A big windscreen is a fine thing to have on a cold, blustery day, but when the weather turns warm that see-through barn door blocks what could be a cooling breeze from getting anywhere near you. At times like this the Honda Gold Wing GL1800’s windscreen, with a mere 4 inches of vertical adjustment, just doesn’t cut it. And it’s times like this when the BaggerShield looks mighty good.
The DOT-approved BaggerShield is made of 3/16-inch (.052-inch thicker than stock) aircraft-grade Lucite acrylic. The idea behind its two-piece design is simple––tall when you want it tall, and short when you want it short. And not just a little bit taller or shorter, but a lot, thanks to the reversible top half that, along with the Wing’s stock adjustment, gives you more than 12 inches of adjustment.
The tinted bottom half of the BaggerShield takes the place of the stock windscreen. Before the one I tested would fit, however, I had to introduce it to my Dremel tool to enlarge the holes for the oblong metal inserts where the screws go in to hold the screen to the adjuster sliders. A few minutes with a sanding bit and a few trial fits was all it took.
With the bottom half installed and the front fairing cowl back in place, I turned to the upper piece. It has three holes in it that match up with holes in the bottom piece. The hardware kit that comes with the BaggerShield includes both quick-change and low-profile components. The difference is in the way you remove the top half of the screen. The low-profile kit requires an Allen wrench, while the quick-release kit uses three small, threaded plastic knobs. I went with the quick-release set-up.
Both kits use well nuts––threaded rubber plugs that expand when the screw in them is turned––to attach the two halves of the windscreen. Align the three well nuts to the holes in the bottom half, push them flush, and turn the knobs. The top half is then held securely in the bottom half.
With the top half right-side up, the BaggerShield functions as a regular windscreen. It can be raised or lowered over the Wing’s 4 inches of adjustment. Fully raised, the BaggerShield is about 25 inches high, measured from bottom to top. It doesn’t feel like an improvement over the stock screen in terms of wind protection, but it’s certainly no worse.
Where the BaggerShield really differs from stock is when you detach the upper half––instead of leaving it at home, you can just turn it upside-down and re-attach it. It’s almost completely unnoticeable in this position, and yet ready to go back on in a flash if you need more wind protection. The height in this configuration, with the bottom half all the way down, is about 17 inches.
With the top half turned upside-down, there was a ton more airflow behind the BaggerShield, but also a ton more noise, even with earplugs, and enough head-shaking turbulence to be a bother after a while. Adjusting it higher didn’t help. Only flipping the top half back upright quelled the storm. But if you often ride in hot weather the trade-off of noise and turbulence for increased air flow might be worth it.
BaggerShield offers adjustable and standard windscreens for many motorcycle makes and models. The adjustable Gold Wing GL1800 model has a suggested retail price of $169.95 and fits all 2001-2012 models.
(This Gearlab article was published in the August 2012 issue of Rider.)