Seeing as how I recently moved from a moderate Pacific Northwest climate to a much warmer Mid-South climate, I have been looking for ways to cool myself better.
I am not sure if you have noticed yet, but the 2.3L little power plant sitting between your legs can get warmish. It doesn't get any better when ambient temps are above 90 degrees - go figure!
I wanted some Air Wings to direct a little fresh air onto that big ol engine, and ultimately lower my exposure to blast furnace temps. OK, cool - lets find some air wings!
The problem? The only real option for the R3 (or any cruiser that doesn't have some made by the manufacturer) is the Baker Air Wings
. Now I know a bunch of guys have them and I have ridden with folks ranging from Gold Wings and Valkyries to Concourses and ST1300s - all who have had the Baker Air Wings have loved their function.
Which is good, because Baker Air Wings are DEFINITELY function over form. They are in my opinion BIG and UGLY. But they work... They also cost like $300.
I could hack something together.
Here is what I did:
I bought a pair of Show Chrome Wind Deflectors ("smoke" color)
for a GoldWing 1800. (And in finding that link I am like dang, I paid $80 for mine - the price has dropped!) They look pretty good and have built-in swivel capability. But since they are made for the GoldWing 1800 they are meant to bolt on to a specific set of screws on the plastic parts of the Wing... I don't have those on my R3T.
So I needed mounts. This was the hard part. Kuryaken makes some but they tend to be really pricey (and also really large). The R3T engine bars are 1.25 inch bars, and I looked high and low for stuff, scouring every corner of the motorcycle web. Anything that looked like it might work was usually really expensive (like $50 each expensive, and I would need 4 of them). I needed a clamp or a mount that had sideways facing holes to bolt on the wind deflectors.
I looked at hardware stores at pipe and wire clamps. I sure could have rigged something easily enough but they would look like garbage, and this is a highly visible part of the bike. I am not all that vain, but come on - I didn't pay $16k for a motorcycle just to cover it with cheap hardware store pipe clamps...
I started looking at bicycle parts, and sure enough I found these clamps made by Shimano
. The 31.8mm ones work on a 1.25in bar.
Now I am in a new city, and I don't know where to find things like chrome or stainless steel bolts. So I call around to bike shops. The Harley shops only had bolts that were specific HD parts - like for a certain part of a bike - and they didn't even have that many in stock. I imagine I could have tried and tried, but that was a pain. I called the Triumph dealer (who is also a Victory dealer) and their guys didn't have any suggestions. Finally, using Google Maps I found an independent motorcycle mechanic with really favorable reviews. I called them and they suggested a couple local hardware stores that would carry some chrome and stainless. I went down to one and met the most friendly guys ever, who helped me find some chrome bolts that would work, and chatted about this and that during the process. If you are in the Memphis area I recommend the Gate City Hardware
at Summer & Hollywood. Nice fellows there.
I am attaching pics of them directed in and directed out.
Now, the engine is still hot. Ambient air is still hot. But here is what I found on two test rides with them directing air in towards the engine and using my two different shields (a taller and a shorter - both Triumph shields). With both shields I had less head buffeting. My tall shield already has pretty calm air around my head (which means less airflow in summer) so it didn't improve much. My short shield which was almost unusable at 70mph or above due to head buffeting is much improved to the point where I can actually use my shorter shield on the highway. I think directing the air in around the lower part of the bike reduces the pressure envelope around me a bit.
The air directed over the engine is still hot, but now at highway speeds it is moderately less uncomfortable. Is it 100% better? No. But it does improve the heat - as even though it is still there, I get more circulation of it so it is just not quite as hot. At city speeds of course, there is no airfliow anyway so it doesn't matter.
I have a ScanGaugeII
hooked up and one of my displays is set to monitor water temperature.
Before the air deflectors my water temperatures here in Memphis have ranged 205 to 216 consistently, hitting 220 a couple times in heavy traffic. Even out in the country driving mellow with good airflow, the engine just stayed at 205 or higher.
After installing the air deflectors and piping air over the engine, my water temps at highway speeds stay between 196 and 205 now - so a fairly steady 10 degree drop. Once again, stopped in traffic it will bump up to 215 and turn on the fan - just like always.
So for me this is a win. Slightly calmer air at my head. Moderately better airflow across my legs and waist. A slightly cooler water temp in the engine. Still looks pretty good from a vanity perspective.
Now that the test rides are over, out to throw some loctite on a couple nuts and we are good to go!
EDIT: I forgot to add cost:
Wings: $80 (although looks like they can be had for $50 now)
Total: about $180 with tax+shipping (your tax+shipping costs would vary).