I knew from the get-go that wind protection was not a strong suit of my BMW F 800 GS. Earplugs sufficed while I made busy fitting other aftermarket parts. When I finally looked up from my accessorizing, the screen options had multiplied. Touratech’s Desierto 3 stood out from the crowd as a complete fairing with a two-way adjustable windscreen that lets riders tailor the airflow to their comfort zone. The screen has 2.5 inches of vertical adjustment and pivots about 4 inches outward at the top. Stowing the screen in its lowest position or removing it (which takes just a minute or two) keeps it out of the way for off-pavement rambling.
The Desierto package weighs in at 5.25 pounds, for a net increase of a little more than 4 pounds after removing some stock parts. Not bad for a stout steel frame, sturdy ABS plastic fairing, various metal brackets and a 4mm thick Lexan windscreen. Installation requires no cutting or drilling, and took less than three hours with the help of Touratech’s illustrated instructions and good-fitting parts. The only problem was a lack of room below the fairing to pivot the headlight to its normal height. Double-checking the installation, I found nothing amiss, so I brought out the Dremel and relieved the opening.
During freeway testing, I found the lowest wind noise with the screen raised and tilted out to the max; this position gives a much quieter ride than the stock screen. For trial by fire, I headed to Death Valley. Banging along the washboard road to the Racetrack Playa, where the extreme corrugations give new meaning to a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on, the screen adjustment knobs loosened up. Touratech offers a bolt kit to lock these down, but forgoing that added security allows quicker adjustments. Descending the rocky shoulder of Hunter Mountain the next morning, two of the plastic cap nuts holding the screen to its mount said good-bye. I should have used thread locker on them, but the instructions don’t mention it, nor was there any included in the kit. Zip-ties saved the trip and Touratech was kind enough to send me new nuts. With a drop of blue thread locker they’ve stayed in place since. That includes hundreds of commuter miles, another run through Death Valley, and a week of riding back roads in Nevada and Utah. Only the screen adjustment knobs have needed tightening.
The Desierto has been in place for several months and several thousand miles now, making my GS a much more pleasant travel platform. The Dakar styling and smoke-tinted windscreen give the bike a new look as well. A dashboard insert for mounting switchgear and a blocking strip to prevent the headlight reflection from shining inside the fairing are both available. The black shipping foam I’ve stuffed in the gap is doing the job for now. Touratech offers Desierto fairings for BMW F 650/700/800 GS and R 1100/1150/1200 GS models. The Desierto 3 tested here retails for $850.30. Expensive? You betcha, but it’s a solid product that delivers comfort in the cockpit and an attractive front-end makeover in one package.
(This Gearlab review was published in the March 2015 issue of Rider Magazine.)