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Standard motorcycles and naked bikes have the same problem: wind buffeting. Ride your Ducati Monster or Harley-Davidson Sportster past 80 mph on the highway, and you’ll feel the impact of high winds. However, there are solutions for your standard motorcycle headaches, like a fairing or removable windshield. So, between a painted plastic fairing and a clip-on windshield, which one is right for you?

A detachable windshield might be better for your motorcycle than a fairing if you see yourself removing it periodically

If you have a standard motorcycle or naked bike, you likely have an exposed headlamp or forks just begging for an attachment. Consequently, you have options. First, you could get a purpose-built fairing. Motorcycle fairings can vary in size, weight, and wind protection. For instance, a bikini or quarter fairing could deflect wind over the top of your helmet without taking up too much real estate. 

However, motorcycle fairings can also extend out, up, and around the sides of a naked bike, bridging the gap between a standard motorcycle and a full-fairing sportbike. Understandably, a full-size fairing will redirect a lot more wind than smaller options like quarter fairing. Better yet, fairings can be bolt-on or quick-disconnect (QD) applications. Moreover, some motorcycles come from the factory with a QD fairing. For instance, the Harley-Davidson Sport Glide has easily removable saddle bags and a fairing.

A Harley-Davidson Low Rider S shows off its quarter fairing.
A small fairing on a Harley-Davidson Low Rider S | Erik Sherman, MotorBiscuit

On the other hand, a removable windshield could be an easy, effective way to cut down on wind buffeting. My Triumph Thruxton R, for instance, has no factory wind protection. Moreover, while Triumph offers a retro full fairing for the Thruxton R, the kit costs well above $1,000. Conversely, you can pick up a universal removable windshield that mounts to the handlebars or forks and all but eradicates wind buffeting at high speeds.

As such, if you want a more permanent, aerodynamically sound option, a bolt-on fairing might be your best bet. However, if you want an affordable, modular option, a removable windshield has the potential to deliver.