Ask RideApart: Wet Weather Gear

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Category: Ask RideApart

It’s a fact of life. If you’re going to ride a motorcycle you are going to get rained on and you are going to get wet. So what should you look for when choosing gear that is not too bulky, that fits well and doesn’t leak?

Question:

My first ride was this weekend on the CB500X. There is still snow on the ground where I was, but the weather was warm and I needed the ride! It was fantastic. Thanks for the advice almost a year ago!

Any advice on decent rain gear that doesn't balloon up and fits over my riding jacket? One piece or two-piece?

Again, many many thanks.

Tyler S.

Answer:

Hi Tyler

Thanks for the question. There’s no real or right answer to this as it all depends on the budget you have, the style you’re looking for and what works for you. The most important thing is that whatever you choose, keeps you dry, is easy to put on and take off and doesn’t impede your riding.
There are some things to bear in mind when looking for a motorcycle rain suit. The fit should be loose so it fits easily over your regular riding gear. (An exception is wet weather gear made for wearing over race leathers. This has to be as tight as possible so that the high speeds don’t cause it to balloon up or add drag.)
Sleeves on rain jackets and the legs of rain pants should cover your wrists and ankles when in the riding position. This helps prevent rainwater from getting in between your gloves and jacket cuffs and the area between boots and the pant hems. The back of a wet weather suit is also elongated to protect the waist area. Most importantly, none of it should be binding in a way that will interfere with controlling your motorcycle. But it also shouldn’t be too loose and flapping around in the wind and rain when you ride.

Most wet weather riding gear is designed to be very easy to put on and take off. Bear in mind when looking for a new rain suit that sizing is typically slightly larger so the gear fits over your every day riding apparel. The idea is to pull off the road and change into or out of rain gear quickly. Whatever you decide on, the important thing is to try it on and check that it works for you. Ideally, if you can do this on a bike so much the better as you’ll get a much better idea of it’s going to work for you.

Tour Master Elite Series 2 Rain Suit

The Tour Master Elite Series II One-Piece Rainsuit is a good place to start. It’s rugged, well made and should last you a good long time. At $109 it’s not going to break the bank either. The Elite features a polyurethane-backed heavy-duty nylon shell with sealed seam construction, a collar-to-fly-length main zipper with dual wind flap and Velcro closure, an “Aqua-Barrier” under-the-helmet hood to help prevent rain water getting into the collar area (it can be stowed away in a hidden collar pocket), and there’s polyester mesh lining to help with air circulation.

There are also a chest map pockets with waterproof zippers, plus there’s a thigh pocket for additional storage. Underarm grommets help with airflow, along with the ‘Scoop Vent System’, which helps the suit breathe. Scotchlite reflective piping and Tour Master’s signature reflective triangles help increase nighttime visibility. It also has elastic cuffs with Velcro closure at sleeves and pant legs that help keep things tight and a hanging loop is built into the collar for post-ride air-drying.

Rev'It Pacific H20 Rain Suit

Or for a few bucks more, there’s the Rev’It Pacific H2O Rain Suit at $119.99, which we at RideApart like a lot. It folds away when not in use and can be easily stored on a bike if you’ve got bags. Like the Elite, the H2O is a one-piece shell suit that’s been designed to be worn over your existing protective gear. It features an internal waistband, so any rainwater that pools in your lap won’t get in. The waterproof exterior is what Rev’It calls ‘power nylon’ and the inside of the suit features full taped seams with the full length zipper covered by a rain gutter to prevent water getting in.

You also get reflective paneling on the shoulders and lower legs, a micro-fleece liner at the collar and a storage pocket on the left leg. Comes in either black or black/high viz and according to Rev’It is small enough to be folded up and kept in a top case or backpack for when the heavens open and it begins to rain.

If you’re still insistent on having the flexibility of separate jacket and pant combination take a look at the Motopart Aero-Tex Rain Jacket at $169. We’ve recommended this gear before as it has a lot of features for the price.

Aero-Tex Rain Jacket

Using Gore-Tex and other man made breathable materials, the Aero-Tex’s seams are double stitched and sealed from the inside and there are heavy-duty YKK zippers, as well as double flap, Velcro rain gutters to keep the water out. This jacket can also be customized to fit you perfectly, and the Velcro adjustments at the collar, base, and hem all help tailor the fit for specific weather conditions. There’s also a micro-fleece lining and reflective piping and you get a huge range of colors to choose from.

For an additional $99.00 you can also buy the Aero-Tex wet weather pants that go with this jacket. These pants feature a couple of storage pockets on each thigh and an elastic waistband that sits under the jacket. They are made in the same waterproof material as the Aero-Tex jacket and for around $260 for jacket and pants they’re not going to break the bank. However, remember this is a two-piece suit and may not be quite as waterproof as a one-piece. It also doesn’t have any armor and while Aero-Tex suggests that this combination is well ventilated enough you can wear it when it has stopped raining you’ll still need your every day protective gear with armor underneath.

Hope this helps Tyler.

Anyone else got some good suggestions on rain gear and what to look for?

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