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Wet Riding Techniques

Hello folks,

so it is that time of the year again. Wet roads, slush and mud abound, and skidding with your bike easier than drinking water. So how does one ride in the wet without slipping and falling down. The only way to avoid unwanted slips and slides is to ride smoothly. This involves developing your riding plan early so that sudden braking, accelerating or quick changes in direction are not required.

All bikes are designed to be most stable, when travelling upright, in a straight line, at a constant speed with the engine just pulling the weight. To maintain maximum stability when negotiating a bend we should try to comply with as many of these elements as possible. ‘Upright’ and in a ‘Straight Line’ is out so what we have left is ‘Constant Speed’ with ‘Engine Just Pulling’.

When you are going through a bend on a motorcycle and maintain the throttle position that gave you ‘Constant Speed’ on the straight, you will slow down as you go through the corner. To maintain ‘Constant Speed’ through the corner you must accelarate lightly. Your motorcycle was designed to accelarate lightly through bends. Applying the throttle early settles the suspension, unloads the front and enables the rider to feel more accurately what the machine is doing. With the correct amount of throttle the bike should be operating in the mid-point of its suspension travel with approximately 40% – 60% weight distribution front to rear. This allows your suspension to work effectively in order to maintain maximum stability. On wet roads this accelaration should be smooth, even and constant through the corner.

So The correct procedure would be

1. Slow down to a comfortable speed before you hit the bend.

2. As you enter the bend release brakes, and lightly apply the throttle.

3. Smoothly accelarate out of the Bend.

4. The speed while entering should be such that you stay within your comfort zone the wole bend, while accelarating lightly.

Under braking, the weight of the machine and rider moves forward. Make this change too quickly and the front won’t be able to cope with the sudden requirement for additional traction. Taking up the ‘slack’ smoothly and then applying pressure progressively will allow you to brake harder and also feel the amount of grip you have to play with. Using the back brake settles the rear and plays a large part in how the weight is distributed during braking – which should only be done in a straight line!

Due to the loss of braking ability, good forward observation is even more important. Also, choose the best section of road to brake on. Think about where traction will be compromised. e.g. traffic lights – the centre of the road is sometimes very slippery due to engine oil dripping from stationary vehicles.

Some other things to consider:

1. It’s more slippery on the first few days of rain after a long dry spell.
2. It is preferable that the road is completely wet. Patches of dry road make the surface very variable in terms of how much traction is available.

In addition to your wits and ability some other assets are also required for optimum safety on wet roads:

1. Good tyres, correctly inflated with plenty of tread.
2. Appropriate clothing. Being cold and wet will distract you from the job at hand.
3. A clean visor, in good condition. Rain will cling to a dirty visor and rapidly impair your vision. Also, if the inside of the visor has been meticulously cleaned it will not be so susceptible to fogging.

Riding in the wet develops good habits because it demands good technique. The next time you have a ride planned and it rains, don’t put it off, rather treat it as an opportunity to show off your advanced riding techniques.

thanx to–

 —Sumit Kalindi(The RoadRollers-Motorcycle Adventure Tourers,Kolkata)

www.theroadrollers.com

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