I do a lot of riding. Last year I did a 7,000-mile tour of the Rocky Mountains. The year before I spent 31 days and 11,000 miles riding in just about every kind of weather you can imagine on a tour of Alaska and the Canadian West. When I traded in my 2009 Ultra Classic it had 38,000 miles on the odometer. On rides like these, comfort is a big issue with me and one thing that is really fatiguing is wind buffeting. So when I purchased my 2013 Road Glide, I got on the web to find a solution to this problem and one name kept coming up as I did my research—MadStad.
The theory behind the MadStad Adjustable Windshield System is that you can control the height and angle of the windshield to make it more aerodynamic. The air is scooped up and under the shield and, through adjustments, you can direct the air where you want it. Another thing that makes this system unique is that air flows both over the front and back of the windshield, eliminating the vacuum behind the windshield.
The reason it’s called a windshield system is that it comes in three parts—the windshield itself, the base plate and the RoboBrackets. Since I’m 5’11”, MadStad owner Mark Stadnyk recommended a 13″ shield. Mark suggests the 13″ shield if you are less than 6 feet tall and the 16″ shield if you are over 6 feet. Mark said the company has just started offering engraving on his shields and asked if I would like the first one. Of course, I said yes! You can also get various tints from clear to dark. I chose a dark tint since conventional wisdom is to look over the windshield, not through it.
Anyone with average mechanical ability should have no problem installing the system in a short period of time. All installation instructions come with the system, plus MadStad has an installation video on their website. After getting the windshield mounted it was time for the initial adjustment. Since the windshield itself bolts to the RoboBrackets instead of the fairing, I started with some initial recommended settings. I adjusted the base of the shield 2.75″ out from the fairing and set the angle at 57 degrees. I also set the shield at its lowest height knowing I could raise it as needed.
Since the temperature here in Northeast Ohio was only 40 degrees, I decided to wear a full-face helmet for my trial ride. Once reaching 75 mph on the Interstate I was experiencing head buffeting. I slowly raised my hand in front of my face and felt a light breeze until my hand reached just above my eyes to figure out where the windshield adjustment should be. I found a safe place to pull over and raised the windshield a couple of inches. Back on the highway things improved, but there was still some buffeting, so I pulled off again and raised the windshield to its maximum height. Back on the road almost all wind buffeting was gone, but I wanted to experience no buffeting. I raised my hand in front of my face again and slowly moved it up until I was just about to the top of my helmet and found the buffet. Now what to do? I thought maybe I needed the 16″ windshield, but then the light went on. The helmet adds about 3″ to my height. I removed my helmet, put it in the Tour-Pak and hit the road again. The buffeting was gone. I took the bike up to 85 mph and still no buffeting. If you normally wear a helmet, you may want to consider that when you order your windshield system.
Now all I had to do was ride in some high winds and rain, and the next day gave me my opportunity. The wind was gusting to 35 mph with a light rain and a temperature of 38 degrees. I would not normally ride on day like this, but I wanted to make sure this windshield system lived up to its claims. As I rolled down the Interstate at 75 mph, not one drop of rain hit my face shield. The only part of me getting wet was my gloves and the outside of my arms. I could see the water droplets flowing over the top of my head as I rode. And remarkably the bike was not getting pushed around nearly as much as I would have expected in these gusty conditions. Even in a 90-degree crosswind the bike was very manageable. This system really works!
MadStad Engineering has windshield systems for over 70 different makes and models. Mark is working on a system for Harley batwing fairings and it should be ready soon. If you are tired of getting buffeted around, I would recommend that you take a close look at the MadStad Windshield System. It may solve your problem. I know one thing: I’m not sending my system back!