I’m not a fan of windshields. All pros aside, I undeniably favor the clean and uncluttered look on the front of motorcycles. However, I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but Minnesota breezes can be a real bitch, and long hauls exploring the state or even hour-plus early morning commutes lend nicely to the idea of blocking some of the blast. If you prefer the sexy sans windshield look, but are tempted to turn to the darkside, National Cycle’s stealthy Gladiator Windshield for FXD, FLSTF and XL models might just be the medium you’re looking for to ease the transition.
Built from 4mm-thick Lexan polycarbonate with FMR hardcoating and measuring in at a petite 14.5″ high and 12.5″ wide, you won’t find this review claiming the Gladiator is everything you’re looking for in a wind-blocking aid. However, that’s not to discredit its versatility, which we’ll get to shortly, and definite relief in blocking some of the bugs and windblast from pounding your chest.
Not wanting a “SOA-style” fairing or bulky windshield, I took a chance on the dark tint with black powder-coated mount Gladiator Windshield for my FXDB. One of the main qualities that sold me on the unit, aside from the compact, sleek and sexy look, was the mount, which inconspicuously attaches to the top handlebar clamp using a standard 1/4″ Allen wrench to remove and replace the stock bolts (one side at a time to keep the handlebars in place). Installation was a breeze and literally takes less than five minutes to mount or remove.
The versatility lies in the Gladiator’s ability to adjust to a number of different height- and rake-angle positions using National Cycle’s patent-pending DualPivot action. Using a 7/16″ box wrench to loosen/tighten the DualPivot nuts on the mount, the windshield can rise approximately 5″ in height and rake angle can adjust anywhere within a range of (approximately) 7″ toward the rider until your sweet spot is located. (Note that the further back you adjust the rake angle, the more wind you’re allowing to hit your face.) As a 5’11” rider, I’ve found that mounting it just above the headlamp with an almost 70-degree rake angle allows the wind to channel just above my helmet at highway speed, while still keeping a minimal breeze to the face—just what I was looking for.
Admittedly concerned at first regarding the simple mount and whether or not it would hold up at highway speed—or hold in place, for that matter—I was put at ease after the first ride. There was no rattle at all, and after pulling off the highway to adjust the rake angle and height, I was able to find the perfect placement for my riding position.
If you’re looking for a shield that eliminates the majority of windblast, the Gladiator likely is not going to be your cup o’ tea. But if you’re looking for something that can add some flair and assist in reducing some of the windblast to your sternum while still keeping a nice breeze in your face, then you really can’t go wrong with the Gladiator. Sleek, sexy and incredibly easy to install/uninstall, the Gladiator is available in light tint or dark tint, with black powder coated or chrome mounts. Check out National Cycle’s website for fitment and pricing verification.
Part #NC-N2703 for 2006-’14 FXDB