Editor’s note: What we have here is Part 1 in a two-part series that’s intended to share perspectives from two types of riders on the necessity for a windshield on your motorcycle. In today’s offering, Jake Herring talks about the wind in your face and the benefits of riding the open road without a windshield. Tomorrow, we’ll hear from Anthony Todd, who will talk about the safety and protection issues involved in having a windshield above your handlebars. First up, Jake Herring:
Let me put this as simply as I can: No windshield! Sure, it might protect you from the elements, but a windshield also protects you from one of the best feelings in the world — the wind in your face! Even dogs know that! Having that feeling while on the open road is one of the reasons I got hooked on motorcycle riding in the first place. If you’re riding with a windshield, you might as well be in a car. I know it hurts for you to hear that, but so it goes.
Here’s another reason I don’t use a windshield: It destroys the look of your motorcycle. Let’s use a Harley-Davidson Fat boy as an example. Slam it to the ground, add a low-profile seat, dual 30-inch fishtails and 18-inch ape hangers, and what do you got? A cool motorcycle, that’s what. Now go ahead and strap on a windshield and Bam! Everything that was cool, all of a sudden is not cool. Motorcycles are supposed to be sleek and smooth with a bodyline that flows like a graceful woman in repose. You don’t see windshields on women in repose do you? Of course not. Windshields destroy those lines as soon as you put them on.
Here’s another example: Would you take a 2011 Chrysler 300M SRT with a big-block Hemi, 20-inch rims and strap a bug guard to the hood? Of course you wouldn’t! So why would you do that to your beloved motorcycle?
Having said all that, I do have a few exceptions to my own edict. For instance, I think every bagger with a fairing should have a 3 ½-inch windshield on it. I hope you noted the sarcasm in that last statement. If you must have some sort of protection up front, use a fairing. At least with a low-profile windshield you don’t totally ruin the lines of the bike. Arlen Ness has a café style fairing that looks great on a motorcycle. It’s low profile, blocks some of the elements, keeps a smooth-flowing line to the bike and most important — it allows the wind to hit your face.
I’m a firm believer in “to each his (or her) own.” Everyone has a point of view when it comes to style. So if the windshield is your thing, then by all means strap it to your bike and go. But in my opinion, these big hunks of polycarbonate or Plexiglas are eyesores and they keep the wind out of your face. And wind to me is a stress reliever — a natural healer. And riding a bike with “protection” would ruin my therapy session.