Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Livermore, CA, USA
So... I've played around a bit with replacement windscreens for my K1200GT. I've had it a little over a month with about 1200 miles on it so far. I purchased a dealer (San Jose BMW) demo with right at 600 miles on the clock. Seemed like a lot of miles for a demo but I was told that the owner and wife took it for a trip up the coast. Anyway, I've strayed from the topic already.
For the last 4 years I've ridden a bike with no windshield or fairing. I'm 5'11" (34" inseam) and the first thing I noticed about the GT was that the windshield did an excellent job of blocking airflow to my head and chest with no buffeting at all. However, with the same helmet I had been riding with for two years (HJC Symax I), their was a deafening roar in my ears which I never had in the unblocked, smooth airflow on my previous bike.
My first instinct was to try the tall OEM screen. I found a member here selling one. Fortunately, he very wisely had me measure the vertical height of my screen before we "did the deal" and we discovered that I already was running the tall screen. Maybe it was installed before the trip "up the coast."
So, I continued to read up on windscreens and scan the forum for used alternatives. I came across an excellent deal from a member here and was able to purchase two screens from him, in perfect condition, and combine shipping costs: a ZTechnic VStream and a Cee Bailey +6, +2. When I took the screens out of the box, the VStream was pretty unusual looking while the Bailey had a very stock look but with a moderate laminar lip at the top. The Bailey looked more promising to me so I started with the VStream, with the theory that if I liked the Bailey better, I could just leave it on at the end of the test.
The Cee Bailey looked nice on the bike, not unlike the stock windscreen. The larger size +6 in height, +4 in width (about 3" taller than my "tall" BMW screen) didn't stand out, in my opinion. However, when riding, it seemed much larger. The noise in my ears was gone but, all the way down, the top edge of the shield split my field of vision. This would have been acceptable, but the very thick construction (0.25") combined with the laminar lip, produced considerable distortion. With the shield all the way up, it seemed huge! We're talking "pope mobile" here and my entire field of vision was through the shield with all of its distortions.
The Vstream, if you've seen the photos (I hadn't paid attention), is pretty swoopy in shape and contour; a little too much "styling" for my tastes. It's height matches my BMW tall shield exactly. It is actually a little narrower near the the mid-section (it flares out at a higher point) but is a couple of inches wider on each side (about 4" total) at the top. First thing I noticed in riding is that it was absolutely distortion free (this from a guy who works on very large optics for a living). Nice. But could it really be better at blocking noise since it is no taller than my previous shield? Oh yeah. Very quiet all the way up. The only way that I can explain this is that the additional width at the top (combined with some swoopy shape?) sends the turbulent vortices out wider than my helmet, keeping the noise out of my ears. Remember, none of the three shields failed to keep the pressure off of my head. I like this shield. It seems to have three distinct heights, in my judgement. The lowest gives me good visibility over the top and the wind pressure is constant (and loud) on my helmet with no buffeting. At mid height, all helmet pressure is blocked with slightly reduced roar. Full up, quiet. I'm pretty happy and I'll keep this one for now.
Cee Bailey (+6, +4) plus:
- Nice, stock looking shape that doesn't stand out
- Very quiet
Cee Bailey minus:
- Probably too much shielding for the summer.
- Plexiglass very easy to scratch and needs routine polishing.
- Very thick (0.25") so retaining screws don't engage full thread depth of the soft metal castings of the windscreen arms.
- Distortion throughout shield; especially pronounced at the top edge.
- Quiet without excessive height.
- Very low distortion.
- Standard coated polycarbonate construction for scratch resistance; doesn't require 0.25" thickness of Bailey.
- Styling is a bit unusual (but growing on me).
- Edge of shield inteferes with inner 30% of rear view mirrors in lowest position.
- Bottom side edges lap over fairing at the lowest position; possible paint rubbing?
- I could pass on the big VTechnik logo front and center near bottom.
- The Cee Bailey was larger than I probably needed and it would be interesting to try in a +4 height (distortion might still be a game ender for me)
- No 2-up testing done. I'm not willing to put both of my children's parents on the same bike.