Can You Leave a Motorcycle in the Rain? [Answered]

Can You Leave a Motorcycle in the Rain? [Answered]

We love our motorcycles. For most riders, their bike is like a member of the family, and that means we want to make sure they’re taken care of. This leads to the common question: is it OK to leave my bike out in the rain or to ride in wet conditions? Will getting wet in the rain damage my bike in any way? 

In this article, we’ll answer this simple but common question and give you a few tips to help make sure your motorcycle stays in top condition, even in rainy seasons!

Can you leave a motorcycle in the rain?

The short answer to this question is: yes. Your bike is not going to deteriorate or break down just from getting wet. Motorcycles can be enjoyed in almost any condition as long as they’re properly maintained. This, naturally, includes rainy weather. 

Just like your car, a motorcycle is designed to be used in multiple different situations, not just in the summer sun. Painted components are treated with protective coatings to make sure that the appearance of your bike remains attractive, and critical electrical elements are protected and insulated against the elements.

Motorcycle outside in the rain

Exposed parts of the bike, such as the chain and braking systems, are also made from durable materials that can handle being operated in wet conditions as well. For these components, getting wet may temporarily affect performance, but permanent damage from simply being rained on is very unlikely.  

Remember that you also probably wash your bike on a regular basis. While the sky isn’t going to drop soap or wax onto your bike, the water from the sky isn’t really any different from what comes out of your house. In the case of adventure motorcycles and dirt bikes, it’s likely that you face far more significant conditions than rain. If your bike can be washed and ridden through mud and dirt without its operation being impacted, then rain won’t hurt it either. 

How to protect your motorcycle against the rain?

Even though motorcycles are meant to be ridden in all kinds of different conditions, there is still some routine maintenance involved with riding in the wet. Some components, such as chains and brakes, are exposed when riding, and dirt and debris from the road will have an easier time attaching themselves to your bike when the road is wet. 

For starters, when riding in the rain, always be mindful of the road itself. Rain has a tendency of bringing out dirt and debris that has built up over time. The puddles you splash through can deliver this messy buildup directly to your bike when you ride through the rain. The more rugged terrain, the more debris you’re likely to pick up. 

Some areas also use chemicals that can harm your motorcycle’s finish if left alone for long enough or in great enough volume. This isn’t all that different from dirt, oil, or other debris, except that it can be especially damaging to chrome and other stylish elements of the bike. Fortunately, it’s just as simple to remove as anything else. If your area uses these sorts of chemicals, you can find out by checking with the local department of transportation.  

Also Read: Best Motorcycle Chrome Polish

Hosing down your bike and carefully wiping away the debris from the road after any ride through the rain is a good habit to be in. If you prefer, you can even give your bike a thorough wash and wax for extra protection from the elements. Meguiar’s makes an excellent wax that can be used to enhance the look of your bike and help protect its finish.    

Bike Standing in Rain

Another consideration for a lot of motorcycles is the leather elements, such as seats and luggage bags. Cruiser motorcycles, especially, will often be outfitted with leather components, and leather can wear more quickly when exposed to wet conditions.

Cleaning leather surfaces with a leather conditioner like the one offered by Meguiar’s can help protect your seats and other leather elements from premature wear. This is also a good idea for when you are cleaning your bike in general. Keeping the seats and bags in good condition is just as important to the looks of your bike as the paint, after all.

Checking your brakes for any debris or buildup from the road is a good check in general, but it is even more critical after riding in the rain. Remember that the rain can bring out dirt and debris that would otherwise not be a concern. That debris can sometimes damage your brakes, making the bike less safe and resulting in costly repairs.

Finally, your chain is one of the parts of your bike that should be given special attention after riding in the rain. The chain lubricant used during maintenance can be washed off by the water from the road. While some lubricant is highly resistant to the elements, it is still a good idea to reapply chain lube after riding in the rain. Feel free to check out our article on the best chain lubricant for some of the best options to use!

Frequently Asked Questions

Will riding my bike in the rain cause it to rust?

Simply riding your motorcycle in the rain will not cause it to rust on its own. Neglecting the care of the bike, however, will increase the possibility of facing rust over time. Don’t forget to give the bike a spray down or full wash after riding in the rain and to thoroughly dry it off as well. 

What should I do if my motorcycle gets wet in the rain?

The very best thing to do after riding in the rain, as previously stated, is to give the bike a quick wipe down with clean water and to thoroughly dry it off. Completely washing the bike is fine if you feel like it as well. If your bike uses a chain, you should also check the chain and reapply chain lube to it if it seems necessary. 

Should I cover my motorcycle or dirt bike?

If you must keep your bike outside, then absolutely! Constant exposure to the elements can have a major impact on the finish of your motorcycle. While motorcycles are resistant to moisture, they are not totally waterproof, and prolonged exposure isn’t good for them. Even when it is warm and dry outside, a cover can also protect your bike from UV rays that can cause the paint to fade and the leather to crack. 

Final Thoughts

In this article, we explained how motorcycles handle the rain and went over a few things you can do to help ensure your bike stays in great condition despite the weather. Ultimately, the result of riding in the rain is up to the rider’s care and attention to their machine.

As long as you remember to stay on top of your motorcycle’s maintenance, you will have nothing to fear from the rain. 

Motorcycles are meant to be enjoyed, and with the right maintenance, you will be enjoying yours for many years – come rain or come shine!

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Ryan Christian

My lifelong love of everything on wheels began with a dusty old scooter and a set of second hand wrenches. Since then I’ve spent every moment I can spare finding new dirt paths, winding country roads, and long open highways. I write to share my passion with other enthusiasts, and maybe inspire one or two new ones along the way!