Years ago, 7 to be exact! we started the development of one of our best selling products, the Clearview Shields’ GT Road Glide replacement windshield.
When I first considered designing this screen, I took the first steps that we always take when starting a new project. Find out what the riders choices are and build an enhanced product better than anything else on the market. Harley Davidson’s concept of 2 sizes fits all riders just ran a bit short of being satisfactory for most of the owners of this Road Touring Motorcycle. At that time, Harley was the only choice the rider had for fine tuning the screen to their riding needs. The frame mounted fairing and all of the electronic options that this fairing provide did not make up for the fact that it was just too far away from the rider, even the Tall option from Harley would still allow more air than the rider could endure, especially on long rides. The stock screen was also just 1/8” thick. That worked sufficiently for the Electra Glides with a much smaller screen and a closer fairing. Take the Road Glide up to highway speeds and the screen would flutter, contributing to the turbulent airstream that collapsed on and behind the rider and passenger, who, for us, was just as important. In addition, the cosmetic rubber trim, meant to finish off the lower mating edge of the screen, would not stay on the screen. Later browsing the newer 2012 Road Glides at Sturgis, we saw the fix that they came up with: a messy black tar-like glue that, after sitting in the sun for a few hours, melted and gummed up leaving a black mess on the front fairing. Wow, I would be pissed off if that was my new motorcycle! Regardless, the flaws lay before us to fix.
Learning from designs of earlier model bikes we’ve created screens for, the first change would be to bring the screen back towards the rider. This proved to be a crucial change for this screen, not only because of the distance between the rider and the screen, but it would help keep the screen’s height manageable, providing a Clearview of the road ahead.
Bringing the screen back meant changing the pitch and altering the airstream over the top. While this can make the bike more aerodynamic, it can speed the airflow dump more air on the rider. To counter this, we took the top 3” of plastic and formed it upwards. This was set in stages to test the effectiveness of extreme bends versus mild redirections in shape. Oddly enough, the more bend produced more distortion and, proportionally, more turbulence.
Our goal for this model was to create a screen that allowed the rider comfort over long distances and a clearview, not just over to top but, through the screen in all directions when the time came. Increasing the thickness of the screen helped with the flexing and the compound shape along the top improved it even more, creating a stable, virtually flex-free screen. It is important to state again in our research more ReCurve produced more distortion and more turbulence.
Since not all motorcyclists are created equal, multiple heights (Small, Medium, Large, X-Large) made perfect sense. We considered that since the screen was shaped differently, simple length references would not provide the rider with an accurate idea of how tall the screen would be as they sat on the bike riding down the road. So we developed a simple measurement of vertical height taken from the top of the Gauge cluster to the top of the screen. No matter which model Road Glide a motorcyclist would have, this reference would be consistent bike to bike.
To further reduce buffeting created from the pocket’s collapse, a ventilation option was added. This vent brings air inside the Low Pressure zone behind the screen and, at the riders discretion, can be directed to different areas of the head and/or closed off , sending the airstream up and behind the shield, taking the airstream off the rider but keeping the low pressure balanced, all depending on the riding environment and the needs of the motorcyclist. These designs and options were available 7 years ago. They made sense back then and have been showing up on Harley models only a couple of years ago.
The final piece was that annoying black trim found on the stock screens. Clearview found a friction designed trim that not only stays on without glue but adds that finished look to the overall design.
After all that development, we needed to test it. Clearview not only draws their designs from past wind tunnel experience, but we spend hours and hours on the road. Different riding environments, such as high winds, rain, steep hills, and rolling valleys. Only after that time do we bring in a focus group of riders with varying body sizes and different riding styles and expectations. Ideally, with this model we were able to conduct a day event with all of these riders at the same time. We took them out on a long ride, bought them lunch, and, at the end, gave them screens in return for their input. We then take any changes and fine tune the design and what you see is the result.
The Windshield Tailors