Wind Noise

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by mrbreeze, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze Long timer

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    If this doesn't belong here, I apologize. Mods feel free to move it where it needs to be.

    I want to talk about wind noise. Right now I am riding a 2008 Nomad with a barn door for a windshield. I can see over the windshield, and there is very little in the way of noise or turbulence behind it. Pretty good right now, but when the temps get up to summer time I standards I may remove the w/s.

    I was lurking over in the R****R thread, and there is a lot of discussion of wind noise there. This has been an issue on every bike I have owned up until now. The only cure I have ever found is to get a great big windshield and hide behind it. That presents it's own set of problems when the weather gets bad or the w/s gets dirty. It was particularly bad on my old V-Strom. Before taking a long road trip, I put a great big Cee Bailey's on it. This worked well until one day the fog was terrible and sticking to the w/s. I had to lean over to be able to see where I was going. I used to have a Suzuki GSX1100G, and I had a National Cycle w/s on it for road trips. As long as I kept a fresh coat of lemon pledge on it, it would shed the rain pretty good - but not bugs.

    Anyway, I was wondering if anyone who is dealing with wind noise on their ride has tried an open face or shorty helmet, and what effect that had, if any. Please tell us if your bike has a w/s, what kind of helmet you wear, do you wear ear plusgs, etc.

    thanks
    #1
  2. SamRus

    SamRus Been here awhile

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    I always wear ear plugs.

    When the air moves over your helmet, it will create noise. The more air-dynamic the helmet, the less wind you will get. So if you switched to a "shorty" or "half-helmet", you would probably get even more noise! I never tried those, but that's my guess.

    I also rode once without helmet for about 5 minutes (STUPID!), and the noise was unbearable. I have no idea how anyone could ever ride without helmet!

    I have a large barn-door style windshield on my Honda Nighthawk, and it helps, but it's never going to get near as quite as with ear plugs.

    I guess you can also try to get a quieter helmet, or a bigger windshield, but you still won't get as much bang for the buck, as you will with ear plugs!

    Protect your hearing - wear ear plugs :wink:
    #2
  3. scotty918

    scotty918 Been here awhile

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    You actually want to let a little wind in the low pressure zone behind the windshield to equalize the pressure a bit. Otherwise, the wind will become turbulent and noisy for the rider as the extreme high pressure seeks the extreme low pressure behind the windshield... These folks are the absolute best at dealing with the high/low pressure zone. I have one of their windshields on my bike. I look over it and it is VERY quiet. YMMV.

    http://www.firecreekacc.com/windbender_cruisers.htm
    #3
  4. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze Long timer

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    I have to say I am very impressed with the lack of wind noise or buffeting on the Nomad. I do not wear ear plugs on this bike, it just isn't loud enough, IMO. I have worn ear plugs on every bike I have had for the last 20 years or so, until now. I don't know why the wind control is so good on this bike, but it is.
    #4
  5. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze Long timer

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    I like the looks of that Wind Bender!
    #5
  6. MotorcycleWriter

    MotorcycleWriter Long timer

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    My ears are very sensitive to wind noise. My first street bike was an R1150R. I loved everything about it but the wind noise made me quit riding it. I tried a number of different wind screens including the Parabellum Scout and none of them helped much. With the wind screen off, it was sheer torment.

    Eventually I made the decision to switch to an R1150RT and it has made all the difference. I can lower the windscreen when I need to in slow traffic, or on dirt, or if it gets dirty, then raise it for cruising. I agonized a lot over losing the versatility of a naked bike but it was all needless worry. My RT does everything the R could do and more. Plus, when it is lowered, the wind coming over the top of the screen is much cleaner than the airflow around the R which was very turbulent.

    Oh, and I always wear earplugs.
    #6
  7. Mobiker

    Mobiker Long timer

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    I have tinnitus and am very sensitive to wind noise. I always wear earplugs for any loud activity. My experience on bikes seems to be the opposite of others here. I find naked bikes to be nice and quiet with smooth airflow. Most bikes I've ridden with windshields are noisier. Some more than others.
    #7
  8. Blue&Yellow

    Blue&Yellow but orange inside...

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    Yupp - same thing here.

    Naked bikes with a good helmet and earplugs is quietest for me. That way you get nice clean air and zero buffeting. If you're going to be riding a longer stretch you want to make sure you can lean a little bit forward to compensate for the wind speed. But this can be a very comfortable setup even for touring. Downside if it's really cold or rainy outside, then it's not so nice lol.

    Big touing screen usually work well, but I've yet to find one that is 100% turbulence free. There's usually a little buffeting or something going on. Still good and protects you from the weather, which can be good and bad...

    The worst is half-fairings - it usually just means that the turbulence from the wind screen hits you right on the visor. That's how you get really bad low frequency buffeting that even earplug can't really deal with.

    An open helmet can definitely help with buffeting from a half-fairing, as I said the worst effect is when unclean air hits the visor straight on.
    #8
  9. Pork-Chop Express

    Pork-Chop Express Been here awhile

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    Same here. I have tinnitus and hyperacusis in my right ear thanks to playing electric guitar way too loud during my youth. The best bike for me has proved to be a naked bike where the air flow is clean with no turbulance. I wear a full coverage helmet and waterproof earplugs and I can ride all day with no wind noise problems. Whenever I ride a bike with a fairing it drives my hyperacusis crazy.
    #9
  10. carockwell

    carockwell Been here awhile

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    In clean air my Schuberth C3 is very quiet. In turbulence it is the same as my Shoei and a bit better than my Arai. Too bad my Schuberth doesn't fit!
    #10
  11. oldenuf

    oldenuf Been here awhile

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    Try standing on the pegs and see if the air flow at that height is quieter than sitting in the seat. I find a lot less noise in the clean flow above the bike while standing on the pegs. Not a solution, but does let you know how much noise your shield is making.

    Art
    #11
  12. Blue&Yellow

    Blue&Yellow but orange inside...

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    Something like this also works to get clean airflow:

    [​IMG]

    The screen is folded back so much that the airflow hits you somewhere in the upper chest or right below the helmet. You helmet will be in clean quiet air.

    This here is the worst:

    [​IMG]

    You sit quite far from the windscreen and you'll get a lot of turbulent air dumped right on that big dual-sport visor from the windscreen. I've never ridden the ST myself but I've read a lot of complaints about it, even from big magazines.
    #12
  13. Mobiker

    Mobiker Long timer

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    I rode to Alaska in '92 wearing a Bell open face helmet and goggles (& earplugs!) behind a large bar mount Pacifico Aerofoil fairing and never noticed any wind noise. When I got my first full face helmet, the wind noise, with the same set up, was noticeably bad. If I opened the visor all the way up on the full face it got blissfully quiet. Aerodynamics are complicated.
    #13
  14. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

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    +1 :deal

    I'd rather wear a FF helmet and leather, and go without a windscreen. Especially on standards and cruisers.

    The low fairings on my sportsbikes keep the air at chest level, so not an issue.

    Touring screens have always been turbulent and noisy for me.

    I wear ear plugs.
    #14
  15. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

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    Lots of noise around the bottom of a FF helmet.

    I've used NOJ chin curtains in the past with good success.
    #15
  16. HapHazard

    HapHazard Waiting for Gudenov

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    When riding, and trying to figure out why it can be so noisy, I've used a Shoei chin curtain, and moved my hands around the base of the helmet and noticed the noise can be greatly reduced. The NOJ "Quiet Rider" would seem to smooth out the turbulence around the helmet base that seems to make the most noise. I've never tried one (but am tempted). Has anyone tried one? Would seem to be great in the cold months, but not so much in August.

    http://www.webbikeworld.com/r3/noj-quiet-rider/

    [​IMG]

    Also, I agree that specific windshield shape and orientation can affect noise, but also wind buffeting (which is even MORE annoying than just noise).
    #16
  17. Eric R. Shelton

    Eric R. Shelton Adventurer

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    I was probably one of the guys griping about wind noise in R****R, and this was really it for me- when I stand on my pegs, it's suddenly serene and calm and wonderful. But I get the same jet-engine roar of wind noise when seated, whether I've got my screen on or off. Apparently it's the gas tank- Bonnevilles are much quieter. My plan is to add a small fairing.

    I'm too young to have a big barn door of a windshield and still respect myself in the morning. :wink:
    #17
  18. squish

    squish Out of the office.

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    Me...
    5'8". 29" inseam.
    Shoei RF1100 helmet currently
    Ear plugs every time I ride.

    Here's what I've found from 20 years of street riding. Hundreds of different bikes.
    Naked bikes are decent up to about 75mph
    A gasket, I use a fleece tube. That fills the gap between my helmet and jacket work well.
    The quietest bike I ever rode, was an ST1300 honda, loudest stock 04 DL650

    I hate wind noise and do everything to reduce its impact me to a reasonable level.

    The single biggest thing I would different. I would have used ear plugs on every ride every time.
    Once you get used to them you can even carry on conversations with them in.
    #18
  19. rider33

    rider33 Long timer

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    I do a far amount of long distance touring. When you are on a bike for 10 or 12 hours a day for days on end, wind noise can really wear you out. Big-assed screens are nice except for when its hot, or when you want some air, or at lower speeds. The best solution I've found is to wear ear plugs under a full-face and ride a bike with a electrically adjustable screen. I have an ST1300 for touring duties now, it goes from in the wind to dead silent in about 5 seconds with lots of settings in-between. This this the first bike I've had with an electrically adjustable screen. By far and away it is my favorate touring accessory.
    #19
  20. cycleman2

    cycleman2 Been here awhile

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    I have used a windshield on my 08 Heritage Softail, and currently have a batwing fairing on the bike. The Batwing provides better protection for the hands, arms etc when it is cold. There is still enough air coming around and under the batwing to make it fine on hot days. The bike has wind deflectors that go down the fork legs. These direct air up behind the windshield or batwing. (This is the secret for buffet free rides - you have to allow some air to get behind the windshield either by vents in the windshield or something that directs air up behind the windshield/batwing.)

    I wear a full face helmet all the time, and find it is the best for long distance riding in rain, cold or hot air etc. Newer better designed helmets have lots of vents and you can always crack open the face shield a bit to allow more air flow. A half or open face helmet is going to be noisier with respect to the ears. I wear ear plugs all the time.

    A smaller windshield that just takes the wind pressure off of your chest but allows the head to be in clean air will work very well on hot days. The trick is to get the height of the shield just right. Most sport bike windshields accomplish this with no buffeting.

    If you are having buffeting issues one easy trick to help identify where the buffeting is coming from - when driving down the highway, take your left arm, bend your elbow and place your lower arm across your chest ( like you had your arm in a sling ). Move this up and down and you'll notice where the wind is coming from. Sometimes the buffeting is caused by air coming around the bottom of a windshield and sometimes its coming over the top. There are ways to deal with both.
    #20