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Breaking the wind

October 15, 2008
GTS with windscreen

Orin O'Neill photo

All this talk about the wind hitting you in the chest at higher speeds didn’t mean much to me when I was riding the PX. It didn’t mean much to me when I got the GTS. Then I got a windscreen.

I noticed I could now be unaware of 60 mph instead of 55. And now that it’s not doing it, how the wind really does hit you in the chest.

This windscreen is not a standard item. Vespa Seattle sends a tall GT/GTS windscreen (sometimes known as a “riot shield”) to someone who apparently has access to one of Boeing’s many precision cutting tools. This person cuts the top off and applies a rubber gasket to the edge. If you want one, get in touch with Vespa Seattle. They’re $245 plus tax.

But I didn’t pay that much. I got this one quite cheaply from Safety Ed; it was for the GT he doesn’t have anymore. Yeah, it has a few scratches in the lower right corner from the Portland incident, but for what I paid, I can live with that. I had thought about some of the 3rd-party items sold by Scooterworks and Motorsport Scooters, but someone I used to know had their bike knocked into a wall, which split its aftermarket windscreen right in half. I knew this one would withstand a similar impact, because it kinda did.

The top of this one is roughly parallel with my chin, and the helmet extends an inch or so lower. In motion, the vortex created by the air falling off the edge of the windscreen acts as a kind of roller for the higher layers of air moving over and around it. Close your helmet’s faceshield (your eyeballs might feel like they’re being sucked out if you don’t) and you’ll hear the wind but won’t feel it. Not much, anyway.

From an aesthetic standpoint, the windscreen makes the GTS look more the part of commuting/touring bike I envisioned when I got it.

How the air flows

Orin O'Neill illustration

More importantly, the mid-height windscreen won’t accumulate rain or snow (I notice lots of you search on “scooter snow tire”) right in your field of vision. For those differently proportioned, it might pay to get one of the riot shields and have someone with a precision cutting tool cut it off at just the point where the bottom of your full-face helmet would overlap the new top of the windscreen. See the illustration.

Or you could just get an aftermarket windscreen and try to make sure your bike doesn’t get knocked over. Favicon

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