When I first considered designing the 2015-2016 Road Glide, I knew that the approach must be taken from the rider’s point of view, much like every other screen we have created in the past. I have watched many of Clearview Shields’ competitors jump at being the first company to offer a replacement windshield, basically producing a cookie cutter version of what they offer for every other bike and hoping that will meet the rider’s needs. That would be easy for us to do as well, but not the best way.
We have always started with the customer, whether it was a custom shape or just something with a different height. The rider themselves will know what they need, instead of what we would assume they would want (one of the reasons why you will never see an immediate release of a windshield from Clearview Shields on a new Bike). It takes time to get input across the board from different riders in different areas with new model releases. That time also allows us to find out where the competition falls short.
The process that we take is to first sign up a local rider to work with to create a good working prototype, then take that and submit it to a larger group of riders with varying needs and riding styles. This approach gives us a dynamic that impacts the development of the design from many angles and allows input from all who are involved. The test group helps to mold the shape of the new screen in a direction that works well for all 2015 Road Glide owners.
DESIGNING THE PROTO TYPE
The test rider, Tom, that we signed up for the Product development, created a good place to start. He has a 2015 Road Glide CVO with all of the bells and whistles and a lot of time to ride. He has been all over the US, including a few trips to Alaska on his earlier model Harley Davison Limited and knows what he needs from a long distance touring Motorcycle. He is 6’ tall and his inseam is 36”. The modifications made included a change to the bars to a raised profile (Paul Yaffe Bars) which helped us to design a screen that will work for many different applications, whether stock bars or modified. He rides with a passenger maybe 30% or so (she has her own bike) of the time.
Tom was looking for better coverage for himself and his passenger. He preferred to retain the ability to look over the top edge of the screen, as opposed to looking through it. Side coverage was also very important. Even with the full CVO Windshield, there was still way too much air coming around the sides. He was able to remedy this problem for his hands with the bar mounted wind deflectors but still felt air hitting his upper torso between the hand guards and the outside edge of the screen. For Tom, the new Clearview Shield design needed to broaden the pocket from both the top and the sides without compromising a Clear View of the road ahead and not come in conflict with clearing his raised bars. Tom enjoyed the coverage that “GT” screen provided but needed a side cut that would allow a full lock for the raised custom bars. To accommodate his bars, our “SC” (scalloped) version was developed.
We ran some tests and found that we could move the angle of screen forward slightly to gain morelift to the air-stream over the full length of the screen, not just the top two inches. Many times our approach is to move the opposite direction, to bring the screen closer to the rider. Doing so with this model increased reflections back to the inside area of the screen and would have forced a design with a greater recurved top edge which creates distortion and an increased level of turbulent air to flow around the rider and passenger.
Our “GT” version was created first to see how far we could go to make the pocket quiet for the rider, exceeding the Stock CVO screen by a full inch on each side. We also took our Recurve design concept and applied it to each side which enabled us to effectively expand the airflow around the rider with minimal addition to the physical shape of the screen, as shown in the picture below. This also allowed any stock handlebar to clear the extra width and set to lock.
Clearview “GT” windshield is towards the front, the stock CVO screen towards the back.
The “SC” Scalloped Cut was designed for a sleeker look and a narrower side profile to allow custom and raised Handlebar configurations to clear when in the lock position. This cut is wider than the Stock 2015 Road Glide Special and Standard windshields while still providing coverage comparable to the larger stock CVO Windshield.
All sizes of windshields are based on what we call vertical height. This height is measured from the center dash to the top edge of the windshield. Since we have changed the slope angle of the screen, this is the best way for us to provide a reference that can be shared between Clearview Shields and the Road Glide owner. It is a more true way of judging height, from the riders perspective while sitting on the bike, to a determined point on the ground 50’ in front of the bike.
The final Reviews
Once an effective prototype was developed, the next step was to send the designs out to a select number of riders for mixed reviews, input, and suggestions. Eighteen riders from across the country were enlisted to try two different starting heights: the Medium 12.5” vertical height and the Large 14” vertical height. Color choices were Light Gray and Clear.
Eventually, the Small and the X-Large were developed to meet the end needs of a select number of these Road Glide Owners. All who participated in this process gave us great feedback and pictures of the before and after windshields which we will be sharing with you, the rider, in Blogs to come. Each Blog will feature a specific rider. We will provide the Road Glide model they own, their body height and inseam, as well as any modifications they may have made to the bike. We will also include their responses to our questionnaire regarding fit, finish, and performance and of course any last words they wish to provide with the idea of helping you decide what height would work the best for you, given their criteria and end choice of screens.
The experience is beneficial not just for us and the test riders but you, the end user, who has come to trust Clearview Shields in producing the highest quality replacement windshields.