Picture the scene: It's a nice Sunday to go out with the motorcycle. The birds are singing, the kids next door are playing, the weather looks good – no cloud in the sky. You role out the bike from the garage and wheel it into the front of the house. You go inside climb into your leathers and you're ready to go.
You swing a leg over the bike and everything is perfect in the world. The route is preplanned; only your favorite roads will do, and time matters not.
Somewhere halfway on your route, some of the magic has disappeared. The motorcycle is running beautifully but the scenery has changed to a deep grey and the wind is not that lovely breeze anymore. What happened to the sun? You're not sure when it disappeared, but the weather surely looks a bit more threatening. Now suddenly, you're feel that the temperature has dropped, the wind is howling, and a couple of flecks of moisture have appeared on your helmets visor. The sky has turned from blue to black in a matter of minutes. And within seconds, water comes down like you are under a waterfall. Welcome to the reality of the raining season in Thailand.
All you need to do, to avert waterlogged despair, is pack a waterproof over-suit. When the weather starts to turn, just pull over and jump into that all-important protective layer. A couple of minutes scrabbling around at the roadside is a small price to pay for staying dry and comfortable. And your motorcycling enthusiasm will still be intact when the clouds pass and the sun reappears.
The waterproof over-suit is a basic, functional piece of kit, so let's not pontificate with pointless jargon. There's only one function that really matters: keep out water at all costs. So. A suit needs to fit correctly and leave no gaps or spaces through which water can seep. The seams and zips must be impenetrable, and the material itself must be strong enough to resist cuts and tears. And forget about water-resistance suits or jackets-pants, they only give you a few minutes of dry in a monsoon rain storm.
The most common use of a waterproof suit is as an emergency piece of kit to deploy when caught out in a show. Therefore, you'd have to be more than a little bit vain to worry much about the style. Which is fortunate, because most over-suits look like plastic bags. What's more important, though, is the fit. If your over-suit is too baggy, it'll flap around, bloat with air and generally compromise you comfort. This is even more important for track or high-speed riding, where you waterproofs need to be close-fitting for aerodynamic reasons. If possible, try the suit on over your leathers before you commit to buying it.
There are two main types of over-suit – one piece and two-piece. Two-piece suits are generally easier to put on, but there's greater potential for leakage – though the join between upped and lower halves. With no join to worry about, the one-piece suit may offer greater peace of mind. That said, a one-piece suit can be tricky to put on over the top of leathers, especially if there's no-one around to help hitch to top half over your shoulders. I spent an entire morning putting on suits to find the perfect suit for myself – which was hard.