Batwing Fairing #2330-0017, $299.95
Polished Trigger Lock Hardware #2320-0113, $149.95
Smoke Spoiler Shield #2350-0170, $99.95
Black Wind Deflectors #2350-0111, $24.95
Big Zipper Pouch #3508-0020, $89.95
Slotted Fat Trim #2350-0110, $49.95
Batwing Kare Kit #3713-0029, $12.95
As I write this, it’s 9 degrees outside, and even with the heated gear on full blast, the wind chill is conspiring (along with my better judgment) to park the motorcycle for the season. What’s a determined polar bear to do under such dire circumstances? Consider the Memphis Shades Batwing Fairing, for starters.
Modeled after the iconic Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide fairing, the Batwing promises to lend a healthy dollop of protective functionality with a traditional appearance to the front end of my 2014 Dyna Switchback FLD. Memphis Shades offers a host of options that allow for some practical customization, including multiple windshield shapes in several different height and translucent color combinations. Various trim pieces are available to accentuate the windshield attachment hardware, and the fairing itself is pre-drilled to accept optional lower wind deflectors for increased downward airflow. Finally, three different types of pouches are offered for increased storage space, including room for a Hogtunes MSA-1 radio (not tested here).
I ordered the fairing with largest size (9″) “Spoiler”-shape windshield in “Smoke” tint (a medium bronze hue with 30-percent visible light transmission), the optional wind deflectors in black, the “Big Zipper Pouch” (largest available), and the “Slotted Fat Trim” decorative piece. A model-specific “Trigger-Lock” mounting hardware kit is required, which allows quick-detach capability. Everything arrived well packed and labeled, including a detailed set of instructions illustrating installation and usage.
The centerpiece of the package is, of course, the fairing itself. It has a smooth, glossy black finish that can be installed as is or painted to match the bike. Upon the fairing’s arrival, I immediately sent it out to be painted to match the FLD’s Morocco Gold metallic. Meanwhile, I modeled up the hardware and began installation, which went smoothly and quickly. No special tools are required, and several Allen keys are included with the kit for extra measure.
Once I received the fairing back from painting, I began final installation. The fairing fit securely on the polished Trigger-Lock hardware, with a beautifully even, tight gap around the FLD’s headlight nacelle. (It should be noted that many Batwing users mount the fairing directly on the stock HD detachable windshield mounts, which often but not always fit perfectly—try at your own risk.) The Wind Deflectors installed onto the fairing in under a minute using the included thumbscrews. The Big Zipper Pouch mounted securely to the fairing’s black ABS inner structure, and finally, the turn signals were relocated from the handlebars to the lower triple tree with the included brackets. Total installation time, working slowly and methodically, was under one hour.
The aesthetics are pure traditional Harley-Davidson, and more importantly, the foul-weather functionality is greatly enhanced once installed. The FLD was already wearing an oversize Cee Bailey 20″ windshield, with JES Custom Accents fork-mounted steel wind deflectors. Since the Batwing didn’t interfere with the latter wind deflectors, we left them on. The primary functional purpose of a fairing like the Batwing is to reduce wind blast and buffeting, and in that task it is a great success. Given its larger surface area and more aerodynamic design vs. the windshield, this is hardly surprising, but the extent of the improvement was a pleasant surprise. The benefits are magnified exponentially as speeds increase, and on the highway, compared to the windshield, the rider is sitting within a relatively still pocket of calm air. The testing was in the dead of an East Coast January and February winter, and the proof of the Batwing’s worth was measured in the settings of the heated gear, which were reduced by approximately 25 percent vs. sitting behind the former windshield. Mission accomplished!
As for storage space, the Big Zipper Pouch was adequate but not spectacular, as it’s actually smaller than the cavernous T-Bags Road King pouch I had mounted to the FLD’s windshield.
During warmer months, if desired, the fairing can be quick-detached within seconds as easily as the stock windshield. Since the fairing and the spoiler shield are made of Lucite acrylic, durability and maintenance are about the same as any standard windshield. Regular washing with warm, soapy water and the occasional plastic wax (such as the Memphis Shades All Kleer out of their Batwing Kare Kit I tested) kept things looking like new as the miles piled on.
Overall, the Memphis Shades Batwing Fairing represents a very good value and solid foul-weather functional upgrade for most Harley-Davidson models that don’t come with a fairing from the factory, i.e., Sportsters, Dynas, Softails and Road Kings. Adding a Batwing is an easy and relatively inexpensive way for the cold-blooded rider to extend the riding season deep into winter, when most others have already given up and parked.