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  #1  
Old 11 Feb 2021
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Choosing the correct waterproof gear.

It's easy to get confused by marketing. So, let me give you my thoughts on the matter.

First, the ratings:
0-5,000 mm No resistance to some resistance to moisture. Light rain, dry snow, no pressure.

6,000-10,000 mm Rainproof and waterproof under light pressure. Light rain, average snow, light pressure.

11,000-15,000 mm Rainproof and waterproof except under high pressure. Moderate rain, average snow, light pressure.

16,000-20,000 mm Rainproof and waterproof under high pressure. Heavy rain, wet snow, some pressure. Think PNW.

20,000 mm+ Rainproof and waterproof under very high pressure. Heavy rain, wet snow, high pressure.

But as I will soon let you know - this really isn't all that important. Yes you get what you pay for, but is the best really the best option?

-----------
Riding a bike under wet conditions hour at end is not like walking in the rain - the speed makes you exposed to very high pressure! If you want to feel confident that your gear is truely waterproof on a long wet ride, only the best will do - and it is really expensive (i.e. GoreTex)! Not only does the "whateveryoucallitbrantypeofbreathablesupertechfab ric" need to wothstand 20.000mm or more to keep you bone dry in heavy rain while riding, the seams that the the clothing manufacturer provides has to be top notch (taped, bonded, etc) with great quality control - really expensive. The seems, zippers and other closings are usually the weakest link, and you get what you pay for here as well. But again, do you really need it to be all that good?

---------
Breathability???
The breathability advertised is a lie! It works in laboratory conditions, but not very well in a biker's world. First off, for it to work the inside of the garment has to be hotter and more humid than the outside. Ideally, you should be sweating like a pig from exerting yourself, on a really cool dry day, with no dense outer layer outsdie the breathable fabric, and with all vents closed up and gaps sinched shut - then the vapor will pass through the fabric! Now, under what type of riding conditions would you actually do that?

Second, in rain, the outer layer of your motorcycle jacket/pant will be drenched by rain which, the inside vapor would have to pass through - effectively reducing the effectiveness of the breathability of the tech. These types of fabrics do come to their own right under conditions where you excert yourself in cooler conditions - hot and sweaty. That however rarely fits with the riding I do - if ever. Most of the time, we just sit there and bite our teeth through all the pins and needles hitting our face - rarely sweating much. And when it is hot and not raining, we open up all the vents.

To add to this, now that you are wet from both the inside and the outside, how long will that jacket take to dry out??? Now you are effectively wearing a vapor-cooler arround your entire body until it has dried out entirely... and under cool humid conditions on days with slow rides, it could take days! Brrrrrr!!!!

The breathability of the garment comes first and foremost from the vents in your garment, not the fabrics. And as these vents are closed up in the rain, what use is it? So, in short - breathability in the rain? Forget about it!

The breathability of the fabricis for when it doesn't rain, and then the vents does like 99% of the job anyways. So, a less waterproof fabric, that offers higher breathability might actually be beneficial (read the section below about alternatives). No sense in speding top dollar then for the most expensive brand of liner? But spending money on great craftmanship on integrating the liner in the garment might still be worth it - somewhat.

Removeable liner?
Removeable liners are cheaper than the stuff that is bonded to the outer layer, which again puts far greater demands on the manufacturer on the garment to get it right (very expensive). The removable liners are marketed for their versatility - in most cases it is BS. With changing climate conditions on a ride - having to stop in the rain, get drenched from the inside while having to take off your outer garment to zip in the liner??? And then having to take off the outer garments once agian to get it out when it clears? Most of us think it too much of h hassle and leave it in unless we ride in areas where it is both hot and the probability of rain in the forseable future is very low - because we may want the wind protection it provides even if it doesn't rain. In my case, the liner only comes out on day-trips where I'm certain the entire day will be warm and dry - or on longer trips where I will be riding in arid regions that hardly ever see rain.

Also, the removeable liner ads bulk...

The alternative
Now, the really good bonded stuff is expensive. I prefer it 90% of the time over the removeable stuff, but find the cost difficult to justify. I'm more adapt to spurge out for it than restrain myself, because I am stupid like that.

A good alternative, and often better, is to buy a garment that will keep you dry in light rain that doesn't last that long. In addition, carry an inexpensive rain suit in your luggage. (Remember, even if the jacket is so good that no water will pass through from the outside - if that outside layer gets drenched, it will cool you down forever). An inexpensive rain suit prevents all this. It keeps you dry and warm, and once the rain stops. This has been my go to option since the very beginning. Even if I now own great gear, I still brake out the rainsuit when it gets really bad. I'm left with the sense that I could have spared myself a lot of money by buying a cheaper jacket/pant, and not miss out on much.



What are your thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 15 Feb 2021
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The technology seems to condense down to a couple of options - leaks like a sieve outer + waterproof inner, or 'boil in the bag' completely waterproof (in both directions). I've got one of each at the moment and I've been soaked from the outside in the former (forgot the inner) and soaked from the inside (wearing it by mistake in the Mojave desert). At least the latter is warm in the winter. You could try 'old skool' waxed cotton. Freezing and leaky in the winter and covers everything in an oil slick in the summer
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  #3  
Old 15 Feb 2021
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I've had EVERY option, and none are perfect! I think it comes down to personal preferences, there is no obvious winner.

The very best I've had for ME, and currently use, is the Rukka suits with removable liners. NEVER been wet inside, and they breathe well enough to not get stinking hot when the liner is out. From riding comfort point of view, I think it's the best option - BUT and it's a BIG BUT - if the weather changes drastically and you suddenly have to put on the rain pant liner - side of the highway sucks big time. Susan REALLY gets twitchy about it! Generally we make out best guess - liner or not - and maybe put in the jacket liner if it gets cold or starts to rain and leave the pants unlined if it doesn't look too bad. Haven't had soaking wet legs yet with that method. As for staying dry - 100% waterproof, ridden for DAYS in massive rain and not a drop inside. So a winner there.

Another option is the Touratech suits - they went the OPPOSITE way - waterproof liner on the OUTSIDE - easy to pull on a waterproof pant and jacket combo, and very very dry as well. And the suit without the outer layer breathes well, similar to the Rukka. BUT - and again, it's a BIG BUT - the outer layers are huge and don't pack well, much bulkier than the Rukka.

So waterproof for both, good ventilation for both, Rukka negative - adding waterproofing at the side of the road sucks, Touratech negative the outers are very bulky.
For the laminated waterproof - non-liner suits, their BIG plus is that you only need to undo a few zips to get ventilation, or close them for waterproofing - so definitely more convenient.

An important comment about Goretex and other similar waterproof fabrics that I think is super important and often not understood:
Goretex (etc.) leaks when it's DIRTY. Virtually ALL the complaints about Goretex leaking is because they're dirty. If you're wearing a suit with laminated Goretex, you're sweating into it on the hot days and clogging the pores with your sweat, which eventually impedes breathability, and provides a wonderful path for water to follow. You're also getting road dirt, mud etc onto it from the outside. IT WILL LEAK. You MUST wash it PROPERLY and regularly to keep it waterproof. Washing must be done correctly and with the right soaps and rinsed thoroughly etc or it will leak WORSE. Follow the instructions CAREFULLY.

The BIG advantage in my mind of the removable inner/outers is that you only wear them when needed, so they only need washing occasionally! That increases the life of them, as they are not getting abused by the washing machine, and they are in better condition and therefor waterproof for much longer before needing washing.

We have also ridden with leathers way back when, and "waterproof" Goretex (and other waterproof fabrics) hiking pants and jackets to put on top when needed. BUT - Hiking rain gear is not as waterproof as motorcycle gear, the fabric is lighter and flaps - a lot, and will eventually leak. DAMHIK. I would not go back - UNLESS I had a decent protective jacket and pants and a super tight budget, and then I'd be sure to get excellent hiking waterproofs, and make sure I had at least a windscreen and preferably a fairing.

And WAY WAY back when, my very first actually WATERPROOF rain suit was a one piece Rukka vinyl suit modified from sailing gear (by Rukka, and designed to be sold to motorcyclists as one of their first motorcycle oriented suits). It was sheer bliss - for the first time ever, dry. Who cares about sweat - I'm DRY! An absolute revelation at the time, when the best was rubber lined junk vinyl work jackets and pants which lasted maybe a month or two in a Vancouver winter - which means a LOT of rain and some snow, and I rode every day.

In the end, you make your choice, you pay your money and live with what you get! And decide you don't like it and try something else next, decide you don't like it and try something else next, and decide you don't like it and try something else next, and...........


---------------
NOTICE: I have been given a couple of Rukka and Touratech suits. NO requirement to say nice things. I originally ran into Rukka again at Intermot years ago, and with my much earlier experience was very interested and asked them what they could do for me. They have been very generous, and I still love their stuff. Touratech was also very generous. I have also paid for many suits over the years. Once upon a time I ran a couple of Outdoor stores, hiking etc gear, and learned a lot about waterproof fabrics. Opinions expressed are very much my own, YMMV.
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  #4  
Old 16 Feb 2021
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
The technology seems to condense down to a couple of options - leaks like a sieve outer + waterproof inner, or 'boil in the bag' completely waterproof (in both directions).
I think this is a fairly accurate assessment, only I can't really ever have noticed that the breathability of the tech actually having done much on a bike - I believe those conditions rarely exist while actually riding. The only thing that really works in that regard is having no waterprotective layer or using your vents. Not having the tech laminated to the outer layer (always on) usually means that when going the alternative route (removable liner), the water protective layer blocks the vents when it is zipped in.

In other words, if it is even remotely hot, and not raining, but you leave a liner in just in case it will rain, or because you can't be bothered with taking it in and out all the time - it will make you wet from the inside, by sweat. If you take it out, and it starts raining - well, you'll get wet real quick as Grant explains - as you have to take off your jacket and pants to get them in.

The sweet spot for when using a removable liner in changing conditions, and still be comfortable, is too narrow I think - at least with everything I have ever owned (My most expensive now is a BMW Rallye III suit).

The convenience of having a removable liner is less than carrying a rain suit, and far less than having a laminated jacket with lots of vents. One could maybe argue that a removable liner that could be worn by itself as a wind breaker/rain jacket could offer an adventure biker versatility that would translate into weight and space savings - but I think that is a stretch when you look at all the cons.

I do agree with grant that a rain suit is bulky, but not crazy. I own a cheap white lable brand that has been indestructible and worked really well for me - in Morocco as well as in Norway. It packs down in it's own bag to the size of a loaf of bread.
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  #5  
Old 16 Feb 2021
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Originally Posted by Wheelie View Post
I do agree with grant that a rain suit is bulky, but not crazy. I own a cheap white lable brand that has been indestructible and worked really well for me - in Morocco as well as in Norway. It packs down in it's own bag to the size of a loaf of bread.
To be clear, the Touratech outer suit is VERY bulky, as it's heavy Cordura suitable for taking a tumble on, in fact as tough as any textile suit riding jacket, and you can expect it to have at least a chance of surviving whereas a "rain suit" will be instantly destroyed on contact with pavement.
A "rain suit" from hiking equipment would be less than half bulk of the Touratech suit. BUT as always the con - not nearly as durable for say off-roading in bad weather and crashing, and very long RTW style trips. Bulky versus durable.
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Old 16 Feb 2021
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Ah, I did not know it was that bulky. Kind of defeats the purpose. Might as well carry two sets of riding gear almost.

True, a typical rain suit will not hold up in a tumble. Gaffs tape would probably carry you over until you could get it replaced.

Camping/trekking gear will likely not stand up to the hours of high water pressure experienced on a bike. Also, I've experienced that water is blown up between the pant and the jacket. Also they flap like you say - but they could tie you over after a tumble. On a very long trip I will usually carry some kind of rain jacket to wear off the bike.
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  #7  
Old 16 Feb 2021
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelie View Post

In other words, if it is even remotely hot, and not raining, but you leave a liner in just in case it will rain, or because you can't be bothered with taking it in and out all the time - it will make you wet from the inside, by sweat. If you take it out, and it starts raining - well, you'll get wet real quick as Grant explains - as you have to take off your jacket and pants to get them in.

The sweet spot for when using a removable liner in changing conditions, and still be comfortable, is too narrow I think - at least with everything I have ever owned (My most expensive now is a BMW Rallye III suit).

The convenience of having a removable liner is less than carrying a rain suit, and far less than having a laminated jacket with lots of vents. One could maybe argue that a removable liner that could be worn by itself as a wind breaker/rain jacket could offer an adventure biker versatility that would translate into weight and space savings - but I think that is a stretch when you look at all the cons.
The impossibility of finding one type / class of garment to cover all riding conditions is why I've shied away from spending large amounts of money on big name stuff. I'm sure it's all good within its envelope but the variety of conditions I've found myself riding through in recent years (-15C winter trips to endless days of rain to 50C in the desert) means that a wider selection of cheaper stuff has been a more sensible route to go down.

I'm minded of a trip with a friend a few years ago where he'd bought a new, fairly expensive, one piece riding suit (don't know the make) and I was in my usual multi cheap layer apparel. When we stopped after a complete morning of heavy rain he emptied about 100mls of water out of each sleeve. The water had got in somewhere but couldn't get out. I was the usual damp round all the extremities.

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Old 16 Feb 2021
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Wet weather gear .............. dead simple , buy a plastic jacket 2 sizes bigger and plastic trousres 2 sizes bigger , so the come allmost up to your chest and cut an inner tube into stips to seal cuffs on jacket and it will keep you dry !
I drove 300 miles through France with torrential rain and was dry as a bone except for a wee bit around my neck !
Or better still ...............
ride on a sunny day !
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Old 17 Feb 2021
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Originally Posted by badou24 View Post
Or better still ...............
ride on a sunny day !
By far the best solution. Is it going to rain today? Yep. In that case I will have another round of toast and some more tea please. Time to catch up with some reading, snoozing, talking, planning etc. Tomorrow may be dry and then it will be time to ride.

I have to admit that I am planning my trip to avoid wet / cold weather - I have ridden enough in the cold and wet to know it takes a large amount of the fun away most of the time.

My gear is waterproof at the moment and the design of the Moto Guzzi’s fairing is such that I don’t get too wet anyway and the heat from the engine dries off my legs nicely. Many years ago I heard a story that BMW fairings were designed so that the warm air from the air cooled engine was directed over the rider to keep them warm. I have never found out as my old BMW has no fairing - so I don’t know if it is true or not - but it seems to be the case with the Guzzi.
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  #10  
Old 17 Feb 2021
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Gore Tex. Yes it's expensive, no it doesn't work forever, no it doesn't work perfectly..........but it's good and easy to use.

Going out for a ride in the rain when you start in your home or hotel room is one thing: get all the gear on just right while you're warm and dry. Riding in changing conditions is a whole other story: stop and gear up before you get wet? or stop while you're getting wet? stop when it's drying out and you're getting too hot? or keep on going and suffer?



I've personally decided on Goretex with good venting- pants and jacket. Put it on and leave it on. Ride through a rain shower and into the sun, and just keep going, multiple times in an afternoon. Goretex can handle an all day rain as good as almost anything else and you don't have to make all those gear stops.

...............shu
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  #11  
Old 26 Feb 2021
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I work in the clothing dept of a large motorbike franchise up until I started I wore what I could afford and what fitted . Now I am fully kitted up in what works . U pay alot for rukka because they use completely waterproof zips on their top line jackets.....75 quid a pop . I would look for proper sealed waterproof vents that go straight to ur body , cheaper ones have to bent thru the waterproof liner first . I would always use laminated, drop liners allow the outer she to become sodden .
There are three types of gortex , rukka generally use the pro version which breathes the best. As was pointed out if u dont wash it , u will get water ingress usually on the arms first.
I'll stop here as otherwise I'll bore u to death with jacket and trouser specs.......am more then happy to give an honest opinion on kit if someone is going to take the plunge and spend serious cash
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  #12  
Old 26 Feb 2021
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Leather

Leather.
Old style

Freezing when it is cold outside
Boiling when it is warm outside
Wet for days after heavy rain.....

But....
Using good leather grease softens the leather and goes in quite deeply, making it water resistant to some degree
Full vinyl suit to put outside when it is raining.

I always have by leather well greased and carry my rain suit in the tank bag.
And never try to use "waterproof" gear like gore tex

But
I am an old man with old habits
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