Windshields on a motorcycle. To some, it is a necessity; to others it is considered blasphemy. A lot of it depends on the style of the bike and the image that you want to project. If you have a raked out, lowered chopper, a windshield is going to ruin the lines of the entire motorcycle. On other bikes, it is just part of what the motorcycle should look like. A cruiser or touring bike looks perfectly normal with one attached to the front.
What is the purpose of having one? Just like on a car or truck, the windshield (or sometimes called a windscreen) is there to protect the rider. It will block various things from hitting you. The wind, bugs, and various pebbles and road debris will be deflected by the windshield instead of hitting you.
There are some motorcycle types that a windshield just doesn’t really fit. Bikes like bobbers, choppers, or rat rods aren’t designed to have a windshield. Not to mention, the people that ride (and usually build) these bikes wouldn’t be caught dead with a windshield on their bikes.
Full dress motorcycles, touring bikes, and cruisers are all made for much longer rides. It shows in everything about them. Softer suspension, more comfortable seats, back rests, and even floor boards. A windshield is right at home. It will make the ride much more comfortable.
As unlikely as it may seem, there is one style of motorcycle that does have windshields on them. They are just small and not as obvious. Sport bikes or crotch rockets have a small windscreen that is usually no more than a few inches tall. They still serve the same purpose but in a slightly different way than the traditional style does.
As opposed to blocking the wind (and other debris) with the actual material that the windshield is made out of, the windshield on a sports bike uses aerodynamics. It is short and stubby but sits at an angle. This angle forces the wind up and over the rider (especially if the rider is in the natural crouched position of these bikes), effectively making a “bubble” of air. This stream of air will protect a rider almost as well as a traditional windshield. There is a downside (isn’t there always), the faster you are travelling, the better this concept works. At moderate speeds or in town, it will be like having no windshield at all. Windshields are not for everyone. A lot of riders hate them, while others love them. It is an individual choice. This author used to be one of the one’s that despised them. Always under the impression that it would take away from the riding experience. Usually riding custom bikes, windshields weren’t an option. Owning one bike that is equipped with a windshield opened a whole new world.
While sticking with the custom bikes, this author fully appreciates the uses of a windshield and would not think of a long trip on a bike without one.
Before you pass judgment one way or the other, try out both styles. You may be surprised. Some of us will stick to the custom bikes but have learned to appreciate all the benefits of having a windshield.
What does it all boil down to? A windshield will protect you from all of the things that could hit you. Rocks, dirt, bugs, even wind, can all be very dangerous to a rider. The windshield can stop this. You don’t lose the feel of the open road. You still feel the freedom. It is like a convertible but still the coolness of riding a motorcycle. Windshields can make a dangerous experience a little bit safer.