Spring showers: choosing the right motorcycle clothes
As Brits, we are pretty used to riding in the rain. No matter the time of the year, the heavens could open and make for slippery tarmac and handling on corners a bit dicey. A sudden downpour is never much fun and especially so when you're on a bike wearing nothing but some hot leathers. It's also quite dangerous.
Institute of Advanced Motorists chief examiner Peter Rodger says: "A suddenly very wet road surface increases the chances of slipping when braking or steering, which is a problem not just for motorists, but cyclists and motorcyclists too.
"When driving in wet conditions remember that stopping distances will increase, and visibility will be reduced. Drop your speed and give yourself more time to slow down."
But aside from the problems of controlling your machine in the wet, a sudden deluge can also bring an uncomfortable clothing situation. Wet leathers are never fun and as for anyone riding in jeans, well, there's no need to go into that particular topic here, but it is plainly not a good idea on any day of the year.
Suffice to say, some good waterproof motorcycle clothing is the answer to an enjoyable spot of touring, particularly at this time of year.
What to wear?
In 2009, Top Gear's James May said: "Waterproofing is still in its infancy, so the idea that a man can be kept dry in a 70mph driving headlong squall is ridiculous."
Dainese has been working hard since then, however, and has come up with a top-class range of wet weather motorcycle clothing.
One-pieces are a great option as they won't let in any rain between your jacket and trousers. If you don't mind pulling on a "onesie", then it's definitely a useful catch-all item of clothing for a wet day.
The Hogan one-piece waterproof is a good all-rounder. Made by Dainese, this suit comes with its own belted carry case, making it easy to take on journeys just-in-case. It's really easy to pull on over your main riding gear and comes with a calf zip, front opening to the knee, and waist and wrist adjustments. The suit is lined, but its lightness means it dries nice and quick.
Of course, some people prefer to wear a two-piece outfit. The Dublin packable jacket and trousers are ideal. They are waterproof, light and breathable and can be packed away into the most compact of luggage. The jacket has neck, wrist and waist adjustments and two waterproof outer pockets, while the trousers feature a drawstring waist and calf adjustments.
Just as important are your hands and feet, which like the rest of you need to stay dry. It's also vital for gloves not to slip on wet handlebars, as this can lead to a loss of control.
Dainese offers the Contact X-Trafit GTX glove, which has been designed so you won't lose grip on the handlebars. Contact is ensured with X-Trafit technology where a Gore-Tex membrane is glued directly onto the palm to avoid the internal padding slipping when the hand is twisting.
For feet, you should check out the TRQ-Tour Gore-Tex boot, from Dainese, which offers the practicality of a touring boot with the technology found in a sports boot. Calf adjustments and D-stone fabric keeps everything comfortable, while a breathable waterproof Gore-Tex membrane keeps toes warm and dry.
They boast the D-Axial ankle anti-twist system, which stops the ankle from over-twisting in the event of an accident.
All this kit is not going to stop you coming off in the event of a sudden downpour, but it will certainly help to keep your focus on the road and the conditions rather than your wet bottom on the seat.