. Slow down some and allow more distant between yourself and other vehicle.
 

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Yep. The first few minutes (I always felt that the 20 or 30 minute figure that is often portrayed seems a little long but maybe it does take that long) is time washing all of that junk off the road. In the fall, wet leaves are an issue as well. But otherwise, yeah, you still have most of your traction on the road. Water is not a lubricant. Don't believe me? Drain your engine oil and replace it with rain water and see what happens! LOL. While it isn't the same as dry pavement, you still have most of your traction. I just wouldn't be too aggressive and go easy on the brakes!

Aside from NASCAR, most auto racing sports still run the races in the rain. That includes MotoGP;



Not advocating racing in the rain, those guys are also using special wet racing tires on a clean track. But, you can't get those kinds of lean angles on a race track at those speeds without any traction!
 

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My experience has been to make a point to ease up on big throttle changes. Yup, that is a big "DUH" statement when riding on top of a 1700. My typical acceleration leaving a light, or especially leaving a light for a turn, will quickly remind me to behave myself. Never have any problems otherwise.
 

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When you stop, don't stop with your feet our the tires on any painted surface. Directional arrows and wide white lines seem to be the worst. These are like standing on ice.

Slow down, try to keep more distance with other vehicles. And try not to make any sudden maneuvers.

Its only scary the first few times. You get used to it over time.
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I've ridden through a couple torrential downpours and a couple less-intense rainstorms...I usually slow down a bit (speed limit or maybe 5 MPH below) mostly because I know my stopping distance is gonna get iffy...the Dunlop E3s on the XR are not good under hard braking and wet surfaces exacerbate that. But for cornering and cruising, you're usually going to be just fine if you don't push your luck.

+1 on avoiding crosswalks and reflective road pain tho...that stuff is treacherous even when it's dry.
 

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A light rain and the 1st 20-30 minutes are the worst, especailly if it hasn't rained for awhile. Oil from vehicles that leak is on the surface and the rain makes it extra slick till it washes away. Watch out for paint stripes, cross walks, and road arrrows and such. . . . . . .
Slow down some and allow more distant between yourself and other vehicle.
Spot on, although it would have to be a very light rain to take 20 mins. But if you are in heavy traffic (like on the interstate going thru a city) heed the above advice it will save you. Also be prepared to stiff leg it when you put your feet down in rainy weather, especially the first 10 to 15 mins. I've noticed many a time my boots want to slide outwards when I put them down. Course my Nomad sits a little wide, but not as wide as a Goldwing.
 

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A light rain and the 1st 20-30 minutes are the worst, especailly if it hasn't rained for awhile. Oil from vehicles that leak is on the surface and the rain makes it extra slick till it washes away. Watch out for paint stripes, cross walks, and road arrrows and such. good rain gear is important, leathers only work for a little while and get heavy when wet. Even with a windshield, a fullface helmet is great to have in the rain. Try riding through the neibhorhood a couple times in the rain to get used to what its like so you wont be so nervous when you're out and get caught. Slow down some and allow more distant between yourself and other vehicle.
Agreed, the painted stripes are what to avoid, they can be slicker than owl snot when you put your feet on them, I ride a little easier in the rain with the throttle and brakes, I also try to keep my lean angles less, it is important to relax while riding in the rain, as long as you tires are in good shape they will work as designed. I run a car tire on the rear and my braking is very good in the wet, just watch for standing water and avoid it if possible. Just back away for cars in front of you so their spray don't cover you face shield as bad.
 

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My VN2000LT can be a little tricky to get going and no ABS can make for some tricky stops at times. No where near as bad as the time I was caught in a light drizzle on a GSXR1000 with brand new tires!
 

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From my little experience in rain, I noticed that on curves the traction seems to be okay, it's the stopping and starting that's going to give you trouble. And Roman was correct, autumn leaves make things very interesting, I even think that even if roads are not covered with leaves, the oil coming off of them in the fall creates a slick surface that you do not want to be too aggressive on.

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thanks

Thanks guys for all the tips. I've probably been going a bit to easy in the rain myself.

I was lucky enough to ride through a day of rain on day two of my motorcycle training course. Since then I haven't been two afraid of it. I had to ride through three crazy down pours a couple of summers ago on a long 8 hour ride. Just took it slow and keep remembering to breath :)

Now I just need to relax when riding on the ice; this Thursday I am bringing my Vulcan to my last motorcycle repair class. I'm installing a cigarette lighter adapter and the alley behind my house still has a bit of ice. Fingers crossed for no more snow and dry pavement.
 

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Assuming there isn't enough water to hydroplane, it depends on the pavement type and condition/age of your tires. And as mentioned earlier the oil washing off the road in the first minutes of rain.

Your tires harden with age. Unless you're a real aggressive rider you won't notice much on dry pavement. It's on wet pavement with older tires where you can get in trouble in a hurry. The harder the rubber the less wet traction you have and the narrower the transition between grip and slide.

Concrete is exceptionally grippy even when wet so I don't ride any differently on it wet or dry. I've found that asphalt is an entirely different animal. There are many different types of asphalt with a variety of available wet traction. My rule of thumb is that if it looks very smooth, (ie. no visible surface texture) I assume it's slicker than a greased pig. My experience is that sometimes it is some times it isn't. I've never had a loss of traction on asphalt where I could see that the surface had some texture to it but then again I usually slow down and leave a little more room especially if I"m not going in a straight line.

I have seen a crazy guy in the rain where the gyroscopic action of the wheels is what was keeping him rubber side down. It was pouring rain and he was going 75-80ish His rear tire was hydroplaning and jumping side to side 4-6 inches. It was a crazy thing to watch from the safety and security of my cage.
 

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Tar snakes are also rather sketchy when wet.

Doug
 

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Technically, I've ridden during a tropical storm. Don't look at me like that, I had to cross it off my bucket list. ;)

This echoes what others have said, but my two cents:

Be extra careful when it first starts raining. The danger is the oils seem to come to the surface and things just seem extra slippery. Be careful at places like four way stop sign intersections. If you have the option it's best to let it rain for a little bit and then go out.

Wet, White Paint is the slipperiest substance known to man.
 

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Let's also mention man hole covers and the steel plates between RR tracks! Rain water doesn't seem to wash the oil off the metal as easily as it comes off the road. Hit them straight on and don't brake nor accelerate while on them...
 
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