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Motorbike Waterproofs - 10 tips for choosing the best rain gear

Motorcycle Waterproof Rain Suit

Rain suits are not all the same, and different ones are designed for all types of bad weather. Some are fine for coping with an unexpected rain shower on a Sunday afternoon and others are designed specifically for downpours while on the most demanding race tracks. If you’re thinking of using your motorcycle waterproofs for scuba diving, swimming in a cold mountain lake or riding a jet ski to the North Pole, you should stop reading here and consider another review website. On the other hand, if you’re looking for tips on choosing quality and reliable motorbike waterproof gear for touring, then this section is just for you! Here are few things you should consider when shopping around for your next rain gear.

1. Work out your budget

Motorcycle waterproof gear can cost anything from £10 to several hundreds of pounds. The cheapest overalls are available from any outdoor store, but specialist motorbike waterproofs can be found in specialist dealerships and motorbike clothing shops.

There are options to suit all motorcycle touring requirements without breaking the bank. We find that with a budget of around £75 you can get a good quality rain suit which will last for years and keep you dry on all your motorcycle journeys. Work out how much you can spend first as that will impact most of the choices below.

2. Choose the right option: full vs. two-piece rain suit

When it comes to choosing your motorbike waterproof gear, the first step is to decide which type of rain suit matches your needs best. Motorcycle rain suits come mainly in three categories: one-piece or full rain suit, two-piece rain suit and race rain jackets and trousers. Here’s a breakdown of what these categories mean:
  • Full or one-piece rain suits: These are is often cheaper and are seen as being more waterproof, although in reality the two-2 piece system works just as well. A one-piece suit can be a burden to put on, especially when you are in hurry under a bridge. It’s also less versatile than the jacket and the pant option. However, it is a more economic option.
  • Two-piece rain suits: These are the Twisty Ride favourite. We’ve ridden thousands and thousands of miles under the rain ,sometimes under heavy mountain storms, and the two-piece suit has never failed to keep us dry and protected from the wind. It’s a very versatile option as you don’t have to wear the full suit all the time – the separate trousers and jacket mean you can mix and match. More importantly, having an independent motorcycle waterproof jacket means that its usefulness expands beyond the realms of mere rain protection: it can now be used to fight a light rain without the burden of having to wear rain trousers, or to add another layer of protection in the cold of the winter.
  • Race rain jackets: Practicality is key when it comes to enjoying a motorcycle trip, and it pays to consider waterproof clothing very carefully. Although race rain jackets have a tighter fit and are secured to the trousers, these are not helpful features in the motorbike touring world. They are just too difficult and time-consuming to put on quickly when parked on the side of a busy road when a sudden downpour arrives.

best motorbike rain suit

motorcycle 2-piece rain suit

3. Getting the size right

To start with, getting the size of you motorbike rain suit right will help you keep the water out and your stomach in. To be comfortable you need to take your position on the bike into account . This means you need longer sleeves for your arms and more space for your shoulders. If you’re wearing a two-piece suit, it should also be long enough to cover the gap between the pants and the jacket – having water drip down your lower back and bum is not pleasant! Collars should be high enough to reach the inside of your helmet to ensure there is no gap between the helmet and the jacket for the water to pour in and trickle down your neck. Make sure your rain suit  is big enough to goover cold-weather riding gear but not too big it makes you look like the Michelin man!

The foot entry must be generous enough to allow you to slip into your trousers without having to remove your boots, but not so big that they let in the breeze while you’re riding. If the hole is too small or the elastic too tight you might find yourself rolling around on the side of the road while putting on your rain suit.

It’s best to get a jacket with adjustable fittings to ensure a tight fit. Wrist and ankle closures should have different settings to prevent the water coming in. Having additional external compression straps at the arms, chest and waist will help keep the suit tight so that you are protected from the weather without being too bulky, which can affect handling.

4. Watch out with the zippers

Have you ever tried to close the zip of your pants while wearing mittens? Opening and closing your rain jacket with motorbike gloves on relates to the same art.  When choosing your motorcycle rain gear, take a moment to consider the type of zipper. The best ones are heavy duty to resist the wind, with strong opening and closing operations for if it gets stuck where it shouldn’t. It’s also practical if the zipper can be operated with gloves, so look for a big zipper pull that you can grab with gloved fingers. Make sure the zipper is protected by a waterproof textile flap to prevent the wind from blowing through the zipper teeth.

5. Naughty Velcro

Watch out with the Velcro! True story - my first rain suit destroyed the buckles of my helmet, not good! The buckles got stuck in the Velcro of the collar while I was riding - every time I was moving my head, the Velcro was ripping a bit more of the buckles. At the time, I was out in the mountains, so I just had to put up with it, but the damage was quickly done and by the time I was able to buy a new waterproof jacket, I had to get a new helmet as well. A very expensive mistake! .
However, Velcro is important as it helps to keep the waterproof flaps which cover the zippers in place while riding at speed. To avoid ripping buckles, make sure the gripping part of the Velcro  - that’s the rought bit not the fluffy one – is fixed on the flap not the jacket itself. This means that if it does come loose it is not rubbing on other important bits.

6. Reflective material: safety first

Staying visible is key, especially in poor weather when the visibility is greatly reduced. Waterproof motorcycle clothing is not just about keeping you dry – it also helps you stay safe when it’s difficult to see the roads. One of the main causes of motorbike accidents is that other drivers don’t see you, so help yourself be seen by choosing waterproof motorcycle clothing with bright colours and reflective material. These will help other road users notice your presence, even when the rain makes everything else look grey and dreary.

motorcycle waterproof jackets

7. Ventilate, but don't get wet

Size matters… when it comes to vents of course. But here, smaller is better. It’s good to have the option to open the vent for warmer summer storms and close them when the rain is a bit icy, or just to stop wind from getting inside your waterproofs.  As with zips, vents should be easy to open with gloves but not flap around in the wind.

8. Ride in comfort under the rain

Being comfortable on the bike is a must, particularly on long rides or in wet, cold conditions. There’s nothing worse than getting soaked to the core and having a numb bum when you still have miles to go. On stormy and cloudy days it’s well worth having a neck warmer or thermal undergarments to give you that added layer for warmth and dryness. These can help stop the cold, damp air getting in and can make all the difference.

Consider the material used in all your motorcycle clothing very carefully. Breathable material is bit more expensive than material that is non-breathable, but worth the cost. If the material is non-breathable you’re going to get real hot real soon and start sweating like a roasted piglet even if the outside temperature is less than 10°C. Breathable allows the air to circulate better, keeping you cool when it’s sunny and warm when it’s not.

One of the best nice-to-have items, which becomes a must-have if you ride hours under the rain (so any UK biker then!), is a comfy lining around the neck to prevent skin irritations. As you ride you move your head constantly – checking behind before you overtake, looking round corners, turning to signal a fellow biker and so on. All this can make your collar rub, so an extra lining or scarf can work wonders. In fact, the lining throughout a waterproof suit should be soft and provide comfort and support without bulkiness or restriction. A fine mesh will help regulate temperature and can also make the rain suit easier to put on and take off.

motorbike waterproof ride under the rain

 

9. Pocket matters

Make sure you get at least one waterproof inner pocket to hold your essential items such as passport, credit card, mobile phone or wallet. Outer pockets are not very useful if they don’t have a flap over the zipper to ensure the water does not come in! The last thing you want is soggy money or a waterlogged phone when you get to your destination.

10. Style is everything

Style is everything, particularly  if you’re planning a motorbike trip to Italy. Pulling up to a posh hotel or trendy café looking like you’ve been through a hedge is not going to impress the fashion conscious and generally good looking locals.

So think about looks, but only after you have considered safety and comfort.