The summer sun is quickly giving away to cold and wet weather. But that doesn't mean your dirt bike takes the season off.
Actually, rain offers some of the best dirt bike riding anywhere though do expect to get a bit muddy. Riding in the rain also requires some preparation. You might want to change out some of your regular riding gear and get your bike ready to handle the conditions effectively.
Some tracks may close but for the most part you can ride dirt bikes in the rain just about anywhere. In fact, the most memorable Motos for many riders tend to be the ones in the rain when the mud covers the bike wheel to wheel and rider from helmet to boots.
In the mud, you'll need lots of momentum, all the time, to avoid getting stuck and preventing your front end from sticking. It's very easy to burn out your engine especially when mud blankets the radiator. In wet, rather than muddy conditions, working your clutch and laying off a bit on the throttle helps keep you upright and under control.
Personal preference and rider ability play a big part in handling the wet weather. Depending on the conditions, throttle and clutch control probably rank #1 and #2, respectively, on need-to-know especially in a mud bath. If rain is your primary obstacle and mud is secondary, then riding the correct tires is key.
The following tips for riding dirt bikes in the rain are not exhaustive. As you'll see it's not all about how to ride in the rain either. Riding skill aside, if you don't prepare yourself and your bike for the elements when riding in the rain don't expect too much seat time.
Bring Extra Gear
You're going to get wet. But if you're racing Motos waiting around between races in cold, wet gear is less than ideal. Think of it this way, if other riders can slip into some dry gear and relax a bit while you slosh around in wet, frigid gear - who do you think is most likely to win the next holeshot?
Bring a Dry Bag... or Two
One dry bag which is really a gear bag stored in your truck or trailer is for your second set of gear but also to carry a change of clothes for the ride home. For trail riders, a second dry bag takes on a different meaning. Dry bags go with you for the ride and carry all the stuff you need on the trail but don't want wet. Many off-roaders find Giant Loop's dry bag a must-have.
Wear Roll Off Goggles
The popular tear-off goggle design is a no-go when it comes to riding in the rain. Water tends to find the tightest of openings and each layer of tear-off is sure to get wet. Think of riding with a tear-off system in the rain like driving a car in the rain without using windshield wipers. The roll-off goggle system simply works best in rainy and muddy conditions. If buying a set of goggles is not in your budget, you might try using Rain-X on your goggles. We have no first-hand knowledge if it works but many car owners swear by its effectiveness in sheeting rain off windshields without the need for windshield wipers.
Use a Vented Goggle Lens
The vented goggle lens or the dual pane goggle lens won't fog up like traditional lenses and believe us - fogging is a big issue when riding in the rain. You can get away without using a vented lens but having one sure makes a big difference and helps prevent interruptions to your ride and makes visibility decent.
Depending on the conditions you might need to change out your tires for something that can handle the mud. Much like riding on sand dunes without the proper tire you'll just get, well, stuck in the mud! Serious grip is needed and we'd recommend either the Artrax TG4 tire or the Dunlop Geomax.
Some beefy tires there and look how "flat" that rear tire is
Tire pressure is also a key factor and often comes with experience. In most cases you'll ride on softer tires because less air means more grip. Depending on your weight and the type of tire used, you'll need to adjust the air pressure as you ride for optimum performance.
Use Spray-On Pre-Treatment
Riding in the rain does not necessarily mean raising the white flag to mud. Brown muck is actually part of the fun, however, too much bogs you down, overheats the engine and makes post-riding clean-up a serious project. Give your dirt bike engine some relief and make clean-up a bit easier by using pre-ride treatment like Maxima SC1 spray. The slick protective coating prevents mud from caking up underneath your fenders and makes clean-up a breeze.
Looks like Joey Savagty used some pre-ride treatment
Post Ride Clean-up
Hopefully, you took our advice and sprayed your bike with a pre-ride treatment before your day in the rain. You'll be thankful you did. Regardless, you have some work ahead of you. Get the mud off your bike as soon as possible. You may find washing your bike after a day in the rain more gratifying than on a dry day because of how clean it looks within a few minutes of turning on the power washer. For tips and tricks to cleaning your dirt bike, check out our Dirt Bike Cleaning Tips & Tricks guide!
Clean those boots!
Furthermore, clean your gear! Most importantly, get your boots and helmet clean and dry. We'd recommend adding a boot and helmet dryer to your Motocross gear collection if you don't have one already. They're not terribly expensive and make a huge difference in eliminating odors and sustaining longevity. The PEET Helmet Dry Port Adapter is a good option which works with the PEET Advantage Boot Dryer. The cheap and not so dirty method is to use your regular clothes dryer at home ONLY if a rack is used where items can be placed on top and not tumbled around.
Like your first time on the dirt bike don't expect to master riding in the rain you're first time out. In many respects, it's like learning to ride all over again. Know your limitations and don't take unnecessary risks. Slipping and sliding, under control, can be fun but when the weather gets the best of you and your dirt bike then a fun day riding in the rain can be your last for a while.