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Wide Bars and Wind Resistance on Hwy

3510 Views 15 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Romper
I have just read that wide bars can cause a lot of wind resistance when on Hwys.

Do the V900 Custom stock handlebars fall under the 'wide' category?

I also read that drag bars are a good alternative to wide bars (with less wind resistance).

Your thoughts on above and recommended bars to replace these stock bars on the custom?

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I'm not a physicist but considering the high resistance your body creates, I can't see bars making much difference.
with smaller drag bars it will be harder to negotiate curves
wind resistance would not be an issue with the bars. your body is a much bigger factor. drag bars are not great on a cruiser imo.
Have you actually RIDDEN the bike on the highway?

With my wide bars, riding lots of highway bars, I've never felt the bars getting pulled by wind resistance or anything like that. Motorcycles are not aerodynamic, and you aren't going to fix that. I use a tall windshield; so that's basically a big sail in the wind anyway. But better it than me!
thanks gys.

yes i ride the hwy ever day for around 5km each way to/from work..

I think the idea of wide bars causing wind drag is related to body position.

Your upper body and jacket create a bigger sail with your arms wider apart.


Thanks Scott.

This may also explain why I suddenly now feel a whole lot more buffeting on my upper body as I have just installed bar risers....

Can't win! :) I may now remove them and go back to stock lower profile configuration and try again.

Incidentally, how do those mean looking HD riders cope on the HWY with their open rigs?

Incidentally, how do those mean looking HD riders cope on the HWY with their open rigs?

They don't notice because they had a lobotomy before buying a Harley when they could have bought a nice Vulcan and customised it for half the cost... :p
lol - you had a recent run in with them?

Something to keep in mind, your body will adapt to the changes you make on the bike. If you want your bike setup a certain way and enjoy it, then put up with the possible drawbacks and let your body cope with the changes. After a while, you won't even notice those drawbacks. In other words, compromise.

Also, the style of helmet you wear can cause buffeting as well.

Only time I have ever dealt with horrible wind buffeting was when I had a VN900 Custom with one of those tiny windshields on it. It forced the wind right up to my neck. I had to take the stupid thing off.
That's good to know.

I have this Shoei NXR helmet:

Is this helmet more prone to buffeting?

What characteristics of helmets make them more prone to buffeting?

That's good to know.

What characteristics of helmets make them more prone to buffeting?

I'd say it has to do with where the offending breeze is coming from. Helmets are designed for primarily straight on head wind. If that's what you're dealing with, the helmet you have should be pretty good with the visor down. It offers a smooth, round face in the wind that should break pretty evenly. If, on the other hand, you have a Big Shot windshield on your Custom (like mine), the headwind is deflected up and over your head. However, your knees may be kicking a large amount of wind up between the turn signals and windshield. Because this is basically an updraft it's going to catch the bottom of the helmet where it isn't quite so areodynamic. When I wore a full face I found that the updraft caught the chin guard and pushed my head side to side. My half helmet catches the air, but differently. I don't get the side to side action, but I get an annoying breeze swirling around my glasses that causes my eyes to water in temps under 60F and at higher speeds (which I enjoy) it tends to pull the helmet to the back of my head. I'm hoping my new Batwing takes care of some of that.
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A lot of buffeting can come up from below the fuel tank as well. Buffeting is primarily caused by a low pressure zone behind your windshield, coupled with the high pressure zone in front of it. Since the air behind the windshield is (relatively speaking) still, fast moving air that's forced up in front of the tank that then gets up into that 'low pressure zone' causes turbulence. Lowers work really well to solve this; and almost eliminated buffeting for me. Fairings can do a good job too just by reshaping how the air goes around you.

There's an illustration. On the Goldwing (pictured) it's mostly solved by redirecting air using 'wings' or even a little vent on the windshield. On our bikes, with much less fairing and wind protection, sometimes just redirecting some of the offending air by not allowing as much to come up over the tank, using lowers, works really well.

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Does your scoot have a factory windscreen? I've found the stock windshield with the stock fork air deflectors on my Vulcan gives better wind protection than my E Glide that has the H-D lowers. I've thought, though, of installing a bar that's maybe 3-4 in narrower than the stock, which is really wide. That wide bar is really clumsy at low speeds, requiring too much reach.
Thanks guys. Great info share...

Spyglass - my bike does not have any windscreen / shield fitted.

What are these stock fork air defectors and can i fit them without having having to fit a windshield on my scoot?

Incidently - I experimented with rolling up my neck band atta so that it fills the gap/void between the bottom of my helmet and bare neck. I normally have it sort of half way up my head and over my chin. Now i pulled all of it down to fill that neck void, and i feel less helmet movement (from the buffet wind) when on Hwy and feels more comfortable. Don't know if this would make any difference technically, but I will continue with this...

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