National Cycle VStream Motorcycle Windshield Review
May 1, 2012
Filed under Gear, Honda Motorcycle Road Tests: Reviews on Honda Motorcycles, Motorcycle Parts + Accessories + Luggage: Reviews
As good as the Honda Gold Wing GL1800 is, there’s always room for improvement. One thing many GL riders want to improve is the stock windshield, which though wide and tall is also a source of wind noise and annoying buffeting.
But air is tricky stuff, and just making a windshield bigger and wider doesn’t necessarily make air flow around it more easily. National Cycle’s new VStream Special Edition windshield for the GL1800 uses several strategies to reduce head buffeting and noise, and they all work.
As Barry Willey, president and product designer of National Cycle, explains it, the problem with most windshields is they slow down the air hitting them, allowing it to be sucked into the low-pressure area behind the windshield, creating turbulence as the air spills over the top. Turbulence can also be generated by a windshield that sits too upright, or too far from the rider, or one that has an upturned lip along the top edge.
The VStream leans back toward the rider much more that the stock windshield, and that angle presents less of a restriction to the air hitting it. It’s also wider at the top to channel air around the rider’s shoulders. The slippery shape reminds me of the fairing on a road-race bike, as does the way it creates a pocket of calm air immediately behind it. The benefits extend to the passenger, too. The VStreams’s contour moves the point at which the air parted by the windshield comes back together to a spot farther rearward than the stock screen, leaving the pillion in calmer air.
Another cause of noise and turbulence is windshield flex. To help reduce flex, the VStream Special Edition is made of 6mm polycarbonate with Quantum hardcoating and National Cycle’s Rainzip treatment. The Quantum hardcoating makes the VStream much more resistant to scratching and damage from road debris. I’ve been riding a lot this winter in the wet, and the amount of road spray and grit thrown up on the VStream worried me at first. But after several cleanings the finish is as good now as it was out of the box, and the Rainzip treatment lets the water bead up and roll off.
The Special Edition comes with a standard vent that directs air at my neck and head. That’s handy, because the air flow behind the VStream is so reduced that it affects vented clothing
and helmets. That’s not a problem in cold weather, but I’m curious to see how I’ll feel about it this summer.
The VStream is a straight swap for the stock windshield using the stock hardware, and can be raised and lowered just like the stock one. I like to look over windshields, not through them, so optical clarity isn’t a big issue for me. But if you prefer your windshield higher, you’ll find the VStream provides a distortion-free view of the road ahead.
The VStream Special Edition for 2001-2010 Gold Wings sells for $394.95. National Cycle also makes two other GL1800 VStream windshields, made of 4.5mm hardcoated polycarbonate, for $219 without a vent opening and $229 with a vent opening (vent not included). VStream windshields come with a three-year warranty against breakage.
For more information: Contact National Cycle, (877) 972-7336, www.nationalcycle.com.