Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Minneapolis, MN, US
I recently purchased a new shield from California Scientific. After 1000 mi. I figured it's time to share the results. Besides, I owe Mark (CalSci co-owner/engineer) a plug for letting me try it risk free.
I needed a new shield because my wife was being beat to death by the stock tall unit. I was riding in a nice pocket of air, but her head was at the point where the pocket disappeared and the buffeting was fierce. I enjoy her company on rides so we needed a new solution that extended the size of the pocket.
I looked at the oversize Cee Bailey units, but I suspected a large vacuum would be formed by them. Reading posts about the bugs on the back of them confirmed it. The boys from Bavaria created the flow path at the base of the the stock shield for a reason. It reduces vacuum/buffeting by allowing some air through. Increasing the shield size without increasing the amount of flow means more vacuum and less aerodynamic efficiency. Sort of like riding behind a barn door: you get a smooth ride, but the transition areas are very ragged and rob power.
That lead me to CalSci. The unique design looked like it would work well. It's a larger shield coupled with more flow (see the hole near the base). I was a bit leery and pelted Mark with several questions. His ultimate response: try it risk free. Don't scratch the shield and it could be returned. With nothing to lose I ordered immediately. The sizing guide on their site suggested a large.
We tried several rides in varying conditions, culminating in a 550 mi. weekend trip. The results were good. With the shield in the up position the calm pocket was extended to include her head and I had enough air to keep the vents on the top of my helmet fed. Shield down was fine for me, calmer than the stock unit, but she got the usual beating. It provided a wider pocket too.
In the rain it was much better for her. The old shield caused rain to coat the inside of the shield on her open face helmet. The CalSci stopped that.
One of the negatives is the acrylic material of construction. It held up fine to speed (130+) but it scratched easily. I guess that's the price of being bullet proof. Not sure where that will come in handy, but why look a gift horse in the mouth. The shield comes with a micro-fiber terrycloth rag for cleaning. Use it. Do not be a meat head and use a paper towel from the gas station dipped in cleaner. It will scratch the plastic. A $5 bottle of Meguires Plastix easily took care of the damage.
The only other negative is the glare. It may be because the shield is taller, or because it is at a slightly increased angle, but there is a noticeable glare. Might have something to do with the material of construction. Against that, I have to say that the clarity is awesome and there is absolutely no distortion.
All in all, I recommend the CalSci shields to anyone wanting more calm for the rider or passenger. They offer great performance and are competitively priced. Trust the sizing guide. They know what they're doing. Go too large and you won't be able to see over it in the down position.