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Cycling in the wet...

Simon1890Simon1890 Posts: 117
edited February 2009 in Road beginners
Tried searching but couldn't find the answer to this...

I'm new to road bikes (less than 100 miles under my belt so far) but i'm loving it.

I want to ride more often but considering the weather i'm absolutely petrified of cycling in wet conditions. I'm far more used to riding MTB bikes with big chunky tyres keeping me on the road but the thought of going out on my Continental Ultra Sport tyres in wet conditions fills me with fear.

Can you guys tell me if cycling in the wet isn't as bad as i fear and do you have any reccomendations (without saying "buy tyres with tread on them)

I don't really want to start purchasing new treaded tyres, then go through the annoyance of swapping the tyres about everytime i want to ride depending on the weather.

So is it ok to go out on slick 23s in the wet or will i just have to go down the treaded route?



  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    FWIW big knobbly tyres in my experience offer less grip in the wet than skinny road tyres. Don't pump your tyres up to full pressure and try and keep your weight centred between the wheels and don't make any sudden direction changes or brake whilst turning. Keep all braking in a straight line before the turn. Experience and judgement is what gives you confidence.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • first the good news, you can't aquaplane you'd need to hit motorway speeds at the min.

    bad news is road tires being so thin don't grip that well, so one needs to be sensible.

    but on the whole if you don't mind the wet the bike should be fine, brakes are the worse really.
  • Cheers guys....i think i just need to give it a go really!!
  • tlw1tlw1 Posts: 19,640
    yep - get out there and find what speed feels right for you
  • MettanMettan Posts: 2,103
    Use your Back break more than usuall - be graded and gentle with both (don't lock your front up whatever you do) - be careful accelerating out of bends, or even be cautious when accelerating hard on the straight - just be quite a bit more gentle when it comes to putting power down. Watch out for drain covers and similar - in general, gentle with the braking, gentle with the accelerating. If you're accelerating and feel your rear wheel losing traction, back off and take it easier.
  • Try this test on a bit of wet road:-

    Stand next to the bike and angle it over towards you. Them push, like you're trying to get it to slip away from you; you'll be surprised how steep an angle and how hard you have to push to make the tyres slip! :P
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    And whatever you do, steer clear of manhole covers in the road, especially those which are just flat metal, they're basically like ice rinks, if you hit one in the wet whilst cornering, you'll be off.
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • andy_wrxandy_wrx Posts: 3,396
    Knobbly tyres are fitted to MTB's to give you grip in mud, not for grip on tarmac in the wet.

    You'll probably have more grip on thin slick-tread road tyres than you would on knobbly MTB tryes because there's more rubber actually touching the road and you haven't got the knobbles squirming.

    On the other hand, you're riding a roadbike which is doubtless much twitchier (i.e. responsive !) than your heavy MTB and has those narrow drop handlebars, so it'll feel less stable until you get used to it, wet or dry.

    As others have said, avoid painted white lines and metal manhole covers as they're very slippery when wet.

    And you will have less grip generally in the wet than the dry so don't lean it so much, don't brake so hard. This applies to the roads generally at this time of year as there's a lot of censored and mud and so on washed onto the roads and so there's less grip than there will be come Summer.

    I disagree strongly with using less front brake and more back brake - if you're going to lock-up a wheel it will likely be the back one, particularly when descending as your weight will be transferred more to the front.

    Brake smoothly and early rather than sharply and late and if you're descending push your weight back a bit so you have more weight on the back to reduce the chances of locking the back.

    Similarly when climbing out of the saddle, you may spin the back wheel if you have your weight too far forward, so you need to keep it back for traction but be careful that you don't unweight the front so much that you lift the front wheel by pulling on the bars
    - but if you've MTB'd a lot, these are skills you should have anyway
  • teagarteagar Posts: 2,100
    Wear waterproof/warm clothes!

    You'd be surprised how cold you get - especially if you cycle over hills a lot.
    Note: the above post is an opinion and not fact. It might be a lie.
  • rally200rally200 Posts: 646
    I'm running conti ultra 23s- no probs in the wet. like all above are saying tread on a bike tyre only really matters off-road. The only time I've come off through loss of grip was starting off on a hybrid fitted with those ridiculous slick in the middle, tractor tread on the outside things. lean into a corner grip, lean grip, lean a bit further - nothing.
  • edhornbyedhornby Posts: 1,780
    what the others said - also don't ride right in the gutter next to the kerb it's full of grit and dirt and leaf mulch that is like grease, this substance also gathers in the middle of double yellows, avoid them like tthe plague as well
    "I get paid to make other people suffer on my wheel, how good is that"
    --Jens Voight
  • You will be fine. It is not necessary to use lower pressures, allthough this will help with grip. My advice is to choose the correct tyre. I have found that the Continental GP 4000 S tyres grip very well in the wet, even with maximum pressure. They are also very fast and well protected against punctures. They are the top bollocks man, try them.
    Just be carefull if you happen to ride on icy roads with road tires. I fractured my face a year ago, doing that.
    Now, I ride a cyclocross bike with studded tires in Finland during the winter time. The roads here are extremely icy and I can tell you that riding on these conditions takes some getting used to, but eventually it is not that big of a deal. You just need to be more careful in the first couple of rides, and eventually you will get an idea of how much you can push yourself/your bike without falling/crashing. :shock:
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