Wind noise and bikes. On the verge of giving up riding.

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Alexander B, Apr 1, 2017.

  1. Dan Alexander

    Dan Alexander still alive and well

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  2. Ockrocket

    Ockrocket Long timer

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    Buy whatever bike turns you on...

    Buy whatever helmet fits you properly, is of good quality, and will protect your head in a crash.

    Buy good quality industrial EAR PLUGS.. I use the 3M brand. [cheap, available in most industrial supplies and hardware stores.. you could even buy a big box full and keep spares in your jacket for when you will ultimately lose one.. as inevitably happens. :shog ]

    Oh, and if you get caught out and can't get earplugs when on the road, Bluetack can be balled up and used as a moulded ear plug to protect your hearing, you can get it in most servos/newsagents/supermarkets.... the late Southern Cross, aka Saturn 5 or Wardy, put me on to that handy hint.
  3. portablevcb

    portablevcb Long timer

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    As all above. It is all about you, your size, how you sit on the bike, helmet, windscreen. A bike that is perfect for one person will be horrible for the next. Simple changes can make a huge difference. Bar risers or removing same. Lower seat. Moving pegs. For the windscreen changing the angle a little, raising or lowering, adding something like the MRA Xvisor or Laminar Lip. Adding some 'venting' to the windscreen to make the flow smoother. Yes, experimentation is required. After market windscreens are not cheap buy you may have to try a few.

    If you are serious about wanting a nice 'bubble' to ride in then bikes like the BMW RT's, Gold Wings, and other fully faired touring bikes are where you are headed.

    Then add in a helmet with good sound deadening. For me that was a Schuberth C3.

    You can get there if you are willing to find the right combination.
  4. mitchxout

    mitchxout Long timer Supporter

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  5. Daboo

    Daboo Been here awhile

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    There was a comment earlier on the Madstad windshield being a potential solution. I'll second that recommendation.

    I have a BMW F800GT. It has a 20 inch Madstad windshield on it. I just got back from a 7500 mile ride and the Madstad windshield was part of the reason it was possible on that bike. The design of it brings a lot of air under the windshield, as well as over it. I experience no turbulence or back pressure. It's just nice flowing air on the body and head.

    The windshield is adjustable for height and angle too. So if one position doesn't work for you, you're not stuck with it like you are with a non-adjustable windshield.


    I'd suggest looking for different earplugs too. I won't ride without them. I use only 33db NRR earplugs. The decibel scale is logarithmic, so you can easily notice the difference between a 27 db and a 33 db earplug. The Moldex 6800 Pura-fit earplugs work well for me. If you don't get any earplug placed in your ear canal right, you get very little benefit from them. So while you may not think you are putting whatever earplug you're using in incorrectly, you might take a look at that too.

    Good luck on your search.

    Chris
  6. Gillus

    Gillus High Desert Rat Super Supporter

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    Your helmet has to be in full clean air flow so its aerodynamic design does its job, a naked bike.
    or get a tall windscreen so the air goes over the top of your helmet so there is no air flow to cause the noise.
    worst noise comes from air hitting right in the middle of your face shield, why they build and sell bikes that way is :dunno, even just hitting the top of the helmet can cause noise.
    Then still wear earplugs. I have fought this situation for years as I am tall with a tall torso, sold several bikes just for this reason.
  7. Daboo

    Daboo Been here awhile

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    One more thought. Look at your helmet. If it doesn't seal well around your neck, then noise will get in. Likewise, if you've removed the chin guard, noise will dramatically come in there. On another forum today, someone was mentioning how they bought one of those bandanas you can put around your neck for cooling and they used it to help seal the area at the bottom of the helmet. It made a difference for them.

    The Scorpion helmets have a built in air bladder system to help get that seal at the neck.

    Chris
  8. Alexander B

    Alexander B Long timer

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    Have recently tried these (and more) bikes:
    2015 XJR1300, 2014 FZ8N, 2017 Z900, 2017 MT09, 2012 VFR1200F, 2016 Versys 1000, 2010 (?) Pan-European, new demo RT1200RT etc.
    I must have ridden at least ANOTHER 10 models the last year, but they are all similar to either of the above.

    I have also ridden and compare 5 various helmets; my own Schuberth S1Pro and Arai Exces, the new carbon fiber premium Arai, Schubert S2 and C3 Basic. There is a big difference between Schuberth and other helmets, but also they have their issues, like low frequency oscillations at higher speeds as well as transmitting mechanical noise directly to the cranium and inner ear. In that respect, they are worse than other helmets.

    As before, I already know that the best plugs I have ever used are the orange 3M foam ones. No comparison.

    Soooo... The best bike is R1200RT, but only with screen in top position and if I hunch down 2-3 inches. Then it gets very comfortable, and I could maybe even ride without plugs.
    Second best are some nakeds, namely the XJR1300, MT09 and Z900 in no particular order. All remarkably free of turbulence and buffeting, almost regardless how I mova around, hunch down, tuck in etc.

    The FZ8N front end generates erratic wind patterns and is much noisier, again regardless position. Over 110 mph, there is massive buffeting when I lay flat on the tank.

    Versys was bad - lots of buffeting. Pan-European (with screen in top position) and VFR1200F had little buffeting but massive ampunts of regular wind, like riding 40 - 50 km/h faster on a naked bike. Lowering the screen built massive wind noise and some buffeting on the Pan-European.

    Now som will parrot on and on about "different lenghts, different helmet, different plugs" etc. Honestly, a lot of that is plain BS. Sorry about the bluntness, but I can easily move my head 3-4-5 inches lower and probably up to a foot higher (standing on the pegs), spanning most positions anyone can be in, regardless length.
    The same goes for hunching down, all the way to laying flat on the tank.

    Some bikes are just badly designed, creating turbulence far "upstream" the rider. The fairing and screen will only MOVE the air from in front of it to somewhere else. For sport tourers, some of the air will be mixed in with the air in front of the rider's face = more wind noise, not less. Having now ridden a selection of sport tourers, I am convinced this is inescapeable. Likewise, while a proper fitting helmet is vital, some helmets just are better, some worse. The same goes for ear plugs, some materials just are more effective at isolating noise.

    Naked is the reference. Less noise can only be obtained by large, well designed fairings like on Goldwing or R1200RT. I have not seen ANY other design fairing or sceen that could in any way reduce the wind noise over a naked bike.

    Insterestingly, as I brought up the subject with various dealers, I got similar responses time after time; for minimum noise and buffeting, go naked or full fairing. Noone claimed a Concourse or FJR would be solving this, Goldwing or RT was the solution.

    So for now I keep my XJR, my Schuberth and my 3M plugs. It works acceptably, as long as I avoid riding fast (120 km/h or more) in very strong (head or side) winds.
    t90125, lvscrvs and Dan Alexander like this.
  9. Alexander B

    Alexander B Long timer

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    Up to 2014, Yamaha XJR1300 had big, rectangular mirrors on long stalks. No buffetng . The "updated" 2015 - 2016 models got flat, spade like mirrors on tiny stalks, think Sportster, which caused lots of buffeting. Took the stock mirrors off my -15 and borrowed a stock but aerodynamic mirror from the FZ8N, which solved the issue completely.
    Daboo likes this.
  10. Ever Onward

    Ever Onward Older,Wiser, Smarter

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    If you use good foam earplugs AND install them the right way it will make a big difference.

    Key is how your insert them. Can be double the protection compared to poor installation.



  11. cug

    cug -- Super Supporter

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    Complete bliss here:

    [​IMG]

    It's a 2014 R1200GS with:

    - Wunderlich Marathon II Windshield
    - A MRA spoiler taken from a R1200R windshield (had this sitting here from my wife's R, she isn't using it, drilled the Marathon in the correct places to mount)
    - Wunderlich Side Deflectors
    - Aeroflow Handflare Extensions

    All of these should be available in Europe as well, the Aeroflow might be a little hard to get, but should still be possible, although they contribute the smallest amount of all the changes.

    The noise for me is about as good as an RT in the "up" position, with the whole bike feeling a lot less tourer-like. There is some more wind on the rest of the body, but the head is completely quiet. I still use ear plugs.
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  12. ncj01

    ncj01 Been here awhile Supporter

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    try Ear Peace ear plugs. Best i've ever used, and now i can't ride without them
  13. tlub

    tlub Long timer Supporter

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    On a 2014 rental R1200GS, I was amazed at how well that windscreen (I think the same as the one in the picture above) worked. I swear it was quieter than the RT. I do not see how that smaller screen could work so well, but it did. Maybe it was a different one- had to tell for sure- but the edges had an angular element- almost two different lines- an inner and an outer or edge line.
    It did not work as well for the passenger. She claimed the RT had her mostly in quiet air; on the GS she was buffeted a lot.
  14. cug

    cug -- Super Supporter

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    What you describe sounds like the GS Adventure windshield. They are interchangeable. Like the one in my avatar.
  15. spagthorpe

    spagthorpe Long timer

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    Riding position has a ton to do with it like some others have said. I've pretty much worn the same style Arai helmets for years. The sport models, that are not really known for being quiet. On a bike where I have some forward lean, they are fine. With plugs, no complaints. Upright style bikes, adventure bikes, etc? Horrible.

    If you're getting turbulence to the helmet, you can end up bypassing any ear protection you have via the bones in your face. Meaning, you could have your ears plugged completely, but still have vibrations through your face reach the little hair cells in your cochlea. I think normally, this isn't enough to bother most people, but for people with borderline tinnitus, it could be enough to push them over the edge.
    Alexander B likes this.
  16. KingOfFleece

    KingOfFleece SplitWeight(tm) waterproof seat covers Supporter

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    Try a Triumph Trophy 1200. I got it DEAD quiet with the screen all the way up.
  17. Beemer Dood

    Beemer Dood Been here awhile

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    I haven't read all the posts so someone may have beat me to this. If you're going to use foam earplugs, they must be inserted properly. It's rare that people know how to do this.




    That being said, I use and recommend NoNoise earlugs. They block the wind noise but allow other, non harmful sounds through. https://www.nonoise-earplugs.com/en/
  18. Daboo

    Daboo Been here awhile

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    I bought something like the NoNoise earplugs as replacement earbud tips. Worked extremely well.

    [​IMG]

    Cost though is $6.95.

    You can definitely hear the difference between a 29db earplug and a 33db earplug. I'll take the 33db earplug.

    Chris
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  19. rider33

    rider33 Long timer

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    From your opening post on this thread it was clear this is a source of great frustration for you. Keep in mind tho in matters of wind noise, buffeting, and fit there really are no universal truths. For instance, my Pan European (ST1300 in the states) was dead quite, really, I could have smokes a cigar back there. I'm also 6'2" with most of that in in my torso, have broad shoulders, and a 3XL head, odds are you are not. There is a broad range of body types and what might work for one may not work for others. The trick is to find the type of bike that work for you. 'Sounds like that may be the RT. I've always liked those bikes, they just never seem to fit me that well :)
    Alexander B likes this.
  20. Alexander B

    Alexander B Long timer

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    We are not THAT different in size, but I suspect our helmets are quite different, as well how we perceive sounds/noise... If I had more time and energy, I would build a "universal motorcycle wind noise microphone" using standardized part, so everyone could measure bike noise with repeatability. As an audio engineer, I have some ideas on how it should be designed.
    SmittyBlackstone likes this.