How to Buy a Windshield

By Glenn Zetterquist (Zee331)

In this Tip, Kyle talks about choosing the perfect motorcycle windshield, it's not the sexiest thing on a motorcycle but can be a huge benefit. 

Top 5 Things to Consider: 

1) Materials:

There are two or three basic materials used to make motorcycle windshields; Acrylic and Polycarbonate and Quantum Hard Coated Polycarbonate. What's the difference?

  • Acrylic is lighter and less expensive but has the tendency to scratch easier. Recommendations: Memphis Shades, Windvest, and Slip Streamer are great examples of acrylic windshields.
  • Polycarbonate a clearer and much stronger material than acrylic (see the bat / slingshot / gun tests) and is used by most OEM's and National Cycle and Kuryakyn
  • Quantum Coated Polycarbonate has the same strength qualities of standard polycarbonate but is scratch resistant to the point you can "clean it with" with steel wool! National Cycle is the inventor of Quantum Coating and we urge you to watch the scratch test here

2) Mounting:

Once you figure out the material which best fits your needs, you need to decide how you want to mount your windshield. Do you want the windshield to be quick release or a permanent fixture of your motorcycle? When it comes to quick release, here are

The 3 Most Popular options:

National Cycle was an industry innovator with the Switchblade Mounting System. This is sleek fork mounted stainless steel spool system which allows you to swap 2up, Chopped, Shorty, or Deflector windshields on and off your bike in "seconds!"

Memphis Shades offers fork / triple tree mounting options with their trigger lock mounting kits. These kits polished aluminum kits allow you to purchase additional side plates (polished or black) which allow you to run any of the following: Fats / Slims windshield, Batwing, Bullet, or Gauntlet Fairings.

Kuryakyn offers AirMaster quick release mounting kits which merge some of the best features of the two mounting kits above.

Airmaster Quick Release Mounting Kit

Shown: AirMaster Quick Release

3) Size:

Okay... now to the meat. What size or style of windshield is the perfect for you? How do you easily answer these questions at home with just a little bit of help from a family member or friend? It really is pretty simple, but the first thing to remember is that size is more than just windshield height. Key measurements or dimensions to take or at least think about are:


Height: from bottom of windshield (or headlight cut-out) to top of windshield. Perfect height is between your nose and upper lip then arm stretched out

Width: Side to side of the windshield at its widest point.

Headlight Cut-out: Side to side of your headlight of You should also look at width, around the headlight, down over the forks.

4) Style:

Okay... so most windshields are not the sexiest looking accessory... but what style suits your fancy? Here are a few of the most common styles from bigger to smaller:

The Original "cruiser style" 2up windshield

Shown: National Cycle Switchblade 2-up 

Slims: Same as above but a bit narrower

Memphis Shades Slims 15"

Shown: Memphis Shades Slims

Shorty: Either variation above with a shorter height

National Cycle Shorty

Shown: National Cycle Switchblad Shorty

Deflector: A screen that fork or handlebar mounts and is just above the headlight

National Cycle Deflector

Shown: National Cycle Switchblad Deflector

5) Fitment & Accessories:

Now you are almost there! You now what... you have figured out the perfect style, material, and mounting option for your specific application. Now hold your horses! Are you running an aftermarket lightbar, headlight, handlebar, risers, fork covers... or any other item that has the possibility of interfering with windshield fitment? If so, call a professional at 1-888-857-5417 to examine your options.

Accessories Lowers: If after your windshield installation you notice a bit of head / helmet buffeting when on the freeway, you will need to purchase windshield lowers. Often times lowers are brand specific, so choose lowers that not only are specified to fit your motorcycle make / model, but also the brand of windshield you have mounted.

Rain Zip: Do you want an anti-fog coating which will literally repel or shed water off of your shield? Rain zip is the product for you! 

That's all for now! Hope you enjoyed our tip


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