Riding in the Rain

Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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Riding in the Rain

Post by jeffmd2 » Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:28 pm

I am a little leary about riding in the rain. In December of 2012 while riding my 1990 Pacific Coast, I went down after hitting some standing water doing 65-70 on the freeway. I hydroplaned and the rear wheel went out to the left. When I regained traction I went into a hard death wobble and went down hard on the right. My fear is of this happening again. Does anyone have thoughts on the increased weight of the GL1500 keeping the rubber on the road and not floating on puddles. I have Dunlop E3's that are about 60%. I have felt the bike slip some on a long wide tar snake which gave me a scare. What are some riding technics to use while on real wet roads to avoid dangerous situations? I am new to the Goldwing with only 1400 miles under my belt so far.

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Re: Riding in the Rain

Post by robb » Thu Mar 06, 2014 5:41 pm

I run 40 psi front and 42 psi rear and it cuts through water like a hot knife cutting butter. Learn to stop short of painted surfaces and lower your speed as rain increases. Never ride faster than you feel comfortable. A ride is only good if it is completed.

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Re: Riding in the Rain

Post by Fatwing Chris » Thu Mar 06, 2014 5:44 pm

Well first let me say that I never hardly ever ride on any multi-lane hiways,but I found the E3's to be very good in the rain.Others will chime in and tell you they are crap wet or dry,but I liked them.The only other tire I would try is a car tire for better traction.I've put my share of miles on in the rain and the only thing I can say is just don't any real sudden manuvers.All your moves need to be a lot smoother.There are actually times when I've enjoyed riding in the rain.I have radial E3's on the 1800 and don't like them at all compared to the bias I had on the 1500.Going car tire and a bridgestone on the front this time.Like I said don't make any sudden moves and enjoy the ride.

PS If I waited for days that didn't look like rain I would've missed a lot of good riding.I don't usually leave in the rain(from home),but I've rode home in it lots of times.
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Re: Riding in the Rain

Post by Big Bob » Thu Mar 06, 2014 6:25 pm

I to ride with E3's (on my 3rd set!) and have no problems in the rain. Remember, your on a motorcycle, not your car, any mc will not handle as well in the rain as on dry pavement! I agree that the E3's do feel a little snakey when you hit a tar snake, but so did my Metzlers on my FJ 1200, I have always used E3's on my wing. They get great mileage (average 20,000+ miles per set) and have NOT heard about any other tire that last as long on that bike. When I ran Metzlers on my FJ, I never got great mileage out of the tires 8,000 average on a set, great grip and performance but no longevity. The goldwing is not the same kind of sport type bike as an FJ, totally different riding style, so I use different tires, just my .02!!

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Re: Riding in the Rain

Post by Mag » Fri Mar 07, 2014 12:53 am

Jeff, I am just south of you down the I-5....I hate to say it, I do not ride in this rain we are having right now, the rain storms basically flood the freeways and hitting that at 70 mph gives me the "butt clenches"....but by April/May the rain is not as "gully-washer" as it is now, so a lot easier.

Also, riding the wing is a lot easier in rain than a PC, more weight, larger tires. Just take it easy, you should be ok.

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Re: Riding in the Rain

Post by artgrantz » Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:32 am

I ride from PA to CA twice a year and do not have time to stop when it rains. I have ridden through some really bad storms at highway speeds with no problems at all. Just use a little common sense and ride smoothly with no sudden inputs.
I have also discovered that twisty back roads can be fun in the rain too, with good tires.

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Re: Riding in the Rain

Post by WingAdmin » Fri Mar 07, 2014 11:07 am

Riding at a given speed, every tire on every vehicle will hydroplane, period. It's simply physics. There are a few things you can do to mitigate this:

- Don't ride in the rain on worn tires. The less the depth of the sipes on the tire, the less capability it has to move water out of the way.

- Ride on tires which are known to be good for rain.

- SLOW DOWN. This is the only 100% guaranteed effective way to never hydroplane.

You will feel slipping on tar snakes, but still provide far more traction (coefficient of friction) than does a hydroplaning tire, which has virtually none. You may feel the back end "step out" a small amount on a tar snake, but it will only do so the width of the snake, and it can be mitigated by staying off the throttle and brake while it is happening. Stay smooth, keep the same amount of power on, don't accelerate or brake, just cruise through it.

This brings up one more good point: How many people know the correct way to recover from a speed wobble? The instinct is to grab the grips with a death grip and hold on for dear life, which will also have you leaning forward trying to dampen the oscillations. This is the exact wrong thing to do - the bike is decelerating quickly from the drag of the oscillating wheel, shifting weight onto the front end, which only makes the wobble worse. Leaning forward trying to stop it with your arms makes it even worse.

Leaning back and gentle acceleration to unload the front end will stop almost any speed wobble almost instantly.

That said, I doubt what you experienced was a speed wobble. A speed wobble is normally caused by a sudden displacement of the front wheel - like a pothole or bump, where the wheel is airborne for an instant, and when it comes down again, is pointed in a slightly different direction, causing a sudden lateral diversion.

I think what you experienced was a weave. A speed wobble has the handlebars oscillating back and forth 8-10 times per second, with the rear wheel staying more or less in place. A weave has the motorcycle oscillating around its center, with lateral displacement of the rear wheel, around 3-4 times per second.



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Re: Riding in the Rain

Post by jeffmd2 » Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:01 pm

I think you are right, it most likely was a weave. It happened so fast I had no time to react or think about what to do. I did try to stop it with my arms holding the bars as tightly as I could. I was going to fast for the conditions and since they I really slow down if I find myself near any large areas of standing water. I did try to think of what I could have done differently and accelerating was one of them. Thanks for all of your input on this subject. I am in GWRRA now and will be taking all the Rider Ed classes and advanced rider training I can. The good news about my crash was that I did not get hurt too bad. Sore ribs and a torn tenden in my right thumb. The bike not so lucky, it was hit by two trucks who did not see it in time, 4:10am in the pouring down rain.

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Re: Riding in the Rain

Post by vtxcandyred » Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:40 am

I rode part way home without a windshield after an accident. We hit a driving rain through Tennessee and it was a bear. I have found that the added weight of the 93SE helped stabize the bike. Now it did'nt help when we went over the side but in the rain it seemed to help.

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