Review: Klock Werks Flare Windshield

Posted: June 25, 2013 in Photos, Product Review, Video
Tags: ,

For the last year and half or so, I have read, heard, and seen countless gripes about buffeting on a Street Glide. And for the last year and a half or so, I swore to myself and others that I did not feel any buffeting. Do I feel wind hitting me in the face as I look over a 4 inch windshield? Absolutely. Did it shake my head or make my ride uncomfortable and dangerous? Absolutely not. But in the back of my mind I always wondered how a new windshield would affect my ride.

The Design

Klock Werks owner, Brian Klock, designed the Flare windshield to help channel the air around the rider, while applying a downward pressure on the front of the fairing to provide better handling. Rather than write the information, here is a video by shield creator Brian Klock talking about the Flare design:

I have always put function over form, and the flare windshield is no different. Although I am not a huge fan of it’s looks, if it delivers on its promises, I can easily live and ride with the curvy design.

The Ride

In view of last Friday’s 450 mile run, I figured it was at last time to take advantage of the local dealership’s test ride program. I headed down to TSI Harley Davidson in Ellington and grabbed myself the Klock Werks 6.5 flare windshield. I brought it home, quickly swapped out shields (the three screw process is as easy as it gets), and immediately sat on the bike. As a tall rider, the 4 inch stock windshield is not in my line of sight at all. My initial thought when I mounted the bike was that the extra 2.5 inches were going to affect my visibility.

The first part of the trip was all highway riding and it took me all of 30 seconds to get used to the new windshield. I found the windshield worked well to limit the wind noise blowing by my ears, however it did little to reduce the wind that was hitting me behind the fairing. I was actually playing my stereo at 3/4 the volume I normally had it set to. And my initial claim was that I didn’t like it, but I would not change it out and I would give it a fair shake. 450 miles later, it had grown on me, but it wasn’t ride changing.

The Flare 6.5

Saturday morning I swapped the 6.5 for the 8.5 figuring the 8.5 might improve the areas the 6.5 was lacking. Much to my surprise, the 8.5 was intolerable at best. On the backroads and the highway I had wind hitting me from all directions behind the windshield and fairing. Head buffeting was at its highest I’ve ever experienced, making the ride increasingly more uncomfortable. As an aside, for those riders that utilize the 3 pouch windshield bags, the Flare 8.5 is designed to accomodate them.

The Flare 8.5

One thing I did not get to try with either of the windshields was 2-up riding. A common complaint from many riders seems to be the wind flow on the passenger. Truthfully, I have never heard this from passengers, only salesmen. Although I wanted to prove the truth or debunk the myth, the opportunity just did not present itself. Then again, my wife always says she gets no airflow sitting behind me, and I can’t imagine a windshield would change that.

The Verdict: Not Love at First Ride

If forced to buy a brand new windshield today, the 8.5 Flare is not the way to go for me. I found the air to be swirling behind the windshield, and perhaps due to the height of the air channels on the shield, I felt more buffeting from the sides out of the 8.5 than I did running both the 6.5 and the Street Glide stock shields.

This 6.5 inch screen was nice, but it was not love at first ride. Perhaps I was foolish to think all the wind would disappear entirely. And perhaps I was being even more foolish to think I wanted the wind to disappear entirely. The day of riding was in the upper 80’s and lower 90’s and I was baking on the bike. One thing I noticed, the swirling wind behind the fairing definitely wasn’t the same as the clean and cooling wind that hits you directly in the chest.

If the 6.5 was my full time windshield, I might learn to appreciate its benefits, but it did not provide me with enough of a positive change in wind feel to warrant the $150+ price tag at Amazon (the seemingly cheapest retailer at the moment including free shipping – eBay does offer it cheaper if you choose to go that route). I expect a major change for the price paid, and if the positives of the KW6.5 are few, then that may be money better spent else where.  I will not rule out the 6.5 entirely however, as I plan to take it out for a second ride at some point this summer.

In the future I also plan to try the Harley Wind Splitter, and would like to test the Long Ride Shields Ultra if I can find one (currently they don’t offer test rides), but for now, stock is the way to go.

To learn more about the Klock Werks line, please check out their website

Ride hard, ride safe, and enjoy every mile.

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