Tech Tips

Tips for Purchasing and Installing a Windshield

Written by  October 31, 2007

Recently, the weather has decided to hover around the mid-50s here in the Midwest, and that tells me the 2007 riding season may soon be coming to a close; or is it? After all of the technical tips we've covered this year, and with the cooler temperatures, I thought this might be a good time to talk about a basic accessory that can extend your riding season and help keep the bugs and other debris out of your face. That's right, the windshield!

Riding your motorcycle without a windshield may have both advantages and disadvantages. A lot of riders will not take a long trip without a windshield because they prefer the additional comfort and protection from the elements, while other riders feel it obstructs their vision. And let's face it, a lot of the decision whether to go with a windshield or not has to do with aesthetics, because a lot of riders think their bike looks better without a windshield.

Windshield technology has become very high tech these days and most manufactures have developed their products to be installed within an hour or less. Most riders like to be able to see over their windshields, but in order to do this and still get ample protection; the windshield should extend to the point where its positioned between the tip and bridge of your nose. If it doesn't, you may experience mild to severe buffeting.

Many riders who are looking to purchase a new windshield do not account for the rain. When it rains or is foggy, you often have to look over the top of your windshield in order to see. Therefore, when choosing a windshield, it's important that you are able to comfortably extend to see up over the top of your windshield if necessary. Purchasing a windshield with the proper height can be difficult when ordering online or though a catalog. Therefore, if at all possible, it might first be a good idea to shop around town at your local dealers, or check out the vendors at the next rally you attend. This way you can have someone hold the windshield up in front of your bike to get a feel for how tall it will be once it's installed.

Another option many windshield manufactures offer is detachable mounting hardware, which is very convenient for those who want to quickly and easily remove their windshield. Another popular option is tint. If you decide to go with a tinted windshield, you should take into account the color and level of tint to ensure it does not obstruct your view; especially at night. Therefore, the mounting hardware, windshield height, and tint, are a few items to consider when purchasing your new windshield.

One of the manufacturers I have had great success with is Memphis Shades. I have installed their windshields on several motorcycles, which are very easy to do because their hardware is an exact fit. There are normally only a few pieces that mount to the windshield itself and the clamps that support the shield usually mount directly to the handlebars and risers or to the upper fork tubes themselves. After purchasing your new windshield, simply follow the installation instructions and you should be just fine.

This install can be done by almost anyone, and you can also save a few dollars installing it yourself. This should be a fairly easy Saturday project that will greatly improve your comfort, safety and overall riding experience for years to come.
B-safe out there and Happy Thanksgiving!

Dave Miller