September 15, 2012
After my long trip from Fort Walton Beach, FL to Corpus Christi, TX and, a couple of days of traveling to work after return and, a poker run, I decided it was time to clean my bike up so, I stripped by bike down removing my saddle bags and, windshield so, I could do a good job. It is always interesting after removing everything that bike feels so light and nimble so, I decided I would leave everything off for a few days before loading everything back on. After my experiences without the windshield being on my bike after having it on for so long it started me thinking about writing this article informing others of my experience.
What I noticed most over driving my bike at interstate speeds a few days was that the removal of the windshield made a huge performance difference both in the bike and, me as a rider.
First, is the obvious that, a lot more air is directly on your body and, while it does feel good a first, at high speeds you notice the strong push on our upper torso which, over a long distance can be tiresome. Second, I discovered if you want to move your hand around to say adjust your radio, GPS, or finger poke at anything you want to adjust there is a huge resistance on your arms and hands. Furthermore, when turning your head for either the COW (Chin Over Wrist) maneuver or a head check near at high speed you feel a larger pull on your helmet which, over long trip can lead to neck fatigue.
I also discovered when I got next to large vehicles the buffeting wind that comes off these vehicles which, is normally broken by the windshield gets broken by your body and you feel this buffeting heavily which, in turn effects your steering more and magnifies the rocky motion your normally feel. Now, I know everyone has been hit by a large bug from time to time and, knows how much it can hurt and, how distracting this can be from your riding experience well, without the windshield you notice you get hit quite a bit more. It seems the windshield also deflects the airstream around you a lot more than you think and, directs a lot of these pests around you preventing distractions while your driving.
When exiting the interstate and slowing down to enter the town of Crestview, FL I notice you get used to compensating for the wind on your upper body and, when the pushing airstream stops you notice your body wants to move forward more quickly. This seems to be due to muscle memory as, your mind has programmed your upper body for several miles to naturally pull forward and, it takes a few minutes to deprogram your muscles from doing this which, makes you want to lurch forward when coming to stops in town and rural areas after riding for long periods at high speeds.
Could you imagine what it would be like to drive a car or truck without a windshield? It might get you a lot more air on your body but, you can quickly imagine how absurd it would be for cars and trucks to go down the road without one. A lot of the same merits a windshield has for a car or truck are also true for a motorcycle.
The motorcycle windshield is a great asset to the rider as, it stabilizes the bike from buffeting of large vehicles, improves handling, makes the rider feel more relaxed and, enables you to move your hand easier to make minor adjusts to equipment, or gear as required while riding.
This is just my opinion but, I would highly encourage anyone riding a motorcycle to have a windshield in place.
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Last revised: September 15, 2012
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