Every monsoon season, the most asked question among riders is –
How to stay as dry as possible when riding a motorcycle in rain
If you want to travel from point A to point B and always stay completely dry, you should buy a car or stay home.
If you ride a bike in the pouring rain for long enough or hard enough, you will eventually get wet….whatever expensive raingear you wear.
Water runs off your helmet and down your neck. It will be thrown up from the road and up your jacket. It will hit your gloves and enter the sleeve. Or rise up your boot to your leg. It will find its way through zips and pockets.
If the pressure of water is strong enough, and the duration of the ride is long enough, there is no garment out there that can guarantee to keep you totally dry.
The most common claim is that a material is backed by a membrane, like Gore-Tex, that is supposed to be 100% waterproof. From this, the manufacturers will then sometimes imply or suggest that their jackets or trousers are completely waterproof.
The reality is that they are not, for all the reasons already outlined.
And anyway, the standard test that is conducted to check waterproof properties go out for a toss when rain hits a motorcycle garment at a speed of 100kph!
And even the best waterproof membrane is meaningless if the seams of a jacket are not taped with waterproof tape, or if the pockets are not also waterproof. And then there are the zips, the air vents, the collar, sleeves and so on.
So where do we end up?
Well, as we have suggested, there’s no such thing as a jacket, a pant, a glove or a boot that can keep you 100% dry for 100% of the time. But your chances of staying dry for longer are almost certainly improved if you buy your clothing from one of the more reputed brands out there.
Waterproof motorcycle riding gear is not everything.
As in so many things in life, motorcycle clothing is a compromise. The most waterproof clothing would not have a breathable membrane. It would keep water out with an impenetrable lining, but you would sweat horribly.
The other issue is that most of us want a jacket and trousers that we can wear all year round. To keep air moving across the body, you open the vents. But in the rains, these vents are an inevitable weak point for water ingress.
So, when you buy motorcycle clothing, think about how you might use it. Staying dry is something we all want, but India has hot weather for all 12 months and, for those days, you need ventilation.
If staying dry is the most important consideration, you should of course avoid leather. A leather jacket can be a very cool thing to wear. A leather jacket or a leather pant is about as much use in a rain storm as a tax return is to your average politician.
And do you know how to safely ride your motorcycle in rains? If not of if you just want to refresh your knowledge, click here.
Now coming to the main question:
What to wear for riding a motorcycle in rains?
- Waterproof riding jacket
- Waterproof Riding pants
- Waterproof Biker boots
- Waterproof bike riding gloves
- Full face helmet.
Now let’s look at these points in detail:
Riding Jackets: Cheapest and best option is to wear a rain suit on top of your riding jacket and pants. A rain suit would cost somewhere around 1200-1500 bucks and can be used for couple of years. But you don’t look cool and you still sweat and you feel cumbersome and it flaps at high speed. But hey, this is a cheap option when you compare it to buying waterproof jacket and pants.
For riding jackets, you should opt for waterproof riding jackets that have high collar. That way, there won’t be much gap between your helmet and jacket. And chances of water seeping through it will be reduced.
Here are 6 waterproof riding jackets that you can look at:
In case you don’t have waterproof riding jacket, easiest option would be to carry a raincoat / rain suit with you and wear it on top of riding jacket. Please remember to buy the raincoat couple of sizes bigger than your actual size. Remember that you will be wearing it on top of your riding jacket.
Riding Pants: For riding pants, if you don’t have waterproof riding pants, only option is to wear a raincoat / rain suit pants on top of your riding pants. Since rain suit pants don’t have any ventilation, it will get hot and you will sweat. Why not look at these affordable riding pants that have waterproof liners?
Motorcycle Boots: On a pair of boots, water will run down your legs. It will find its way through the zip or laces. And eventually, in heavy rain, the leather or PU will become so sodden that it will work its way through to your foot. After all, down there, near the road, is probably the wettest place of all. So if you are buying riding boots, make sure you buy high boots and not the short ones.
If you don’t want to spend money on buying waterproof riding boots, you can use these waterproof shoe covers / boot gaiters to turn your normal office wear shoes or non-waterproof riding boots into 100% waterproof.
Riding Gloves: Leather gloves will let water in most easily. Plus nearly every motorcycle glove will have vents to let in air. While it is comfortable for most of the year, in rains, the vents will let water in. Waterproof riding gloves are not extremely expensive.
One jugaad you can do is to wear a surgical glove / dish washing gloves on top of your non waterproof riding gloves. Trust me it would be water proof. But surgical gloves close all the vents and if the weather is hot, your hands will get sweaty. Your riding glove will absorb the sweat if it is half a day worth ride. So you may need to wash/clean your gloves frequently. Here is an excellent guide on how to clean riding gloves.
One more aspect is wearing the waterproof riding gear correctly. Unless you wear it correctly, you can have best of the riding gear but you will still get wet. So here are pointers:
How to wear your riding gear while riding your motorcycle in rains
- The riding jacket HAS to be OVER the rain pants at waist level.
- The riding jacket sleeves must be over Gauntlet of your gloves.
- The riding pants HAVE to be over the high raise riding water proof boots.
- If you own a waterproof safety shoe, use gaiters under the riding pants to avoid seepage from the water running down from top.
In case you don’t own/ don’t want to own waterproof riding gear, here is how you should wear rain gear:
- The rain jacket HAS to be OVER the rain pants at waist level.
- The rain pants HAS to be over the high raise riding water proof boot
- The rain gear has to be worn OVER the riding jacket COVERING the gauntlet of the gloves
Riding in rains means getting your riding gear dirty. We have put up a series of guides that tell you how to clean and maintain your riding gear to keep it fresh and looking new. Have a look at –
- How to clean helmet
- How to clean riding jacket
- How to clean motorcycle gloves
- How to clean riding pants
Now that you know what and how to use the riding gear for monsoon season, let’s have a look at:
Steps for deciding on which waterproof motorcycle riding gear to buy –
- Work out your budget
- Choose what exactly you want
- Get the right size
- Check the gear has reflective material / strips
- Check whether the zippers have textile flap to cover them
- Check whether you have at least one waterproof pocket
- Last and most important bit …..Double check that you look stylish in it.
Last thing to remember,
In India, rains may last for 3 months but heat lasts for 12 months. So your jacket must have decent quantity of vents. Otherwise, you will be mistaken for a dish at KFC.
Oh we forgot to answer one question that people always ask:
Can you wear a leather motorcycle jacket in the rain?
Yes you certainly can. A leather jacket can keep you dry in a rainstorm, if you’ve oiled it properly. If you don’t know what that is, keep your leather jacket in the cupboard. You will ruin it.
Hope we have covered all the pointers for how to choose proper motorcycle Rain Gear. In case of questions, ask us. We are here to help.
And we have put in all the products that a rider would need during rains. Have a look at them.
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