Café racer motorcycles were designed to look flashy and move fast. A staple of the rocker and ton-up boy subcultures of the 1950s and 60s, these stripped-back bikes were all the rage, and they’ve never gone out of style. With their timeless good looks, café racer motorcycles look and feel good to ride any time and any place– even in the rain, they’re not too bad.
Australia is a place where the weather can be wild. Thunderstorms and other major weather events are regular occurrences. Many motorbike riders avoid riding their motorcycles in the rain completely, eager to avoid poor visibility, slippery streets and cold trickles of water down their backs.
Is it safe to ride a motorcycle in the rain? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. While there’s no hard and fast level of intensity that determines when you should stop, things like visibility, road conditions, wind and your own skill are all factors to consider. If it’s a thunderstorm, you should pull over immediately because a motorbike attracts lightning.
Apart from the safety issues, another question that may be on your mind is, ‘Is rain bad for a motorcycle?’ Will getting caught in too many downpours damage or rust your bike beyond repair, and how do you prevent water damage?
Luckily, you can safely get through a spot of heavy rain just by following a few tips. Take these suggestions on board, and you’ll be able to maintain both the classic custom look of your bike and the satisfying feel of it in action.
Tips for Riding Your Cafe Racer in the Rain
Here are some of the main tips to remember when you’re riding your motorcycle in the rain to keep you and your motorcycle safe:
Get the right gear
Before you set foot on your motorcycle in the wet, it’s important to make sure you have the proper riding apparel. Try wearing a rain suit (either a two-piece or one), a helmet and gloves. High-vis or bright colours may not look as good as classic black clothes, but they’re much easier for other motorists to spot. Waterproof boots that cover your ankles are ideal to make sure your feet don’t get wet. You’ll also need a full-face helmet, as even the lightest drops of rain will feel like daggers on your face when you’re travelling over 60km/h.
Your helmet should have a clear shield rather than a tinted one, as the road before you will be darkened enough by the rain and overcast sky. If your helmet includes an anti-fog visor, all the better.
Lastly, on this point, make sure your gear doesn’t interfere with your ability to ride in any way (e.g. gloves so bulky that pressing controls is uncomfortable).
Adjust your riding habits
This is the time to ride in a more conservative fashion. Of course, you should be careful at the best of times, but taking it easy is especially crucial in the rain. Especially during the first 15 minutes, when the rain mixes with your oil, brake fluid, grease, etc. and spends some time on your bike’s surface before draining away. Extra caution is a must if you want to safely ride a motorcycle in the rain.
Slow and steady is the answer to everything when you’re riding your motorcycle in the rain. From cornering to braking, anything you do too fast or too jerkily can send you skidding out of control in the wet. Although it’s not good for either tyre to slip out of place, losing control of the front tyre is even worse than the back one.
Watch out for anything that’s shiny or reflecting colours back at you. It’s likely to be an oil slick, a puddle, a painted road line or something else that isn’t your friend when you’re riding your motorcycle in the rain.
Leave a larger distance between yourself and the vehicle you’re following so that if they come to a sudden halt, you can safely stop in time.
Stay alert at intersections
A place to be wary of at the best of times, an intersection gets even more dangerous in the rain. One of the most common hazards is motorists who aren’t paying as much attention as you are, so approach with caution and limit the amount you lean. Watch out for nasty surprises – in fact, that’s good advice wherever you are.
Pay extra attention to your surroundings
It’s always better to be alert, but riding a motorcycle in the rain calls for some extra diligence. Even things that are relatively harmless in drier conditions, like manhole covers and fallen leaves, can be dangerously slippery when they’re wet. Keep your eyes peeled, relax your hands on the handlebars and don’t lean any more than you have to.
Choose the right tyres
One way to help make sure it is safe to ride a motorcycle in the rain is to buy a good pair of tyres with good tread. Buying a decent pair of tyres and maintaining them before you hit the street will make for a far safer ride in the wet.
Is rain bad for a motorcycle? Motorcycles are designed to be used in all kinds of conditions, so riding yours in the rain won’t do any damage. But you should avoid leaving your bike outside in wet weather as too much rain is definitely bad for your motorcycle, causing corrosion and rust over the long term.
Cafe Racer Maintenance Tips After Riding in the Rain
Here are some tips for taking care of your café racer after riding your motorcycle in the rain:
Wipe down your motorbike
Use a clean, dry cloth to remove the water and any debris from your bike.
Check for damage
If you’ve been riding in particularly bad conditions, look out for leaks and any damage to components.
Lubricate all moving parts
After a ride in the rain, your bike is more prone to rusting. Using the right kind of lubricant on your motorcycle will help keep corrosion at bay. Cleaning and polishing the metal surfaces with mild detergent helps to preserve the exterior as well.
Check the electrical components
Making sure the electrical elements on your bike, such as the battery, wiring and connectors, are dry will prevent problems like water infiltrating your engine. Quickly wipe away any damp patches with a dry cloth.
Store your motorcycle in a well-protected area
It’s important to keep your motorbike somewhere it won’t get rained on. If you don’t have a garage or workshop at your disposal, the next best option is a waterproof tarp or motorcycle cover.
Cafe Racer Motorbikes at Mutt Motorcycles
Café racer bikes are motorcycles with a proud history and a rich sense of style. It’s that sense of flair, as well as the stripped-back power and speed, that inspires Mutt Motorcycles to create our own small displacement café racer-style bikes. After all, custom cool is for everyone, whether you’re riding your motorcycle in the rain or sunshine.
If you’re shopping for a motorbike, you’re sure to find something perfect from our collection of 250 motorcycles, such as this tough but classy British bulldog: the Mutt Hilts. Our bikes have a level of glorious detail that’s designed to turn heads, plus a bark that can only come from a hearty exhaust.
If you need more information about our range of bikes or have any questions, drop us a line. We’ll help you find the right motorcycle and make sure it’s a pleasure to ride, whatever the weather brings.