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I have never ridden with a windshield. But I don't take long rides, either.

I enjoy the feeling of the wind pushing against my face, chest, and arms, and I feel like a windshield, though it would make riding both easier and safer, would take that away. I've been caught in rain, snow, and even hail in my short little rides, but nothing brutal enough to make me want to change my ways. Is there a dramatic difference for riders like myself who are rarely on the bike more than 60 minutes at a time?

[I'm also old and stubborn.]

So I'm really just curious if those who have ridden both ways have a preference, and why.

Thanks for any thoughts.
 

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For me, I prefer it without. But I do a lot of highway driving, and there I do like it.

The difference for me is when going at highway speeds, you feel the wind in your gut, hitting your lower body a lot, and end up leaning way forward. With the windshield this isn't an issue and you keep a normal position. Though with a windshield you get it shaking your helmet at first, till you get it all dialed in.

This is why I do like the quickrelease. I can use the windshield when I am driving to work, and take it off for the other times.
 

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I put one on my 650 about three weeks ago, so I can ride > 60mph without needing to hang on for dear life.

its really a matter of windspeed. If you are going 60 into a 20mph headwind, its exactly like going 80mph.

The thing to keep in mind is this: when you go twice as fast the wind resistance is four times as much.

Like Patrick, on the highway I prefer the WS, going less than 60mph I prefer pulling it off.

I got a Memphis Shades Fats whindshield, the quick release trigger mounts, and a set of fork deflectors to control the head buffeting for a total of about $500, and put them on myself.

If you want to you can adjust the angle so you are sitting in nearly dead air at any speed, which might be better for going slower when its cold (below 50F) in the spring and early winter.

EDIT: I forgot to mention, a large windshield like mine takes a noticeable amount of power to push aside the wind. I can really feel the difference in the response of the bike, esp going fast, you really have to crank the throttle to get the bike up to speed.

With it on and off its like having two different motorcycles.
 

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I went with a Memphis Shades fairing and lower deflectors. The fairing has quick release brackets and it can be removed in 2 minutes. If riding around the neighborhood I go w/o the fairing. On the Hwy or above 50mph I use the fairing as it has a 12" tall curved windshield. Can't count the times pebbles and bugs have been deflected off of hands and face.


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Is there a dramatic difference for riders like myself who are rarely on the bike more than 60 minutes at a time?
Based on that alone, no, don't bother with a screen.

I have a half screen on my daily commuter and it is no big deal to have the wind blast.

My vStar has a screen and when doing 500 miles a day, it is nice to have.
 

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I have a quick release on mine and while I do take it off if I'm out for a short ride, it stays on most of the time. For one thing, I wear a half helmet and it stops a lot of kamikaze bugs from splattering on my face. But the big thing is at speeds over 60mph. Without the windshield I'm hanging on for dear life as the wind stretches my arms. I don't get any of that with the windshield. Never had a bike with one before and when I first got the bike, the first thing I did was take it off because it looks so much better without it. I figured it would spend most of its time tucked away in the shed, but now I'm glad I have it and I'll have one on whatever I ride from now on.
 

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I commute daily on my bike. Summer time without windshield as it's cooler. Winter time with windshield for weather protection. It's almost I get a new bike when I put it on or off, at least to me, as the ride is that much different. By the way, my mileage got up without windshield, it does poke a big hole in the air and that takes power.
 

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I've taken my shield off a few times this summer. I do like the way my 950 looks totally naked, but windshield (and saddlebags) are not only luxurious, but kinda necessary in my opinion. If I have to hop on the highway for a stint, or ride home at night, it's nice not to be "hanging on for dear life", as other's have stated, or getting bug guts all over my shoulders and face shield.

I would actually like a shorty shield, you know, just something to take the wind blast off the chest. If the riding position were different I wouldn't mind the highway blast as much. If my feet were below me or slightly behind me then it would be less straining to lean into the wind. Like for instance I don't think I would mind wind blast while riding a super naked sport bike, but a cruiser is different. My 950 has me inclined to reclining, and relaxing, just chillin' and enjoying the ride.
 

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this is kind of like asking how they like electricity or indoor plumbing from someone who has never experienced it. you've gotten along fine without such luxuries this far so you're fine without using a windshield, but it sure is nice to have. especially if you choose to get a big screen TV.
 

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One other thing to make it all more complicated: there are two ways you can go.

1. Get a windshield that is about even with the top of your head. You will have to look through the plastic all the time to see (many people dont like this), but you will always have your head behind the WS and your helmet will be in dead smooth air all the time. Its a no brainer bolt on and you are done.

2. Get a windshield that comes up to about your nose. The deflected air will be blown up over your helmet, so there is no air hitting you straight on. BUT - getting the air to flow over your helmet just right can take a bit of adjusting adjusting adjusting, and most likely you will need to put "lowers" or fork deflectors on the bike too. The problem is the air flow breaks and goes turbulent just over or behind your head, and when it hits your helmet its like someone is holding an orbital sander on your skull. You will get a headache in minutes, and your eyes will be vibrating so much your vision is blurred (you cannot read the signs on the highway). Its called 'Buffeting". this is what takes all the tweaking and adjusting to get rid of. Since you cant see the air you really cant tell whats going on so you have to try moving the windshield this way and that, tilting more or forward, and adjusting the lowers. Most people can get it right after a bit, and then you will only get buffeting under unusual conditions (strong cross wind,get behind a truck at 80mph..) In those cases you can drop your head a few inches and it stops.

The advantage is that most of the time you are looking over the windshield instead of through it, and its a bit shorter so its not demanding as much engine power to go fast. Going up a good hill you end up looking through the plastic, but not enough to be an issue. Should also point out the wind is blown up over your head, but heavy rain, rocks off tires, and big bugs can still hit you in the eyes. You can not ride without eye protection with the 2nd option.

If you go with option 1 the wind load may make your bike feel less stable, esp if you get a really big and wide windshield. This use to be the standard for many years (traditional police HD look).

Most people go the 2nd and work out the tweaking, once you get it right its great. Option 2 is also great if you are not going that fast most of the time. Buffeting doesnt happen until you hit highway speeds, so if you just want to block the wind when its cold out and you are not on the highway, this works perfectly.

Everything in life and motorcycles is a trade off.
 

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I just bought a bike with the factory bags and shield for once, rather than sorting thru the multiple choices aftermarket for my Stateline, which I didn't want to "make mine" anyway as it lacked power and had too much rake. Funny how that bike rode so smooth and awesome all the way to trading it in last week.
I think for long stints on the Interstates they are necessary.
 

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I commute about 70 miles round trip everyday, speeds anywhere from 25 - 80 and having the batwing makes all the difference for me. I went down and busted up the one that came with the bike and rode for awhile w/out. It wasn't fun, i felt far more exhausted by the time i got to work or home. once i got the new fairing on, my acceleration was quicker and the ride was much smoother. it took a few trial and error set ups, as i had to fabricate my mounts, to eliminate the handlebar buffeting or helmet buffeting. Also keep in mind some windshields, and even the batwing wont stop the wind completely, you still feel it, it's just a more comfortable ride. As mentioned about if you can get one with the quick release brackets then its as simple as putting on in the winter and pulling it off in the summer. Best way to find out is ride down the your local shop, then test ride something with a fairing, then you'll know for sure w/out spending the money.
 

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I have been riding without the windshield lately. I have noticed I can handle the windspeed much better now, and haven't been able to figure out why, it's been since I put on the cobra powrflo intake, and that doesn't make any since.

I finally figured it out today though. I haven't really rode the bike without the windshield since I got my ultimate seats put on the bike. I noticed today, that when I normally get that feeling of flying off the bike, on these seats I can just scoot up some and dig my butt into the back, and firmly plant myself. The sensation of hanging on for dear life is completely gone, and my hands are not so tense.

There is still a good around of wind, and your arms still wear out, but it's minimal now compared to before. I wouldn't plan on doing a 3hour drive without the windshield, but an hour or alittle more is just fine now, where before 5-10min was the max.
 

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Patrickdk - Ive lost track of everyone that is posting in the windshield conversations. Do you have fork deflectors on your bike?

When I take my WS off i leave the deflectors on. I think they are creating a nice laminar flow up the front of the bike - it feels like there is more of a breeze hitting me at lower speeds than before I put them on.

And getting up over 60mph with just the fork deflectors I think it is better than with nothing on the bike. Either the air is more uniform, or its pushed up and sideways a bit. Also at speed if I lean into the backrest there is less air hitting me at higher speeds. I think I can lean back out of the air coming off the fork deflectors to some degree.

The other thing, riding without a WS is very different when the wind kicks up. Going 60 into a 20mph headwind is very different from riding on a calm day, or riding down wind.

This is one of the problems with evaluating windshields and deflectors - the conditions change every day, and riding in traffic has a big effect. Its hard to get a clear Better / Worse read on the bike.
 

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No, I have no fork deflectors/lowers on the bike. The windshield is the stock 950 windshield, quick release 20" (medium). I did pickup a 24" (large) for it, since it was cheap, in good shape, and I was buying some other items from him.

The large windshield I cannot see over at all. Today would have been horrible, with a high dense fog using it. Even the medium one would be a bit of trouble. I haven't worked on the windshield to put anti-rain/anti-fog stuff on it.

Atleast when I talk about windshield effects, I assume no wind affect. As the wind changes so many things. The speed, gusts, direction. On the highway I find the only things that matter enough is just gusts and other cars. Semi's do produce some good gusts, but it's very consistent. Large trucks, and jacked up trucks are the worst to drive around. The wind thrown off them is very unpredictable, mainly due to their erratic driving styles. Atleast here in maryland they are always weaving through traffic.
 

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I was going to put RainX on my windshield, but the directions that came with it said not to use anything on the acrylic but dish soap and water, not even Windex.

Acrylic yellows over time if its always in the sun, maybe putting stuff on it makes it worse - Dont know.

I find that riding behind a semi the wind is chaotic - even riding 2 or 3... up to 5 seconds back. There are some interstates in the southern part of NYS with very little traffic, so you can have the highway all to yourself at 75mph, then catch up to a truck and really feel the turbulence behind it.
 

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I ride around semis all the time here, probably just used to it.

It is very chaotic, but it is very predictable, and it's the same on every semi. I kindof dislike the new fold out trailer wings they have, they do make it much less chaotic behind them, and gets them better gas mileage, but this is where my young and nuts comes in 15years ago. Behind the trailer, about 10 feet is a null you can ride in, and the wind will push you from behind, just drop to neutral.
 
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