As good as the Honda Gold Wing GL1800 is, there’s always room for improvement. One thing many GL riders want to improve is the stock windshield, which though wide and tall is also a source of wind noise and annoying buffeting.
But air is tricky stuff, and just making a windshield bigger and wider doesn’t necessarily make air flow around it more easily. National Cycle’s new VStream Special Edition windshield for the GL1800 uses several strategies to reduce head buffeting and noise, and they all work.
As Barry Willey, president and product designer of National Cycle, explains it, the problem with most windshields is they slow down the air hitting them, allowing it to be sucked into the low-pressure area behind the windshield, creating turbulence as the air spills over the top. Turbulence can also be generated by a windshield that sits too upright, or too far from the rider, or one that has an upturned lip along the top edge.
The VStream leans back toward the rider much more that the stock windshield, and that angle presents less of a restriction to the air hitting it. It’s also wider at the top to channel air around the rider’s shoulders. The slippery shape reminds me of the fairing on a road-race bike, as does the way it creates a pocket of calm air immediately behind it. The benefits extend to the passenger, too. The VStreams’s contour moves the point at which the air parted by the windshield comes back together to a spot farther rearward than the stock screen, leaving the pillion in calmer air.
Another cause of noise and turbulence is windshield flex. To help reduce flex, the VStream Special Edition is made of 6mm polycarbonate with Quantum hardcoating and National Cycle’s Rainzip treatment. The Quantum hardcoating makes the VStream much more resistant to scratching and damage from road debris. I’ve been riding a lot this winter in the wet, and the amount of road spray and grit thrown up on the VStream worried me at first. But after several cleanings the finish is as good now as it was out of the box, and the Rainzip treatment lets the water bead up and roll off.
The Special Edition comes with a standard vent that directs air at my neck and head. That’s handy, because the air flow behind the VStream is so reduced that it affects vented clothing
and helmets. That’s not a problem in cold weather, but I’m curious to see how I’ll feel about it this summer.
The VStream is a straight swap for the stock windshield using the stock hardware, and can be raised and lowered just like the stock one. I like to look over windshields, not through them, so optical clarity isn’t a big issue for me. But if you prefer your windshield higher, you’ll find the VStream provides a distortion-free view of the road ahead.
The VStream Special Edition for 2001-2010 Gold Wings sells for $394.95. National Cycle also makes two other GL1800 VStream windshields, made of 4.5mm hardcoated polycarbonate, for $219 without a vent opening and $229 with a vent opening (vent not included). VStream windshields come with a three-year warranty against breakage.
For more information: Contact National Cycle, (877) 972-7336, www.nationalcycle.com.
Your review is spot on. I replaced my stock 2012 shield about 2 months ago with the SE edition and could not be happier. It’s thicker, clearer, looks a heck of a lot better and moves the air in a way that puts a big smile on mine and my wife’s face.
The VStream works with the 01 to 10. Does it work with the 2012, also? Is a taller one available?
What do you clean the windshield with? Does the National Cycle’s Rainzip treatment mean you cannot use windshield polishes? Would they defeat the rainzip treatment?
Jim, what and how do you clean and maintain the Vstream?
Dave — this VStream will fit all 2001-2012 GL1800 models.
As far as cleaning, you could try our own house blend — National Cycle Shield Wash — or else wash it with a solution of plain water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Our cleaner, however, has special additives for dissolving bug guts.
Under no condition should you use anything with alcohol or ammonia in it, like Windex. It will destroy the polycarbonate’s hardcoating. See our care instructions in our Windshield Bible: http://www.nationalcycle.com/WhyBuy/chapter6.html
Also, don’t use any kind of windshield polish. With our Quantum hardcoating, you won’t need to worry about scratches, swirling, hazing or abrasions — but polishing will remove the RainZip rain repellent coating, which you will then need to reapply.
Send us an e-mail if you have any questions.
Just for comparison, I am 6’3″ Have about 20k mi on my 08 GL1800. Have always had disagreement with head buffeting and wind noise extreme roar in my Nolan 103, Nolan 102 is noticably quiter, But regardless of which helmet, you always have buffeting, Regardless of windshield height. though each inch of height removes a percent of noise and buffet, NOT SIGNIFICANT.
I have been using the VStream Special Edition for 2001-2010 Gold Wings , It is descent quality and more firm than stock.
no.1, It does not remove buffeting, Its better than the stock shield, maybe 10%, A noticible decrease, but still there.
no.2 It doesn’t matter what elevation the shield is at, its always there.
I added baker hand wings, (works good getting some extra air or removing some) doesn’t effect head buffet. Not willing to add more wings.
NOTE: nolan n103 is a significant source of the noise but riding on my buddys stock HD Road king, Stock windshield, NO NOISE OR BUFFETING.
No I am not trading bikes, Love the wing, Hate the buffet all that air pushing off that big nose creats.
I have come to the conclusion, The buffet is a full time resident. I need a quiter helment, My old Shoei 900 is much better all around, just hate the confinement of full time full face. I think the helmet choice makes the most difference,
Not willing to climb behind a Tulsa ultra tall shield.
Just a bit of info to share. Thanks for the Article.
The vent is too high in the windshield. If you raise the windshield to max height the vent is in your line of sight. Had to reduce the hight by two stops to be able to see properly. Wish I had purchased the vent less model.