Product Review: National Cycle ZTechnik VStream Motorcycle Windshield

DIY: How to choose and install a sport-touring windshield

By Tricia Szulewski, Associate Editor

For an exclusive 10% discount on National Cycle polycarbonate windshields use promo code WRNFALL18 at Offer expires October 31, 2018.

Fighting the wind while riding can put a lot of strain on your head, neck, shoulders, arms, and back. One of the easiest ways to rectify a turbulent ride is to add or change your motorcycle’s windshield. A good quality windshield will protect you not only from the wind, but also from rain, bugs, rocks, and anything else that might get kicked up from the road.

The 2018 Honda Gold Wing’s stock windshield is electronically adjustable, so riders can redirect the air flow on the fly. But you can get a more customized fit with a replacement VStream windscreen from National Cycle.

National Cycle’s VStream windshields are aptly named for their “V” shape. Every VStream windshield gets progressively taller and wider at the top, which directs the wind vortex out and away from the rider’s helmet. VStream windshields are made of thick impact-resistant polycarbonate and are available for touring and sport-touring motorcycles with fairings such as the Harley-Davidson Street Glide, Indian Motorcycles Cheiftain, Kawasaki Versys, and more. National Cycle carries a variety of high quality polycarbonate windshields for cruisers as well.

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The ZTechnik brand of the VStream is exclusive to BMW motorcycles; the name deriving from the German words Zubehör Technik, which roughly translates to “technical accessories.” My BMW S 1000 XR sports the tallest Ztechnik VStream available for my bike, installed by the bike’s previous owner. I love the extra protection this shield provides over the tiny stock shield, but the top of it is very close to my normal line of sight. When I ride on hilly backroads it gets in my way and I find myself straining to see over the shield or slouching to look through it.

The BMW XR’s windshield mount can be adjusted to two different heights, but putting the tall Ztechnik up means that I have to look through the windshield. I don’t like looking through windshields because it adds an extra layer for my eyes to strain to see through. Dirt and bug splatter is a constant issue and when it’s raining or dark, the lights from oncoming traffic create a thousand tiny reflections that make it very difficult to see through.

The tallest point on the 21-3/4 inch ZTechnik VStream (Z2372, $219.95) is too close to my line of sight. Just an inch lower would make it much more comfortable for me.
For comparison, here’s an image of me on a BMW S 1000 XR with the stock windshield. This shield doesn’t offer much coverage compared to the ZTechnik VStream.

I put in a call to long-time WRN supporter, National Cycle’s Ann Willey, who offered a ton of great information and suggestions. In fact, the company’s website is a great resource to learn all about windshields from their makeup and materials to how to measure to get the right fit.

To measure to see how one of National Cycle’s windshields will work on your bike, it’s easiest if you can enlist a friend to help. You’ll need a measuring tape and a yardstick or straight edge.

Sit on your motorcycle, put both feet on the ground and allow the suspension to settle from your weight. Place your hands on the grips and assume a good, relaxed riding posture. Have your friend use a measuring tape and a yardstick or straight edge to measure the point from the tip of your nose to the point where the windshield measurement begins. This point will vary based on the windshield. For my XR, the measurement is from the top of the fuel tank.

Now, using National Cycle’s “sizing chart” I can figure out which windshields will work best for me.
Since I already have the tallest VStream that fits my bike, I thought I’d try out the other two, the low, dark tint Z2370 ($199.95), and the mid-sized Z2371 ($209.95).

Installing The VStream

This is the hardware and bracket that comes with each of the ZTechnik windshields I ordered. The only tools required are a 10mm open ended wrench and a 4mm Allen wrench. If you are replacing the stock shield, a T-25 Torx is required as well.
If your bike has the stock shield, remove it and reuse the stock hardware to install the ZTechnik bracket.
Tech tip! If you only have a T-25 socket bit like I do, it won’t fit through the bracket. You’ll need a longer T-25 T-Handle or Torx key to fit through the first hole in the bracket to get to the stock screw.
Install the four grommets and bushings into the holes in the ZTechnik windshield.
Prepare the four screws by sliding them over the four caps.
Align the windshield to the bracket and install the four screws and caps through the front of the windshield. Use the cap nuts in the back of the windshield to secure the screws.
Use a 10mm wrench and a 4mm Allen wrench to tighten all four screws and nuts firmly (48 inch-pounds of torque).

Now let’s compare all three ZTechnik VStream windshields. I am 5 feet 7 inches tall and have a 32-inch inseam.

The Z2372 tall shield in the BMW’s up position.
The Z2372 tall shield in the BMW’s down position.
The Z2371 mid shield in the BMW’s up position.
The Z2371 mid shield in the BMW’s down position.
The Z2370 low sport shield in the BMW’s up position.
The Z2370 low sport shield in the BMW’s down position.

Ride Results

The ride quality of all three ZTechnik VStream windshields compared to the stock shield is quieter and more relaxed. The tall and mid-sized shields in both up and down positions direct air up and over my head making the ride the most comfortable. I can even keep the visor on my full face helmet up (with glasses on to protect my eyes) with the tall shield in either position and the mid-sized shield in the up position.

The short dark windshield looks cool but I get more wind and noise with this one installed, though it’s still better than stock. Riding with the short ZTechnik in the BMW’s up position is very close to riding with the mid-sized one in the down position, which offers good coverage but some wind does reach my face.

I like the look of the short, dark sport screen on my XR. But it provides the least amount of coverage, so I’ll probably only use it for track days or around-town cruising. The mid-sized VStream windshield offers the best coverage and versatility for my personal preference. I ride with it up or down without having my view obstructed while not being bothered by any wind turbulence.

If you’ve installed an aftermarket windshield on your motorcycle, we’d love to share your pictures and short reviews with our readers. Please comment below and include a photo of you and your bike. Let us know what kind of motorcycle you’re riding and which windshield you have on it. Include your height and inseam too. Thanks!

For an exclusive 10% discount on National Cycle polycarbonate windshields use promo code WRNFALL18 at Offer expires October 31, 2018.

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4 thoughts on Product Review: National Cycle ZTechnik VStream Motorcycle Windshield

  1. I have the mid sized windshield on my Ninja 300. It’s mid tint. Very easy for me to see over (I have a tall torso.) The VStream National Cycle makes a huge difference from the stock shield which does nothing. I go on long tours and can’t imagine not having it on the bike. I never take it off. Highly recommend for its quality, durability and improvement to the ride. Also you can feel good about supporting a company that’s been around forever and still makes their product in USA. Hard to come by nowadays. I’m a 5-foot, 2-inch rider with a 29 inch inseam.

  2. This is more of a comment on your bike. I currently own a BMW R 1200 RT and I am seriously considering the XR. It is 100 pounds lighter and I love the inline 4 versus a boxer engine. That being said, I appear to have the same dimensions you do in height (5 feet 7 inches and 32 inch inseam). I found that the low suspension, normal seat seems to work best for me. Were you on the low seat or normal seat when you took those pictures?

    1. My XR is equipped with the standard seat and suspension. It takes a little getting used to being on tiptoes when putting both feet down, but I am in the practice of always putting my left foot down first, and when I do this, I can comfortably flat-foot it. The bike is incredibly well-balanced, so even tip toes is more than adequate on level surfaces.Check out our story on handling big and tall bikes for some more tips.

  3. Great information. Will look into a bigger adjustable shield for sure. Thank you.

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