having a windshield will keep the rain from pummeling you, but when it stops raining a windshield will keep you from drying off quickly.
The most important thing about riding in the rain: when it just starts to rain the roads can become slippery, but once the pavement is soaked and washed down (about 15 minutes) you only lose about 10% of your traction between the tires and the road, even when it continues to pour down. Then you only need to watch out for standing water so your tires do not hydroplane.
The exception is those white plastic stop lines that are put down at some intersections and cross walks - those things can be very slick when wet, and if you stop and put your foot down your foot can slide out, or if you stop with your tire on one of them, the brake can lock up as you stop, or the back wheel can spin as you take off.
I commute to work every day I can in upstate NY. I work about 215 days a year, and Im able to ride about 100 to 110 days. Most of the missed days are December to March when its snowing.
I have gotten very good at looking at the weather radar online and being able to tell if I have a window to make it to work without getting caught in the rain. I dont have any rain gear, The windbreaker layer in my tourmaster jacket and pants will hold off a light shower. If it really pours and I have no place to duck out of it, I just ride it out. You know when you are soaked when you feel the water running into your undershorts.
I have been caught in downpours on road trips. When the rain stops, at 55mph I completely dry out in about 20 minutes. The only exception: If the roads are wet the spray coming off the front tire keeps my boots and the lower part of my pants wet. Depending on whether the rain crossed your path, and the roads are dry on the other side, or the rain came towards you down the road, or it passed you and now you are chasing it, that determines if the roads are wet or dry on the other side of the shower.
If I tried to avoid days when I might get wet riding home, I would lose another 30 days a year riding. If I can make it to work and stay dry, but get soaked riding home I dont care - I can put on dry clothes at home. I keeps an extra pair of pants and shirt at work all the time anyway, because I work with hydraulic equipment, and sometimes I need them.
For most people if you commute to work on a motorcycle it will take you longer. It takes about 5 minutes for me to put on all my gear, and another 5 minutes to take it off at work, take off my boots and put on the sneakers I keep in my office. I also chose to ride on secondary roads, 2 lanes if possible, to avoid the added risk of riding in a soup of traffic, esp in the morning when people are in a fog. I ride my motorbike as often as possible because I love to ride, not because its faster, cheaper, safer, cool, better fuel economy...
BTW, somewhat related, there was a thread a while back with a link to a video that explains why a cruiser bike is less likely to slide out from under you in a corner or curve (which is easy to do on a sports bike). Because of the way cruiser bikes are designed the frame or floorboards will scrape the ground in a curve or turn before the bike is leaning past 45 degrees - and that is the point where your traction is equal to the sideways force on the bike trying to side it out from under you. So you always get a warning when you hear the pegs or floorboards hitting the pavement, and you quickly learn when you are taking turns too fast. Sports bikes get no warning, they lean further and further until the tire slides out.
That does not mean you can ignore the scraping - if you keep leaning harder after the pegs scrape you will lean the bike over till the frame hits, and then you will lose it. But as long as you heed the warning, even in the rain, you wont go down in a turn.
Last edited by KCW; 04-20-2019 at 08:09 AM.