When Plexiglas entered the market in the late 1920s, windshields started appearing on motorcycles. Windshields continued to grow in popularity through the rest of the 20th century and today, are one of the most-requested aftermarket accessories.
Yet, windshields are not for every rider. Some feel they break up a bike’s visual flow and would rather feel the flow of wind. If you’re considering one for your bike, think about the following points.
Improve Fuel Efficiency
By design, motorcycles are not very aerodynamic. With a windshield, air is diverted around the rider’s body, which reduces the dragging effect and lessens the amount of fuel used.
Shield From the Elements
Perfectly warm spring and summer days with clear skies can suddenly turn windy or rainy. Without a windshield, riders have to face cold gusts, precipitation and flying gravel.
A properly fitted windshield creates a cushion of air to keep you warm, divert rain and guard against debris headed your way.
Limited Wind Exposure
Touring motorcycles helped the popularity of bike windshields, and for good reason. Cold weather and precipitation can drain a rider’s energy for long distance rides.
Wind exposure causes fatigue to set in: The faster you ride, the more force wind exerts on your body and the sooner you’ll get tired. A windshield can help conserve energy on these longer trips.
Could Obstruct Vision
In a perfect situation, the windshield is positioned so the rider looks directly over the top. However, if the model is too tall, dirt and bug residue will eventually cloud your field of vision. Should it rain while you’re out, the windshield may suddenly become blurry and water-covered. Test a windshield out to see how high it sits on your bike before buying.
May Divert Wind to the Head
On the subject of improperly sized windshields, one that’s too short might mean the surrounding wind flows straight to your head! This may contribute to fatigue, make you feel cold and could cause temporary hearing loss. Make sure the windshield is level with your nose to direct air over your head.
Can Get Scratched Up
If you forget about regular maintenance, those occasional dings and scratches will eventually add up. Incorrectly washing the windshield with an abrasive sponge, paper towels or gas station squeegees also contributes to a scratched appearance. Instead, loosen grime with a wet, soap-covered towel and later, wash off all the debris with a damp cotton or microfiber towel.
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