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Wind buffeting at highway speeds

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Bill M, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. Hi all,

    I've been riding for near on two months now, I'm out every weekend, and several times mid-week, all for the enjoyment of it (not commuting).

    I ride an F650CS which has an upright seating position, and a fairly small windshield. At speeds up to 90kmh the ride is great, but hit 100 or more, and the wind buffeting is immense. I don't get "thrown" around, and the bike runs true and straight, it's just the constant impact on my head and torso - and when travelling distance at those speeds, it takes it's toll.

    So questions - Is this normal? I assume so for bikes without big screens.

    Should I do something to combat this? Short of lubing myself with vaseline, wearing a swimming cap and hugging the tank, I can't think of too much. Taller wind shield? Or will it be more to do with the style of bike itself?

    I've been riding up and around the nearby hills recently, and the rare times I've hit 100 (ahem) have been fun and exciting, and the buffeting lasts only a minute or less until the next bend. But yesterday I rode around the bay, and although I took as many detours as possible, the stretches between the Brisbane Ranges and Geelong, or Shoreham to Springvale Road are just straight highway/freeway runs.

    Bottom line is that although I liked the ride in it's totality, the buffeting really took the edge off the day. What can/should I do to combat this?? Or is a matter of harden the f up :D
  2. Not so much harden up, but just get used to it. It feels unusual when you first start riding, then it becomes the norm & you don't even notice it. It used to brown trouser me on my 250 when I first started riding. Now, I only notice a really strong wind (fart jokes go here)
    Edit: I don't have a screen and have avoided it for this reason
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  3. I would try adjusting the height and angle of the screen, if this is possible. If it's original BMW equipment, I'd be very surprised if it's not adjustable; maybe consult the owner's manual?
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  4. Hi Bill.

    Buffeting caused by a wind screen is a common problem, because folk vary in size, height and seating position, so one size of wind screen may work just fine for some folk, but be uncomfortable for others.

    I have a large, touring screen for my BMW, and I'm currently at the stage of trying to decide if I will fit it for winter or not. (I took it off for summer riding.)

    The big screen gives good weather protection, but, at anything over 90 kph, terribly noisy buffeting.....bad enough that I can't ride with the helmet visor in any other position except fully closed, and the noise is pretty 'orrible, too.

    You could try a larger screen, I'm sure there will be a few options available for your BMW, or, you could take off the screen that you have, and see how that feels to you.

    Some folk spends ages and heaps of money trying various screens, looking for the ideal, others go the "harden the f up" route.

    Your choice, but there isn't always a simple answer to your problem.
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  5. I've been told some people have more buffeting issues with some screens because they make the wind hit them only from the upper chest and up rather than evenly all over. For example, I never noticed any unreasonable noise or buffeting on my naked bikes or those with very small screens but my FIL's R80RT that I rode out of Sydney was like riding in still air ... except for where the wind hit the top of my helmet and shook my head around at speed.
    Rather than trying to block ALL the headwind you might be better off letting it hit you further down your chest so it's not isolated to your head and feels more even all over. Just a thought.
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  6. Good to hear some thoughts - hadn't even considered removing the screen, so thanks for that suggestion.

    I'll give it a crack, play around with the positioning of it and see how it goes :)
  7. Do a search on Adventure Rider,bet there are dozens of story's on your bike there.Typical BMW,a mate bought the first generation of BMW 4 cylinder ex cop bike.Made to be ridden all day,big fairings you would expect 100% comfort.The screen on it was completely crap,with zero adjustably.The next model came with an extra little wing on the top edge that helped a bit but it was right on your sight line.Its a nut that is hard to crack.
  8. I get blown around a lot and tend to avoid highways because of it. Can get quite a buffering on gor sometimes to in some corners. I'm on a cruiser so upright seating, so find if I put my change position so I am almost laying on tank it is a lot better. I dont have a screen. You do get used to it.
  9. Well, I've got an adjustable touring screen on my RT that can make the air hit me mid-chest or, at the top setting, go right over my head. When over my head, it's quiet enough for me to hear the built-in radio and do highway speeds with no ear plugs.

    Having said that, many spend lots of $$$ trying to find a screen that works for them without luck. Try Googling MRA, Cee Bailey or Puig. You may not find anything, though, ass the Scarver wasn't particularly popular nor a bike that typically toured.
  10. I have a naked (more upright riding position) bike, but with no screen. What I tend to do is slide back in the seat and crouch down over the tank (if I'm really lazy I lie down on it and give my upper body a good rest, it makes it hard to keep track of traffic in my mirrors though so I don't do it often). That makes less of the body is exposed to the wind. Don't know if that's possible with your bike, but it certainly has been a treat for my neck muscles.
    I am definitely more used to the wind now, than I was when I started out riding. Maybe I managed to build up some muscles over time? ;)
    At this stage I wouldn't spend too much money on a larger screen if I were you. Remember that it can act like a sail, too! Playing around with the positioning of the current screen - and maybe even try removing it - is a very good idea.
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  11. G'day Bill, what Nina says above is true, I have a screen on my Hornet, does wonders!! I have leant that screen to a young lady riding to Sydney today, riding home from sat prac last saturday [minus the screen] I almost got blown off the bike cause of the strong winds at the time, as Reesa mentions [something to get used to] you are a tall fella, maybe crouch down a tad ro get a taller screen for the beemer?? I know I cant wait for my screen to come back to me lol, head muscles get a work out in strong winds so you ARE normal, it happens to all, and lay os reduce the 'impact area' and it helps. or DONT speed!! :)
  12. If it were me I'd try putting up with it for a little longer. You might get used to it.

    Assuming you don't get used to it, try taking the screen off and see how you go.

    If that doesn't do the trick for you then before you pay a whole heap of money on a new screen try attaching a 'lip' made from very stiff cardboard to the top of the screen. There's obviously a limit as to how high you can go, but it'll at least give you an idea of the height and angle (angle is important) a screen needs to be.

    There is a product from Laminar that you can buy that attaches to your existing screen. http://www.laminarlip.com/
  13. Just get used to it Bill.

    I started riding at the same time as you and had the same problem, I'm ok with it now.
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  14. Im halfway there getting used to it (riding 2 years). I hated riding in windy weather, now I'm not finding it as bad to the point of it not bothering me unless its really windy. Obviously screens help, but they as mentioned above, sometimes cause other problems.
  15. Hi Bill,

    Buffeting on tourers is not uncommon due to their upright sitting position. I have a vstrom, and find it is a bit of an issue for me, the missus who is a little shorter by about four inches finds no problem at all. The buffeting I get comes about because at higher speeds the wind flow hits my helmet, which makes my head shake a little. I didn't notice it at first, as compared to my cruiser which has no screen at all, it is fairly mild. On longer rides it does get pretty annoying.

    Some suggestions:

    Change the angle of the screen slightly to allow more air in under the screen. It sounds counter-intuitive, but the problem is the eddies being shed by the top of the screen flowing back onto your helmet. More airflow under the screen can reduce this effect.

    Raise the screen a bit. This allows for the airflow to go straight over your helmet, and no more problems.

    Get a bigger screen. As above, but may not always be as goods it sounds. Each shape of screen is individual.

    Put a lip on the top edge of the screen. This breaks up the eddies as they are shed from the top of the scree and you get a more constant airflow on your helmet. Less buffeting.

    Lastly, move your mirrors around. See if this changes it at all. I am in the process of getting a couple of mirror extenders for the wee as in my cast this seems to be the largest cause of the buffeting.

    Hope some of this helps. Look on advrider, as this sort of stuff comes up a lot.
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  16. I have gotten used to strong winds now and don't even notice it most of the time so you will probably get used to it. When I was riding into 40-50 knots the other day I did have to lie down on my bike at times to maintain speed and to give my neck a rest.
  17. harden the fcuk up Bill
  18. ok Bill,
    first thing is relax. the stiffer you are the more the bike will get buffeted around.
    don't fight it.
    now what else,
    bmw GS so likely you have one of those manly adventure man "adventure touring helmets" with a peak right. rip that of and throw it in the bin. and no more 360 degree head checks on freeways, problem solved.
    your jacket. is air getting in it. piss it of, get a snug fitting leather one. a decent heavy one.
    then you just hunker down, slide your arse back, belly on the tank, drop your elbows, nice cumfy slouch and you're ready to run some slab.
    if you're riding into a headwind not much more you can do, spoonfull of cement prior. but other than that, keep your eyes level with the horizon as always and the helmet will be as streamlined as it can be.
    a chin curtain will also aid, but basically any air getting in effects your streamling through the air. you want it to go around you not get caught in pockets.
  19. and if you can't manage at least 180 on a naked bike you're still a girl
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  20. this coming from a fish
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