MRA VarioScreen Style VNB Review
About the best you can hope for from a small windscreen is to blunt some of the wind and bugs the road throws at you. Ask much more than that, and you’re usually looking at a larger, more expensive screen. At first glance, MRA’s VNB VarioScreen is designed to do the minimum necessary to call itself a windscreen, but thanks to its adjustable two-piece design it works a lot better than appearances would suggest.
The VNB consists of an upper and lower half. The upper half slides in slots over a range of about 2 inches, secured by threaded knobs on the backside of the screen. There’s a gap between the two halves, the theory being that allowing some air to flow in behind the screen partially fills the low-pressure area there, reducing noise and turbulence.
A lot of theories sound good, but the proof is in how they work in the real world. Based on one-piece screens of a similar size that I’ve used, the VNB’s two-piece design is sound in practice as well as on paper. Results vary depending on the height of the upper half of the screen, the angle at which the screen is mounted, and its distance from the seated rider. It’s easy to make adjustments, either by loosening and moving the mounting clamps on the handlebar, or by simply pivoting the screen on the ball-socket attachment points.
Installing the VNB on a naked bike—in this case a 2012 Triumph Bonneville—took about 15 minutes, plus maybe five more for snugging down the hardware and fine-tuning the angle of the screen. I started with a fairly upright position, and gradually angled it back until I got to a spot where the turbulence was least annoying. Playing with the upper half next produced a distinct change in the amount of air reaching me; higher worked well in colder weather, while lower flowed more air to my helmet and jacket vents. Pretty good for a 2-inch range of adjustment.
A narrow screen like the VNB doesn’t do anything to keep the wind off your hands, but that’s what larger screens are for, or hand guards. Despite perching on the ends of two straight steel rods pointing forward with no other support, the VNB hasn’t moved except for the time I was surprised by a homemade speed bump on a rural two-laner; it shifted slightly, but so did my spine. I quickly put the VNB back and kept going.
With practice, you should be able to swap it between bikes in a jiffy and use it on whatever you’re riding that day. Until I get another naked bike, this one stays on the Bonnie.
The MRA VarioScreen, style VNB, is available from Twisted Throttle and retails for $169.99. It comes in Clear or Smoke Gray. The mounting kit is sold separately; the one for my Bonneville was $45.
For more information, contact Twisted Throttle at (855) 255-5550, or visit twistedthrottle.com
(This Gearlab review was published in the October 2013 issue of Rider magazine.)