Friday, September 18, 2020

Royal Enfield rain gear designed for a monsoon

I was interested to see an advertisement for a Royal Enfield "Monsoon Rain Suit," available in India.

"Specially designed keeping the Indian monsoons in mind," the ad claims.

Maybe so. But the suit shown doesn't appeal to me, for several reasons. For one thing, the ad claims it is "light and comfortable."

My bias is, if you're comfortable in rain gear dry, you're going to get uncomfortable in the wet.

The Royal Enfield Monsoon Rain Suit.

The photos show the Monsoon suit is available only in black (it has "reflective branding" the ad says, but none is shown). The last thing a motorcyclist needs in the rain is stealth.

It's a hooded jacket. It's my opinion that if you wear a helmet, you don't want a hood on your jacket. I'll explain why.

Commuting to work on my Royal Enfield motorcycle, I knew there were many days when I was going to get very, very wet.

So I rounded up, and carried with me every day a full rain suit: plastic jacket and pants in high-visibility yellow.

"Yellow: International color for chicken," I always joked. But I stayed pretty dry, and actually enjoyed riding in the rain.

The outfit I put together myself wasn't perfect. The hood was too thick to be worn with a helmet, so, no matter how tightly I tucked it up, it caught the wind as I rode. 

I finally took scissors to it and cut it off.

Be careful: I cut too close to the neckline, leaving no collar, so water started coming down my neck. (One reader commented that the hood of the Royal Enfield Monsoon Suit could go inside a helmet, to keep rain from running into the jacket. Maybe so.)

One day a small tear in my rain gear pants widened in the slipstream to become a gaping rip. It not only let me get wet, it ballooned out like a parachute, looking ridiculous.

The solution here was ugly, but effective: I donned a sacrificial pair of cloth pants over my plastic rain pants. Three pairs of pants at one time! This was not a flattering look, but I stayed dry and warm.

The rain gear I used wasn't made for motorcycling. Like any other pair of pants the legs pulled up when I sat down.

Seeing its chance, the front wheel fired water from the road up my pants leg; water that then drained into my boots. Stuffing my feet into plastic bags before putting on my boots was no help. I sloshed when I walked.

The Royal Enfield Monsoon Suit shows legs extending well over the boot tops. Perhaps they would be superior on this count.

My rain gear folded neatly into the right toolbox of my 1999 Royal Enfield (my actual tools rode in the left-side toolbox). I don't commute anymore (retired) so I am rarely in the rain.

I sort of miss it.

My suit before I started wearing a third pair of pants over it.


5 comments:

  1. Good article! Here in Germany affordable motorcycle rain gear is available at stores like Polo and Louis. I think it's a must if you ride much, or commute. Always a bit bulky, it's still preferable to getting soaked and then cold. I'm sure it's easier to wear here than in steamy old Florida, though! My gear is pretty bright too, but has no hood, which I never felt was a must.

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    1. Thanks for the comment. Rain gear is naturally warmer, but as long as I keep moving, even Florida is not unpleasantly warm in the wet.

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  2. Good article! Here in Germany affordable motorcycle rain gear is available at stores like Polo and Louis. I think it's a must if you ride much, or commute. Always a bit bulky, it's still preferable to getting soaked and then cold. I'm sure it's easier to wear here than in steamy old Florida, though! My gear is pretty bright too, but has no hood, which I never felt was a must.

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  3. Monsoons are very heavy warm season rains. I imagine the most appropriate gear might be adding a snorkel to your normal Indian riding outfit of shorts, sandals & short sleeve button-up work shirt so the semi-solid wall of water you're riding thru doesn't drown you! ;-) How did your Bullet fare on your Florida wet weather commutes? Did the electrics keep working? Any "water in the fuel tank" issues? Air filter concerns? Did the drum front brake get grabby? As a long term desert dweller, rain riding is a pretty exotic situation, so insights are appreciated! -CW-

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    1. You'd think I'd have had more trouble, but the Bullet seemed to shrug off the rain. It sat under a loose tarp in the office parking lot, sometimes being rained on constantly all day. I'd duck under the tarp to start it, hoping that a running motor might be less vulnerable to water induced stalling. The brakes were fine except for one oddity no one has ever explained to my satisfaction. As we rode and it got wetter and wetter, the REAR brake would gradually get tighter and tighter until it was noticeably retarding our progress. I would have to stop and back off the adjustment slightly. This happened in the rain repeatedly and I eventually just went with a slightly looser than possible adjustment at all times. Weird.

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