Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I HAVE A HANDICAP. I’m tall. Six foot four, to be exact. Not tall and good looking. Just tall. I bump my head on the rafter inside the attic anytime I go up there and I can’t get a Miata for my wife because I simply don’t fit.

Last summer I traded my KLR 650 and my 1150 RT for the bike that was made for us long-of-inseam riders: a BMW GS Adventure. As advertised, it is truly the best of both worlds. Great on the highway and more than adequate after the pavement ends.

Unfortunately, for most of us, getting beyond the pavement means traveling on asphalt or concrete for at least some distance. In my case, the pavement is Interstate 80, a main east-west route across middle America. In my region it is over-used by people who drive too fast. So riding the GSA at a pace equal to others means a 75-mile-per-hour scream of wind that is fatiguing to the body and deafening to the ear. Owing to the fact that I would be riding from the Sacramento area to Jackson, Wyoming in late June, the thought of two or three days of wind howl was something I needed to remedy.

I STUMBLED ACROSS the Touratech “Spoiler for Windscreen” while thumbing through their inch thick catalog. Pricy at about $125, I did like the concept of clamping it to the existing screen and removing it when unneeded, leaving no mark on the BMW Plexiglas.

Out of the box, this windscreen extension measures about 3¼ inches high by 12 inches wide. The brushed aluminum clamp measures about 3½ by 4½. At first blush, I was afraid the clamp would prove to be a line-of-sight distraction, but after centering the lightweight little unit atop the stock windshield and settling onto the seat, it was clear that I’d need to be three or four inches shorter for this to be an issue, and if I were that diminutive, I wouldn’t need this after-market accessory. The spoiler clamped in place without adjustment needed to the locking nuts. Lucky me.

Within minutes, I am on I-80 traveling at speed when I notice something weird. Weird in a good way. From below me I can actually hear the thrum of the big GS’s motor. Something I’d not experienced at 75 before this. But there was wind noise. I wasn’t sure whether or not to be disappointed, so I conducted a little experiment. I stood on the pegs. Ah Ha! There it was. That windblast. The roar. The element that, whenever I returned home, caused me not to hear my wife ask, “Well, how was the ride?” Using my internal “Dav-i-bel” meter, I’d estimate the spoiler decreases wind noise by at least 60 percent. I can hear myself think, reason and make safer driving decisions.

My 85 mile test loop allowed me 40 miles of freeway, about 35 miles of sweeping curves and ten miles of deep-forest twists and turns beneath trees still dripping from the morning’s unseasonable May shower. At speed, the stock windscreen stayed rock-solid. On the higher speed sweepers, there was no impact on the bike’s handling physics that I could discern. And at 50 mph, the last of that rainsquall swept over the top of my Shoei RF 1000 as if I were tucked into a cocoon.

The plastic on the spoiler is of lesser gauge than the stock windscreen. The edges are not finished with the same polished smoothness as BMW’s plastic. And the back side of the aluminum clamp is not attractive. But, then, neither is a GSA, until one looks at function. The GSA does everything well. It handles the noise associated with high-speed travel even better with the Touratech “Spoiler for Windscreen.” Which makes the spoiler quite beautiful, in my mind.

Touratech Windscreen Spoiler as the wind might see it. Note brushed aluminum clamp. Stylish!

Touratech Windscreen Spoiler as the rider sees it. Close up of clamp. Works well because it is engineered so very well. But not particularly pretty from the driver's seat. Bottom line? Easy to forget it is there and really simply enjoy a less buffeted ride.

© 2010
Church of the Open Road Press


  1. Thanks for the review. I'm testing a GSA screen on my 2010 GS at the moment and the wind noise isn't too bad. I have Tobinators to get more air behind the windshield to reduce the buffeting a little bit and also get a good rake back even with the side adjusters fairly high up.

    Thinking of also trying the Touratech spoiler to get all options ...

  2. Guido - Just some additional info: I'm 6'4" with a 34" inseam. I sit pretty high in the saddle. I found the GSA fit my inseam better than just about anything else out there, but my helmet was still pretty high above the windscreen on my GSA. The Touratech spoiler changed the wind flow enough that my helmet wasn't buffeted and the noise was reduced nicely.

    Being tall and handsome is a good, good thing. In my case: a) I'm not all that handsome and 2) being a bit shorter would provide me with greater options when selecting a bike. That said, I wouldn't trade the GSA for anything regardless of my height.

    Thanks for reading the post.