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knobbies in the rain

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After 7 years of riding, mostly street bikes, I had my first crash on the road. One of the reasons I sold my sportbike and got a dual sport was because I was beginning to think street riding was too dangerous. Having a dual sport has limited the amount of street riding I do, but it certainly isn't any safer. Especially if you have knobbies. Last weekend, on my way home from off roading, it started to rain. I had to make a few quick lane changes and checked behind me to see if my buddy was able to keep up. Just that moment of checking behind me was enough for me to not see the car in front stop. This didn't leave me much room to stop. My front tire locked up with almost no effort. I quickly let off the brake and almost saved it. But I was still going too fast and had to get on the brake again. I went down on the second lock up, head first. Thank god for full face helmets! I know if I wasn't on knobbies, I wouldn't have locked the front. I always knew how little grip I had, but this is the first time I was really tested. From the crash, I banged up my knee, my wrist, and hand. Also lost some skin on my fingers, even with leather gloves, and a bit on my knee. Surprisingly, the DRZ looks totally fine. The forks are a bit twisted, but this isn't the first time that's happened. I only wish I was as tough as my bike.

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Sorry to hear of your crash, glad you are OK though. I personally don't believe knobbies belong on the street at all but that is just me. Even when dry a knobbie will lock up way before any street tire.

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This is the very reason I cringe when ever a newbie is told to junk their death wings before finding out what kind of riding they will do. As good as knobbies are off-road...they are just as bad on road as the death wings are off road....and I would personally rather crash on the dirt then on the pavement. You have to be realisitc about your use and ability when selecting the proper tire.

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Glad to hear your ok too but were you driving too fast for the conditions?

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On the other hand, I was riding in some heavy rain with some sport bike types and they were hydroplanning so easily in the runoff. I was able to ride through it much more comfortably with my knobbies. I will say that riding any motorcycle on the street in the rain is not high on my list of things I want to do.

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I dread riding in the rain.

If you've got knobbies, it's like trying to ride home on greased ball bearings.

I always try to wait it out, short of that, I cut way back on speed and stick to side roads. A little common sense and caution will usually solve the problem.

It's just one of the compromises that I'm willing to make.

Waxy

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I wasn't riding too fast. Just keeping up with traffic. But considering I'm on knobbies and it was raining, I guess I was riding a bit faster than I should. But the main reason I had to react so fast was because I was looking behind me to check on my friend. That, and I wasn't familiar with the area, which forced me to make a few quick lane changes to get where I needed to be.

I have been thinking whether or not to keep riding after this crash. I guess I'm lucky I didn't get hurt worst than I did. If I do keep riding, I'm definitely going to a less aggressive tire.

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it's definitely like ice racing the alpinebahn. first thing to remember is DON'T USE THE FRONT BRAKE! second, with just the rearset, your stopping distance is way long, so go easy. ride as if you are on sand-covered hard pack and a highside is eminent if you touch the front brake. third thing to remember, get comfy with powersliding. know when to chop it to bring the back end behind you. take your corners a gear higher and let it lug, stay up on the saddle and treat the pavement like a dirt road when it's wet, prepare to carve. i can ride at high speeds on wet pavement but i stay cocked, levered up, weight on the pegs, pulling on the bars, finger off the front brake lever. you can't ride for long like this but you can get from a to b in foul weather. realize that on knobs, you'll be faster on a nice muddy dirt road so get off the pavement when you can. put your bike in it's preferred element or put the death wings back on. the d-wings are great for wet tarmac.

back roads are a good suggestion all the time, wet or dry, day or night.

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Sorry to hear of your misadventure and hope you heal fast :applause: It is always a compromise of some sort on a dual purpose bike it seems. I know when it first starts raining before it has time to "flush" the pavement it is extremely slick. When you think of the contact area of a knobby on the street you really don't have much surface down. I currently run and MT 21 rear and a Bridgestone up front and they work fair on the road and fair off-road but a compromise at best. I came home in the rain last night and as soon as I hit pavement and felt it squirm once I slowed way down. I fall down off-road but try to avoid pavement "get-offs" at all cost. Good health and safe travels... :eek: Glad you had your gear on 🙂

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WoodButcher,

We live in the same area.

I know about the rains you are referring to, and have been in many of them myself. They are not for beginners and can overwhelm about any bike/tire.

I felt the knobs were better hooked up in hard rain than my sportbikes ever were. I realize this is just a feeling.

I recently switched to the Pirelli MT90 Scorpion. They are not stellar off-road, but they work much better than it looks like they would.

But, in the rain on windy roads (live east of the city on a rural highway) the Scorps have worked fine all the way across the board and I have never had a problem.

Like you, I would avoid the rain, but you know there are days when it shows up unexpectedly and you have to play the hand you are dealt.

Keep the rubber-side down.

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Another thing to remember is the centre portion of the lane will be the worst.

Engine oil from cars tends to drip in the middle of the lane, especially at stop lights/signs.

Ride safe, so you can ride another day.

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Its the first rain that got you. All that oil comes out of the road. You have to keep huge distances behind the other cars in the rain especially with the knobbies.... On dry asphalt if you throw your weight up front and hit those front brakes you can stop pretty damn fast even with knobs.

Anyways dont let it phase you. Only makes you a better rider and less accident prone in the future. :applause:

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At least you didn't hit the car.... I hope.... :applause: since we are an advice driven group of riders. lol

Here is my 2 yen, I ride in the rain quite a bit. with knobs, deathwings, and now my new 208SM tires. It rains all the damn time here. when ever I have the chance I test my traction limits, esp. brakes. empty parking lots in the rain can be a blast! Way I see it the more I practice hooliganing... It will be reflex when I need it. I still have slid across the black top several times... :eek:

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I grew up on the oregon coast, if I didn't ride in the rain I'd never get to ride. Yes the first rain after a dry spell is extremly slick. The center of the lane and the area around all stop signs/lights also become very slick. The road markings, no matter if paint or glued on are also real hazards when wet. The outside half of the lane also tends to pick up a bunch of crap that for some reason seems to stay on the road longer when it is wet.

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The problem with Texas if you ride the roads I do, the roads can slick even when dry cause the chip and seal used on many roads, that tar from the heat comes up like bubbling crude, can be slick enough dry, it gets rained on very slick.

Never been down on the street, but I can attest that smooth street can vary quite a bit on traction.

Every try running down Shiney Yellow center line in rainstorms about 70mph , you can feel that tire just skirmming for traction. :applause::eek:

Sorry to hear J went down, did the bike have good mirrors on it?

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Sorry to hear that you went down. Glad that you were not hurt more.

I hope that you'll be up and scooting around on your DR-Z (repaired) in no time!

Take care.

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WoodButcher,

We live in the same area.

I know about the rains you are referring to, and have been in many of them myself. They are not for beginners and can overwhelm about any bike/tire.

I felt the knobs were better hooked up in hard rain than my sportbikes ever were. I realize this is just a feeling.

I recently switched to the Pirelli MT90 Scorpion. They are not stellar off-road, but they work much better than it looks like they would.

But, in the rain on windy roads (live east of the city on a rural highway) the Scorps have worked fine all the way across the board and I have never had a problem.

Like you, I would avoid the rain, but you know there are days when it shows up unexpectedly and you have to play the hand you are dealt.

Keep the rubber-side down.

Yeah, on the wet roads that trip I was very careful. The road tired bikes definitely were in better shape. What suprised me was how they were when it was running down the road. Part of it I think was rear wheel traction and throttle control too. Those bigger engined bikes had to be very careful not to spin. I was in much better shape in the less than 15mph speeds than they were.

I was not in that sort of rain by choice and we did sit the rest of it out once we got to a restaurant.

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I borrowed my dad's KLR650 for my motorcycle endorsement test. DOT knobbies, and taller than stock gearing wasn't such a great combo. I rode it into town (he lives in the sticks in southern Oregon), and as I was waiting for the DMV guy, it started to rain. It was actually pretty funny, and he was as lienient as he could be, but there was no way in hell I was going to pass the test in the rain. I failed, and acted like I was waiting for somebody to ride the bike back home, then as he went inside the DMV I left. The ride home wasn't too bad, but it was the first time I'd ever rdden in the rain on pavement. Fortunately, it was all on unpopulated country roads, so I could be a careful as I needed to be.

At least I didn't drop the bike.

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The best thing about OEM TrailWings is IMO they are one of the best street tires in average rain conditions. That's why I've kept them on my street wheels. I use a second set of wheels with knobbies for off road.

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