For some reason I don’t mind the big windshield on the Road King. I agree, the bike probably looks better without it, but the practical advantages of a windshield far outweigh the cosmetics of running without a windshield for hundreds of miles of riding per day on the average tour—at least I feel that way.
When we picked up Sue’s bike a couple of seasons ago, her brother had a Memphis Shades windshield on the bike. It was pretty obvious to me that it was far superior to the stock windshield I had on my bike. The thicker lexan felt more substantial and the way it attached to the bike was just more positive. When Paul mentioned he had an extra shield, there was no question, I bought the new hardware so I could fit it on my bike and have not looked back.
The Memphis Shades Cafe Fairing
Although I like the windshield on the Road King, I wasn’t too keen on doing the same thing with the Sportster. So when I found the Memphis Shades Cafe Fairing online, I thought it might be the perfect compromise to my desire for something a little less “Road King” looking, something sporty looking, and still give me a little bit of protection from the wind.
I think this fits the bill and suits the bike.
I’m very impressed with the quality of the fairing and it was pretty easy to install. You’ll need to order the fork-mount kit specific to your bike—my Sporty has a Narrow Glide set of front forks, but they make this particular fairing compatible with a number of Sportster and Dyna models.
The quick-release mounts fit inside the fairing and are really easy to install.
There is a rubber grommet (I’ll call it that for lack of a better word) that inserts into four pre-drilled holes on the fairing so you can bolt it in without cracking or otherwise damaging the lexan. The rubber also probably acts as a vibration damper so the fasteners don’t crack the fairing while on the road.
There is a decorative receiver nut that inserts through the grommet that you screw into to hold the quick-disconnect mounts to the fairing. Memphis Shades has been doing this for a long time, so they really have this figured out. Installation of the mounts was about as slick and straightforward as it could be.
The most difficult part of the installation (which wasn’t really difficult at all) was mounting the brackets to the fork tubes. Notice the dovetails machined into the two halves of the fork mounts to help you align the halves before you clamp them down. This ensures a positive connection to the forks that I don’t think will move.
At this stage of the installation, keep everything pretty loose so you can adjust the position on the bike when you have the fairing attached.
The bottom of the mounting hardware slips into a channel on the fork mount first. Then push the top (locking mount) into a similar channel on the top mount. It should lock into place as it seats, but you can confirm it with the slide button on the top of the mount.
With the fasteners still loose, you should be able to adjust the position of the fairing before you tighten it all up. Once you have it where you want it, tighten the allen screws on the fork mounts and you’re done.
I originally thought I would leave my tool bag on the forks, but it kind of detracted from the look of the bikini fairing defeated the purpose of the more streamlined front end, so in the end, I put the tools in my swingarm bag.
Freeway Speeds with the Fairing Attached
I’d read a lot of reviews about the fairing before I purchased it. Most of them said there would be just a little bit of relief from the wind at highway speeds and they were right.
This fairing is definitely more of an aesthetic than a windshield, but it does break the wind a little bit at highway speeds. I’ll ride with it for a while to make sure I like it, but so far I think it looks good and seems to do just about what I expected.