The stock DRZ comes with an interesting plastic headlight shroud. At first glance you can tell the shroud will not really provide any wind protection due to its small size. What is not quite as obvious is that the size, shape, and location of the shroud make it a fine wind funnel. At speeds above 45 mph or so the shroud perfectly channels the air directly into the rider’s torso, creating a constant rearward pressure on the rider preventing him from sitting in a relaxed position. Instead, the rider must constantly resist the windblast through slight muscular tension in his abs and arms, making even a few hours of steady highway riding noticeably more fatiguing than riding a motorcycle with even a modest windscreen.
To make the DRZ more comfortable during highway riding I knew that I would need to get the windblast off my torso. I experimented with four different windscreens, the first one being a stock windscreen from a pre-2008 KLR650.
The first generation KLR (models before 2008) stock windscreen can be bolted onto the DRZ headlight shroud as if it were custom made. Note that Kawasaki’s redesigned the KLR in 2008 and the new model windscreen does not really fit the DRZ – if you want to try a KLR windscreen I suggest getting one of the first generation models.
While you might think that such a small windscreen would not provide much benefit it actually resulted in noticeably reduced windblast on my upper body. As a minimalist solution this is about as good as it gets. The KLR windscreen is small and is mostly out of the way so it doesn’t present much of an issue when riding the bike off-pavement. I wasn’t worried about breaking it in a fall, nor was I concerned that it would injure me in the event of an accident where I went over the handlebars. First generation KLR windscreens aren’t hard to find and can be inexpensive to purchase. With all those factors going for it, it could be the right solution for some riders.
The downside was that the KLR windscree didn’t completely remove the windblast from my upper body. It moved the windblast up a bit higher on my torso so I could ride more comfortably at highway speeds but it wasn’t as effective as I wanted. So I decided to try another option. As they say, your mileage may vary, so don’t let the fact that the KLR windscreen wasn’t the perfect solution for me dissuade you from trying it for yourself.
Laminar Lip 1
Laminar Lip sells a large variety of windscreens for lots of bikes. I acquired one several years ago when I purchased a Husqvarna TE610 that was outfitted with a small laminar lip (I don’t know which model it is). I eventually installed a Lynx fairing on the Husky so the laminar lip has been sitting unused in my garage since. Here’s what it looks like, mounted on the Husky.
I decided to give it a try on the DRZ but I didn’t have high hopes. I figured it would be a slight improvement over the KLR windscreen but nothing else. Sure enough, that turned out to be right. It did an okay job of knocking some of the windblast off my torso and the airflow around my helmet was very smooth and quite but overall I found this screen lacking. Time to move on to the next option.
Laminar Lip 2: Suzuki B-King
Laminar makes a screen specifically for the Suzuki B-King, which is a naked street bike Suzuki came out with in 2007. The headlight shroud on the B-King is very similar to the shroud on the Suzuki DR650 and the Suzuki DR-Z400, meaning that this particular scree will fit all three models. I discovered all this thanks to the ProCycle DRZ webpage and decided to give the B-King screen a try (www.procycle.us – note, I have no affiliation with Procycle).
This windscreen was a noticeably improvement over the KLR windscreen and the smaller Laminar Lip screen. It is both wider and taller so it moved the windblast up and out, off my torso. Very nice. Unfortunately, the windblast was now hitting the lowest part of my helmet and then spilling beneath the helmet, creating a loud roar. I always wear earplugs when riding on the street but even so the noise was louder than I prefer. I decided to continue looking for a windscreen that would work better for me. I would point out that riders with a longer or shorter torso than me (I’m 5’11”) might find the B-King windscreen to be perfect for them.
Bajaworx Rallye Windscreen
As luck would have it within a week or so of trying the B-King Laminar Lip windscreen I read a review in Motorcycle Consumer News (MCN) of the new Bajaworx Rallye Windscreen. The editors at MCN ride the DR650 and convinced the owner of Bajaworx to make a rallye windscreen for their bike. The DR650 and DRZ headlight shrouds are very similar so the Bajaworx Rally windscreen will fit both bikes. Based on their positive review I purchased one with high hopes.
The Bajaworx screen is very nice and it looks great on the DRZ (in my opinion). And it did the best job of getting the windblast off my torso. However, it also produced some pretty bad helmet buffeting at highway speed. Not good – after a few hours of riding I felt like I had been in a boxing match.
The screen is designed to bolt directly to the headlight shroud. I thought that spacing the screen away from the shroud so as to allow a small amount of airflow between the two would alleviate the buffeting. Some 1/2 aluminum spacers from Home Depot did the job.
While offsetting the screen helped, it did not eliminate the buffeting so I removed it and re-installed the B-King windscreen from Laminar Lip. Of the four windscreens the B-King works the best for me. While far from providing the level of comfort I’m seeking, it is a noticeable improvement over no windscreen at all.
As you have noticed, achieving a satisfactory level of wind management at highway speeds remains an elusive goal. So, I decided to dig $500 out of my wallet and buy a Lynx Fairing.