We’ve all been there. The forecast was “possibility of scattered showers,” but the horizon is a gray freight train of wetness, it’s getting dark, and you have 300 miles left to ride. Now’s not the time to realize you’re gonna need some waterproof motorcycle gloves; yesterday was.
Maybe I’m not your typical motorcyclist because I absolutely love riding in the rain. I find that it heightens all my senses and can turn a mundane ride into one that becomes an intensely-focused experience. Perhaps my love of rain riding comes from the fact that, the very first time I commuted on a motorcycle, it rained – and I was prepared. (I was also terrified, but I’d only been riding for a few days.)
We MOrons love gymkhana videos. Heck, we even love gymkhana from the saddle ( here and here), but we have to bow down to the riders in this video. Not only are they throwing down some impressive gymkhana skills, but also doing it in the rain! So, to you, anonymous Japanese motorcycle police riders, we salute you!
Back in the Bad Old Days™, during rainy weather, riders had basically two choices when it came to gloves: bulky, hot “waterproof” winter gloves or wearing a pair of latex gloves under their regular hand protection. Neither were ideal. First, the bulky gloves didn’t offer either the feel or protection of regular riding gloves. Second, if the latex glove option was selected, the rider’s hands may stay dry, but the gloves would get soaked and require extended drying time.
Nelson Ledges Road Course in the wet was stickier than Summit Point Raceway in the dry. This was one of the first of many epiphanies I had in 1986 in my first full season of racing with WERA. I had shed my international orange “I am a Hazard” t-shirt along with my provisional novice status the year before with crash-free races at Pocono and Summit Point, and I was now a full-fledged novice racer free to crash with impunity so far as my license status was concerned. An option I would avail myself of at first opportunity.
When you really think about it, one of the determining factors in whether or not someone sticks with the sport of motorcycling is the frequency with which they meet the ground. Crashing sucks, and if you do it often enough, it could be a reason to quit the sport. Keeping the motorcycle upright, then, leads to successful, enjoyable journeys, and having fun on two wheels inevitably is the reason why we keep doing this.
As I slide on my back, the wet Spanish dirt at the outside of Almeria’s Turn 6 rushing up to greet me, I take a moment to ponder the error of my ways. It’s funny how time appears to slow down once one fully accepts that control has been ceded to powers greater than ourselves. Rewinding my current situation to just a fraction of a second earlier, my sin is revealed, standing before me like an old friend, arms open. With my no longer pristine, custom Pilot leathers providing tactile proof through my back protector of why I shouldn’t be allowed to have nice things, I try to ignore the 2015 BMW S1000RR skidding to my left and slightly in front of me. (So much more can happen before it grinds to a halt.) I can’t help but think how this has all happened before. How, once again, a single thought has spelled disaster. In the past, the thoughts were as simple as “I love this track!” or “I’ve finally figured out this corner!” This time, I merely thought, “The Metzeler Sportec M7 RRs have so much grip in the rain. Soon, I’ll be dragging knee!” Instantaneously, I was – only not in the manner I was expecting.
Winter riding means different things to different people, but we can all agree riding in the winter means chilly temperatures and a high possibility for rain. So, for this week’s winter buyer’s guide, we’re bringing you jackets and pants, all built to keep you dry and warm when the elements conspire against you. We’ve thrown in one-piece over-suits, too, for good measure.
Back in July, MO took its show on the road to Yosemite National Park to compare the latest crop of sport touring motorcycles, and the result wasn’t that good for the 2014 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS. Not that it’s a bad bike. Quite the opposite. The Connie is as good as it ever was, but the sport-touring class has advanced to include niceties such as cruise control, quick shifters, and electronically adjustable suspension. So, we have a great motorcycle, powered by an ass-kicking engine derived from the ZX–14R, that is languishing in the eyes of motojournalists who are always looking for what is shiny and new in a technologically evolving class. Meanwhile, Concours fans continue to be as rabid as they ever were about the bike.
The endless stream of clouds marched in from the Pacific like an invading army of sullen, gray giants. Pushed by the relentless northwesterly wind, they stacked up against the slopes of the Cascades where, squeezed between the earth and sky, their life’s blood was wrung from them in the form of a steady, soaking rain. Eventually, the clouds would lose enough of their moisture that they would overtop the great mountain range and continue on towards the east, but the process would take time, and until then, the rain would continue in dribs and drabs, possibly for days.