Sunday, September 2, 2012

Windshield - Take three

September is here.

 It's still summer, and I'm still riding wearing my mesh jacket and summer gloves

The liner for my riding pants is... (actually, I'm not sure where it is).

Before I left for Vancouver a few weeks ago, I dropped off my windshield at the local glass and mirror shop for a second round of surgery.  I have struggled to get the windshield formula right.  My earlier experiments are documented here.

I'd been determined to do it for some time.

I knew I wanted it done before the fall chill came to visit.

Yesterday I picked it up and promptly installed it.
As you can see it's now cut down as low as it can be. My daughter who thought it was embarassingly dorky at its original height (you can see a photo by clicking here, man was it huge), and found it only borderline acceptable at mid height, now thinks it looks pretty good. I think so too.

Here is a video I shot when I cut the screen to mid height.

But that's not why I cut it down to fly screen height.

It got chopped because, at mid height, as esthetically pleasing as it may have been, it directed the air flow to my neck. This made riding uncomfortable, but not for the obvious reasons you might think.

It wasn't the pressure or force of the wind hitting my neck or helmet and causing a strain in my neck. Not at all. That is most noticeable riding without the screen at highway speeds. At mid height the screen still did a good job of eliminating upper body strain from the wind.

And it wasn't because the airblast of cold air was chilling me in colder weather. Not one bit. My cold weather gear prevents that effect.

The really serious culprit was noise.

The screen caused turbulence just below my helmet that was shocking the first time I experienced it. If you don't understand what I mean, try this (depending on the car you drive): get up to highway speed and open one rear window. That loud deep bass throbbing sound you get? That's what the mid height screen did for me, allbeit at a smaller scale.

It sent me straight to the hardware department at Sears to buy earplugs. Now earplugs are a topic for another post all by themselves, and, having gotten used to them, I never commute without them anymore,  windscreen or no windscreen.

No sooner than I installed the shorty windscreen, I just had to take a test run.  I wouldn't say I was dreading it, because anything would be an improvement. I was just really curious. You see it's at fly screen height now, and I never got what flyscreens were about. What's the point of having a ridiculously tiny windshield?

Here are my first impressions. 

Still no airblast on my hands.

Fantastic! After all, that's why I got the large Cuppini screen to begin with.

The screen now directs the air to the middle of my chest. Gone is the noisy turbulence. Now there is a faint whistling that I actually find interesting. The screen does a good job of smoothing the airflow and eliminating the tiring blast of air you get on the highway riding without a screen.

It's early still, but I'm now quite pleased. Let's see how it handles as fall chill settles in. The timing for this experiment couldn't be better. The forecast is for 30C early this week. So there's still summer weather to test in.

I'll let you know how it works out.


Dar said...

Looks awesome David! I need to re-install my shorty windshield on my bike. We took it off during the heat of summer, but it is getting chilly here on the coast. Time to prepare for winter riding again.

Keith - Circle Blue said...

A bracket broke on the windsceen I had the Symba and I took it off. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do for the coming cold. At the speeds I travel on the Symba I'm wondering if I will even replace it. I couldn't use Hippo Hands because of the windsceen. With it gone, maybe I'll just get Hippo Hands and see how that goes.

The earplug thing: I now hate to ride without them, too.

And, I like the take three the best.

Canajun said...

Windscreens are a nightmare to get just right. And too expensive to generally experiment with to keep cutting to get just the right height. Looks like you've got it though.

Trobairitz said...

I am glad you seem to be getting it sorted.

I hear all the horror stories of the troubles people have trying to get windscreens right and I have no urge or inclination to even try one on my bike. If I did, it would simply be a fly screen to keep some of the bugs off my visor.

Looking forward to your longevity report on it.

SonjaM said...

Windshields are both, annoying but sometimes necessary and convenient.

I love the little fly screen on my scoot, but the big touring windscreen on my Harley gets removed as soon as long distance riding is over.

I believe you have gotten it just right now. About fly screen hight with the additional hand protection. Maybe you should have this model patented ;-)

David Masse said...

Dar, w-i-n-t-e-r, what's that? Oh right... wash your mouth out with soap!

Keith, I considered grip muffs, but couldn't face the undoubtedly disapproving mocking looks from my loved ones. Agree on the earplugs, totally. Like all the other gear, it took a while to get used to wearing earplugs, but I would never go any distance without them now.

Canajun, expensive is right. So far I have spent as much on the cost of cuts as I have on the screen. Worth it though in terms of nearly non-geeky comfort for my hands, and maybe a little more speed at the top end.

Trobairitz, not sure that my fly screen will help with bugs. It's probably the upright seating on a scooter, those bugs are still committing suicide on my visor.

Sonja, I went for a longer ride today, and I think that you may be right. I think that I may finally be happy with my windscreen on all fronts.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.