Riding a dirt bike in the rain sounds like a scary thought. Is it possible? Can you do it safely or will the engine seize up?
Generally speaking, dirt bikes can be ridden in the rain without any impact on the engine or electrics. The electronic sensors and wiring are well sealed by most manufacturers such as KTM, Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki so dirt bike riders can feel safe and rely on their motorcycle to keep going, even in muddy conditions.
We should remember that in Australia, many people do creek crossings in their motorcycles with their bikes typically starting up first-try after being submerged deep in water.
Riding Dirt Bikes in the Rain
One of the main dangers, or at least concerns for the rider, is slipping. Dirt bike tires are designed for grip on gnarly rocks and sandy tracks which are dry. When things get wet, then the track gets quite interesting.
Additionally, riding a dirt bike on the road when it’s raining can be quite dangerous. With oil on the bitumen, riders with dirt-orientated tyres may feel a sense of aquaplaning and loss of traction when on the tracks.
This is where accidents are likely to happen and around other traffic which can be stressful. Therefore, we couldn’t recommend riding in the rain on highways and suburban areas. Simply pull over like other motorcycles do and wait for the bad weather to pass before continuing on.
Riding and Racing
Dirt bike races aren’t typically cancelled simply if it starts raining. While it’s more slippery, it also makes for great entertainment for the spectators!
If you’re in the backcountry and get caught in a storm, then we wouldn’t be too worried. Most dirt bike riders don’t forecast the weather and simply ride rail, hail or shine!
Some things we can recommend dirt bike riders for wet weather riding:
- Water-proof Enduro Jacket. This is popular with adventure riders and there isn’t any reason why a dirt bike rider couldn’t wear one of these for the day. They often come with additional padding and a hydration pack.
- Goretex Boots. These are typically water-proof (with the exception of creek crossings) to help your feet stay dry. It’s the worst feeling when you get water in your boots, so invest in a set of these.
- Water-proof Gloves. Trust us – get some of these! They will stop you from feeling the ‘slosh’ feeling when moving your fingers around leading to more confidence behind the handlebars.
- Full-face Helmet. Leave the MX helmet at home and take a road bike helmet instead which can seal up your face from the impending wind and rain. Open-face dirt bike helmets with goggles simply let too much water in and your shirt will be soaked in no time.
- Waterproof Enduro Pants. If you really want to nail it with your gear, get a set of these. They are heavier and certainly more expensive than dirt bike trousers, but certainly worth the price.
Now – keep in mind that just about everything will get muddy and dirty during this process. This is especially disheartening when you have brand new gear that you’ve been trying to keep clean. Even your road-bike helmet is going to need a cleanout…but at least you had fun out there on the trails!
Don’t let some drops outside stop you from a fun day out there on the tracks. Remember: many others will be huddled up at home so you’ll have many of these riding destinations to yourselves.
If people can ride their dirt bikes in snow, then riding in the rain shouldn’t be any trouble at all. Get yourself out there!