Story Gary Koz Mraz and Dennis Cherewick, Photos: Mraz
The 2015 Harley-Davidson Road Glide is available this year in a Standard, Special and CVO model. The feature that most distinguishes the Road Glide is of course its framemount “Shark-nose” fairing. It’s new “triple slipstream vent” system improves airflow while reducing buffeting. Side vents and a centrally located top vent in the top of the dash can be closed in inclement weather. The Standard and Special are factory equipped with a small tinted windscreen that looks great but is all show and no go for touring. The CVO comes with a tall 14” windscreen but also comes with a CVO price tag. Distance riders will inevitably purchase another windscreen for the long haul. A big fan of the new and improved Road Glide I was on a mission to test out several windscreen options currently available for this exceptional touring motorcycle.
We had five windscreens by three manufacturers for two riders. One 6 foot, the other 5’6”. With WindVest, Klock Werks and Harley Davidson on deck we had two 2015 Harley Road Glides and swapped windscreens and bikes on a designated freeway loop. Assessing wind buffeting and turbulence on the freeway and around town, wind noise, radio audibility and esthetics: We were looking for the ultimate combination of form, function and price. We both wore similar half helmets with no ear plugs. This evaluation was done with all the faring vents open.
All but the WindVest were slotted at the bottom so you did not need to remove the screws entirely to change wind screen. A great idea in theory but in reality the washers drop to the faring and trying to hold the washer up while slipping in the windscreen was a feat in itself. Every windscreen fit as designed and with only four Philips screws to remove making replacing windscreens an easy operation. The two Klock Werks had a black mask at the bottom and made from hard-coated polycarbonate material. The Klock Werks Flare features “hips” at its sides that re-route the wind, adding downforce to the front-end of the motorcycle claiming to improve stability vs. riding with the stock windshield. The flip at the top of the Flare redirects wind up and back as clean, less turbulent air for the rider and passenger. The WindVest also incorporates the flip at the top of the windscreen deflecting air up and around the riders. WindVest is 5mm, hand molded acrylic windshield with a Front flat surface.
The Klock Werks Sport Flare is available in a 14” only in Tint and Dark Smoke. The Pro Tour Flare in a 15” only in Clear, Tint and Dark smoke. The WindVest is available in 10” 12” and 14” in two shades, Light Smoke and Gun Smoke. The Harley CVO is available in clear 14” only. Those are the manufacturer’s height numbers but I also measured “Vertical Height” from the tip of the windshield straight down to a flat surface.
A sunny Sunday afternoon Dennis and I switched windshields, rode 30 miles of freeway and street, switched bikes and rode back to repeat the process. WindVest has a variety of heights to accommodate most every rider from 8” to 14” and we had the 12” mid-height. Klock Werks and Harley Davidson CVO is one size fits all. What we ended up with was a cornucopia of observations that ultimately it was decided we would create a matrix from each rider’s perspective on each windscreen.
Windshield Evaluation for Taller Riders on the 2015 Harley Davidson Road Glide and Road Glide Special
Basis of reference: test ride evaluation was performed by a male rider with a physical height of 6 foot. The stock Harley windshield was our basis for comparison.
So what were the conclusions of all this hot air?
We both thought the WindVest was very effective as a windscreen and with the lowest price won “Best Bang for the Buck”. The Klock Werks Pro-Tour provided the best wind protection overall. With a thicker grade plastic and being the tallest of the lot took “Best Protection” for taller riders, Dennis had to look through it at all times. The Harley CVO windscreen was effective and the most distortion free and Dennis could look over it by an inch while sitting erect. It may have a dated look but its Harley’s only touring option. The Knock Werks Sport Touring was hands down the sexiest of the bunch. At 5’4” Dennis wrote a novel on his observations (please review this chart) I felt from my 6”1 perspective it lacked the protection for touring and with all the curves distortion was downright psychedelic if you actually had to look through it. Finally, the stock Road Glide windscreen was “All Show and No Go”.
In my humble opinion, the 2015 Road Glide is one of the finest Baggers made. It’s a responsive, well-built motorcycle and as Harley-Davidsons only fixed faring design will be a big seller. An exceptional touring machine which bodes well for aftermarket manufacturers, because a new windscreen is very first purchase distance riders will make.
Gary Koz Mraz is a freelance moto journalist and author of tour books “Piers of the West Coast: Traveled on Two Wheels, Motorcycle Mysteries and Tales of the Midnight Rider series”.
Dennis Cherewick a lifelong rider, has owned everything from Goldwing’s to Guzzi’s, Street Glides to Road Glides, usually all at the same time. His all-time favorite motorcycle? Yes, it’s the 2015 Road Glide newly purchased at Huntington Beach Harley-Davidson
Windshield Evaluation for Shorter Riders on the 2015 Harley Davidson Road Glide and Road Glide Special Basis of reference: test ride evaluation was performed by a male rider with a physical height of 5 foot 6 inches. The stock Harley windshield was our basis for comparison.