Driving in the rain

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Driving in the rain


Station wagons, jackets & pants

Driving in the rain

Driving in the rain

Horror of wet asphalt? It doesn’t have to be. With good equipment and the right driving style, you can surf through the rain in a very relaxed manner. On the following pages you will find out everything you need to get through low spirits with high spirits.

Jorg Lohse


Big MOTORRAD tire test in Mireval, southern France. I stand in the pits with the screwdriver assistant Tommy and watch as the two test colleagues plow over the watered course with a Honda VFR and Suzuki GSX-R 1000. Considerable lean angles can be seen in the curves, while on the straights you hit the brakes with force to explore the potential of the tires when stopping on wet surfaces. Tommy, himself an old hand, who collects tens of thousands of kilometers a year on his Suzuki GSX-R and is a regular at Hockenheim, growls a “respect, respect” and frankly admits: “When it rains, I become an absolute shit!”
And it’s not just Tommy like that. Quite a few motorcyclists, regardless of whether they are beginners or experienced frequent riders, react unsafe when the road surface is wet. Although the technical requirements today offer high safety reserves: good chassis, tires with good grip and finally an ABS make driving in the rain much easier. So is fear just a question of your head??
Not exclusively. For the sports psychologist Professor Hans Eberspacher, himself a frequent driver on the BMW R 1150 GS and Triumph 955i, three aspects are important in the rain: “The physical condition, the equipment and the head!” If everything is right, you can be much safer move the motorcycle on wet roads. In the interview on page 75, the book author reveals (“Be good when it counts”) how two-wheeler pilots can successfully reduce uncertainty in the rain.
In addition to vehicle technology, a lot has happened in the clothing sector in recent years. More and more motorcyclists appreciate the advantages of textile suits in terms of weather resistance. In the sales statistics, synthetic fiber suits have long been clearly ahead of leather suits, which are, however, still superior in terms of safety (abrasion behavior, tear resistance). For those who swear by leather, the rain suit has proven itself for over three decades as an outer skin that protects against moisture. A large test of eleven different models can be found on the following pages. For a better overview, we have divided them into two price categories: the first six station wagons belong to the group “up to 50 euros”, the five models tested in the second group cost between 50 and 110 euros. The individual test criteria and an overview of the evaluation of all models can be found on page 74.
Fine tuning of the equipment is possible, not least with the supposedly small things like gloves. Waterproof specimens are now part of the standard range of most manufacturers. You will find what you are looking for in the lower price segment, and you can treat yourself to dry fingers for cheap money.
But holding tight alone does not make good rain gloves. In models with an integrated climate membrane, it is often criticized that, due to the multi-layered structure (outer skin, climate insert, palm), the feeling of gripping is impaired. The layers slip against each other, and you lack that secure, sensitive hand that you absolutely need when driving through the rain. The latest highlight, which comes from the development department of the climate group Gore-Tex, is the lamination of the individual layers. If the palm, climate membrane and outer hand are firmly baked together, a waterproof glove suddenly feels completely different on the handlebar ends, namely with a lot more grip. In the box on the left, we have put together briefly and compactly the key points that you should pay attention to when buying all-weather clothing.
With this general development towards significantly more dynamic rainwear, other products have long since had their day, which are still offered in abundance in catalogs or on grab tables in accessory shops or are guaranteed to be slumbering in some baggage roll: We are talking about the infamous rain gaiters for boots and tent-sized covers for the gloves. Why you should do without these things is in the box on page 71 above.
When you have everything together, drought is by no means guaranteed. Because the equipment has to be put on correctly. Even in routine testing at MOTORRAD, there are occasional »operating errors«. This is what happened during the wear trips to the tire test (see issue 11/2007). A test driver constantly complained about non-waterproof pants when driving in the rain. Which was not a “material defect”, but the wearer had not properly closed the bib and membrane. Gone stupid. The manufacturers should pay more attention to the design that operating errors are excluded as much as possible. Renowned brands from the high-price league have made considerable progress at critical transitions such as helmets / collars, sleeves / gloves and trouser legs / boots through clever designs and new materials. Tips for avoiding mistakes when dressing are given under “Seam” on page 73.
Now you are probably still not racing through the rain as confidently as the professional testers, but at least the equipment is right. And only then can you work on your driving technique in the rain (see box on the right). Because the fact is: if you are soaked to the skin, you cannot drive a clean line.

Alpinestars El Nino

Provider: Alpinestars, phone 0039/0423/5286, www.alpinestars.com; Price: 109.95 euros; Material: Taslan; Sizes: S to XXXL; Weight *: 1020 grams

Plus Very comfortable, comfortable seat; great cut with good proportions; fully lined; practical packing bag with waist belt that serves as a waist belt. High quality workmanship with reinforced knees and heat protection at the leg ends; Holds tight in the wetness test except for a damp collar

Minus leg lining pushes outwards when it is put on; Due to the straight, short entry opening, it is a bit difficult to put on

Conclusion Expensive, but very convincing rain suit. Rich equipment package, very good performance in the wetness test

MOTORRAD verdict: Very good

Louis Proof

Provider: Detlev Louis, Telephone 040/73419360, www.louis.de; Price: from 39.95 euros; Material: nylon / PVC; Sizes: S to XXXL; Weight *: 1020 grams

Plus Fully Lined; stable shape; waterproof document bag; soft, very raised collar, fits very comfortably and evenly; great fit, very well proportioned with sufficient arm and leg lengths; very comfortable to wear

Minus entry on the leg and on the shoulders somewhat difficult; easy water ingress via the front zipper in the wetness test

Conclusion Stable rain suit from Louis. Workmanship and fit are very good, features a bit poor. Small weakness in the wetness test

MOTORRAD verdict: good

IXS Orca

Provider: Hostettler, Telephone 07631/18040, www.ixs.de; Price: 49.95 euros; Material: polyamide; Sizes: XS to XXXXXL; Weight *: 560 grams

Plus very wide opening diagonal entry; well-fitting, comfortably fitting collar; by far the lightest station wagon in the test; extremely small pack size; very wide range of sizes; easily visible when it rains; very good fit; comfortable to wear

Minus inner lining only in the upper body, very rustling, not very grippy material; strong tendency to flutter; Minimal traces of water in the crotch area in the wetness test

Conclusion The Ixs-Kombi feels like a plastic bag, but it convinces in terms of fit, pack size and comfort. Small weakness in the wetness test

MOTORRAD judgment: Gu

Insize Raintech

Provider: Gotz, Telephone 07476/933150, www.goetzmotorsport.de; Price: 29.95 euros; Material: polyester; Sizes: XS to XXXL; Weight *: 1140 grams

Plus Fully Lined; very well processed; comfortable soft collar; waterproof document bag; many sizes

Minus Difficult entry; moderately proportioned: leg lengths sufficient, but sleeves too short, tense at the shoulders; Cuffs much too tight; very dark despite reflective piping; In the wetness test, water seeps into the interior through the front zip and collar

Conclusion Belongs to the cheapest offers in the test, but apart from the attractive appearance, it cannot stand out

MOTORRAD verdict: Sufficient

Hein Gericke Basic 2

Provider: Hein Gericke, phone 0180/5229522, www.hein-gericke.de; Price: 29.95 euros; Material: polyester; Sizes: XS to XXXL; Weight *: 1140 grams

Plus leg can be opened very wide, very easy step-through; Width adjustment on the upper arm; comfortable soft collar; waterproof document pouch and cargo pouches; practical extra pocket for transport; long reflective piping; many sizes

Minus Only available in black; Inner lining only in the upper body; Sleeves too short compared to leg lengths; In the wetness test, water penetrated through the front zip and on the collar

Conclusion Black standard goods from Gericke. The problem with the front cover strip with segmented Velcro fasteners is that the rain can attack

MOTORRAD verdict: very good

FLM tornado

Provider: Polo, phone 0180/5225785, www.polo-motorrad.de; Price: 49.95 euros; Material: polyamide; Sizes: S to XXL; Weight *: 1940 grams

Plus completely sewn lining; very good grip material; wide-opening diagonal entry; Seat with anti-slip insert; practical helmet hood; effective coloring with clearly visible reflective inserts; holds completely tight in the wetness test

Minus heavy; bulky pack size; Entry with boots a bit difficult

Conclusion Convincing rain cover from Polo. Offers a lot of extras for the price. The helmet hood sewn to the collar is particularly great. And the suit is very easy to carry. Only the large pack size bothers

MOTORRAD verdict: very good

Buse Splash

Provider: Buse, Telephone 02471/12690, www.buese.com; Price: 39.95 euros; Material: nylon; Sizes: XS to XXL; Weight *: 920 grams

Plus Very easy; small pack size; soft cord collar; Chest and waterproof inside pocket

Minus lining only in the upper body; overall very dark due to little reflective material; Front zipper only just backed; smells strongly of plastic; narrow leg passage; in the wetness test, water enters via the front zip and moisture builds up on the collar

Conclusion No profit for rain drivers. The Buse model cannot convince in the wetness test. In addition, the station wagon, which is only available in black, is difficult to see

MOTORRAD verdict: Sufficient

This is how MOTORRAD tests – drop by drop

The test criteria at a glance

Wetness test (30 points): A cloudburst is simulated for five minutes using a flat water jet. The test rider sits upright on the motorcycle.
Easy to put on (20 points): Rain suits should be quick and easy to slip on. Cut / fit (20 points): If the sleeves and legs are sufficient, the torso is tense?
Security (10 points): Dark station wagons without sufficient reflective piping lose points.
Fit / wearing comfort (10 points): If the collar is comfortable, the combination can be adjusted on the sleeve or in the waist?
Workmanship / equipment (10 points): What does the combination offer in terms of quality for the money? If it is neatly made, it can come up with useful extras?

Investment without feeling – really worn out

Of course, they still work, the old-timed tricks: garbage bags that you pull over your boots and fix with masonry rubbers. For ages, the principle has also been sold in a more stable form by motorcycle dealers: There they are simply called rain overboots and cost an average of around ten euros. The same is offered for the hands: large mittens that can be pulled over gloves and protect against wet fingers. The price: between five and ten euros. Bargain hunters do it the other way around and pull rubber gloves from the cleaning department under their motorcycle gloves. Her credo: With garbage bags and cleaning gloves, everything stays dry. That may be true, but you lose that good feeling for the motorcycle. With the boot gaiters, the secure hold on the notch disappears, and the feeling of gripping tends to zero with the overgloves. With rubber gloves, the evaporative cold leaves ice-cold fingers that cramp on the handlebars. This type of equipment is definitely not suitable for a safe journey.

Buy right – in dry towels

In order to get through the rain safely, the driver’s equipment has to be right. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the following things when buying.

Gloves: There are waterproof copies in many variations and price ranges. A solid pair can be bought for around 30 euros. In MOTORRAD 7/2007 * we tested models up to 30 euros. A slightly spongy grip feeling due to the multi-layer construction is sometimes problematic. Gloves that have the waterproof climate membrane ?? similar to textile suits? is laminated. These cost with well-known manufacturers such as hero around 90 euros.

Textile suit: This should be equipped with a breathable and at the same time waterproof climate membrane weatherproof. Better than so-called Z-liners, in which the membrane is loosely hung between the outer skin and the inner lining, are the somewhat more expensive laminate constructions. The climate membrane is glued directly under the outer skin, which is why the outer fabric cannot soak in water when it rains. In this way you are better spared the “refrigerator effect”, in which the body cools down vigorously through evaporation of the water. A test of high-quality textile suits can be found in MOTORRAD 9/2007 *.

Boots: Not only the classic touring boots are now waterproof. The market even offers real racing boots with weatherproof equipment. The level of the more expensive brands is now very high. In the last touring boot test by MOTORRAD (issue 10/2007 *), only one of seven pairings failed the wet test. For waterproof, motorcycle-compatible footwear with protectors, you should invest between 150 and 200 euros.

Driving in the rain – don’t swim

All senses are sharpened, the lower lip remains relaxed. With the right riding technique, the tour can also be successful in the rain.

If you ask rain professionals like MOTORRAD editor Werner “Mini” Koch, the key points for driving on wet asphalt are quickly listed: “Correct braking and careful line selection.” To do this, motorcyclists should keep a close eye on the road: there is a risk of slipping where Bitumen strips adorn the asphalt, on manhole covers or on steel plates on bridge heels. On alpine passes there are often also slippery bars that are embedded in the asphalt to hold back grazing cattle. Best driving technique: let the motorcycle roll neutrally, apply little gas, do not apply the brakes and avoid leaning where possible. When driving, a smooth, rounded style is required. Detailed instructions can be found in the MOTORCYCLE series “Perfect Driving”, episode 7, “Driving in the Rain” (Issue 22/2006 *).
In order to reduce the uncertainty on wet slopes, safety training courses are recommended, in which you can practice braking and banking on an irrigated course. Incidentally, the action photos for this story could be shot safely at the LuK Driving Center near Baden-Baden (www.driving-center-baden.de). The equipment available to motorcyclists today is of a very high standard. ABS brakes make stopping in the wet a lot easier, and new tire compounds with a high silica content bring high adhesive reserves with them. That leaves the human. Professor Hans Eberspacher explains: “He has to drive without force, that is, so fast and so diagonally that he can be completely relaxed. You can feel whether you are relaxed on your lower lip, in your arms and in your buttocks. The view goes far ahead and literally clears the driving line. “

* Reorder: Phone 0711 / 182-1229

Interview with Professor Hans Eberspacher

Hans Eberspacher, Professor of Sport Psychology at the University of Heidelberg, is an instructor at the MOTORRAD action team. He explains the fear of driving in the rain? and what can be done about it.

Even experienced motorcyclists sometimes cramp up when it rains. Why is that?

In assessing the situation. And as is well known, it takes place in the head. You have to know that reviews always trigger feelings. This applies to situations that are rated as pleasant or promising and which then trigger joy or curiosity, as well as for situations that are rated as threatening and dangerous. Here that means: wet road equals slippery road equals increased risk equals danger of falling equals bad consequences. Such evaluations trigger feelings such as fear, stress, insecurity, and displeasure.

What are typical driving mistakes on a wet or slippery track??

The anxiety-ridden cramping creeping up on the inside robs you of the looseness you need to feel the motorcycle and the road. Typical consequences are then, for example, lowering the view in front of the front wheel instead of looking far ahead. But also accessing actions that are inappropriate at the moment, but long-established, such as “holding onto” the motorcycle in order to supposedly better control it. You can feel the latter when the handlebars seem almost blocked.

Is there a trick you can use to break this rain block?

The basic principle: If you don’t drive relaxed, you expect too much. So only drive so fast and so much lean that you can stay relaxed. In order to learn this, tricks do not help, but systematic training for the head, because our actions start from the head: mental training. The first thing to do is to develop ideas about action patterns for motorcycling in all conceivable situations, ideally with a trainer or instructor: braking, cornering, evasive action, driving in the wet. This training is a personal contribution. So it cannot be delegated to others and is only effective if it is practiced systematically, regularly and appropriately frequently.


Of course, it’s not about breaking any records on a wet road. But with a little practice, riding a motorcycle in the rain is really fun. For example, you can practice braking on your own in an empty parking lot. I was able to determine how much this brings in the context of the MOTORRAD brake test: It showed that the braking distance of an experienced rider in the wet is usually shorter than that which an inexperienced motorcyclist can achieve in the dry. So: don’t be afraid of water!

What can racing rain suits do? – Frenzied skins

Raincoats for sport pilots are now available from several manufacturers (Arlen Ness, Hein Gericke, Ixs, Polo, Spidi). They cost between 100 and 160 euros on average. What are the advantages and disadvantages of skin-tight pelts? When it comes to getting dressed, a standard rain suit is clearly ahead. The racing rain skins are made of highly elastic material that must be very carefully slipped over the leather suit. This is why these suits are not available as one-pieces, as they would be difficult to put on. The collar is low, the zippers are not covered. There are also the recesses for knee sliders. These models are ideal for race track use, the moisture protection is sufficient. In everyday life, however, the suits quickly give way. Particularly practical, however: the extremely small pack size. The two-piece suits can even be easily stowed under a bench? you would therefore always have them with you. And something else we like: The racing suits are available in very eye-catching colors. Many manufacturers of a standard combination could take this as an example.

Tighten properly – seam

The collar must fit snugly around the neck and must never protrude over the edge of the helmet. Otherwise water can flow unhindered into the station wagon from above. Collar constructions made of stretch or neoprene fabric are recommended.
Glove cuffs are always to be worn under the sleeve so that the water that drips off the station wagon does not run into the glove. Good textile suits have a labyrinth entrance on the sleeve. The glove cuffs are stowed between the tight-fitting cuffs and the outer skin.
Trouser legs belong over the boots. When buying trousers, make sure that the trouser legs do not slide so high on the motorcycle that water flows into the boots from above.
Last but not least, everything has to be locked tightly. Particular care is required when closing the labyrinth strips. Otherwise water can penetrate through the zippers.


Of the eleven participants, three achieved a grade of “very good” and four achieved a grade of “good”. The test winner is the FLM Tornado from Polo, which is convincing in many respects. Even the more expensive copies of Held and Alpinestars make a very good impression. In the case of the rain suits that were only rated “sufficient”, there were weaknesses in the wetness test, poor fit or deficiencies in visibility.

Spidi Flux

Provider: Spidi, phone 0039/0444/436411, www.spidi.it; Price: 76.90 euros; Material: PVC / Nylon; Sizes: XS to XXL; Weight *: 890 grams

Plus large, wide-opening entry; flashy color; fits tight; high-closing, padded collar, easy to close; Extra transport bag; small pack size; no water ingress in the wetness test

Minus No inner lining; laborious to put on; Sleeves and legs could be a bit longer; Compared to the price, the build quality is somewhat poor

Conclusion Exemplary in terms of visibility. Also convincing in the wetness test. Just getting dressed is very tedious!

MOTORRAD verdict: good

Hero Collin

Provider: Held, phone 08321/66460, www.held-biker-fashion.de; Price: 69.95 euros; Material: polyamide; Sizes: S to XXXL; Weight *: 1400 grams

Plus: Fully lined; very wide entry and pass-through, can be put on very comfortably and quickly; firmly integrated pannier with waist belt; soft, tight-fitting neoprene collar; Anti-slip pad in the buttocks; Sleeve cuffs with practical labyrinth guidance

Minus: Slight traces of moisture in the collar area after the wetness test; high weight; large pack size

Conclusion: sporty cut rain suit with great wearing comfort and a rich equipment package from Held. Small point deduction due to damp collar

MOTORRAD verdict: Very good

Germas Bobby

Provider: Germas, Telephone 0911/635008, www.germas.de; Price: 59 euros; Material: nylon; Sizes: XS to XXXL; Weight *: 1180 grams

Plus extra pannier with waist strap; soft, comfortable collar with teddy lining; waterproof cargo pocket

Minus front zipper only briefly deposited; tight shoulder area makes it difficult to put on; Leg lengths a little oversized; Lining only in the upper body; stiff reflective piping interferes with wearing comfort; Water ingress through the front zipper during the wetness test

Conclusion For the price very economically equipped station wagon. Except for the pannier there is little on offer. It also loses in the wetness test Germas Bobby points

MOTORRAD verdict: Sufficient

Difi Safir

Provider: Motoport, phone 04451/915200, www.motoport.de; Price: 54.95 euros; Material: nylon; Sizes: XS to XXXL; Weight *: 1140 grams

Plus it is very easy to put on thanks to the large entry and leg steps; firmly integrated pannier with waist strap; Anti-slip inserts in the seat; available in many eye-catching color combinations

Minus lining only in the upper body; poorly proportioned, tense with sufficient arm and leg lengths on the trunk; Soft collar presses lightly on the larynx; moisture in seat after wet test

Conclusion rain suit with practical equipment. Particularly smart: the pannier with a waist belt

MOTORRAD verdict: good

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