Don’t let the rains dampen your biking spirit. There’s fun to be had and stuff to be learnt about staying upright in slippery conditions with BIKE India’s wet weather riding guide

Rain hampers visibility on the road while riding a bike to a great extent and makes the task a very risky one. It is not just about you having an idea of what’s where on the road while riding, but you also need to be visible to other riders and drivers to prevent yourself from turning into a hit and run victim. Visibility in low light and hazy conditions can be ensured by checking if your bike’s headlights are working properly. Headlamps, especially the non-halogen type, have a tendency of conking out in wet conditions. To be on the safer side, always carry an extra unit on long distance trips. To ensure that you are visible to other road users, the blinkers and the tail lamp of your bike should function properly. Use helmets and jackets with a lining of radium for easy detection in dark conditions. There is also a probability of mud flying from the tyres of other vehicles, sticking to your bike’s headlamp and deteriorating its illuminating capabilities is very high in the monsoons. Make sure you wipe the headlamp glass frequently to keep the road ahead bright and visible. The same holds true for your helmet visor.

Although the front brake is effective in the dry, sufficient traction is not available at the front tyre on slippery streets. Slamming on the front brakes is a sure-fire way to end up with a seriously nasty skid in a downpour. If you use only the bike’s front brakes, you can lock up the front tyre resulting in a slide. The trick is to use both, the front and rear brakes, at the same time while relying more on the rear brakes. Use your index and middle finger to squeeze the brake lever gradually while simultaneously applying gentle pressure on the rear brake. If you need to brake harder, do it progressively in short incremental steps. Keep in mind that stopping distance increases in the wet compared to dry conditions. Hence, plan further ahead and leave a larger gap between your bike and the vehicle up front.

The biggest problem with riding in a heavy downpour is visibility due to rain on the visor. With the visor completely open, raindrops hit your face like bullets making it impossible to keep your eyes open. On the other hand, if the visor is shut completely, your vision is hampered due to the formation of an uneven and translucent layer of water that forms on it due to the deluge. If your visor mounts are tight enough, keep it half open and use it as a hood against the incessant rain splatter.

The humidity in the air increases significantly in the monsoons. While breathing inside a closed helmet, the rider’s warm breath comes in contact with the cold atmospheric temperature and condenses into tiny water droplets that form a layer of mist on the visor. Use an anti mist spray to help reduce the formation of fog on the visor. If there are ventilator slots on your helmet, keep them open. Fresh air will keep the visor mist free. In case your helmet does not have ventilators, keep the visor slightly open to allow air to pass through.

Understanding exactly how much grip is available on a slick surface is a primary concern for most riders as the monsoons begin. Keep in mind that the bike’s tyres lose traction in the wet. Since rain water reduces the grip of the bike on the road, ensure that your bike is fitted with a good set of rubbers with grooves that are deep enough to disperse the water. If you ride a high capacity bike and have enough dough, you can opt for grippier, minimum 2mm tread depth tyres but for most commuter motorcycles, tyres with a straight central spinal tread work just fine. It goes without saying that balding tyres are a complete no-no.


Stagnant water bodies on the road are one of the most dangerous areas to ride over. By no means can anyone determine what lies beneath those puddles of muddy water. If you are lucky enough, it can be just a normal patch of grainy, grippy tarmac or there could be a thick layer of algae which would deny any traction to your bike’s tyres. In the worst case scenario, it could even turn out to be a three feet wide and eight feet deep manhole with its mouth wide open to trap you and your motorcycle in it.

At times, there is no other option but to go over such stagnant bodies of water. In such conditions, care should be taken that you don’t splash water all over the place as it has its own hazards. Entering a puddle too fast creates a lot of water resistance. In case you are unable to tackle this opposite force, you might end up losing your balance and falling off the bike. Entering such puddles at excessively higher speeds can result in aquaplaning, depriving you of any and all control and making you fly over the road in no time. Lateral thinking allows us to think of other hazards like a group of rogues bashing you up for anointing them with slush and mud. After going over stagnant water, it is advisable to ride the bike for a few meters with the brakes pressed so that the water dries off from the front disc and the rear drum/disc.


1. Regular Service
Make sure your bike is well maintained before the downpour starts by getting it serviced. This in turn will prevent any issues from cropping up once it rains. Oil change, carburetor cleaning, chain lubrication and air filter cleaning should be done from time to time for avoiding any kind of basic problems with the bike. Keep a check on all the electricals and brake pads.

2. Check the electricals
The bike’s electricals play a very important part in tricky wet conditions as well as while riding in low light. You should always ensure that the headlamp, the tail lamp and the blinkers are working perfectly. In case of old bikes, reflective surfaces inside the headlamp and tail lamp should be changed since they fail to project a bright beam of light.

3. Corrosion of tank
In case of minor accidents and scratches, the paint from the tank of the bikes tends to chip off. The exposed area from this chipped off paint attracts corrosion and destroys the metal. It is always better to get paint touch-ups done before rains to avoid this kind of damage to the bike.

4. Prevention from rust
The various nuts and bolts that are exposed to air and water tend to rust due to moisture. The use of WD40 spray is highly recommended to protect rusting of bolts. Care should be taken that the metal parts underneath the bike are also sprayed with the WD40 spray.

5. Seat maintenance
The bike’s seat should be checked for even minor cuts. In case there are any, get them fixed as soon as possible. It is recommended that you use a seat cover over the regular seat to avoid direct cuts to the seat. The slightest rip can let the rain water seep in and damage the sponge inside the seat. Once wet, it is quite difficult to dry the sponge thoroughly.

6. Keep it above the water
Be very cautious while riding through deep water. Most importantly, the opening of the exhaust pipe should always be above the water level.

7. Tyre Check
Tyres provide your bike with all the traction and grip required. It is very important to keep a check on the condition of the tyres during the rains. The grip available in wet conditions is less and if the tyre is worn out, then the situation becomes even worse. Make sure that the grooves on the tyre are in perfect shape. Also, keep a check on the tyre tread which should ideally be between 2.0-2.5 mm. We advice you to buy a set of good quality tyres for your bike instead of settling for the cheaper ones.


Bike India Team – who has written posts on Bike India.

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