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-   -   Whats a bigger priority - FF or W/shield? (

evalea 3rd November 2005 02:03

Whats a bigger priority - FF or W/shield?
Ahh, the joys of a limited budget :frownthre

So anyway, I'm trying to decide which is more important/useful/needed.
Full face helmet or a windshield.

I'm planning on riding in all weather, rain or shine, luckily down here in S. Louisiana it doesn't get really get too cold to ride (read icy). What is going to be more useful to protect me from both the chilly wind and in wet weather? I mostly ride around town with the odd longer ride on weekends with my HOG chapter.
I'm going to end up with both, but I can get one now and one in a few months and I wanted those who 'know' these things, which one will be more useful to get first.

Thanks all.

Sportster Girl 3rd November 2005 02:06

I like the FF helmet over the shield.

If you prefer the 'open air' feel of the half helmet, you might prefer the windshield.

I like the safety of the FF, plus I love smacking bugs with it. Riding in the rain? No problemo!

GOTWA 3rd November 2005 02:12

While the two share similiar benefits, I personally think they are a lot different.

For me, myself, and I, and my riding style and my enjoyment from riding, I do not want a windshield on my Sporty. On an E-Glide? Sure. Not my Sporty.

For one thing, I don't want the buffeting or the resistance. And to be honest, I like to feel the wind.

Now a FF helmet to me is another matter. I am going to get either that or a good 3/4 with face shield. Not so much for the rain, to me that isn't a huge deal, but for the bugs and cold. It certainly will not be a replacement helmet for my 1/2 but it surely will have it's place.

Another thing to consider is if the FF makes you feel safer (and arguably it is from a protection stand point). Feeling safer often results in being safer.

Kath 3rd November 2005 02:12

Well, we're talking about 2 things with different purposes here so its hard to compare. FF is, of course, a safety item.....windshield is a comfort item. Heck, I'll go so far as to say that for winter, they both are needed ;) A full face will help the cold air on your face, true, but it won't do anything to block it from your chest and neck.

You can get a DOT approved full face helmet (like HJC) for $100. Then check out eBay for a used windshield. Only buy a new helmet though. At least it will get you by on a budget and you can cruise in comfort for the winter :)

xena 3rd November 2005 02:13

If you are planning on both I'd definitely go with the FF helmet first. I prefer the FF in the cooler weather.

DM-SC 3rd November 2005 02:33

I went the FF route this week. Two reasons:

1) I may have to sell my sporty soon so I can get a bike better suited to 2-up, long distance riding (another full topic in it's self!). I don't want to spend anymore money on the sporty until this situation is done with. The FF stays with me..

2) I think the FF is better at protecting me from the elements of weather.

willprevale 3rd November 2005 02:36

If I had to make a singlular choice, it would be the windshield. I do a lotta long distance riding and a windshield keeps me from being pushed back in the saddle... and that is very fatiguing. I keep mine low enough where I can still get the wind in my face.

Big_Baazzoo 3rd November 2005 02:45

I rode for many years with no wind shield ... but when the going got tough, the tough got going. With a FF helmet, Rain, Snow, (maybe not hail or a tornado) but the energizer bunny "just keeps going".

But now I am almost 50. I like a little tombstone WS, just to take the edge off, mind you. (after you had multiple compound fractures and broken ribs, the wind can be downright merciless at times.)

I still remember my first FF helmet, a nice Bell. It was so quiet, and comfy, I was wondering why so many people thought they needed wind sheilds, and the thought occurred to me how much more aero-dynamic a helmet is than my ugly mug.

hey, around town, a half shell is cool, people can see your face and wave "HI" and that is cool, but on any kind of mileage-making trip, a fresh FF helmet is mandatory.

Randum77 3rd November 2005 02:57


Originally Posted by willprevale
If I had to make a singlular choice, it would be the windshield. I do a lotta long distance riding and a windshield keeps me from being pushed back in the saddle... and that is very fatiguing. I keep mine low enough where I can still get the wind in my face.

Right on. If i had a choice between either one, i would say Windsheild. I do alot of riding when I do ride and my head starts to hurt from all the bobbing it does at high speed. I would prefer the windsheild to keep that from happening.

oakies 3rd November 2005 03:19

The last thing I ever wanted on my sporty was a windshield. Untill someone offered to give me a new one for free. I didnt want to sound ungratefull so I told them I'de try it for a week or so then let them know if I wanted it. I put it on a year ago and its never been off. I dont notice the difference much under 45 MPH but its great an on a 150 mile ride at 60 MPH. Plus it really looks a lot better than I thought it would..

bshadbolt 3rd November 2005 03:45

FF helmet - much safer in an accident and provides a reasonable deegree of comfort when riding in wind and rain. A windshield could well cause injuries in an accident, but would certainly provide comfort whilst riding.

Personally, I look for comfort AND safety and wouldn't mount a windshield on my bike. I'd be interested in what others think about this, especially anyone who has been over the bars with a windshield fitted. I try to keep the area above the bars unobstructed to give me a free-fly zone.



dashadow 3rd November 2005 03:50

If you already use a 3/4 with face shield I'd go for the windscreen. Gotwa said he doesn't want the buffeting or resistance, I find just the opposite. I have the 17 inch tall Memphis Shades Sportshield El Paso and I really like it. Used to fight the wind at anything over 70mph. Now it's a pleasure, just cruisin' along. No buffeting, it doesn't catch wind from other vehicles, steady as can be. I also think the wind resistance is decreased because the shield is more aerodynamic than my body. The bike just pulls stronger on the freeway than it used to. Just my .02

Spor-T-1 3rd November 2005 06:16

Ok here is My 2 cents,
When I bought mine it had a WS and I said naw I'll just take it off when I get home, I did and after a week I put it back on it is absolutley the best to not be pushed back into my ride(iI used to think bikers sat that way on purpose to look kewl but now I know it is the wind.) So as for WS I like it. As for FF I used to ride nothing but crotch rockets and on those anything but a FF looks just wrong, However being half deaf the FF made me unable to hear things like a knock in my ride or other important sounds comming from it. Since I bought My XL I bought the FF for Cold weather riding and do plan to use it when the frost starts to form on my nose but not a day sooner because I like the freedom of my half helmet and the WS. So my advice is to get the WS first then when it starts to get too cold for anything else get the FF.:banawala

Sandman 3rd November 2005 07:13

I think your location and the time of year it is should be part of your decision. Being a fellow southerner, a distinct advantage of having the windshield is that it keeps the bugs off of you! Especially love know what I'm talking about! A good shield fitted properly will keep the critters off your upper torso and even keep your helmet and face cleaner because most will deflect over you (not to mention birds!). Also, another advantage is the wind won't be slamming you in the chest, so you won't have to grip the handlebars so tight, and you can ride in a more relaxed posture with fewer hand cramps.

A great advantage of the ff is that your melon will stay dry when it rains, and it is warmer in the winter. It's a tough decision given the time of year it is. If it were the summer I'd say go with the shield, with winter coming I'd probably choose a full face helmet. I think that no matter what you choose, it is going to help during the colder weather, so I wouldn't beat myself up over either one! One good thing is the winters are not too harsh where we are at here in the South. :)

PlanB 3rd November 2005 07:27

Impact883 sounds like he's familiar with your neck of the woods and his opinion is pretty much what I would give. Do check e-Bay and the classified ads here real regular, 'cause some deals of the century pop up occasionally and you have to be quick to catch the good deals! I recall at the beginning of summer, there were a couple of super deals here for windshields...e-Bay has new FF helmets, too, along with numerous other stores having sales. Good luck in your decision, and be sure to let us know what you decided and how you like what you got!

Wardog 3rd November 2005 13:38

The windshield was purchased along with the motorcycle. I will never ride a bike without one, just my preference.

cantolina 3rd November 2005 13:54

I was surprised to see so many votes for a FF over a windshield...

I also took into consideration your location when I voted windshield...

I think you'll get much more overall benefit from the shield than a FF...

I only take off my windshield in the warmest summer weeks....other than that, it stays on...

There are alternatives to a FF, but there's not much else that can do for you what a windshield will...

indyrednek 3rd November 2005 13:57

I do not use either.

FreestateXL 3rd November 2005 14:12

In the summer I use a 1/2 helmet, and leave the ws at home. When it gets real cold, I wear the 3/4 with a balaclava and put the ws on the bike. On rides at 65-70 mph, and over 200 miles, the ws makes a big difference in comfort.

Moved On / My Own Choice 3rd November 2005 15:57

I can't vote... I wouldn't make that decision...

I've got a $400 FF and TWO different $200 windshields for my Guzzi... plus a $300 windshield for the Sporty

BUT, in the past I've bought $100 helmets and $50 windshields... so I'd say screw it, get both, if you REALLY want you can always upgrade later.

I LOVE the Quick Release Harley shield because I can take it off/put it back on so easily. But if I were on a tighter budget I'd go with a National Cycle or something like that.

As for Helmets, I think someone already said HJC... decent DOT and SNELL approved, face shields that are easy to change... you don't NEED an Arai... no one NEEDS an Arai... they can just be a bit more comfortable.

Sheeit brudda... I just threw away an old Bell FF helmet, I'd have shipped it to ya for free if it would have tied ya over a bit.

Good luck with it.


cyn 3rd November 2005 16:27

I always wear a FF, always have. And since I ride all year around, I am hoping to get a windshield from Santa for the winter. I am also probably going to get those leather faring things I saw on ebay for more protection from the cold.

2wheeltodd 3rd November 2005 19:08

I hear a lot of people say windshields are the way to go, and I would not disagree. I pay the price over and over again on the superslab at 75 mph with no windshield, I just can't bring myself to do it. I can't get past the asthetics, I love the way my bike looks without the windshield.
IMHO a full face helmet does'nt do the job either. So looks like It's a "rub dirt and take a lap" type of ride for me....And I like it that way.:smoke :smoke :smoke :smoke :smoke

dooley 3rd November 2005 23:55

I wear a full face helmet when cold or inclement wearther thretens...
But I wouldnt put a winshield on a Sportster,if you held a gun to my head!!

Predator 4th November 2005 00:12

I voted FF because of how you said you ride. Mostly around town and the occasional trip. If you did more highway riding I would've suggested the WS.

SierraBiker 4th November 2005 03:13

I also voted for the FF. Safety before comfort.
Though comfort can also be seen as a safety aspect.
Don't know if you wanna buy your helmet on ebay, but, I would buy a helmet at a local store were you can put it on your marble and check for a correct fit.
Hard to do over the internet. ;)

Just my $.02. :smoke

gilx 4th November 2005 05:06


Originally Posted by evalea
Ahh, the joys of a limited budget :frownthre

So anyway, I'm trying to decide which is more important/useful/needed.
Full face helmet or a windshield...

Like many have said, this is an apples/oranges thing. I drove all last year here in northern Utah with a 3/4 helmet and a face shield. When it got in the low 40s I found a balaclava kept the chill off. Below freezing I wore a neoprene face mask with the balaclava. However, the windshield was absolutely essential for long rides to maintain body heat. I don't use the windshield at all in the warmer temps.

Having spent a lot of time in the south, I know you have some very cool, humid witners that will suck the heat away from you. If you are cash strapped, assuming you already have a serviceable helmet, I would suggest you get the windshield. It will extend your enjoyment of riding, especially on long rides, well into the cooler weather more than any other investment...outside of electrically heated clothing.

Kozak 4th November 2005 17:44

I don't like using my windshield, but in cold weather it makes a big difference. So now I only put in on when the weather dips below 50.

66impala 7th November 2005 02:44

For just riding around town mostly The full face is the way to go, I bought the 3/4 with flip up shield (its an arai, sorry). Im still a green horn to riding, this is my first bike and have 10k on it now. My first trip was to canada for 5days after I got the bike, bike was stock. I got the snot beat out of me, but it was a learning curve. I ended up getting a memphis shade slims quick release, and it works great. As far as rain, the windshield helps some keeping water off your torso, but the rest of you is going to be soaked.

Question, how do you keep helmet shield from fogging up while out riding all day in the rain. Does rain-x work?

Moved On / My Own Choice 7th November 2005 15:31


Originally Posted by 66impala
Question, how do you keep helmet shield from fogging up while out riding all day in the rain. Does rain-x work?

I use the Fog City fog shield.

Others here have mentioned a jewelers cleaner that works wonders (don't remember the name).

With anything like that or rain-x (which I've never used on the inside of a shield btw) you MUST test it on a small inconspucuous part of the surface first... rain-x will put star patterns and ruin cheap shields. Arai shields are pretty good quality, and I've used Rain-x in the past, but I'd still check in case materials were changed.


XLFREAK 8th November 2005 21:49

Depends on how ugly you are. Everyone says I should have a fullface, I like my windshield!!

Moved On / My Own Choice 8th November 2005 21:53

Ya know, come to think of it... it was in the high 30s this morning and I didn't bother really sealing (snapping shut) my FF, but even with my small spring/fall windshield on, air was JUST working it's way in enough to make my face a little cold.

I'll be putting the barn door out front soon for the real winter riding... in another month or so.


famousperson 8th November 2005 22:54

My sporty is the first bike I've had that has a windshield. I don't notice a big difference at any speed (I seldom go over the speed limit). Since it's gotten down into the 40s, though, I find myself wearing my FF, as well. The cold makes my eyes tear up without it. Now I have the problem with fogging. I guess you can't win.

Gone 9th November 2005 00:00

I don't know what "FF" means, but I would say "FF" over windshields anyway. Windshields on a Sportster are ugly IMHO.

AZbiker 9th November 2005 06:02


Originally Posted by DevilDog
I don't know what "FF" means, but I would say "FF" over windshields anyway. Windshields on a Sportster are ugly IMHO.

FF means full-face, as in helmet.

Both windshields and full-face helmets will protect the rider from the elements. However, a windshield will not protect your face if it happens to skate across the tarmac (I speak from experience, having crash-tested a Shoei RF-700 at 70mph). Your choice. I voted FF helmet.

Moved On / My Own Choice 9th November 2005 15:35


Originally Posted by DevilDog
I don't know what "FF" means, but I would say "FF" over windshields anyway. Windshields on a Sportster are ugly IMHO.

One, might EVEN venture to call them... Ghey...



MEDIC412 9th November 2005 21:07

If you go with the windshield be sure to go with the good detatchable type. I went with the Harley sport that is not detatchable. What a mistake, it makes cleaning a pain in the ass and you are kinda stuck with it for rides in town. Should have forked out the other 150$.

DRAWTOOL 13th January 2008 20:11

Can't wanna wind shield, only just gotta helmet w/ visor because i finally found one that does not look too shitty, a AGV Dragon, flat black currently on back order.

jharback 13th January 2008 22:01

Neither. I dislike them both.

DutchBoy17 13th January 2008 22:16

I bought my Sportster in the middle of January and already had a FF helmet (all I ride with, but everyone gets to make their own choice). So, I got an HD QD windshield.

The windshield is hardly ever on my bike. I don't put it on unless it's real cold. I don't really like having it on for a number of reasons (form, function)

Depending on how tall you are, you may find that the windshield has a zone of turbulence right at helmet level. That's the case with me (5'9"), so riding with the windshield on is extra loud and my head is majorly buffeted by the wind. If you're taller or shorter things may work out better.

If you have an aerodynamic FF you may find that they can cut through the wind pretty well.

Also, I don't generally start feeling like a parachute until I get up to about 65 on my Custom. I've had other bikes in the past where you only had to go about 25 to feel like a parachute. YYMV, but if you're just riding around town or on back roads, not having a windshield may not be a big deal.

srrice40 13th January 2008 23:31

Forget the Windshield, where you live it just doesn't get that cold. and if you get a FF get a modular. the sponser on this site has an awesome Modular, Daytona. I got one and I love it. I just put the face shield down when I get on the freeway for higher speeds but when I am just cruising around in town I flip the face sheild up and get the wind. One thing I noticed when using the full face on the freeway at speeds above 55mph, it's so much easier to ride(without a windshield) hell I can crank it up above 80 and it still pretty stable, with my half helmet it throws me all over the place and I just hate those dang windsheilds, I had one that was detachable and it was just a pain in the A$$.

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