Thursday, November 6, 2008

Riding in the rain...

Riding in the rain is easy, add darkness and things get a little more complicated. Fallen leaves on the road mashed into a paste creates another hazard and adds to the challenge. The most difficult factor for me in this equation has to be headlights of oncoming traffic. The reflection of light in the raindrops on my visor creates a kaleidoscope of wonder.

Here are a few things I've tried in an attempt to alleviate much of the wonder and make riding in the rain a little more comfortable. Another product review if you will.

I use NIKWAX Visor Proof to shed rain from my visor. It works well but needs to be applied often. A quick turn of the head or tuck behind a windscreen at speed will clear the rain from my visor and reduce the need to use my wiper fingered glove. It also seems to prevent bugs from sticking to my shield, a simple wipe cleans up insect residue nicely.

My Teknic winter gloves have a wiper on both index fingers. At first, I thought this to be a hokey gimmick but it works surprisingly well. They are waterproof and do a great job of keeping my hands dry. They were stiff and warm during the first season and the leather has broken in but the insulation is now somewhat lacking in their second year. The wipers do limit dexterity of the index fingers due to the long wiper surface. These gloves are relatively inexpensive at $49 compared to others on the market for $100 or more and I feel that they perform well considering their cost. I am glad I added heated grips to my bike this year compensating for any shortcomings of these gloves.

HotGrips heated grips are a wonderful addition to my bike. I have been told that once you try heated grips you'll wonder why you didn't try them sooner. I agree, I will not own another bike without heated grips. I went with the actual heated grips rather than the element tape that fit under stock grips. I would imagine that each have their pros and cons, but I cannot speak for the element tape. Stacy at wrote up a great review and install for the element tape and aftermarket gel grips. I would not hesitate to try the tape on my next bike.
I went with the HotGrips based on webBikeWorld review and felt that HotGrips were the original designers for the motorcycle industry. The grips do feel rugged and should stand up to heavy winter use and over time. They do a great job of warming my hands through my gloves and are sometimes too warm on high to where I have to turn them down to the low setting. Cost was a little high at $109, but only because Radio Shack nickel and dimed me out of $38 for a micro switch, connectors, distribution block, fuses and additional wire. Installation was a full afternoon project and required that I not only sand down my throttle sleeve to accommodate the grip, but I had to use a file to remove enough material. Although I took my time sanding and filing I still managed to 'oval' my throttle sleeve causing my throttle to stick ever so slightly. This is my only serious gripe, had they made the inside diameter of the throttle grip larger I am sure the adhesive would have taken up any slack. The other issue, I am not sure if it is the grip or me but the throttle/right grip, seems to be ever so slightly warmer than the left. I imagine this is due to again, the difference of diameter between the two grips. This may be the advantage that the element tape has over the HotGrips.

I have also switched to glasses with yellow lenses, they brighten things up on foggy, overcast days. They do offer additional eye protection but also create another surface to fog up. I've tried anti fog product CatCrap and don't recommend it. It works, but it needs to be applied daily and creates a halo effect with oncoming lights. It is time consuming to apply and remove. I keep it to use in a pinch until I find something better. I am open to suggestions.

The search is on for my next two purchases, one, a Pinlock visor insert, I've heard good things about Pinlock from one of the guys at bike night.
And two, auxiliary lighting. For some odd reason Oregon doesn't use reflective glass beads in their road marking paint and it is just plain hard to see the center line and fog line in the dark and the rain. I am hoping some low mounted driving lights will help alleviate this problem.

Fortunately the heavy rains seem to have diminished, but they will be back, and hopefully I'll be ready.

Let's be careful out there, drivers don't expect us to be on motorcycles in the rain, and their vision is reduced in this weather too.


  1. Like yur blog . I am sure I am stating the obvious, But have seen twin sidelights on a mount bar for extra road lighting for Bonneville/SPeedmaster on accessory sites . Only just got my Speemaster , so am lookin at saddlebags and a Summer screen first. TX here so don't get much rain - have the luxury of waiting until it's dry to ride.

  2. Thank you for the comments and welcome back to motorcycling. You made a great choice with the Speedmaster, I ride with sportbikes all the time and I keep up just fine. I also tootle around the backroads two up and it pokes along effortlessly.
    I am trying to decide between the light bar or lights mounted under the lower yolk. I am also researching super intensity replacement bulbs for the headlight.
    Check out the BonnevilleAmerica Forum, a great bunch of knowledgeable Speedmaster and America riders ready to help. It is a very well managed forum. the link is on my main page.

  3. Hey Bro,

    Old Canadian hockey trick. Wipe shaving cream (foam, not gel.) on both sides of your hockey visor and wipe off until clear. Try it on the bathroom mirror before a shower then when you get out of the shower you'll be able to clearly see why your wife won't sleep with you. Shut up, you are!


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