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Old 05-17-2012, 09:29 AM   #1
Training Wheels
bzbartell's Avatar
OP
 
Joined: Jun 2011
From: Wenatchee, WA
Track Riding in the Rain
I know this is probably a very bad idea, but I'm going to go ahead and admit it. I'm scared to ride in the rain . I've never done it, not sure if I ever want to, but I'm curious about it. This is one thing that prevents me from ever conceivably racing in the future. Is there a resource out there for learning to ride safely quickly in the wet? Do you learn more when you ride in the rain? I know 2-fast's website says you do, but I have a feeling that may just be marketing to get people to come out despite the weather forecast. Is it any fun if you have to slow way down?
I always envision the ground being like ice when it's wet, but I'm sure there is more traction there than I realize. I usually ride slicks on the track so I would have to mount up some rain tires to get out there. I'm sure there are no solid rules, but what type of cornering traction do you have with rain tires, 50% of normal, 60%? What kind of straight up and down braking traction do you have? From those of you who do it, is it worth it? Is riding the track in the rain any fun at all, or just something you suffer through? I raced bicycles for years and hated racing crits in the rain, but I did it anyway and it was never as bad as I imagined it would be although the number of crashes increased exponentially.
Sorry for all the questions, living in the PNW I know I can't avoid it forever, but should I keep trying? Any ideas ?

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Old 05-17-2012, 10:08 AM   #2
Chicken Strips
rmorten's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2010
From: Federal Way, WA

I Ride: in a vanpool
I can only say this: I too was terrified of riding on the track in the rain until I tried it. The trick is to spend money as always. The proper place in this case is tires. Get a good set of rain tires.

4/30 was my first day at The Ridge and it rained all day. My lap times on that day are only 13 seconds behind my best laps in the dry. I am convinced I can improve that time significantly but only have the experience of that one day...

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Last edited by rmorten; 05-18-2012 at 04:13 AM..
 
Old 05-17-2012, 10:12 AM   #3
Peg Dragger
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Joined: Sep 2007
From: Portland, OR

I Ride: Melbs5150's momma
I actually enjoy it sometimes. More track time, nobody else on it, and you can really work on your inputs and being smooth. Not sure about anyone else, but I was amazed to find our just how hard I could actually brake in the wet the first time and I was on a liter bike at the time running regular Q2's.

Hell, I did my OMRRA New Racer School in the rain on slicks.

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Old 05-17-2012, 10:41 AM   #4
Seņor verde
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Joined: Mar 2011
From: Kirkland

I Ride: behind the girls.
Gawd I hope you guys are right. The weather is looking iffy for Monday. I ride in the rain regularly, but I've never ridden a track in the rain.

Mommy...I don't wanna drop my baby.

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Old 05-17-2012, 10:48 AM   #5
Peg Dragger
shakazulu12's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2007
From: Portland, OR

I Ride: Melbs5150's momma
“ Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluuu View Post
Gawd I hope you guys are right. The weather is looking iffy for Monday. I ride in the rain regularly, but I've never ridden a track in the rain.

Mommy...I don't wanna drop my baby.
Just relax and be smooth, there is a lot more grip than you realize. Just don't go anywhere near anything with paint on it! Stripes/curbs etc are as slick as ice when wet, asphault is fine though.

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Old 05-17-2012, 12:00 PM   #6
Endorsed
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Joined: May 2009
From: Washington
Starting out, brake a little earlier and a little more gently, accelerate a little bit later and a little bit more lightly. Build up your speed bit by bit. If you have full-on race rain tires mounted, you'll be astonished at how much traction you actually have. And remember, be totally schmooooove.

Have fun out there!

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Old 05-17-2012, 12:42 PM   #7
Licensed
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Joined: Jul 2007
From: Vancouver, WA

I Ride: Honda CB500X
2fast speaks the truth. Riding in the rain gave me the oppurtunity to feel the tires move around, where as in the dry I'm pretty planted. With rain tires on the sliding is very subtle and predictable, not like ice at all. At PIR the pace in the rain is only 10-12 seconds off the dry times!

I simply adjust my riding style in the rain. I do all my braking with the bike straight up, no trail braking. You'd be amazed at how hard on the brakes you can be....Very, very smooth with the throttle in the corners and don't really get hard on the throttle until the bike is straight up again.

I feel riding in the rain has improved my riding ability


Jerry

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Old 05-17-2012, 12:54 PM   #8
Streetfighter
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Joined: Oct 2005
From: Issaquah, WA

I Ride: Race: 06GSXR750 - Street: 09 Eight Four Eight
Just be smooth. Don't get hamfisted on the brakes or the throttle and you'll be fine.

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Old 05-17-2012, 04:11 PM   #9
Permit
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Joined: Jul 2010
From: Abbotsford B.C.

I Ride: K7 Gixxer 750 Crackbike
Me no likey.................bike gets too dirty.

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Old 05-17-2012, 04:29 PM   #10
Picture Whore
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Joined: Apr 2008
From: lacey

I Ride: Aprilia Factory, 525SMR, DRZ400sm, and a gaggle of others
rains,


they will make or break a wet track day.

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Old 05-17-2012, 04:53 PM   #11
Peg Dragger
stevieb's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2007
From: Seattle, WA
“ Quote:
Originally Posted by Buster Hymen View Post
Me no likey.................bike gets too dirty.
I like riding in the rain.....I hate cleaning up the bike after a rain day

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Old 05-17-2012, 04:58 PM   #12
Licensed
West Seattle Cager's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2011
From: Seattle, WA

I Ride: 2009 Honda VFR
My camera got wet :(


Motorcycle Racing by Gremlin72, on Flickr

Motorcycle Racing by Gremlin72, on Flickr

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Old 05-19-2012, 12:47 AM   #13
Forum Cripple
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Joined: Dec 2005
From: Seattle, WA
Blog Entries: 13

I Ride: on the Isle of Man
It's a blast. If you loosen up and give up any notion of trying to go "fast", and simply try to get "comfortable", soon enough you'll feel like this guy:



And.. wouldn't you know it.. you'll learn that what the instructors tell you is true: Slow is smooth, smooth is fast

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Old 05-19-2012, 03:53 AM   #14
Novice Racer
Debi's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2009
From: Renton, WA

I Ride: 05 KTM450SMR, 04 YZF250 and one bad ass Truck hehe
“ Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypnotiq View Post
Just be smooth. Don't get hamfisted on the brakes or the throttle and you'll be fine.

Soooooo true

“ Quote:
Originally Posted by tophyr View Post
It's a blast. If you loosen up and give up any notion of trying to go "fast", and simply try to get "comfortable", soon enough you'll feel like this guy:



And.. wouldn't you know it.. you'll learn that what the instructors tell you is true: Slow is smooth, smooth is fast

I very well agree, Slow is Smooth, Smooth id Fast

To the OP.... Just relax, be smooth on the Brakes and smooth on the Throttle and you will be fine.
Take your first few laps and go slow, learn the track, learn some lines and each lap you will progress

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Old 05-19-2012, 05:30 AM   #15
Streetfighter
Jason D's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2009
From: Vancouver USA

I Ride: one speed............
Don't do it you will die if you get wet!







For real though, riding in the rain is just like anything else, just start slow and work your way into it. As you get the feal for it you will go faster and faster. Not to mention riding in the rain isnt always about riding in a down pour either. If you are doing a day in the rain there will be high and low points in the rain. Pick a time when the rain has slowed or stopped to go out and you will have it much easier as far as visibility,traction, and your nutz not getting as wet!

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Old 05-19-2012, 06:42 AM   #16
Moderator
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Joined: Sep 2007
From: 47.9792° N, 122.2008° W

I Ride: the 08 Gixxer 1K that I act like I can ride..
in an honest question here; does anyone actually wear rain gear when riding on the track over their leathers or do they just brave it? I've recently purchased an easy on/off rain over suit for the track, but wanted to hear input...

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Old 05-19-2012, 06:58 AM   #17
Novice Racer
Debi's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2009
From: Renton, WA

I Ride: 05 KTM450SMR, 04 YZF250 and one bad ass Truck hehe
“ Quote:
Originally Posted by bukwld View Post
in an honest question here; does anyone actually wear rain gear when riding on the track over their leathers or do they just brave it? I've recently purchased an easy on/off rain over suit for the track, but wanted to hear input...
I wear a big wind breaker/rain coat

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Old 05-19-2012, 07:21 AM   #18
Peg Dragger
Caps2000's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2008
From: Seattle, Wa
Some wear it, some don't. Personally, I don't. Just bring lots of spare socks, and some way to get warm between sessions. Thermos of coffee helps tremendously.

You'll be amazed at how well most street tires do in the rain, I never used 'rain tires' until just a month ago for my first race. My issue with street rubber was hydroplaning, so I always just checked up a little on the front straight. I never had any issues with grip in the corners, until I started to roll on the throttle through the exit. The couple times I've slid the rear, it was very slow and controlled, and could of been completely avoided by not getting on it as early as I did (I was having fun, not often you can back an SV out of a corner haha).

Like all said before, just relax and slowly build up your speed and confidence. It's easier to learn then you think.

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Old 05-19-2012, 07:22 AM   #19
Seņor verde
Bluuu's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2011
From: Kirkland

I Ride: behind the girls.
Putting on real rains isn't an option for me, but I've got 2cts and they've always seemed to do ok in the rain on the street. I'm guessing that while they aren't optimal for a wet track day, they won't be bad either?

At any rate I'll just follow all the advice... Ease into it, watch my entry speeds, smooth on the brakes and throttle, and stay loose and relaxed.

Thanks for the advice guys.

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Old 05-19-2012, 07:35 AM   #20
Streetfighter
Jason D's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2009
From: Vancouver USA

I Ride: one speed............
Oh and my other piece of advice after riding in the rain ALOT and watching others fall down ALOT and watching myself fall down, is that unless you are planning to race in the rain then why do it on the track at all? If you cant afford to put on proper tires then you are just asking to wad your bike. And what is the point, I know all these people say you learn alot about being smooth by riding in the rain, but realy why take the chance of falling down and tearing up equipment and yourself. All it takes is one small incorect input to the bike and you find yourself sliding across the ground. And truthfully in my opinion its a pretty tense situation, not exactly what I like to think of as FUN?

But if you are thinking of racing in the North West then you damn well better sharpen up on your rain riding abilities!

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