Riding without windshield


Information and questions on GL1800 Goldwings (2001-2017)
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Kwest364
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2020 11:10 pm
Location: Buckeye Lake, OH
Motorcycle: 1989 GL1500
2004 GL1800

Riding without windshield

Post by Kwest364 »



Going on a cross country tour (15,000 miles or more). Start in Ohio.

Windshield or no windshield?

I've been riding without one for weeks since it was so hot without wind flowing over me. Makes a huge difference to me. Frankly, that's my biggest concern is comfort in heat.

-I hear people say fatigue from wind when riding without a windshield. I don't see that as an issue for me. I'm younger (29), so perhaps youth is helping me there. I don't get pushed by the wind or feel like I'm fighting it ever, even on highway for miles, feel nice and relaxed and planted. I don't see how anybody does, frankly. Planted in a high backed seat (some which have back rests), shouldn't need to fight the wind. I've done longer stretches of riding (few hrs at a time), take breaks often (an hour or less), and plan on not riding for more than 200 miles most days, if that. Seems like wind fatigue shouldn't be an issue for me considering the above.

Heat is my biggest issue. When I rode the bike back after buying it (2 day ride) I hated not having wind on me to cool me down. I was in a windless bubble. I think this factor alone trumps any justification for having a shield.

Bout the only downside for me personally is wind noise. I wear earplugs though, but it's still loud for me, but I have particularly sensitive hearing and find most things loud that others don't. That being said, I still think being cooler with wind flow is more important than a little annoying wind noise after a few hours. I can tolerate that better than heat. Plus, the cooler I am/colder the temps, the more likely I am to ride with my gear on. I won't be doing any winter riding on this trip anyways. Maybe down to short rides at 30-40° at night if I swing up to Wyoming, or up in high elevation in Colorado, Utah, or California, but everything else will be pretty warm or hot with day riding (65-115 degrees), state and elevation dependent.

I suppose I've already made up my mind, but I would like perspective and experiences. Perhaps most here don't have experience with windshield-less goldwing while touring riding? I don't know. I'm sure people have other bikes and can compare shield vs no shield touring. I've always ridden without a shield, and didn't like it when I had one because of the heat. In the dead of winter, the windshield is gonna be awesome, though.



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blupupher
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Re: Riding without windshield

Post by blupupher »

What shield did you have?
There are several options for other shields that still offer airflow but give you protection from bugs, rocks, birds etc.
I had a rock to the throat once on my Shadow when I had the shield off (because of heat), I thought I had been shot and the pain caused me to swerve quite a bit. Luckily nobody beside me.
Needless to say, I put the shield back on after that. I will deal with being hot over that again.
Riding in the rain also sucks without a windshield IMO.

I had a Tulsa Tall on my 1500 when I got it, and I hated it for several reasons, mainly the heat and lack of wind. The little vent did nothing for temps.
I put on a MadStad just before a 1,200 mile trip last week, and even with temps in the high 90's and heat index in the 105 range, I was OK (hot, but it was tolerable).
1994 GL1500 Goldwing SE

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tamathumper
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Motorcycle: 2003 GL1800A

Re: Riding without windshield

Post by tamathumper »

I wouldn't go cross-country without a shield - too many exploding tires, flying Harley parts, and just general road debris to contend with. And yes, on my first cross-country trip I had to deal with flying Harley parts, at least when he was in the lead.

I'd put on a vented shield (or at least put a vent in the one you have) and then add Wind Wings to increase the air flow to you from underneath the mirrors. They make a huge difference. Mine are from National Cycle, 'cuz I like their ratcheting positioning mechanism.
'03 GL1800A - Warning: fopen() [function.fopen]: failed to open stream: Sense of humor not found on line 2

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tfdeputydawg
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Re: Riding without windshield

Post by tfdeputydawg »

+1 on the vent!!! No way I'd ride a long trip without a windshield.

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702scottc
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Re: Riding without windshield

Post by 702scottc »

Riding that far without a windscreen would be a mistake in my opinion. Too many nasty things to hit you.. I put a Taka recurve on mine a couple of years ago with a vent and I really like it. Rode from Flint, Michigan back to Vegas a few weeks ago and the vent was a godsend. ( trailered the bike behind a bus I delivered). The windscreen and the vent made it nice even in 80% humidity that I'm not used to, desert person and all!

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detdrbuzzard
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Re: Riding without windshield

Post by detdrbuzzard »

i'm going with a MadStad when i replace the windshield on my wing next year. i've gotten use to having an adjustable windshield
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AZgl1800
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Re: Riding without windshield

Post by AZgl1800 »

I went with a MadStad because it gives me all of the options, all the time.

wind in your face? yup
full blown rain shower, raise it up. yup

normal riding with the wind blocked, but eyes looking over the top, yup.
~John

'02 GL1800
2009 Piaggio MP3 250cc

Terry D
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Re: Riding without windshield

Post by Terry D »

I will not ride a motorcycle without a windshield. Just a few weeks ago, I installed a new F4 on my 05. Two days later a rock was thrown up on it and put a tiny chip about 1/3 the way down from the top. That rock could have hit me if not for the windshield. A good alternative is what I purchased this summer for riding in the Texas Hill Country and around. It is a Riding Cooling Vests. This vest
comes with 4 inside pockets to slip state of the art ice packs into. The Vest comes with a nice insulated bag. I spent a bit more money and bought an extra set of ice packs and keep them in the bag in the trunk. After 4 hours of riding, I switch them out and stay cool all day. They are advertised to freeze 6 times faster than ice and last 4 time longer. I had one set sitting in the garage after delivery and my garage was over 90 degrees and they did not melt for over 8 hours. It was a good test allowing them to flatten out before putting in the freezer. A friend has a set and says they will begin to freeze in the refridgerator. I have not tried that. https://www.fullsource.com/techniche-6626-bl/ Check them out. One word of caution. They took three weeks for me to get them.
It ain't the destination but the getting there. You are not lost until you run out of gas.

Big Bob
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Re: Riding without windshield

Post by Big Bob »

From my many years of riding with small fairings, my first good windshield was the Tulsa extra tall with vent, immediately fell in love with it. Agreed in warm/hot weather it is not good, no air flow. Here in MN, does not to happen very often. Now I have a F4+4 love it, great windshield. I would never own a road cruiser motorcycle without a windshield.

Bob
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06 Gl1800 Dark Cherry Red
Trying to break it in, only 75k on the clock!
I'd rather be riding than working!!

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C-dub
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Re: Riding without windshield

Post by C-dub »

Kwest364 wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:09 pm
Going on a cross country tour (15,000 miles or more). Start in Ohio.

Windshield or no windshield?

I've been riding without one for weeks since it was so hot without wind flowing over me. Makes a huge difference to me. Frankly, that's my biggest concern is comfort in heat.
When will this tour begin?

While you are on the young side, a two day ride is likely only about 1,000-1,200 miles and no shield in hot clear weather is doable. I would be more concerned about a ride that is 10+x longer in distance and duration with far greater weather variation and in a different changing season. I prefer riding with my stock shield all the way down with the vent open. However, when I do replace my shield it will be with a Madstad that has been mentioned and recommended by others here.

Anyway, unless you are absolutely certain of hot clear weather your entire tour I think you would inevitably regret the decision to go without a shield.

One other thing to consider is the gear you ride with that you only mention, but without really describing. I've been riding for over 40 years and my first cross country trip was from Memphis to San Diego when I was 18. I was smart enough to wear jeans, boots, long sleeves and a helmet when crossing the southwest in May, but that was about it. I only drank water occasionally at stops and had a thermos of coke for most of the time. Since then and to this day I struggle with what gear to wear in hot weather. I have so far concluded that I am very stubborn about this and should really take heed of those that have done this far better than I in managing their body temperature and fluid intake in harsher environments than I typically ride in. Do yourself a favor and do some research in this forum and elsewhere and learn this while you are still young and enjoy several more decades than I have left of great riding through this and possible other countries in a variety of environments.
I am not and have never been a LEO. My avatar is in honor of my friend, Dallas Police Sargent Michael Smith, who was murdered along with four other officers in Dallas on 7.7.2016.

novatz
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Re: Riding without windshield

Post by novatz »

Windshield. If your trip includes any part of FL, GA, MS, LA at this time, love bugs and no windshield would be a disaster.

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GoldWingrGreg
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Re: Riding without windshield

Post by GoldWingrGreg »

At Wingding in 2014, I rode a GL1800 Valkyrie that has very little windshield. Honda's demo ride was supposed to be 20 mins, but it was 40. For the first 20 having no windshield was great. When we got back, I was glad to get off because I found the lack of wind protection exhausting.

I'd put a windscreen on it, and stop and hydrate every hour like good riding habits should include.

ddanger1
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Re: Riding without windshield

Post by ddanger1 »

I've ridden bikes with and without windshields. I like the windshield due to the protection to my face, neck etc from airborne materials (bugs, gravel, etc.), especially on long rides. Yep, can get hot, but my shield is vented, and products are available to cool you down. I've got a HD for short rides that allows the wind in my face, but long rides are more comfortable on the Goldwing with a shield. Cuts down on the noise as well. I think a stereo without the excess noise is more enjoyable. To each his/her own.

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newday777
Posts: 1959
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:21 pm
Location: Milford NH summer/fall & Oceanside, CA winters(N San Diego) with lots of miles riden between
Motorcycle: 2008 Cabernet Red. Level 4

1983 GL1100A Wineberry 36,000 miles

1975 CB750 K5 Planet Blue 7,800 miles

1976 CB750 K6 Anterris Red 25,000 miles

Past rides
1999A Restored from PO neglect & sold at 19,000 miles

1999SE Totaled by cager at 105,000 miles

Re: Riding without windshield

Post by newday777 »

Kwest364 wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:09 pm
Going on a cross country tour (15,000 miles or more). Start in Ohio.

Windshield or no windshield?

I've been riding without one for weeks since it was so hot without wind flowing over me. Makes a huge difference to me. Frankly, that's my biggest concern is comfort in heat.

-I hear people say fatigue from wind when riding without a windshield. I don't see that as an issue for me. I'm younger (29), so perhaps youth is helping me there. I don't get pushed by the wind or feel like I'm fighting it ever, even on highway for miles, feel nice and relaxed and planted. I don't see how anybody does, frankly. Planted in a high backed seat (some which have back rests), shouldn't need to fight the wind. I've done longer stretches of riding (few hrs at a time), take breaks often (an hour or less), and plan on not riding for more than 200 miles most days, if that. Seems like wind fatigue shouldn't be an issue for me considering the above.

Heat is my biggest issue. When I rode the bike back after buying it (2 day ride) I hated not having wind on me to cool me down. I was in a windless bubble. I think this factor alone trumps any justification for having a shield.

Bout the only downside for me personally is wind noise. I wear earplugs though, but it's still loud for me, but I have particularly sensitive hearing and find most things loud that others don't. That being said, I still think being cooler with wind flow is more important than a little annoying wind noise after a few hours. I can tolerate that better than heat. Plus, the cooler I am/colder the temps, the more likely I am to ride with my gear on. I won't be doing any winter riding on this trip anyways. Maybe down to short rides at 30-40° at night if I swing up to Wyoming, or up in high elevation in Colorado, Utah, or California, but everything else will be pretty warm or hot with day riding (65-115 degrees), state and elevation dependent.

I suppose I've already made up my mind, but I would like perspective and experiences. Perhaps most here don't have experience with windshield-less goldwing while touring riding? I don't know. I'm sure people have other bikes and can compare shield vs no shield touring. I've always ridden without a shield, and didn't like it when I had one because of the heat. In the dead of winter, the windshield is gonna be awesome, though.
You didn't say when this trip would be started.....
If you are leaving soon, have you seen that there was a big winter storm just after you posted this in the Rockies from Montana to New Mexico??? So if you are planning to leave now you can and probably will hit winter conditions through the mountain west region. Even in the summer there are always hail storms you can encounter over the passes, I've run through at least one per trip in the summer months and had to pull off the road because of loss of traction. Hail in the face can be bad news without a windshield on the Rockies. You never can fully plan on a ride through the Rockies high elevations without hitting weather.
I left Boulder Colorado at 93 degrees, and hit 35 and snow over the pass in Rocky Mnt Park, no windshield on my old CB750 back in the 70s when I was young and dumb, nothing can stop me.... Dropping down in elevation on the west side it turned to rain, then pouring rain, no rainsuit, tee shirt and jean jacket...... It wasn't a fun ride back to Boulder in 3 hrs of rain and cold.

As far as needing wind you can mitigate that in with hand wings and win wings on the side of the bike.
I have the Windbender 2 piece shield similar to the Madstad, just no forward aft tilt, which would help get more wind to you.
Add to those options the Phase Change Vest for cooling your core for the high desert heat and you can have all the comfort you desire and protection too.
Young and dumb can get you by..... Sometimes....
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newday777
Posts: 1959
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:21 pm
Location: Milford NH summer/fall & Oceanside, CA winters(N San Diego) with lots of miles riden between
Motorcycle: 2008 Cabernet Red. Level 4

1983 GL1100A Wineberry 36,000 miles

1975 CB750 K5 Planet Blue 7,800 miles

1976 CB750 K6 Anterris Red 25,000 miles

Past rides
1999A Restored from PO neglect & sold at 19,000 miles

1999SE Totaled by cager at 105,000 miles

Re: Riding without windshield

Post by newday777 »

Here you can see the side wings and the Windbender better
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AZgl1800
Posts: 2462
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2009 Piaggio MP3 250cc

Re: Riding without windshield

Post by AZgl1800 »

the Madstad windshields give you the best of all worlds.

low down for wind in your face,
all the way up for rain and hail protection.


~John

'02 GL1800
2009 Piaggio MP3 250cc

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