Part of the attraction of motorcycling is the freedom, the exposure to the environment, the wind-in-the-hair (helmet notwithstanding, of course) riding experience. However, sometimes, that can get a bit tedious.
Naked motorcycles, for example, can be great fun with little or nothing to get between you and the outside world. And while that can be exceptionally liberating and exhilarating, it can also become a bit noisy and tiresome if you have a long journey to do. Similarly, a small screen that’s designed to work with a 5’10” rider may not work for one who is 6’2” and could cause more problems than it solves.
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Luckily, there are plenty of solutions available, from a small fly screen on a naked bike or roadster to take a little of the windblast off the chest, to full-on screens and spoilers to tailor the airflow for silence and comfort for long distances.
One of the things to realise when looking to change the aerodynamics of the bike is how it will affect noise at the helmet. For example, many naked bikes will allow relatively smooth flow over the rider’s helmet, as there is little to disrupt the glow. This might generate some noise but it is generally lower than some smaller screens which can cause turbulence or buffeting around the helmet, which can make things a lot worse.
It’s also worth considering what it might do to the airflow to your helmet. Some people find they need more airflow to vents than others, either for cooling on warm rides or for demisting in damp or cold conditions and a screen that insulates you from the oncoming air may also cut off any airflow.
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A change of screen may also change how the wind affects the body. For example, a slightly weight-forward riding position, such as on a sports-tourer or a naked, might benefit from some wind-blast to the chest at high speed, to take some weight off the wrists. However, fit a screen to remove that windblast and you may not benefit from that ‘lift’ and more weight ends up going through your wrists.
So it’s worth having a good think about what you want to achieve before rushing out and bolting huge slabs of plastic to the front of your bike. The examples shown here, when not universal fit or stated otherwise, are for a 2019 Kawasaki Z1000SX sports tourer, for comparison.
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Spanish manufacturer Puig produces a range of bike-specific screens as well as several universal-fit items, such as this one that will fit a huge range of bikes with round headlights, from a Triumph Bonneville to a Suzuki Bandit. More commonly known as a fly-screen, this will help to keep bugs off the rideru2019s clothing and (likely) open-face helmet and reduce some of the wind hitting them squarely on the chest. Easy to fit and good looking.
The cheapest available on Amazon, this clip-on spoiler is designed to fit to the top of your bikeu2019s exiting screen and tailor the flow as you wish. The adjustable angle means you can deflect the air, potentially over the top of the helmet for a quieter and less turbulent ride.
Skidmarx Flip-up tall
This screen from Skidmarx is huge and presents a fair chunk of plastic ahead of the rider. While it should help to reduce the airflow to the head, as well as the shoulders due to the sculpted areas around the bar cut-outs, it could also potentially interfere with vision for shorter riders, especially in the dark tint. Good price though.
This screen from Powerbronze is taller than a standard screen but also features a u2018double bubbleu2019 design, with a second rounded bulge on top of the standard shape (a common replacement option on sports bikes). Available in light or dark tint and formed in 3mm acrylic, it fits and performs well, gaining a Recommended award from RiDE for for tall riders on that particular bike.
MRA X-creen universal spoiler
For bikes where there is no dedicated screen available, this MRA Sport X-creen (there are three other options as well) can either be clamped or bolted to the existing screen to offer a huge range of adjustability. The angle of the spoiler, as well as its position relative to the main screen, can both be altered to get the best combination of airflow for the individual rideru2019s needs.
This example from Puig is narrower at the top than the standard screen and features a deep bubble to help push the wind away from the rideru2019s head. In RiDEu2019s test, the shorter rider found it reduced turbulence noise at the helmet while the taller rider found it made little difference, earning it a Recommended award for performance for shorter riders.
This vast screen from French manufacturer Ermax doesnu2019t have a bubble but does feature a turned-up lip at the very top edge to move the airflow up and over the rideru2019s helmet. Both testers on RiDE noticed a reduction in the noise at the helmet and one could find an area of complete silence and serenity when adopting a racing tuck.
The MRA replacement screen is longer than the original to try to deflect the air up and over the rideru2019s head but in tests RiDE found very little difference between it and the standard screen on the Z1000SX. It did, however, reduce glare on the bikeu2019s gauges which is a useful benefit from a replacement screen.
While not available for the Kawasaki (Wunderlich specialises in BMW products) this screen for the R1250Rs sports tourer is both taller and wider than the original item which, according to the manufacturer, will reduce the wind on the rideru2019s helmet and chest and upper body and is made from sturdy 5mm material.
MRA Vario X-creen
Another screen for the BMW R1250RS and another from MRA, this one features a larger base screen with a three-mount adjustable spoiler to further tailor the airflow. The advantage here is that the main screen helps to clean up the airflow and the securely-mounted spoiler can then add or remove airflow wherever needed.