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Rain riding study explores rider attitudes in the wet

A recent survey conducted by EPG Specialty Information, a sister company of Powersports Business, explored motorcyclists’ attitudes toward riding in the rain and why they do it.

This study, done by a group that knows a lot about motorcycles, aimed to figure all this out. It’s not just about being nosy; there’s a good reason for asking these questions. The answers can help make riding safer for everyone and give some pointers on what gear works best when the weather doesn’t play nice.

Rider profiles and rainy rides

Motorcyclists are a diverse bunch, but many share a common bond: a long history with their bikes. The survey revealed that most riders have been hitting the road for over 20 years. These aren’t weekend warriors but seasoned vets who know the feel of the throttle in all kinds of weather. When it comes to monthly riding, it turns out a good number of them are pretty active, racking up anywhere from 500 to a few thousand miles when the season is right.

More than half of the riders in the study said they often find themselves riding in the rain, not shying away from a downpour. Photo courtesy of EPG Specialty Information

Rain, however, is the great equalizer. It can turn a familiar route into a challenge. More than half of the riders said they often find themselves riding in the rain, not shying away from a downpour.

This isn’t always by choice, though. Sometimes, a ride starts under a clear sky, but then the weather flips like a switch. Yet, there are a few who don’t mind, or even pick, a rainy day to ride. They might be out for the extra challenge, or maybe they just need to get where they’re going, no matter what.

Feeling good about riding when the road is wet is a different story. A lot of riders are a tad less sure of themselves when it’s raining. That makes sense, right? The roads are slick, the lines are harder to see, and everything just feels different. But they’re not letting it stop them. Only a small group feels really uneasy and lacks confidence when the rain starts to fall.

So, why do they do it? For some, it’s about the ride itself – getting out there, feeling free and taking on whatever comes their way. For others, it’s just practical. They have places to be, and a little rain isn’t going to stand in their way. Riding in the rain might not be ideal, but for many motorcyclists, it’s just part of the journey.

Decision dynamics

Choosing to ride in the rain isn’t a simple yes or no for motorcyclists. It often comes down to a mix of need and comfort. For many, if the trip is crucial – like getting to work or an important appointment – they’ll brave the rain. But if it’s just for fun, they might think twice. The survey showed that the kind of trip is the top factor in this decision.

Then there’s the rain itself. Is it a light sprinkle or a heavy pour? Riders pay close attention to this. They know that a little drizzle is a lot different from a storm that can make roads look like rivers. Most riders are also pretty savvy about gear. They’re more likely to ride if they have the right equipment to stay dry and safe.

But it’s not just about the rain or the gear. When it’s dark, or the rain is set to last all day, riders are more cautious. They think about how far they have to go and whether the rain will let up. They’re also tuned into the road itself – whether it’s a smooth highway or a rough backroad can make a big difference.

Riders also lean on their own experiences. Those who’ve had a bad time in the rain before might avoid riding in it again. And they don’t just rely on their own past; they also listen to tips from friends who ride and sometimes even heed warnings from local weather reports or authorities.

But even with all these things to consider, many motorcyclists don’t see rain as a dealbreaker. They’ll weigh the risks, suit up and hit the road, ready to take on the challenge. After all, for those who love to ride, not even a rainy day can keep them from enjoying the journey – safely, of course.

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Avoidance, adaptation and acceptance

Riding a motorcycle in the rain isn’t for everyone, and the reasons to avoid it are as varied as the riders themselves. The biggest worry? Slipping or skidding on wet roads. It’s a valid concern – rain makes the streets slick, and that can lead to trouble if riders are not careful. Then there’s the fear of hydroplaning, where the bike loses contact with the road and skates on water instead. That’s enough to make some riders hang up their helmets until the sun comes back.

Visibility is another big issue. When it’s pouring, seeing the road ahead gets tough, and it’s even harder to spot other vehicles or for them to see you. That’s why some motorcyclists would rather not take the risk. Getting wet and feeling cold is another discomfort that many prefer to avoid.

But it’s not all about staying away from the rain. Many riders have learned to adapt. They know the right gear can make a big difference— waterproof jackets and pants, tires that grip wet roads better and helmets with anti-fog visors. They’ve figured out how to handle their bikes in less-than-perfect conditions, taking turns slower and braking earlier to stay safe.

And then there are those who have come to accept the rain. They see it as just another part of riding, something that can even be enjoyable with the right mindset and preparation. They respect the rain but don’t let it rule them. For these riders, a little water is no reason to miss out on the freedom of the road.

Training, technology and traction

When it comes to riding safely in the rain, knowledge is power. That’s why some riders are all in for learning through a special training course. These courses can teach them how to handle their bikes on slippery streets and how to spot hazards that are harder to see when it’s wet. A quarter of the surveyed riders believe this kind of training could really help them.

Motorcycle makers are also getting with the program. They’re working on bikes and gear that can handle rainy rides better. Features like tires that can grip wet roads more firmly and lights that make riders easier to spot in a downpour are becoming more popular. Riders are noticing, too. Many say they would pay a bit more for a bike that’s built to perform well when the weather turns sour.

The survey showed that riders care a lot about staying safe in the rain. They want bikes that won’t let them down when the roads get drenched. They also want gear that keeps them dry and holds up well against the rain. And it’s not just about staying safe; it’s also about feeling confident. When riders know their bike can handle the wet, they feel more in control.

So while not everyone is rushing out to get the latest rain-ready tech, there’s a solid group of riders who see the value in a bike that can take on any weather. After all, for the dedicated rider, the journey doesn’t stop just because the clouds roll in.

Final thoughts

As we wrap up this look into motorcyclists’ thoughts on rain rides, a clear picture emerges. Whether they’ve been on two wheels for a year or two decades, riders share a respect for the challenges that wet weather brings. The study shows that while some would rather wait for clearer skies, others gear up and ride out, adapting to the conditions with care and caution.

Safety is the main thread running through all the responses. Riders are keen on staying upright on slick streets, and they’re open to learning new skills to do just that. Training can play a big role in making wet rides less daunting.

As for the bikes and gear, it’s evident that riders value advancements that make rainy journeys safer and more comfortable. They’re even willing to invest a bit more for peace of mind.

This survey does more than just tally up opinions. It shines a light on the real concerns and choices riders face when the weather turns. It also sends a message to motorcycle makers: riders are looking for bikes that have their backs when the rain starts to fall.

So, next time the clouds gather, remember that for the motorcycling community, it’s about more than just getting from point A to B. It’s about the love of the ride, the commitment to safety and the shared experience of facing the elements – rain or shine.

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