Windshields: A Blessing and a Curse

Jul 07, 2014 View Comments by

Windshields: A Blessing and a CurseThis time of year the last thing I want is protection from the wind. Here in the South daily high temperatures will most likely stay above 90 degrees for at least another two months. Pair that with our famous humidity and you’ve got a recipe for serious amounts of sweat. Last year around this time I was touring Alabama (Huntsville, AL Shamrock Tour® Nov/Dec 2013) on a 2013 Yamaha FJR 1300. The FJR is a great bike, but under the bright southern sun I did discover a weakness—too much wind protection. This is a flaw it shares with virtually every touring motorcycle. Even on its lowest setting, the FJR’s electronically adjustable windshield is just too tall and too effective, and it’s not like you can easily remove it either. Very little airflow got by to offer relief from the Alabama summer. To make matters worse, the FJR’s mirrors are perfectly placed to block airflow to the rider’s hands. In colder temperatures this is great, but not when the mercury climbs above 90.

The Yammer may be an extreme case, but I’ve noticed similar problems with other touring bikes as well. Personally, I’d rather be cold than hot (most of the time), and I find myself gravitating toward naked bikes or other protection-less machines simply because I want that cooling airflow during summer. I’d venture to say that motorcyclists rack up more miles in the summer months than any other time of year, so you’d think manufacturers would take this into account—especially when designing touring bikes.

Don’t get me wrong, windshields can be wonderful, particularly when it’s cold or the weather turns south, but sometimes I wish they weren’t there. When I bought my current bike (a Suzuki SV650) it came with a huge aftermarket windshield that was about as aesthetically appealing as a rusty old Ford Taurus. Removing that eyesore was my first order of business, and since then it has been collecting dust in some dark corner of my garage. Maybe I’m just not a windshield kind of guy.

What’s been your experience? Have you wished for more flexible wind protection on your touring bike?


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About the author

There’s something relentlessly romantic about riding a motorcycle. I’m blessed to know that feeling. With a background in photography and a love for motorcycles, I’m interested in the beauty and honesty of the open road. You’ll find me riding Carolina’s roads on my Suzuki SV650.