Wet Weather Riding - Mackenzie's Quick Tips

Niall Mackenzie is a master at riding in wet conditions. Here are his quick tips to help you stay upright

By Niall Mackenzie on Wed, 13 Oct 2010 - 02:10

The key is to keep it smooth and do everything upright. Get your braking done while you're upright, accelerate when you're upright and on the big, fat bit of the tyre. And you've got to be relaxed. Quite often you find that people who are fast in the dry aren't really relaxed while they're doing it, and they can't ride well in the wet. It makes a huge difference.

I like to short-shift in the wet, keeping the revs down. It works for me, and I guess it's something I learned back on the 500 GP bikes. You had to short-shift those in the wet or you wouldn't get anywhere, you'd just wheelspin. A taller gear was the only way forward. I used to think that racers in the twilight of their careers always went well in the wet. I've no idea why but it often seemed to be the case. Well, it certainly was with me...

I always used to soften everything off in the wet, three or four clicks off compression and rebound damping front and rear, and a bit off the preload. You're not pushing the bike so hard so that way you keep the weight transfer, it makes the tyres work and gives a lot of feel for them. Most modern road tyres are really good in the wet - things like BT014s and Pilot Roads work really well, but you still need to get temperature into them and it can take six or seven miles to do that.

Fast & Smooth

  • Shortshifting through the gearbox gives the rear tyre a much easier time of it - and you're less likely to lose grip
  • Keep the balls of your feet on the pegs and move around fluidly.
  • No sudden moves or snatched changes either
  • It's important to relax in the dry, even more so on the wet. If you're stiff and tense, that's just how the bike will feel
  • Nice and easy on the gas, Rodney - roll that throttle on gently. Go easy on that front brake lever too, smoothly does it
  • Chop the throttle for whatever reason and you load the front tyre. Keep driving forward and the weight stays off

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