In real estate, the phrase "location, location, location" is often said. That phrase came to mind while I was riding my 2007 Burgman 400 with a new Givi AIRFLOW AF266
installed, except it was "aerodynamics, aerodynamics, aerodynamics".
I was very fortunate recently. Craig at Givi USA was looking for someone to evaluate their new Givi AIRFLOW windscreen and my name came up. Two days after we talked, and I had a huge box delivered with a new windshield.
The timing was great. I was planning on a trip the following week across Stevens Pass, along the east side of the Cascades, then over the North Cascades Highway...and back. Total distance was about 650 miles. Plenty of time to evaluate this windshield.
I was changing from the OEM windshield with Saeng Micro-swirl Edging
. This had worked well for the past 3 years. The OEM windshield flexes way too much, allowing strong wind gusts to fold the upper corners over and the wind to slam into your upper torso. It was enough to knock me backwards several inches. I don't know if the claims of Saeng for what the edging does for the air flow are true, but the metal core on the edging provided the stiffening necessary to make the OEM windshield work. So that is what I was comparing the Givi AIRFLOW windshield to.
Installation went pretty straightforward. I used the videos made by Dave (Thunderbolt) included in his tutorial Burgman 400 Windshield Replacement Tutorial
. I had a few more problems than he had...but worked through it all. Dave makes it look simple. I am a not a mechanic, I just persevere and in the end it all comes together. I would say that if you can change the oil on your Burgman, you can handle this. There are about 4 steps to getting to the point of removing the windshield.
- 1. Pull off the dash trim with the Suzuki emblem.
2. Remove two phillips head screws, one on each side, that hold the front nose piece on.
3. Pull out the front nose piece.
4. Remove six screws that hold on the windshield.
It is that simple. The hard part for me, was putting it back together.
I tried to get "smart" and knowing the "well nuts" in the photo below were hard to put in, I put some Armor-All on them. Wow! They slid in great! And then they didn't want to stay in. (I told you somewhere I'm not a mechanic, right?) So after almost losing them from having them slip all the way through, and wiping off what I could, I got them in place correctly. The two rear well nuts remain in place with the screws going through the Givi windshield. The front well nut is removed and slips through both the Givi windshield and the attachment opening. Those really did not want to stay put after the Armor-All treatment. But hopefully, you'll learn from my mistake. I won't repeat it myself.[attachment=7:3agw8xv3]P1010025 (Small).JPG[/attachment:3agw8xv3]
Here is a picture of the two windshields without the spoiler for comparison. The OEM windshield is on the bottom and you can see the black trim on the outer edge.[attachment=6:3agw8xv3]P1010020 (Small).JPG[/attachment:3agw8xv3]
The Givi AIRFLOW extends much further out on the sides than the OEM windshield. Anyone familiar with the standard Givi windscreen will see that they are identical in this regard. Total height without the spoiler was slightly lower than the OEM windshield. From the top of the windshield to the floor:
- OEM Windshield height = 56"[/*:m:3agw8xv3]
- Givi AIRFLOW without the spoiler = 52.5"[/*:m:3agw8xv3]
- Givi AIRFLOW with the spoiler in the lowest position = 57.5"[/*:m:3agw8xv3]
- Givi AIRFLOW with the spoiler extended = 60.5"[/*:m:3agw8xv3]
[attachment=5:3agw8xv3]P1010036 (Small).JPG[/attachment:3agw8xv3][attachment=4:3agw8xv3]P1010039 (Small).JPG[/attachment:3agw8xv3]
From behind the windscreen, here are a couple more views to see what it looks like up close for mounting.[attachment=3:3agw8xv3]P1010041 (Small).JPG[/attachment:3agw8xv3][attachment=2:3agw8xv3]P1010042 (Small).JPG[/attachment:3agw8xv3]
So what is it like in use? In one word - Great! Adjustment is as simple as it can get. There are two levers, one on each side. Lift them up, and slide the spoiler up or down...or even take it off. Lower them and lock it in place. I would definitely not try this yourself, but I wanted to test the windscreen under similar conditions, so I lowered it a couple times while moving.
Tricky. I never tried to raise it though. I had this vision of the air stream grabbing it before I could lock it down and turning it into an expensive Frisbee to be run over by the car behind me.
Even though it is about 1.5" taller than the OEM windshield, I was able to look over the windshield at the lowest setting. (I'm 5'6" tall with an inseam of 28" for comparison.) Since it didn't have the black trim of the Saeng edging, the line of the windscreen wasn't an issue for me. Looking through the spoiler wasn't bad either. The optics were pretty good, especially considering the amount of bend at that point. A complaint I had in the past of the regular Givi was the lack of air movement behind the windscreen. In the winter, that would be great. But I rode a 2008 Burgman 400 once on a fairly hot day and it seemed stifling to me. Even with the spoiler raised all the way on this Givi AIRFLOW, there was some air movement. Nothing drastic, but enough that I didn't get that same feeling and at times the temperature on the eastern side of the Cascades read 101F on the temperature readout. It just seemed like a nice gentle air flow, not something with buffeting.
At the lower spoiler setting, there was plenty of air flow over my upper torso to be comfortable. This is the setting I kept it at for most of the trip. The scenery was just too gorgeous to look at through the windscreen. I did ride without the spoiler once. You'll get more air flow over you, which would be great on a hot summer day. It didn't let so much by though that you'd feel like you had to hang on to the handlebars for dear life. It would be a nice controlled amount of air, much like you'd get if you bought a separate "sport" windscreen.
I hit some strong winds along the Columbia River that were both coming from in front and from the sides. In both spoiler positions, the windscreen never acted like a "sail". I think this is because of the air flow going under the upper spoiler as well as over it. I found that with the spoiler extended, the ride was actually more relaxing in that situation. The air that hit me was much calmer and the bike/windscreen took all the buffeting. However, I rode with it lowered much of the time. By then, I had quite a few bugs splattered all over it and the scenery like I wrote earlier, was just too gorgeous.
As far as an effect on your mileage goes, I found it hard to estimate the impact. I suspect you might lose 1-2 mpg with the spoiler extended over the OEM windshield. But when I lowered the spoiler, I also lost mpg, so I think it was more of an effect of the road conditions and riding into increasing headwinds than a change in the spoiler positioning. So it is a toss up probably. My mpg over the trip was 68 mpg, so whatever impact it might have on gas mileage, wasn't bad at all. IMHO, I suspect the gas mileage impact will be less than having a one-piece windshield trying to give the same amount of protection. It just seems like the aerodynamics will be better when some of the air is allowed to pass through and eliminate the low pressure area on the back side, and not force it all to the sides.
FWIW, here are some views from where I sat with the spoiler both lowered and raised. I was probably sitting back a little on the first picture, because I could actually see over the windshield by an inch or more and the picture makes it look like the edge was at the horizon.[attachment=1:3agw8xv3]IMG_0028 (Small).JPG[/attachment:3agw8xv3][attachment=0:3agw8xv3]IMG_0029 (Small).JPG[/attachment:3agw8xv3]
So what is the bottom line? Can I recommend the Givi AIRFLOW? Yes. No problems with that at all. So often we have spent money searching for the "answer" to our buffeting problems by purchasing this windshield or that one. We've wondered how high should it be to eliminate that buffeting. Once we get it, we're looking for ways to add vents for cooling. The Givi AIRFLOW is more expensive at first than other windshields, but I think it'll take you directly to your "answer" without spending more money on half-way measures that leave you still buying something like this in the end. Whatever height you are, you can adjust the spoiler to fit you. If you like to look over the windscreen, you can do that. If you like to look through it, you can do that too. And you don't need the extra vents because the air flow passing under the spoiler gives you the cooling and eliminates much of the back pressure that other windscreens can have. If you were considering buying a sport windscreen, just take off the spoiler and you have it. If you have the Suzuki hand guards, you won't be using them with this...but you won't need them either. The air flow passes perfectly to the end of the hand grips - and I think does a better job of protecting the hands.
The only negative I can think of is that I'll have to find another place to hang my riding jacket while I'm putting on my gear. I used to toss my jacket over the OEM windscreen (when it was clean), and it looked like that with all kinds of scratches. I suspect the Givi would get scratched up badly if I continued to do that. But I can live with that restriction.