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

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

  1. MCGMB

    MCGMB Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    575
    Location:
    .
    Yes, this makes sense. Mirrors are too rarely mentioned as the cause of turbulence and wind noise.

    I discovered on my '01 FZ1, after switching multiple windscreens to no positive effect, that using CRG bar end mirrors instead of the OEM mirrors almost completely solved the problem. Of course you have to like bar end mirrors, which I ultimately never did.

    Alternately mirror extenders can sometimes help too, though not a cure-all.
    Alexander B likes this.
  2. Guano11

    Guano11 Stop me if you've heard this one....

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,860
    Location:
    Pacific NW
    For a counterpoint, custom earplugs never worked for me. Even after 2 re-mold attempts by an audiologist, my left ear canal just wouldn't seal like the right. Maybe I have mutant ear canals :ear so foamies are my go-to. I like the Howard Leight Max for max suppression. Worth considering that as you age, your ears change...so even if you do get a good custom fit, what works today may not be as effective a few years down the road.

    Lots of folks swear by the custom fit plugs; I'm just not one of 'em. But you won't know unless you try.
    Hughlysses likes this.
  3. GeorgeCZ

    GeorgeCZ Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2015
    Oddometer:
    15
    Location:
    Czech Republic
    I've had true solution for naked bike to reduce noise dramatically. I consider earplugs as stupid, sorry guys but it's simply dangerous.

    Alex, when you are exposured to wind noise just take your hands and put it under the helmet. You will see everything is quiet suddenly. And that's the point, 80% of noise is cretated by air turbulents under the helmet. It's the reason why change of halmets is only waste of money and super-areodynamic commercials are only piece of bullshit because each helmet is same on its bottom side.

    You need something which will absorb the airflow from that place. I've used piece of helmet cloth. It looks terrible but it works. Saddly I cannot found some commercial solution which will looks pretty.

    Otherwise chage your motorcycle and purchase VStrom.
    Gas Hog likes this.
  4. Daboo

    Daboo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    551
    Location:
    Seattle
    It goes both ways.

    You're right in that much of the noise comes from under the helmet. Scorpion puts an air bladder in their helmets so you can get a better seal at the bottom. It helps.

    Regarding earplugs...I won't ride without them. I don't find that it blocks anything from around me, but it does cut down the level of the wind noise that is damaging to the ears. The noise fatigue is lessened as well. I hear other vehicles and emergency vehicles just fine...and I commute in one of the worst traffic areas in the nation.

    Chris
  5. ctromley

    ctromley Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,003
    Location:
    PA
    Late to the thread and not willing to sift through 9 pages, so please excuse if I've missed something.

    If you use ear plugs correctly, there should be absolutely no problem with wind noise. Different people have different ear shapes so will have different preferences, but the goal is to get them in so there is a complete seal. You can tell you have it right when (in my case) the foam expands and seals to the ear canal sufficiently well that ALL background noise - the hiss of everyday life - disappears. It feels and sounds like you've become airtight or vacuum sealed and you are truly alone in your own head. It's a clear threshold that you'll recognize if you reach it.

    My ears are weirdly shaped, so I have to do the whole reach-across-your-head-with-the-opposite-hand thing to pull the ear outward and straighten the canal. I still have problems sometimes. It took me awhile to learn what angle to insert them at, and realize the rolled down tip needs to make a bit of a turn in the canal in order to seal. That's just me, your ears will likely be different.

    If it's not quite right, what little air path remains seems to actually amplify noise. I've had to repeat the process several times before I got it right. But I don't ride until I get it right.

    When they're in right, foam earplugs are really effective.
    xtremewlr likes this.
  6. TFC

    TFC Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    125
    Location:
    Laguna Niguel, CA
    I've had similar frustrations as the OP. In fact I've come close to starting a similar thread desperate for a solution.

    I've tried disposable ear plugs. I've tried custom molded ear monitors. I've tried the silicon re-usable plugs and the ones made out of beeswax. I've tried custom ear plugs. My current setup are the Flare Isolates...which I'm very happy with. They are easy to install and stay put for me.

    Despite finding a 90% solution...which are still earplugs...I also believe that part of my issues in the past were related to bone induction. For example, when I had a nice pair of custom ear monitors made, I was convinced that while they made a great seal in my ears, that the hard plastic outers may have made enough contact with the helmet that I was getting vibes in my head...but not necessarily audio waves. Not sure that's even possible - I'm not a technical guy. But that's what it felt like at the time. If you can plug your ears with your thumbs and then strum the back of your skull and hear the drumming....that's what I'm talking about.

    Anyhoo, a new helmet, the flare isolates, and clean air were my solution.
    Alexander B likes this.
  7. 10/10ths

    10/10ths Road Trip Fool

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,135
    Location:
    Bayou country
    I feel your pain. Same issues here. Here's what worked for me:

    Like another post said, custom molded ear plugs do NOT work for me.

    Buy this sample pack of ear plugs from Aerostich:

    http://www.aerostich.com/aerostich-reusable-earplug-sample-kit.html

    Two of these work SUPER for me and one of them works SUPER & is COMFY all day long.

    None of the foam, or bee's wax plugs work for me.

    For maximum quiet, smash the bee's wax plug OVER one of the Aerostich plugs. Works great.

    Get the biggest windscreen you can find. I LOVE my gigantic MadStad screen on my GSX1250FA. On my old V-Stream, a "Manta" shield was wonderful.

    Buy this helmet seal:

    http://www.nojgear.com/category_s/1821.htm

    And get a great helmet that fits SNUGLY.

    Leave out any one of these items, and you will never find peace on the machine. Invest in ALL OF THE ABOVE and you will find Zen.

    Trust me.

    Learn it, live it, love it.
    Alexander B likes this.
  8. bmac

    bmac Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,402
    Location:
    Wisconsin/Florida
    I am a bit surprised by the number of folks that seem to depend exclusively on ear plugs. Even though I use them they are the last line of defense and deal with the symptoms but do nothing to solve the underlying issue. In an ideal scenario one could ride without any wind noise at all and not have to use ear plugs.

    I wear earplugs but I always try everything I can to eliminate wind noise. I will typically try several different windscreens as well as different helmets. It is surprising how well one helmet can work on one bike yet does not work nearly as well on another.
  9. 10/10ths

    10/10ths Road Trip Fool

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,135
    Location:
    Bayou country
    Indeed. It's a holistic approach that works. You need to do ALL of the above to get a quiet ride.
    ricochetrider likes this.
  10. xtremewlr

    xtremewlr Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,590
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    I've always worn ear plugs and they resolve any and all wind noise issues for me, regardless of helmet or bike.

    Why should I go spend potentially hundreds of dollars to find a screen or helmet that "might" work on a given bike and not another when I can spend $30 for a box of 200 pairs of ear plugs and be good on ANY bike and using ANY helmet?

    Not everyone is going to be the same when it comes to sensitivity to wind noise. What works for one person is going to be disastrous for another. There are some great ideas on this thread and there are some totally idiotic opinions too.
  11. arnoldus

    arnoldus Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2013
    Oddometer:
    144
    Location:
    Belgium, Europe
    I've got the same problem as topicstarter, on my Honda Deauville, over 100km/h. I've tried an 8cm higher windscreen, which slightly reduces problem. If I bend over and hide behind it, it's almost silent. Standing on pegs, the clean air just sounds quiet.
    I'm now going to try a MRA X-Creen Tour add-on screenlet, and report back.

    (Even Moldex Pura-Fit SNR 36db plugs couldn't save me from hearing damage during a long trip. Though, my then helmet was also a size too big I later found out).
  12. MHaz01

    MHaz01 I Used To Be Faster

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Oddometer:
    523
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    The easiest way to eliminate noise is to ride in a vacuum. Otherwise, any object passing through air will make noise. Foam earplugs are inexpensive and effective in lowering the dB of noise reaching your tympanic membranes.
  13. arnoldus

    arnoldus Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2013
    Oddometer:
    144
    Location:
    Belgium, Europe
    It's not the wind noise that is the problem, it is the buffeting.
    Alexander B likes this.
  14. arnoldus

    arnoldus Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2013
    Oddometer:
    144
    Location:
    Belgium, Europe
    t90125, Guano11 and Hughlysses like this.
  15. cug

    cug -- Super Supporter

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    6,765
    Location:
    Sunny California
    My solution is on the right side of that graph:

    A 2014 R1200GS with:
    • Wunderlich side deflectors
    • Aeroflow Handflare Extensions
    • Wunderlich Marathon II windshield
    • MRA Spoiler bolted to the windshield
    In the low position I get air to the top of my my helmet and it's low enough for backroad fun (I have the seat in high position and I'm 6', 34" inseam). In this position it's already quieter and less buffeting than anything else I have tried on the GS. In the high position it's plain dead quiet. There is no wind noise at all at the helmet if there is no side wind or buffeting created by trucks or cars. It's awesome.

    I ride mostly day trips on backroads, meaning it's down most of the time, for long distance trips I move it up and I'm okay. And I already have Tinnitus and plain can't deal with loud wind noise at all. The only way to get even more wind protection for me would be to go with a R1200RT and an Aeroflow windshield.

    This is a relatively low position:

    [​IMG]
    Alexander B likes this.
  16. paquo

    paquo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Oddometer:
    405
    My old st1100 was like that, quiet at 100 all day. Big old barn door of a windscreen with the naca ducts. It has been down hill from there re noise and buffeting. The ktms are ok with a winshield extension clip, and my latest extravagance -bose noise cancelling phones.
    Alexander B likes this.
  17. d2wing

    d2wing Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    702
    Location:
    MN
    I dislike Goldwings but they for sure are quiet. I know a guy that smokes when he rides and wears a baseball cap.
  18. motrhead

    motrhead Travellin' Soul

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    529
    Location:
    Kamloops, BC, Canada
    Tinnitus sucks! Thankfully earplugs work for me on my bikes. Nothing helps at bedtime...grin and bear it.
    I cannot believe the number of complete assholes posting in this thread! You dicks recommending a car need to turn in your man cards and leave this site! And the morons that can't be bothered to read the the thread, and continually post tutorials on installing earplugs need to go back to your Harley forum and leave the more intelligent of us to enjoy some real riding!
    It sounds like the OP is getting a handle on it, which is wonderful! I hate to see anyone have to give up riding.
    Perazzi, chadman, XR750 and 4 others like this.
  19. TheProphet

    TheProphet Retired; Living the Dream

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2014
    Oddometer:
    10,071
    Location:
    NW Illinois, Driftless Zone
    Highest quality ear plugs you can afford.
  20. n8mandy

    n8mandy PadreN8

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,224
    Location:
    Santa Cruz Mountains
    I think that the OP has said that he has tried them, but I can't remember for sure and if so, this will be helpful for anyone else reading this.

    I just bought the Bose Quietcomfort 20 noise cancelling ear buds and they are amazing!

    I spent about half an hour just turning them on and off because it is so fascinating to me how well they work. (I don't get out much...)

    They don't go all the way in like an ear plug, so you don't get the vibration transmitted from your body to your ears like you do with regular ear plugs.

    With my "open face" which is just an old school Shoei from the 80's with the huge opening like the retro Bell's, I would still get some wind noise at highway speed and occasional popping that I had been warned about, but it was sooo much better than traditional ear plugs and worlds apart from riding without.

    Anyway, my unasked for two cents.
    Alexander B likes this.