Motorcycling is unique in
its ability to bring the rider (and passenger) closer to
the elements – a sense of freedom as the rider and
machine move as one through the air.
All of us as individuals
have our own opinions on just how much of that air we
want to feel, which leads us to this Quick Look
comparison of three windscreens for the Kawasaki 650
Versys. We must first acknowledge that this effort
was once again conducted in our never-ending quest to
expand our riding horizons with the VERSYS-tility
Although this article was
originally intended to focus on the Givi product with
some mention made of other windscreens fitted, it became
clear as we went along that all three of the windscreens
identified in this submission stand out in their own
right and have specific application for the Versys,
primarily based on user function. Accordingly, a
more head to head approach is presented.
The three windscreens fitted
and evaluated were: the original equipment windscreen;
the MRA produced-for-Kawasaki Vario Touring screen; and
the Givi D405ST windscreen.
The stock windscreen,
although appearing very small, is also very functional.
The slightly larger Vario Touring shield provides
additional coverage for a wider range of body types.
Last, but not least, the Givi shield is stylish and is
extremely functional, providing the best coverage under
Kawasaki Versys Original Equipment Windscreen
The stock Versys windscreen at 28 cm high by 30.5 cm
or 11in by 12in wide is small, bullet shaped and
complementary (really) to the other front-end
The Versys windscreen
mounting bracket has a pair of vertical arms, each with
six holes, for mounting a windscreen. These holes
depending on how a particular windscreen is designed and
drilled, provides the ability to adjust the height of
the windscreen. The standard height adjustment is
about 20mm or just over three-quarters of an inch per
The mounting pattern on the
stock windscreen allows two settings to be used - low or
high, with the highest setting increasing the height by
just over 1.5in. This in itself may not seem like
a lot, but as with most windscreens, it does make a
difference. Using the stock windscreen for over a
month really did prove that this minimalist item could
do an adequate job of protecting the rider.
One of the best features of
this OEM item is that it is very quiet, largely due to
its shape and small overall size. The next best
feature is that it is just about perfect for warm
weather riding in allowing a good flow of air, with
little buffeting or pressure build-up. When riding
in wet conditions, it provides basic protection, but a
good all-weather outer layer is needed to stay dry.
However, for all its
attributes, for prolonged riding in inclement weather
and cold temperatures, the shortfalls of this small
screen become much more acute. So driven, we move
on to (literally) bigger and better things, prefaced
with the knowledge that bigger is not always better.
MRA Vario Touring Windscreen
MRA Vario Touring
In this instance, the next windscreen fitted, the
Vario Touring screen, is bigger and very much better.
Made by MRA (Germany) for
Kawasaki (stamped on the lower part of the windscreen),
this design has been around for some time and is
marketed for a great many other motorcycles by other
suppliers. It is marketed both with and without
the adjustable spoiler.
With smooth, flowing lines
and a relatively low height, the screen very much
complements the front end of the Versys. This look
is further enhanced by the bottom side flares that
project a flowing look to the upper front end of the
The screen measures 33.5cm
or 13.1in high with the top adjustable spoiler fully
deployed and 31.5cm or 12.4in high with the spoiler
pushed down to its lowest setting. Bottom width is 38cm
or 15in across at the lower flare, while the top width
is about two inches less at 33cm or 13in.
The size of the spoiler by
itself adds much to the height coverage provided by the
Vario windscreen. But it is the unique and very
functional top spoiler (removable and replaceable) that
is the best feature of this screen.
The spoiler mount has seven
positions (lowest plus six detent or click adjustments
on each bezel bracket), allowing both height and angle
adjustments, albeit over a fairly short range of motion.
However limited in range they might be, changing height
and angle of the spoiler does make a difference.
Mounting up the Vario
windscreen is straight forward, as long as the basic
picture-based instructions are reviewed first and all
necessary hardware pieces are in the kit.
Due to the length of the
shield and the fact that it only has one mounting
position, additional clearance or offset is needed to
maintain clearance between the lower part of the Versys
cowling and the windscreen itself. Accordingly,
four spacers, in different sizes for top and bottom, are
provided for the mounting points, along with longer 5mm
screws (4mm hex head vice stock 3mm hex head items).
The windscreen kit included an edge protector strip,
which was not used.
Having used this windscreen
on both Versys for most of the past riding season, we
can state without any hesitation that this is one very
effective windscreen. We did a lot of playing with the
spoiler - it really does make a difference. Even with
the spoiler left in its base setting, the screen
provides a significant advantage over the stock screen,
especially in inclement (wet or cooler) weather.
The Vario windscreen
performs well in providing good protection at all speeds
and under widely varying weather conditions. At
very high speeds some buffeting can be felt around the
shoulders and helmet area, although adjusting the top
spoiler can temper the environment in some conditions.
Where good weather prevails most of the year or for late
spring, summer and early fall riding in variable weather
zones, this windscreen will do the job.
However, when temperatures
really start to dip and heavy rain is introduced on a
daily basis, our thoughts turned to seeking out even
more front end protection. – sometimes the wimp factor
is allowed to come out.
Givi D 405 ST Windscreen
Givi D405ST Windscreen
With colder and otherwise inclement weather becoming the
norm, the awareness that Givi had released a windscreen
for the Versys came to the forefront. Even though
our local Kawasaki dealer had been carrying them since
mid-summer, two of which were ostensibly for us, the
urgency had not been there – the Vario Touring
windscreen provided more than satisfactory service over
the summer and on into early fall.
But, in wanting to extend
our Versys riding season for as long as possible, all
available protection/comfort options were put on the
table – the Givi windscreen being the first one actioned.
Accordingly the last Givi
D405ST windscreen in stock was fitted to the black test
mule. The whole effort, conducted in the parking
lot, took five minutes. Note - carrying a small
Allen (hex) key combination tool from Sears has never
been a bad thing...
Our experience with Givi
products, especially windscreens, is that the company
does a good job in interpreting requirements and in
executing the product. First impressions for this
screen did nothing to dispel this feeling; clean simple
lines, excellent cut and finish, and an easy fit using
the stock hardware, thanks to accurately drilled and
buffed mounting holes. This is a quality item in
A fair bit larger than the
other two windscreens, it measures 45cm x 50 cm or
17.7in x 19.7in wide at its broadest point, across the
lower flare, with a rounded tapering profile over the
upper half of the screen. Comparatively, it is
18cm (7.1 in) higher and 19.5cm (7.7 in) wider than the
stock shield, and 11.5 cm (4.5 in) higher and 12 cm (4.7
in) wider than the Vario Touring shield (with the
spoiler fully deployed).
Not surprisingly the Givi
shield provides the best flexibility for height
adjustment among all three windscreens fitted so far.
The stock shield provides two height settings and the
Vario only one, although it has the adjustable spoiler.
The Givi windscreen allows three different height
settings, low, middle and high, in 20mm increments.
The five minute effort
involved using the four stock windscreen bolts (4mm hex
head), along with the thin clearance washers that fit
between the windscreen support arms and the windscreen
itself. To provide some additional clearance (see
Quick-Look review on the Zeta handguards/deflectors),
four 5mm thick rubber washers were also inserted to
offset the screen a bit more from the mount arms.
The lower flare portion of
the screen has a flat black matte coating on the inside,
providing a partial black-out effect that pretty much
hides the Versys mounting bracket and arms, and helps to
reduce reflections. Mounted in any of three
positions, clearance between the bottom of the
windscreen and the curved upper portion of the cowling
creates an unobtrusive air stream that depressurizes the
cockpit area nicely.
With ambient air
temperatures ranging from -3C (26.6F) to 10C (50F), the
test and evaluation environment has been (sadly) good. T
he lowest position (18cm over stock) provides coverage
far better than either the stock or Vario windscreen and
will likely be just fine for warmer temperatures.
The middle and highest positions result in better
coverage, which while expected, is not always the case
with some windscreens.
Moving from the lowest to
the middle to the upper positions moves the side
coverage zone up from lower arms to just below the
shoulders, with only a moderate increase in buffeting
felt on the shoulders. Riders with shorter upper
bodies than the 6ft 3in, 34in inseam (non-crash) test
dummy will likely be in pretty still air.
While there is little change
in noise levels between the three heights, there is a
definite change in air flow up and around the top
section of the windscreen as the windscreen is moved up,
but it never resulted in any real buffeting. We
will be the first to admit that upper body height, body
positioning and even the type of helmet used, may all
impact to create different situations.
On one of the coldest days
(0C/32F), the windscreen was moved up to the highest
setting before setting out on a short highway jaunt,
which by itself generated significant wind-chill. On
this setting, some air is felt on the shoulders, but
there was no helmet buffeting at all. For those
interested in doing the measurement (head-on or
angularity based), the middle setting being used now
puts the top of the Givi windscreen 35cm (13.77 in)
higher than the top point of the cowling (above the
Acknowledging the height
differentials between the three windscreens, the biggest
advantage this windscreen provides is in extending side
coverage. Even without hand-guard deflectors
installed, the wide flare lower portion of the
windscreen is very effective in extending the cockpit
zone out to and beyond the ends of the handlebars,
particularly on the low and middle height settings.
On the highest setting, this
zone is moved up, resulting in most of the protection
being lost at the handlebar level. However, with
hand guard deflectors installed, this area is once again
filled in nicely. The two accessories complement
each other very well, creating a very effective
wind-stopping, chill-reducing zone.
Givi has produced a stylish and effective windscreen
that simply works. Reflecting foresight in design,
it can be set to three discrete heights, making this
windscreen very adaptable and thus attractive to a wide
range of riders, especially in climates where weather
changes are the norm. But, by the same token, the
excellent coverage provided might work a bit too well
for others who ride in warmer climes throughout the
Looking at all three
windscreens, the stock unit and the Vario Touring shield
will no doubt still be used for specific activities,
especially in the full heat of the summer.
For off-road excursions the
mid-sized, but heavier constructed Vario Touring shield
is seen as the best option, especially when considering
its adjustable spoiler. However, appreciating
everything else, the svelte looking Givi windscreen is
our pick as the best overall screen of the three.
Note - there are other
windscreens available or coming to the market for the
Versys. Of particular interest is the new
Versys windshield that was supposed be available as of
20 November. Based on our positive experiences
with two aftermarket items, we are looking forward to
getting one of the CalSci units for installation on the
other Versys, and comparison of course. Variety really
is the spice of life.
Stock Kawasaki Windscreen Installation:
OEM item, four bolt mounting Function: Small size
but very effective, quiet, two height adjustments,
one to two season use. Cost: Replacement unit,
typically $160 CAD
MRA Vario Touring Windscreen Installation:
Uses specific kit hardware, retains four bolt
mounting Function: Larger than stock, good air flow
characteristics, very effective adjustable spoiler,
one to two or three season use (depending on
locale). Cost: 179.00 CAD, 140.00 USD (See comments
and photos below).
Givi D405ST Windscreen Installation: Direct
bolt-on, uses stock mounting hardware, 45cm high by
50cm wide (18cm over stock height, clear tint with
lower flare black-out matte panels. Function:
Largest of all three tested, superb design and
finish, three height settings, very good protection,
recommended for year-round use. Cost: Standard
list 130.00 USD or CAD. Has been seen listed
Review Date: January 2008
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It is noticeable when the motorcycle steering is
locked, but it doesn't prevent the handlebars from being
locked. I had more clearance issues with the tank
bag than the windscreen in this regard.
A small workaround, which was done during one of my
test installations was to fit 3-5 mm spacers (hard
rubber or plastic) between the windscreen and the
mounting bracket to move the windscreen and thus tits
edges out slightly. On both our machines, this was
more than enough clearance so that nothing touched.
In adjusting the Zeta mounts, especially at the inner
handlebar mounts, I was able to gain a bit of clearance
as well. Another important clearance points that
needs to be addressed is the size or length of the
bar-end weights or (spacers). If they are less
than the item I used, then this can cause the
hand-guards to sit further in and thus lessening any
It is a tight fit and some adjustments or small
workarounds may be needed. We used this combination on
our two Versys for over a year. The new owner of
one Versys is very happy with the hand guard/windscreen
I'd really like to know if it was easy to fit and
whether they know if the Givi M11 steel top-plate can be
used on this machine instead of the M5 or M5M one shown
in the pictures? I'm more interested in a rack
that can be used to strap things to than a top case
mount, if you know what I mean, and the M11 is a tubular
steel frame 'traditional' rack.
I'd also be interested in how they fitted the MRA
screen, as I've got one for my Versys but the
instructions are in German! There are extended
bolts and new spaces involved, whereas I thought it was
going to be a straight bolt off - bolt on replacement
job. If they can offer any feedback I'd appreciate
B. Not sure if you have the MRA high touring screen
for the Versys, or the MRA Vario Touring Screen with or
without the adjustable spoiler…the MRA Vario Touring
Windscreen as a Kawasaki accessory came with a single
instruction sheet, which I no longer have, although I
could translate the German as needed…in lieu of this, I
have attached a couple of web-sized pictures that might
help illustrate it all, along with the following points:
(1) The MRA shield only has
one setting on the Versys, the mounting points are the
top and bottom holes in the Versys windshield bracket.
(2) The black spacers are for
the bottom holes and fit between the windscreen and the
bracket - the shape and depth of the windscreen dictates
additional clearance at the bottom to clear the top
surface of the upper snout of the fairing, so this was
the MRA solution. The shorter items in the kit are
for the top holes.
(3) To facilitate
installation it is sometimes easier to have one or both
of the top bolts run through and secured very loosely,
which still allows the bottom of the shield to be pulled
away so that the extended spacers can be fitted between
the windscreen and bracket. An extra set of hands
is good as an alternative.
(4) If you do have the
Touring Screen and Spoiler, that is good, being able to
adjust the spoiler really helps tune the airflow and if
you just have the basic touring screen, you can order
the spoiler kit