Slipstreamer Spitfire Windshield Review
Here in the upper Midwest, peak riding season coincides with peak flying insect, bird and slinging rock, debris & road slop season.
After many years of thinking “I’d rather feel the full wind blast on me when I ride, than sit behind some windshield,” I finally have wised up.
Of course, back in those days, I rode with a third-hand leather jacket that looked like it was dragged behind a manure spreader, so being plastered with bug guts and other road grime may have actually improved its looks if not its odor.
Now, however, I am a more mature and worldly motorcyclist. I have actually reached the stage where I usually ride with relatively clean gear consisting of a bespoke motorcycle jacket, helmet manufactured after 1980, gloves and other appropriate kit.
Since this coming of age, my interest in having a windscreen of some type has grown. However, while I now value some upper body protection from wind and airborne detritus of the road, I don’t want a windscreen that catches the wind like a polycarbonate sail or overpowers the lines of the bike.
In short, I like a windshield that provides a little protection that is barely noticeable while it does it. Oh, and it should be so simple to install that even I can do it without too much assistance and should be within the price range of someone who tends to buy three-digit-wonderbikes – those that can be had for under $1,000 complete and you wonder how long they will last.
Several years ago, I found a very satisfactory solution: The S-06-C (clear) Spitfire windshield from Slipstreamer, a company out of Blaine, MN. I got one of these to replace a similar but battered handlebar-mounted windshield that was on a 1985 Honda VF700C Magna I bought off the side of the road.
This model retails for under $100, is optically correct, measures 15 inches in height by 17.25 inches in width, mounts to the handlebars with two stays with either black anodized or chrome plated hardware and can be fitted to 7/8” or 1” handlebars with the standard hardware package.
Mounting options allow for variable angle and height. For any times you decide to go without a wind screen, the shield and mounting rods come off with the turn of two set screws and remount just as easily.
The Spitfire is from the company’s “Sport” collection of windscreens, but they also have other configurations for Touring, Cruiser, ATV, UTV, Scooter, Universal, OEM replacement, Custom and a series with billet aluminum hardware.
See their entire windshield assortment online: https://slipstreamer-89c1.kxcdn.com/media/Slipstreamer_Catalog_Web_11_2013.pdf
The installation goes quickly once you unpack all the parts. First, mount the rods to the windscreen itself by sliding the barrels and rubber washer up the rods to the blunt end and threading the cap and other washers on from the front side of the windscreen.
Then put the rubber handlebar wraps in place approximately where you want the hardware to mount and fit the handlebar clamps in place. These mount with a 6 mm Allen wrench, which is provided.
Fit them loosely until you have the positioning of the shield for height and angle where you want it, then tighten things up. A drop of threadlocker on the cap screws is a good idea.
Follow the illustrated instructions included in the box and you can’t go wrong. Well, you could, and I have, but I’m a proud graduate of the All Thumbs Academy of Botching Operations Yourself (ATABOY) majoring in mucking up motorcycle mechanics.
The Slipstreamer website includes both videos and PDF versions of the written instructions for installation (videos at: https://slipstreamer.com/videos-motorcycle-windshield/).
I liked the first Spitfire well enough that I put one on my 2015 Triumph T214 Bonneville, 1985 Honda VT500C Shadow and most recently my 1981 Yamaha XJ750RH Seca.
In use, the Spitfire works well on all these bikes. Even at speeds somewhat above Interstate speeds as in overtaking slower traffic, they remain stable and have caused no buffeting. One thing to note at installation is that in some instances, leaving any space between the top of the headlight housing and the bottom edge gasket of the windshield can result in some degree of windshield vibration and/or whistling.
The oldest of them has remained clear and largely free of scratches, cracking and discoloration, despite having been cleaned dozens of times (with plain water or mild soap and water on a clean cloth).
The real payoff of using these lightweight shields is the realization that the mass of bugs and grime that is present on the shield at the end of a long ride would have otherwise been stuck to me but for the shield.
So, if you’re ready to make the move to a windshield for that ol’ iron horse of yours, but you want something that is light, economical, minimalist and easily optioned off and re-installed, then a unit like the Spitfire or something similar may be a good thing to consider. To check it and other options out, visit: https://slipstreamer.com/