Thursday, August 10, 2006
  Zero Gravity Double Bubble - What Nobody Tells You

I see tons of sport bikes with racing screens from Zero Gravity and other makers, and a lot of that has to do with looks as well as extra wind protection. I wanted a little better wind protection at track days so I decided to order a Zero Gravity Double Bubble windscreen for myself. I ordered a clear one to have one less potential thing to be written a ticket for, but was a little surprised to find what was printed on the plastic bag it came on:

"Street Usage: This product is made for off-road and show purposes only and is not intended by the manufacturer for use on public streets or highways in areas which forbid such use. Please check vechicle code in your area regarding usage."

"Shatter Resistance: Zero Gravity windscreens are made of acrylic plastic, a material that is NOT shatterproof. By installing this product onto his or her motorcycle, the purchaser and user of this product acknowledge the potential injury that could result from human contact with a shattered windscreen and assume all risk and liability associated therewith. Not all Zero Gravity Windscreens are DOT certified."

Hmmm. Out of the thousands of sport bike owners that have these windscreens on their bikes and participate in forums, I've never known anybody to point this out. Maybe nobody bothers to read the plastic as they're ripping their new windscreen out of the bag. Factory windscreens are typically made of polycarbonate (Lexan most likely) which is DOT approved and shatterproof. Acrylic plastic might as well be window glass when compared to Lexan for shatter resistance.

I imagine this is a reason aftermarket sportbike windscreens can be the target of fix-it tickets, in addition to the fact that most buyers opt for tinted windscreens (which are also illegal in most states). Will I keep mine? Sure. But now I know why they're so cheap.

I did get a chance to ride on the freeway for a while after installing it, and there is a noticeable difference when ducking down behind the bubble. It definitely creates a bigger pocket of air without disturbing the aerodynamics of the bike. I must admit though that I'm not a big fan of the way it looks. I prefer the more congruous lines of the factory windshield compared to the Double Bubble's bulbous profile. In any case I'll at least keep it installed for my next track day and see how it performs.
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