Riding in the wet is inevitable in the Thai raining season. But crashing to your death in the wet isn't. Give yourself the best chance possible to not only stay upright, but to enjoy riding in the wet as well.
Even if we stretch our imaginations to the very limit, we pretty soon have to face the reality that the raining season is soon up on us. So, considering we all know that the raining season is coming, it's surprising to still see people being caught out when the inevitable rain comes. By taking a few precautions you can minimize the chances of it upsetting your ride.
It's not being cocky looking at weather forecasts, it's being sensible. Everybody does it when they have a trackday coming up, so why not when you have to ride to work? Choose yourself a reputable forecasting website and make it you homepage, that way you'll always know what to expect. When it comes to the physical aspects of wet weather road riding, again, think about how you treat a trackday, you think about being relaxed, you know you shouldn't fight what the motorcycle is telling you and you're constantly looking at your lines and how to make the most of the available space. This isn't too dissimilar to how you should treat the road when it's wet out. Swap speed for smoothness, trade lean for forward planning and keep an eye out for oil rather than knee down opportunities and you might find you end up enjoying yourself.
Getting to your destination in one piece should be your primary goal. There is less grip when it's wet and if you have to brake hard and quickly, there's less margin for error, so roll the throttle a bit. Screw the car drivers, forget them, forget what they think about your low-speed wobbling. You vision will be reduced by rain and misting on your visor as it is, give yourself the best chance possible and fit your clear visor with a good quality anti fog product. Don't be tempted to ride with your visor open all the way as the rain will get on both sides and you'll be screwed. Crack it open to the first notch to reduce misting.
Tensing up because it's damp will only dull your reactions and drain your concentration reserves. Think positive thoughts, try and get your mind to think like it does when you're riding a road you know really well in great conditions. If you feel yourself tensing up, back off, stretch off and re-focus on what you want to achieve.
Give yourself the best chance possible in bad weather by remaining comfortable. Water or wind ingress will lead to a lapse in concentration, the last thing you need when the conditions are bad. A moisture wicking base layer, multiple layers that are thin and less restrictive than one thick one, coupled with a 100% waterproof layer is the best way to go.
The most important factor to consider when it's raining is how, and how much of either of the throttle and brakes can you use. Treat them both the same, apply in smooth stages, without asking too much of your suspension or tires and you'll build the confidence required to use a little more. Ask too much of one area (throttle for instance) and you'll upset another (tires). Try and maintain a balance where you're giving your brakes, tires, suspension and engine as much chance as possible to do what you want them to.
ABS on a car is designed to allow you to brake and steer at the same time, on a motorcycle it's purely to prevent a wheel from locking. Don't expect it to cope well with the demands of lean and hard braking in the wet. Very few traction control systems work quick enough to prevent you from crashing if you dial in too much power in the wet. The simple answer is to ride as smoothly as possible and not to rely on these systems in anything other than an emergency.
A modern multi-compound, road-biased tire will have been developed to cope with extreme rain conditions, so don't expect to be flung from your motorcycle the moment it rains. Until a tire can grip on oil, wet drain covers and white lines is developed the responsibility still lies with you. So long as you're smooth with all of your inputs, you should be fine.
If you get caught in the first shower of the raining season, expect the roads to be extra slippery. All of the dirt and dust that has settled in the cracks of the road will rise to the surface creating a genuinely invisible hazard. If it's been raining for a prolonged period the rain will have rinsed this dirt, oil, and whatever away, leaving you only a wet surface to deal with.