Monday, March 10, 2014

Motorcycle windscreen bleg

Damn, Uncle Jay sure is pushy.  After dawdling and agonizing for months over which bike to get, he has the audacity to say "Meet you next weekend in Athens".  The nerve of some folks ...

The issue is that the top priority for my new-to-me bike is a windscreen to reduce the wind buffeting on the 2 and a half hour ride.  I imagine that they're not hard to install, but there's not a lot of time between now and Friday.

So what do riders think?  How big is too big?  How small is too small?  Which manufacturers do you like?  Which do you hate?

14 comments:

The Big Guy said...

Admit it- You need a good push (or in this case a good shove) to get you started...

This is as much for you as it is for me. I haven't put more than 45 miles on my bike in a day since before I left for Russia the first time in November...
We could consider it Highway Therapy instead of Recoil Therapy.

And are you particularly attached to Athens?
(Being a UF Grad, I try to avoid the UGA environs as much as possible.)
Savannah could be a good alternative.
Nice rides out there, lots of scenery on the pre-St. Pat weekend down on the river...

Dave H said...

I haven't found a windscreen to be all that helpful. It does keep the blast off of my upper body, but my head still gets bounced around. But I don't want a taller screen because I like being able to see traffic directly, not through wavery Plexiglas.

You could just bite the bullet and ride without a screen.

Peter said...

Try to find a windscreen with a baffle or airfoil shape at the top, that directs the air flowing over the top either over or to either side of your head and body. (BMW's R-series fairings did this pretty well back in the 1980's.) That will mean you don't need a very high windscreen, that might obscure your vision - a lower windscreen will still provide protection. (It'll also direct rain away from your helmet visor.)

Unfortunately, some windscreens look as if they have the requisite shape, but it doesn't work very well in practice. You'll need to read actual users' comments to make your choice.

Also, if it's a stand-alone windscreen without a fairing for your legs, I've noted that some attachment brackets are stronger than others. Worth thinking about in the longer term. I much prefer an all-in-one solution where windscreen and fairing are a single unit. YMMV, of course.

Tony Tsquared said...

Check out Memphis Shades. They have multiple windscreens in various sizes. They are also quick detachable.

burt said...

A properly sized windscreen should allow you to see OVER the top with your head in a comfortable position, but allow you to see THRU it in the rain. This works 'cuz a properly designed and mounted windscreen will deflect wind just over the top of your head/helmet during normal riding speeds.

To figure out the proper height, sit on the bike and measure the distance from the top of the headlight to your nose. No kidding. Then, use this to find the right height windscreen for the scoot. Most windscreens mount just above the headlight, so this will give you a good headlight-to-top measurement.

You can guesstimate if you want, but make sure that the windscreen's top edge is BELOW your eyes when it's mounted in its final position. You'll want to spend more of your time looking above it than thru it.

Memphis Shades makes fairly good windscreens. Buy Lexan polycarbonate not plexiglass, 'cuz Lexan polycarb is MUCH more scratch-resistant than plain plexiglass. It's a bit more expensive, but you'll be much happier in the long run.

I prefer clear windscreens without a tint. I can always wear sunglasses, and the tint really doesn't do much other than add some aesthetics to the look.

Lastly, see if you can get a quick-release mount. That way, you can pull the windscreen off for local low-speed riding and put it back on for high-speed wide-slab long-distance cruising.

Borepatch said...

TBG, I'm not at all attached to Athens (just knew that you were going to be there for the Masters). But don't want the first ride to be 6 hours. 2 - 2 1/2 is a better start.

Goober said...

Especially if you buy used I'd ride close to home for the first couple rides

Wolfman said...

I've put in plenty of 200+ mile days on an unfaired bike, and it doesn't seem to take long to get used to the wind shear- at least its consistent. I had a US Cycleworks windshield, but I took it off because it was somehow the exact wrong height. I wound up looking through the top edge in my normal riding stance, and it distorted everything a lot. Just somethin to bear in mind.

Tony Tsquared said...

If you do buy a windscreen too tall it is easy to trim it down with a belt sander. It is kinda hard to add windscreen back if you buy one too short or trim too much off...

BTW: once you feel confident in your bike Tail of the Dragon is a day trip up to Gainsville to catch 129 up to the GAP. For me over here in Suwanee it is 3 hour up, 2 to 3 hours playtime there, and 3 hours back.

selkiemaine said...

Your mileage may vary, but this is what I'd say from my experience:

I'd suggest the tallest screen you can see over.

It will take the pressure off your chest, but it will increase noise and buffeting.

Jay G said...

Thought suggestion:

Before getting a windscreen, buy a full-face helmet. The first two bikes I owned had no windscreen, and a full-face HJC worked fine. I commuted to UNH for two years on my Honda.

Borepatch said...

Got two, Jay. Always carry a spare.

;-)

Dean Carder said...

To determine your windshield height, sit comfortably in your riding position and look straight ahead. the top of the windscreen should be just below your eyes. if it's over you eyes you cannot see when it rains. and if you are on an MC trip, it will rain. I rode for years with no wind screen and now will not take it off.

Paul Bonneau said...

I used to be a naked bike kind of guy, all the way, until one day I bought an old, clapped out Honda VFR700. Wow, was that a great improvement!

Then I started looking for fairings on bikes, but I quickly discovered that many of them are even worse than having no fairing at all.

Now I think it is one of the black arts, whether a fairing is going to help or hurt. Put one on and try it out; about all that a person can do. My current little bike (Kawasaki Super Sherpa) with an aftermarket screen is somewhat better than going naked. Not a whole lot, but some.