Waterproofing Your Ride
Waterproof gear is a necessity for any serious motorcyclist, and these days there is a wide selection of pants, jackets and one-piece suits that will keep the rain on the outside, while allowing perspiration to wick away, leaving you dry and comfy behind the bars.
But if you don’t seal up vulnerable areas, such as the neck, waist, wrists and boots, rain and wind will find an opening and quickly turn your journey into a soggy mess.
Here are a few tips to help keep Mother Nature out.
- Helmet—Full-face helmets do a great job of sealing out the rain, even in heavy downpours. But if you plan an all-day ride in the rain, it’s a good idea to seal off upper vents with some electrical tape, install a breath guard to reduce fogging and treat the inside of your face shield with an anti-fog coating. If you wear prescription glasses, put anti-fog coating on each side of the lenses, too. Opening the face shield slightly can help clear fogging. But it also can let raindrops pelt your face. So use your judgment.
- Neck—Cold rain trickling down your back lets you know that your collar and helmet are not working together to your benefit. And by the time you realize there is a gap, your shirt and skin are already wet. So, plan ahead. Many jackets and rain suits include a hood rolled into the collar that, when unfurled fits easily over your head and under your helmet, creating an impenetrable surface. If you have gear without a rain hood, try a tall collar that reaches nearly to your chin. It will cover the back of your neck, as well.
- Zippers—Zippers are the weak point in any rain jacket or suit. Take the time to ensure that all rain flaps—both under and over the zipper—are properly secured. Also be aware of bends in the zipper, where water can puddle and leak through. While you are in the riding positions, adjust the jacket or suit to eliminate these sharp bends.
- Hands—Buy gloves with a waterproof membrane or use waterproof gloves. If your hands are above or even with your elbows while in the riding position, pull the gloves over your jacket sleeves to keep water out. Gauntlet gloves work better than short gloves. If your hands are positioned below your elbows, put the gloves inside the sleeves.
- Waist—Strong winds can force rain under your jacket at the waist when you are wearing two-piece gear. Cinch the drawstring tight. Sit on the back of your jacket to help keep it in place. And consider wearing high-waist rain paints and suspenders.
- Feet—Boots with sealed leather seems or waterproof membranes offer the best weather protection for motorcyclists. Overboots offer another option. Either way, make sure the rain pants are long enough to cover the tops of the boots while you are in the riding position. Many rain suits and pants come with straps that slip under the boot to help keep things in place.
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