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Discussion Starter #1
With my bike almost done and legal, I am day dreaming about riding more and more, my plan is to ride every day possible to and from work unless I know it's going to rain but I know there will be times when I will be caught in it. I know it's the safe bet to seek shelter but I'm wondering how well do Cruisers handle in the rain.
 

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My 1100 handles the rain well. I commute daily and get caught in the rain often. Good tires are a must for rain. The most important thing to remember is no jerky movements. Easy on throttle, easy on brakes, don't throw bike into corners, etc. Ride in the left car tire tracks, less standing water is there. Leave plenty following distance from other vehicles since your shopping distances is increased. Try to ride outside the spray cars throw up, especially 18 wheelers, it can totally blind you and that can be scary. Just slow small steering and braking inputs and rain is no big deal. My biggest thing about riding in rain is my confort. I hate getting wet. If I'm distracted from water running down my neck, water up my sleeve, boots filling up, etc, I losing my focus on traffic and road conditions and that can easily cause a wreck. A good quality rain suit, boots or boot covers, waterproof gloves and rainx on face shield really aids in my confort. Don't wait until it's actually raining before you put your rain suit on, trying to hurry usually means I won't get something zipped or closed correctly and will get wet. I have saddlebags and always have my rain gear with me. Don't fold up a wet rainsuit and put back into saddlebags, they will mold and stink really bad, yes that's experience speaking. To me the worst part of riding in the rain is cleaning the bike afterwards. Ride often and safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you les, does having a windshield help with rain going about 55-60? I will likely slow down in the rain but traffic may not allow it at times.
 

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Super Moderator "Loose Nut"
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Windshield helps a lot. If windshield is adjusted correctly. Best results for windshield is to be even with nose of rider. The wind is lifted up and over the rider and leaves a quiet pocket for riders head. Most of the rain goes above head. You want to be looking slightly over windshield, not thru it. If you have a tall windshield and look thru it keep it well waxed so water will sheet away. To me traveling at speed it no big deal, it's the stopping with fear the person behind me isn't paying attention. I have a brake modulator which flashes brake light three times then solid. Before I had that I would tap brake enough to turn light on a few times before stopping to hopefully give the person behind me a warning. Another thing about the gloves, rain hurts hitting the hand at speed. Something else I forgot to mention, I've got a small piece of chamois in my raincoat pocket to wipe the inside of face shield at stop light. The water on inside of face shield bugs me. My commute home is about an hour so I have plenty of traffic lights to wipe it off. There are a few here that ride rain or shine. I think YamahaPat rides all the time also. Hopefully he'll chime in.
 

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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.
 

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Forgot to mention, if you have a rain suit then having a windshield on the bike will keep the rain suit from being whipped around in the windblast so much.

If you are going to get a rain suit, you have to get one designed for a motorcycle. Cheap plastic rain gear from walmart will tear apart in minutes at 70mph.

Another consideration: if you are wearing textile jacket and pants.. gloves... they will be fine if they get soaked. If you wear leather riding gear its harder to dry out after a down pour, if the liner inside is soaked thru.
 

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Super Moderator "Loose Nut"
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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.
KCW, forgot you commute as much as you do, old age I guess. ?. All very good points. We differ in I will put my rain gear on even going home. I'm just more comfortable with a dry body, plus I don't sweat easily as many rainsuits don't breath very well. My rain suit breaths pretty good so no big deal.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
This eases my mind greatly, thank you both I am going to look into a quick release and storage for my windshield, might be funny to have it strapped to my back and tell people that it's so I can go sledding if I put the bike down.
 

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There are touring bikes with adjustable windshield that slide up and down several inches (while riding)

I thought about the second windshield mount idea, if I could take it off the front and attach it behind me horizontally, I would on long trips when I get where Im going, and just riding around town. If Im riding to one place for a few days, I take it off when I get there, and put it back on for the long (fast) ride home. Ive never seen a bike that is able to stow the windshield behind the bike, fold it up, deflate it... maybe if it slid together like a camera iris... ?

take a look at the Yamaha FJR1300 sport touring bike - the windshield height is adjustable... I think the new Venture touring bike as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I was thinking of two possible storage spots the first being to the left side back if it can fit to not bother a passenger or hit the road, or have it flipped and ride on the fender and forks, of course considering clearances and suspension travel. The second should still have a gap enough to allow air to the engine, I think.
 

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the biggest drawback to having a windshield on a motorbike is when its hot and sunny, and you are sitting in dead air cooking in the heat or sun

the way most touring bikes deal with this is to put ports in the windshield you can adjust to let some air thru, or there are flaps on the side that direct some of the laminar flow off the edge back in towards the rider

even a flap the size of a popsickle stick will throw a surprising amount of air in at you.

the only thing Ive found I can do while riding is stick my knees out sideways, to throw some turbulant air in on me. That gets tiresome after about 10 minutes.

Your suggestion about flipping the windshield downside up gave me an idea I have never seen done: sometimes people get a bike or a windshield, and its too short. You could certainly take two short windshields and stack them on their mounting brackets, using the spaced out holes to make it tall when you want, or short when they are 100% sandwiched over each other. It would be a bit tedious to adjust.

I think if you put it back where the saddle bag goes, horizontal, it would act like a tail on a plane and might make the bike squirrely.

Most of the time, if the weather is above 50F, and Im not riding all the way on the interstate, the windshield stays in the garage.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
That makes me think a little maybe I could figure out a simple way have a windshield when you need it but stows away when you don't maybe even switch while riding, opaque and without much frame work to block view or distract, holds up to wind and weather but wouldn't make rider damage worse, can't rattle around, perhaps entirely removable quickly and without tools. This will require some thinking.
I may figure something out but I probably won't get it built, yay more unbuilt ideas.
 

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I think I mentioned in an earlier post, an unexpected alternative to a windshield is a drivers backrest.

With neither on a cruiser bike, at 75mph if you let go of the handlebars you will be blown off the back off the bike, you are holding on as if your life depends on it.

With a drivers (odd word on a MC) backrest you are secure on the bike at any speed. The wind blast does not beat you up so much, because you do not have to fight it all the way with your grip on the handlebars, you can relax and just steer with easy pressure on the grips.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That is possible but not very elegant and add a deal of drag to the bike, also not feasible with a passenger, unless it folds or slides together, and one would have to still pull over to mount it, which is a minor inconvenience, but by far the simplest you just need to set up a quick release, which are already manufacturer and a set of mounting brackets on to a spare back rest assuming you already have a seat with the back rest inserts.
 

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a drivers backrest is not like a passengers backrest

usually a drivers backrest is smaller than a football, and gives support to the small of your back

its surprising how much it lets you relax your lower back muscles, so its not like you are sitting on a bar stool all day

they are usually permanently installed, and do not have to be part of the drivers seat

being able to lean back against a passenger works too, as long as the passenger has a back rest, so you both cant fall off the bike at 80mph

I know a drivers backrest looks odd, sticking up on the bike when you are not riding it
I never sit and look at my bike when Im not riding it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I've seen seats with removable rests for the rider and for both but that would start to get expensive.
 

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that is correct

my cousin has a great back rest on a late 1970s Honda 750/4. It slides on rails all the way back for the passenger, or all the way forward for the driver, and locks down with thumb screws. I would love to have one for Ursa.
 

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Maybe you posted it and I missed it, but what kind of bike do you have? I have a vstar 650 seat with backrest for the price of free if you're interested in it, just pay the shipping.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I have an older 1100 but I'm considering sticking with what's on it for a while
 
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