Man chases windscreens...and God laughs - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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  1. #1
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    I'm finally convinced that windscreens are God's revenge for our materialism and incessant fiddling. How else to explain that after trying numerous windscreen combinations on my F800GT (and, earlier, on my '12 F800ST), and finding that some screens worked, for a while, then pooped out on me, leaving the impression that I was trying to grab a handful of a "will-o-the-wisp"? To cap the whole farcical charade off, I removed the MRA X-creen from my OEM screen today, and rode happily at speeds up to 90 mph.

    Was this God toying with me? Surely not...especially when you look at the state of the world today and realize that any sane deity would be more likely occupied with trying to sort out the chaos of human existence, rather than fooling with the head of a motorcyclist intent on driving himself crazy.

    In the end, a clue - when my earplugs are properly seated, the noise level drops considerably. Gee, that seems so obvious! Maybe I should try switching earplugs...

    Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!

    (It's all good...had a great ride on the GT today on a twisty road around a reservoir in the hills, with golden light playing tag with deep shadows in the gullies, and alpenglow on groves of aspen trees.)

    Not from today's ride, but a walk yesterday...just throwing it out there, because it was kind of a cool scene...
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  4. #2
    Right Hand Drive's Avatar
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    Great post Flyrider. How many times have we made a change, convinced ourselves of an improvement then figured maybe there wasn't one after all. I think screens are a particularly bad for this. Some say that manufacturers sacrifice form over function for screens. Others say that they use many hours in a wind tunnel designing the best compromise for an average rider. Who knows? All I know is that, over the years I've spent many hours and $$s experimenting with screens, almost always coming back to the OE offering. I guess if you are at the extreme ends of the height spectrum, then the OE screen isn't so good, but for those of us who fall within the design envelope, maybe the manufacturers got it right.
    18 F800GT

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    Quote Originally Posted by Right Hand Drive View Post
    Great post Flyrider. How many times have we made a change, convinced ourselves of an improvement then figured maybe there wasn't one after all. I think screens are a particularly bad for this. Some say that manufacturers sacrifice form over function for screens. Others say that they use many hours in a wind tunnel designing the best compromise for an average rider. Who knows? All I know is that, over the years I've spent many hours and $$s experimenting with screens, almost always coming back to the OE offering. I guess if you are at the extreme ends of the height spectrum, then the OE screen isn't so good, but for those of us who fall within the design envelope, maybe the manufacturers got it right.
    You absolutely nailed it!

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    I have done my fair share of windscreen scrutiny!

    It is hard to evaluate windscreens - the wind can change direction or speed from one day to the next, your route and speed can change........the traffic affects the air and creates turbulence, etc. A head wind vs. a tail wind vs. a cross wind all affect the outcome.

    The stock windscreen without a deflector puts the wind at chin level on my helmet and it is bothersome at speeds over 60mph. Adding a Puig or MRA deflector raises up the wind to eye level and it makes things far better.

    The Ermax Sport Screen and the Puig deflector have made my bike far more enjoyable to ride.....for my 5'-8" height it is a nice compromise between too much and too little airflow.

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    It's a funny thing, Thumpin...how one day it's good (OEM), next day...not so much. Resembles the famous three-legged stool problem, where you try to level the stool by sawing a "little" off one leg, only to find it's now tipping in another direction. Chasing after phantoms...

    I'm going to keep the OEM in place (it worked yesterday) and see what happens. I would hate to wind up in an institution run by ex-rider Freudians who drill holes in your skull and promise that "the next hole will cure your windshield obsession"...

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    Quote Originally Posted by flyrider View Post
    I'm finally convinced that windscreens are God's revenge for our materialism and incessant fiddling. How else to explain that after trying numerous windscreen combinations on my F800GT (and, earlier, on my '12 F800ST), and finding that some screens worked, for a while, then pooped out on me, leaving the impression that I was trying to grab a handful of a "will-o-the-wisp"? To cap the whole farcical charade off, I removed the MRA X-creen from my OEM screen today, and rode happily at speeds up to 90 mph...
    The wisest man in the world came up with the same conclusion. "Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun."

    I just smile and enjoy my Madstad when I read your threads on the subject.

    Just a thought... If the bike didn't change from one ride to the next ride, but your satisfaction with the windscreen did...what else could've changed? Maybe you? Are you sitting in the same place on the seat? I can move back and forth several inches which changes the ergonomic triangle. I can slouch sometimes, and sit up straighter on others...and that changes where the wind hits my face.

    Chris
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    I love this thread! Every single reply is informative and funny! I laughed out loud more than once. I realize that I am on a slightly different bike than the rest of you, but over about 20 years and 200,000+ miles of touring USA-wide on about a half-dozen different motorcycles, my firm opinion is that the manufactures (whether BMW, Honda, Yamaha or whatever) get it about right with all their wind tunnel testing and design work. I have used lots of after-market screens and screen extensions and lips and any device that claimed to change windflow and make my ride "more comfortable." None, absolutely none, worked as well as the OEM shield on whatever bike I was riding. Now, as I am riding in my dotage years, my credo is: The smaller the windshield, the quieter the ride."
    Royce
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    Good questions, Chris. To be honest, I think it's down to a couple of factors - one, the quality of my earplug seal and, two, how calm the winds are. Most of my riding is in canyons, where even a little wind results in what pilots call "mechanical turbulence", or turbulence that arises from wind flows striking objects such as trees, hills, gullies, etc. in its path. At an airport with many hangars, a crosswind can be laminar yet wind up being a chaotic mess after passing over the hangars and crossing the runway. Even a good windscreen can't defeat that.

    And to your point about rider position...surely that affects things as well. I guess a good spacesuit would be the ideal riding gear for defeating wind noise...a bit bulky maybe, but the ones worn by Space-X astronauts look pretty slimmed-down!

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    The only bike I rode where the wind protection was perfect for me was a 2007 R1200RT with an electric windshield. I remember very clearly taking this bike for a test drive. I dialled in the screen adjustment to a point where there was absolutely no wind noise or turbulence, or wind pressure. The only downside was that I soon started to get very warm and had to lower the screen for some air. That bike also handled excellently in the bends and you could turn it on a dime (feet up) at slow speeds. Alas I wasn't after such a big bike at the time. I was recovering form a crash related shoulder injury, and pushing it around was a struggle.
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyrider View Post
    ...And to your point about rider position...surely that affects things as well. I guess a good spacesuit would be the ideal riding gear for defeating wind noise...a bit bulky maybe, but the ones worn by Space-X astronauts look pretty slimmed-down!
    Earplugs make a difference. When I started riding again, I rode a Burgman 400 scooter. Single cylinder bike. Without earplugs, it sounded just like it was...a thumper. Put in a good set of earplugs and the entire experience was so much better. The engine noise was gone and the bike felt smooth. Much of my perceived lack of sophistication of the bike, was solely due to what I was hearing.

    As for rider position, I wasn't really suggesting you go that far as to getting a space suit. Though dressing up as a Stormtrooper in one of those white outfits would certainly cause some stares. What I was thinking about though, was that at say 5'10", you'd have the air hit you in a particular position. But slumping a little without realizing it, would have the air hit your head and shoulders as if you were 5'8", or less perhaps. Sitting forward on the seat has the air hit you like you're taller. Move back on the seat as far back as you can, both moves your head and shoulders lower, but also puts you farther back. The effect is like changing your height at least 2-3 inches. And that makes a difference in the ability of the windscreen to move the air around you.

    I do think it would be funny if you tried a Madstad windshield and loved it.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daboo View Post
    I do think it would be funny if you tried a Madstad windshield and loved it.

    Chris
    I did try it, and didn't love it. That doesn't mean it's "bad"...just that I didn't care for it. To be truthful, I thought it looked hideous and created too much heat.

    Regarding rider position...I do vary my position frequently, but the difference isn't that great in wind noise terms. There ARE some positions that reduce noise considerably, like "scrunching" my neck to put the collar of my jacket against the rear of my helmet. The only downside to that is it creates unnatural stresses on the neck, and isn't sustainable.

    I'm coming around to the idea that the OEM screen was designed as it was for a reason.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flyrider View Post
    ... I'm coming around to the idea that the OEM screen was designed as it was for a reason.
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    Have you tried Madstad windhields? https://madstad.com/collections/bmw
    I swear by mine but of course a ride's height and posture, etc., will be a significant
    variable.

    Bob

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  20. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by NY Bob View Post
    Have you tried Madstad windhields? https://madstad.com/collections/bmw
    I swear by mine but of course a ride's height and posture, etc., will be a significant
    variable.

    Bob
    Sorry...what's a Madstad? Just kidding...that's been beaten to death.

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    Gotta love this thread. At 5’2” I always questioned if I needed a taller windscreen on my Gs750. So I brought one. Turbulence increased so I brought an extension. A great improvement, but what if I now brought an extension for my extension. Or perhaps the OEM was best. At my height the tank alone should shield me. 😂 back to focusing on teaching the ground

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    Quote Originally Posted by flyrider View Post
    Sorry...what's a Madstad? Just kidding...that's been beaten to death.
    I found it totally hilarious. I'm happy. Bob's happy. I think he's really smart.

    And he has a great sense of humour.

    Chris
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    Just a brief anecdote: When I "installed" the Madstad on my bike, the fitting was so complicated and requiring of "brute force" that I wound up with a back spasm that kept me from riding for 10 days. At that point I realized why they call it a "Mad"(stad).

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    Maybe you need to spend more time at the gym???

    Chris
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    I heard many comments on the tiny 'flyscreen' of the F800R. I love it. No problem whatsoever with noise or wind.
    At highway speeds lying forward on the cushion of wind is the perfect balance to support your body without leaning on your arms. Fiddled around for years with noise and buffeting on my F650 Funduro. One day I cut off the OEM screen as low as I could reasonably get it and that stopped all buffeting and noise on that bike too. I suspect helmets are developed and optimised for a clean airflow and not to be behind a screen. M

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    The little "fly" screen that came on my GS750 is a joke. Anything is better than that! The only thing worse was the piece of plastic that came on the front of my S1000R. Some things beg to be replaced. I went with Madstad, because not only can the height be adjusted, but the angle as well. There is a sweet spot!! Will have to say mine was a breeze to mount, thanks to the video by Adam Chandler.
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  29. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daboo View Post
    Maybe you need to spend more time at the gym???

    Chris
    I'm fit as I can be...seriously. But if a product is a square peg that requires insertion into a round hole, even a fit body can develop a spasm. It ain't me, Chris...it's the Madstad. I get that it works for you. Call you fortunate...!

    Speaking of fitness, I took this test and it showed my fitness age as 45, while my actual age is 73...so, maybe I've got a few working parts left in me?

    https://www.worldfitnesslevel.org/#/

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    Just pulling your chain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daboo View Post
    Just pulling your chain.

    Chris
    I've got a belt drive...

  32. #24
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    Oh...oh...oh...oh... You got me there!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daboo View Post
    Oh...oh...oh...oh... You got me there!
    Finally...!!!!

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    I think the rt1150&1100 bikes from the 90’s even through 2005 are almost the greatest designed motorcycle ever. The nice knee spots and the way you just sink into it and become part of the bike. They are sporty and you can scrape peg even valve covers! I love the mirror blinker assembly and the convex mirrors. And yes the adjustable wind screen. I have never been on a bike that I felt was so perfect and natural. For the street the RT’s are so nice. Someone had cut the windscreen on my last RT with a saw or something. Because the way it came sometimes you could bump your helmet on it. I absolutely LOVE my V stream windscreen for my F800ST I like it much better then oem.

  35. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dom Mecca View Post
    I think the rt1150&1100 bikes from the 90s even through 2005 are almost the greatest designed motorcycle ever...
    Agree, they where a good design. You could certainly cover long distances quickly and still get off and not have a "John Wayne" gait.

    Wouldn't call it the "greatest design" though, still think of the R80RT as my favourite. Didn't have the performance of the oil heads but a very comfortable bike that could easily cover long distances two up, all be it at what would theses day's would be classified as sedate speeds, as well as being a good daily ride.

    Plus both had screens that could be adjusted for the conditions by the rider.




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  36. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dom Mecca View Post
    I think the rt1150&1100 bikes from the 90’s even through 2005 are almost the greatest designed motorcycle ever. The nice knee spots and the way you just sink into it and become part of the bike. They are sporty and you can scrape peg even valve covers! I love the mirror blinker assembly and the convex mirrors. And yes the adjustable wind screen. I have never been on a bike that I felt was so perfect and natural. For the street the RT’s are so nice. Someone had cut the windscreen on my last RT with a saw or something. Because the way it came sometimes you could bump your helmet on it. I absolutely LOVE my V stream windscreen for my F800ST I like it much better then oem.
    Which VStream?

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    I too had a good laugh at this thread. For me, it's not just screens, it's finding the perfect set up on the perfect bike. No such thing. It's part of the appeal of motorcycling for me. If I want all day comfort, I'll drive a car. It's supposed to be windy. It's a bike.
    Not to say nirvana is not a worthwhile pursuit of course

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    Windscreens and military boot camp have a lot in common. You get to boot camp from your civilian life, and many are unprepared for the rough ride during the first month. Kind of like getting a bike and experiencing the wind and noise for the first time. You can't help but relate it to the life you had in your car. After a while, as in boot camp, you come to realize that "wishing don't make it so.." and you adapt. If you don't, well, you're screwed. Same with windscreens, I've come to realize. If you're going to ride (survive boot camp), you might as well accept that you're not in your car any more.

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    Good analogy. I've come to realize that "It is what it is." That goes for much in life. Sort of like the Serenity prayer. "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." Windshields fall squarely in that category.

    I'm fortunate. Probably, extremely fortunate. I fit the bike. I'm not too tall, nor too short. The lowered footpegs and handlebar risers work perfectly for me. And my Madstad windshield is as good as the windshield I experienced on a long test ride on a RT. I literally can ride all day to get to another state and not be any more tired than if I had stayed at home in my living room. And all the mods to make the bike work for "touring" were done by a retired cardiologist who didn't spare any expense...and then never rode it. But!...he was my height, so it all works for me.

    My car is nice. I like it. But it isn't too much of a "sacrifice" to take my GT. I have over 14K on the GT this year so far, and probably 2K on the car. Something is working right.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
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  43. #34
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    I think I've tried a taller screen on every faired bike I've owned, and on every one I went back to the OE screen because the taller screen made matters worse. Yet when I get a new bike, I still always try a taller screen, hoping that "this time" it will work. It never does. Sheer madness I know!!!!
    18 F800GT

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    Quote Originally Posted by Right Hand Drive View Post
    I think I've tried a taller screen on every faired bike I've owned, and on every one I went back to the OE screen because the taller screen made matters worse. Yet when I get a new bike, I still always try a taller screen, hoping that "this time" it will work. It never does. Sheer madness I know!!!!
    That's the definition of insanity! I'm guilty!

    Nice bike...great color scheme.

  46. #36
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    Hi All, new member here!

    Interested to see this thread as I'm in the middle of deciding what to do with my GT screen! I'm just at the right height for turbulence to be hitting me around the chin, which makes noise unpleasant. Not the worst I've had, I previously fitted a small screen to a naked bike I had and the result was like someone shaking me by the neck, deep rumbling turbulence - it was horrible. Removed it and the airflow was smooth and back to "normal" levels.

    Back to my GT, I've calculated that if I cut about 4inches (100mm) off my standard screen the airflow should hit me in the chest - which would be much better.

    Just got to get the courage to get the saw out........ May update you!

  47. #37
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    hey John, welcome !

    please do send pics of your successful screen-ectomy -

    i have vowed not to touch my oem screen ------ unless of course, some brave soul gives me a valid reason to reconsider - could that person be you ?

    in the mean time, i'll be proceeding to attack my pipe/heat shield that's causing me grief - today i'll be cutting and grinding on the mounting tabs while i wait for the heat wrap to arrive - pics to follow of course -

    why do we do these things ??
    '13 F800GT
    '93 DR350S

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  49. #38
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    Thanks Lonnie, why indeed !!

    We're projecting ourselves at speeds up to XXX mph on fragile structures on 2 wheels.... I guess we want to be as comfortable as possible while we're doing it.

    If I do the surgery I'll record.

    Ones height seems to be crucial in this, I'm a fairly tall dwarf, so the air hits me in different places to the "average" height individual (giants to me...!).

    Onwards..!

  50. #39
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    It seems to me that there are two environments at work here.

    The first environment is to get yourself in "clean" air. I believe most helmet manufacturers test their helmets for noise and aerodynamics in an environment like a naked bike. The air just hits the helmet straight on. There's no way they could duplicate what the airflow is like with every windshield and bike combination.

    The other environment is with a windshield that diverts the majority of the air over the helmet. The problem with that is you can easily get a low pressure turbulence behind the windshield. So you have to ensure some air goes under or behind the windshield to eliminate that low pressure area. If you want a visual example of that, go to the Madstad windshield website. They did a good job explaining how their windshield works. You might get that same effect with another windshield, but the principle is the same.

    The problem with the OEM windshield or a cut down windshield is it doesn't work well for long distance riding. I could put up with it for a one or two hour ride...but not all day, and day after day. There's a reason you don't see naked bikes being touted as "sport-touring" bikes.

    The first summer I had my GT, I swapped the windshield back and forth between the OEM and the Madstad two or three times. On the last time, I was going down the road at about 30 mph within a half mile of my home and realized that I had made a mistake. The Madstad was so much quieter, even at that low speed and while wearing earplugs. Unfortunately for me, I also knew I had to live with the OEM windshield for another three days till I'd have enough time to swap them out again.

    I've never made that mistake again.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

    John 14:6

  51. #40
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    I've gone to the "mitigation" route, rather than the "elimination" route, when it comes to wind turbulence and noise. The OEM screen "almost" works for me, and I can go a couple of hours with it. All day...not so much. Not to knock the Madstad or any other solution that works for someone, but I got HOT behind the Madstad. Daboo is right, too, about taller screens...they will create a large low-pressure area behind them, and you do NOT want that.

    My solution is to fit an MRA X-creen on top of the OEM, as shown in the photo. It breaks up the air and divides it, before it flows over the OEM windscreen. In the position I have it, the result is still wind I can hear, but not turbulent, gratingly noisy wind.
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  52. #41
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    "The OEM screen "almost" works for me, "
    ================================
    I bought my GT in 2013 and it came with a really short shield for a touring bike. It protected my belt buckle. When the bike was set up and I came to pick it up at the dealer and saw that shield I complained about it and I was told that the higher shield that was available was an extra $75. How do you call a bike a touring bike and then charge $75 for a touring shield. Screw them, I paid the money to MadStad instead.

    Bob

  53. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by NY Bob View Post
    "The OEM screen "almost" works for me, "
    ================================
    I bought my GT in 2013 and it came with a really short shield for a touring bike. It protected my belt buckle. When the bike was set up and I came to pick it up at the dealer and saw that shield I complained about it and I was told that the higher shield that was available was an extra $75. How do you call a bike a touring bike and then charge $75 for a touring shield. Screw them, I paid the money to MadStad instead.

    Bob
    Well, the true definition of the GT is "sport-touring", so the screen is about right for that category. I've had two GT's and one ST, and the screen issue occupied more of my time than is psychologically healthy (), but that's not the screen's fault. I did about 300 miles in the last couple of days with the stock (tinted) screen and MRA X-creen, and as long as my custom earplugs are seated well ("Earbalm" earmold lubricant helps a lot, by sealing space between earplug and ear canal more effectively), the rides were very comfortable. A ride in the canyons yesterday really reinforced what a truly pleasant and fun bike the GT is. Hope the Madstad is working well for you - windscreen choices are as different as snowflakes...but it's fun to debate their qualities.

    Yesterday:
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  54. #43

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    That is a handsome motorcycle.

  55. #44
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    [QUOTE=flyrider;2866039]Well, the true definition of the GT is "sport-touring", so the screen is about right for that category. I've had two GT's and one ST, and the screen issue occupied more of my time than is psychologically healthy (), but that's not the screen's fault. I did about 300 miles in the last couple of days with the stock (tinted) screen and MRA X-creen, and as long as my custom earplugs are seated well
    ================================================== =======
    I might know something about a "Sport Tourer" having done some quarter million miles on Honda ST, as in Sport Tourer. My problem with the stock windshield on my 2013 F800GT had nothing to do with noise and ear plugs (which I wear religiously for the past 35 years.) My problem was the stock shorty shield (I really don't remember high high, or low, it was) Provided no weather protection. Say what you will as far as comfort, styling, noise, whatever, a shield that doesn't provide weather protection has no bsiness on a bike with the name Tourer, whether it be sport or grand. Here are pics of my GT and old ST. I look over the top of both, no giant barn door here, but good protection with the ST and the Madstad on the GT.

    NY BOB
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  57. #45
    flyrider's Avatar
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    I'd say an RT would be more in keeping with your mission profile. I don't ride in bad weather, so - yeah - I guess the stock shield would be problematic if you do. My bad...

  58. #46
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    My Madstad works as well as the 2019 RT I test rode.

    And it is a lot less expensive than an RT if you don't want all the rest that goes along with an RT.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

    John 14:6

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