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Riding your Motorcycle in Wet Conditions

The weather in Omaha has been spring-like and incredible.  Perfect motorcycle riding weather if you as us.  We’ve seen so many of our fellow riders out every night and on the weekends soaking up every bit of sun they can.  With that comes soggy, soft, wet roads.

Here are some tips to help you riding safe and relatively dry when the snow has melted and it’s 65 degrees in the winter.

Traction

Traction will always be a main concern for any motorcycle rider.  The concern with traction stems from never really knowing how much grip you actually have.  Metal elements like manhole covers and railroad tracks will always be slipperier when wet, as will painted surfaces.  Taking it slow and easy when encountering such things is always smart and responsible riding.  

On clean concrete or asphalt your motorcycle will have a good amount of traction.  But how much?  To test your traction you must feel for it with your rear brake.  Assuming you know how much you can deceleration on dry pavement before the rear tire breaks loose, you’ll have to gauge what’s available if you repeat the same test safely on a wet road.  Having a good amount of tread depth (3/16 of an inch) your traction testing shouldn’t become anything too exciting.

How to Improve Traction

If your traction isn’t the greatest, there are a few things you can do.  We sell premium aftermarket motorcycle tires that will give you a better grip on wet roads.  A slight increase in tire pressure also improves your traction in wet conditions.  As mentioned before, railroad tracks can be slick and should always be crossed at a right angle.  Not crossing at a right angle can pull your tires right into the grooves of the tracks and take you and your bike down.

Turning on slick surfaces requires a slow speed and downshift, neutral throttle, and a gradual turn.  Even though we trust ourselves completely on our motorcycles, continuously be cautious of the drivers around you, allowing them enough time to react to any moves you might have to make.

Vision

The biggest issue we encounter as motorcyclists is visibility, especially in wet conditions.  Dim light, obscured windows, or fogged up windshields can be a nightmare for a car vs. motorcycle scenario.  Even though black is nearly our favorite color, it’s smart to have some sort of fluorescent and reflective panels on your gear to be a bit more visible.

How to Improve Visibility

Taillights reflect the road ahead and can illuminate features in the road that your headlight might not show you.  If possible, follow (at a safe distance) a vehicle that has a lot of tail lights that will reflect potholes, large puddles, and objects in the road.

As spring approaches the midwest, ride safely!  Spring is the time for soggy roads, soft spots, and potholes.  Keep your eyes out and get out and ride!

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