Tech Tuesday: Choosing the Right Windscreen
NEWS November 15, 2011
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
There are three items to think about when selecting a windscreen for your motorcycle: windscreen construction, effect on performance and, most importantly, personal preference as it relates to rider comfort. We’ll talk about windscreens from a competition standpoint and then what it means for a street rider in today’s edition of Tech Tuesday.
If you’re a track day rider, you should focus on the following when selecting the proper windscreen for your motorcycle:
- Optics: On the track, having an optically-correct windscreen is critical in order for you to see as far ahead as possible. You should look through multiple manufacturers’ windscreens of the same type to see what works best for you. High quality, optically-correct windscreens will cost you more than a bargain brand, but remember that you will get what you pay for.
- Windscreen size: When you’re trying to shave off tenths of a second at the track, having a smaller front profile can help. There’s a trade-off you have to factor in when considering size. Whether it’s a standard profile or a double-bubble design, your size, riding style and the racetrack design are all factors that will play into the effect your windscreen has on performance. A good rule of thumb to use when selecting the proper windscreen height is to purchase a windscreen that causes the airflow coming off of it to hit you at around the middle to upper chest when in the upright, braking position.
- Rider comfort: Windscreens play a large role in rider comfort. If you have the wrong style of windscreen, you’ll face bad airflow which will cause you to focus on correcting the positioning of your upper body instead of focusing on your racing. You have enough things to think about when on the track; the last thing you need to be trying to fix is your bobble head.
To summarize these bullet points from a competition standpoint, you can use the following as a general guide for selecting the correct windscreen. On tracks with long straights, standard screens will allow you to reach a higher top speed but you will be sacrificing rider comfort and wind protection. On tracks with more turns than straights where top speed doesn’t play as large of a role, a higher profile or double-bubble windscreen will yield greater rider comfort without sacrificing very much performance, which can be especially important for longer riding sessions.
On the street, there are only two factors that you should be focusing on when selecting a windscreen. Rider comfort and safety should always come first, followed by the aesthetics of the windscreen.
- Rider comfort and safety: When riding in rain and other inclement weather, larger windscreens will result in you staying drier. It’s important to take this into consideration if you ride year-round or plan on going everywhere and then some on your motorcycle. Generally speaking, stock windscreens provide ample wind protection for street riding, but having a windscreen with a larger profile or double-bubble design can yield better wind protection, allowing you to focus on the road, traffic, and of course the great time you’re having when riding your bike. For riders on naked motorcycles, adding a fly screen will provide you with an ample amount of protection at an affordable price.
- Aesthetics: Having a cool design or colored screen to compliment the look of your motorcycle is important to your street cred, but make sure you take rider comfort and safety into consideration first. Take your time when looking at windscreens and be weary of cheap no-name brands that are not optically clear.
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