Motorcycle wind noise

Wind buffeting and noise while riding your motorcycle

Author: Alun Davies

As every biker knows wind buffeting and helmet noise are two of the high speed pleasures of motorcycling and especially so with long distance touring. Over the years, these two features act as a Darwinesque style natural selection mechanism to weed out the weak and frail leaving the progressively deaf and brain numbed to rise to the top of the motorcycling gene pool.

These stalwarts of the hard core, two wheeled, loving fraternity tend to build up a natural resistance to the above and can be viewed at biker meets around the world uttering such immortal lines as ‘sorry, I didn’t quite catch what you said’ as their grey matter visually wobbles behind their eyes. The rest of us just spend money on aftermarket parts in a mostly futile attempt to arrive at an acceptable level of calm.

There is no known way to completely eliminate all wind buffeting and noise (and who wants too, I am talking motorcycles, after all), with the exception of buying a car, though there are ways to minimise the effects. Some bikes are far better designed to reduce wind buffeting and noise whilst others can be so bad that selling them on is the way to some peace and quiet.

There are many variables that contribute to noise and turbulence, ranging from the height and riding position of the motorcyclist to the ergonomics and size of the fairing, mirrors and screen. From what I’ve seen, most riders forego size reduction surgery and focus attention on modifying existing equipment or buying new add ons in a quest for a blast free Nirvana – though it has to be said surgery is the cheaper, less painful option.

If you ride a naked bike then cutting through ‘clean’ air on a warm sunny day can be an enjoyable experience, far more so than being sat in a vortex behind a bad fairing, screen and mirror set up. In the worst cases, the experience is like being sat in a car with a single rear window open, a brain numbing experience indeed.

Being the owner of a couple of Triumphs (Sprint and Tiger) and having read through page after page of on-line tales of turbulent woe, I don’t think I’m having it as bad as some, though there’s definitely room for improvement in the long distance comfort stakes. And with that in mind here’s what I’ve done and what I’m going to do.

First off I’ve bought a 4in higher screen from Sprint Engineering (for the Sprint) which has made a difference but has also contributed to more wind buffeting at higher speeds. If I lean forward and drop my head down 4in or so then I hit a calm spot behind the screen where it’s bliss – no noise no buffeting – so, logic says that a 4in higher screen could do the job.

However, having found Neil’s blog (he attaches a Touratech screen spoiler for extra height) I may also have to move the screen away from the cockpit to fully rectify the problem. While I fiddle with my screen, check out Neil’s site, there’s some good advice and ideas there.