Bot-Wing Airfoil Review


The BMW GS Turbulence Buster

The Bot-Wing airfoil helps to smooth frontal air flow and redirects much of the “dirty” air away for a quieter, smoother and more enjoyable ride.

The Bot-Wing is a logical, simple and effective add-on to newer BMW R 1200 GS and GS Adventure motorcycles.

Coming from the mind of a career aviator and avid long-time motorcyclists, the concept and end-product prove the synergies between these two forms of mobility.

A one-piece aerodynamic product, the Bot-Wing airfoil fits between the windscreen and front fairing or beak of any 2013+ BMW R 1200 GSW or GS Adventure.

Molded of high-grade UV stabilized acrylic, it is available in 1/8″ (0.125) thickness for the GS or either 1/8 or 3/16 inch (0.1875) thicknesses for the GS Adventure.

Both the GS and GSA versions of the Bot-Wing enhance frontal aerodynamics, increase coverage and reduce turbulence for a quieter and more comfortable cockpit.

Hot or cold, wet or dry, the Bot-Wing covers the conditions and provides increased protection while still providing great cockpit air flow, especially for the upper torso and lower helmet areas.

It can be fitted without the need to drill anything; the Bot-Wing uses existing front and side mounts and everything needed for installation is provided in the kit.

The one-piece airfoil replaces the small front translucent spoiler and black plastic side pieces on the GS for a much cleaner appearance.

An even more integrated environment is provided with the new GS Adventure variant of the Bot-Wing, because it interfaces smoothly with the lower fairing (beak) section and windscreen pieces for extended front and side coverage.

Both Bot-Wing versions are available in clear, smoke or various colours, allowing owners to get the desired look.

Precise colour matching isn’t available at this time, but perhaps down the road the production facility may be able to accommodate special requests.

Availability may be limited initially, but at a base price of $149.95 USD (plus shipping) the Bot-Wing is an economically priced and extremely effective add-on for compatible BMW GS and GSA model motorcycles.

Bot Wing Airfoil Review
Bot Wing Airfoil Right Side
Bot Wing Airfoil Tinted

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The Bot-Wing Airfoil

The Bot-Wing is the result of a time-in-the-saddle nurtured idea from a career rotary and fixed wing aviator with a passion for motorcycling, especially Beemers.

The inventor is currently riding a BMW R 1200 GSW (LC), which sees constant use, particularly for long trips (after filing a ground-based flight plan of course), so he decided to turn his concept for the Bot-Wing into reality.

Why? Well, one of the most prevalent issues riders cope with is dirty air or buffeting; from the front or side. It is a very real issue that must be dealt with, even when riding well-designed motorcycles with wind-tunnel-tested OEM windscreens.

Starting as simple cardboard or shaped stiffener material cutouts, originally one per side as individual winglets, early Bot-Wing prototypes underwent lots of prolonged testing under all the usual conditions we motorcyclists contend with, including cockpit-related issues.

During the testing of various prototypes, ongoing consultation with the firm producing the pieces (Gustafsson Plastics) led to the decision to join the two winglets.

This forms a single strong aerodynamic piece fitted under the windscreen following the lines of the front wheel fender (aka beak) section.

And after some more minor changes, the Bot-Wing emerged in its current innovative air-foil shape.

The Bot-Wing smooths frontal air flow and redirects much of the “dirty” air away for a quieter smoother more enjoyable ride.

And even when ambient air temperatures soar, the Bot-Wing’s aerodynamics and air-flow characteristics continue to provide a comfortable cockpit environment.

Extensive testing involving thousands of miles with both the original winglets and the one-piece Bot-Wing has been done with the no adverse aerodynamic stability issues up to speeds we won’t mention and beyond.

In knowing the inventor of the Bot-Wing and in never wanting to leave a new product unexplored, we linked up while I was in the southern U.S. in March of this year to take a closer look at a BMW GSW-equipped with the Bot-Wing.

Bot Wing BMW GSA Version White Inside
BMW GSA version, painted white.
Bot Wing BMW GSA Version White Side View

Riding With the Bot-Wing

Having owned more than few R 1200 GS and GS Adventure machines, including a 2014 GSW, taking the Bot-Wing equipped out for a ride immediately revealed how effective the air foil is.

So the opportunity to buy one of the limited production units (smoke tint) for installation on the spouse’s 2015 R 1200 GSW was not to be passed up.

As a bonus, we were also fortunate to coordinate a visit to the production facility located in St. Augustine, Florida and meet key staff involved with producing the Bot-Wing.

Molded of high grade UV stabilized acrylic and available in clear, smoke tint and a variety of colours, the Bot-Wing was developed with technical and now production support from the professionals at Gustafsson Plastics in St. Augustine, Florida.

The Bot-Wing’s aerodynamic shape complements the look and function of upper beak, headlight and windscreen components to enhance frontal aerodynamics and improving cockpit air flow.

With or without hand guards, the upper shape of the Bot-Wing smooths and pushes the air stream up and around the hands, wrist and lower arms for less buffeting at the handlebars; another aide in reducing rider fatigue.

The respective Bot-Wing variants mount without any modification to 2013+ R 1200 GSW and now Adventure models fitted with the OEM windscreen; other windscreens can and have been accommodated.

Bot Wing Inside View Rider Perspective

Key Features of the Bot-Wing

  • Enhance frontal aerodynamics.
  • Reduce turbulence.
  • Provide a quieter smoother ride.
  • Reduce fatigue.
  • Improve weather protection.
  • Easy one-piece installation.
  • No holes to drill, no sticky tape or Velcro fasteners.
  • Re-use of OE or supplied OE-type hardware.
  • Available in clear, tint and colours for 2013+ BMW R 1200 GS and GS Adventure motorcycles.

Installation

To validate just how easy installation would be, the task was undertaken after a club ride to lunch in Daytona Beach during 2016 Bike Week activities.

After unwrapping the smoke tint Bot-Wing, it took me just over ten minutes and a T25 tool to complete the truly easy task, including packing away the three small plastic OE pieces no longer needed with the airfoil installed.

Installation Steps:

  • Crank the windscreen up fully to facilitate access to everything.
  • Remove front left and right M5 x 14.5 mm (low collar) screws and (sleeves if positioned underneath) from the front cockpit trim mounts (easily accessed with windscreen raised).
  • Remove the left and right M5 x 14.5 mm (low collar) screws that are the side mounts for the cockpit fairing left and right black plastic pieces.
  • Remove the three (centre spoiler and left and right winglets) pieces.
  • Remove the upper front M5 x 14.5 mm (low collar) screws from the left and right fairing side panels.
  • Slide the Bot-Wing under the lower front of the windscreen (some flexing of the pieces may be needed); make sure the side extensions are aligned with the fairing side panel pieces.
  • Align the airfoil with the mounting points and adjust as required.
  • At the front, install the M5 x 17.5 mm (low collar) screws through the grommets and into the vacated cockpit trim mounting points.
  • For the left and right fairing side panels, install the M5 x 20 mm (no collar) and flat nylon washer combination through the grommets and into the mounting points.
  • Check that the piece is sitting level and gently tighten the hardware to secure the Bot-Wing; the grommets provide separation and isolation between the pieces (they don’t need and shouldn’t be squished flat).
Bot Wing Side View Location

Function and Performance

In not (yet) having ridden an R 1200 GS Adventure equipped with the very latest Bot-Wing variant, my function and performance observations are limited to the GS version, at least for now.

With the Bot-Wing installed and the wheels turning, an immediate change in frontal feel and air flow to the cockpit can be felt, no matter the windscreen setting.

Adjusting the stock windscreen (which can be done safely while riding or stopped) further serves to reveal the overall effectiveness of the Bot-Wing, with upper chest and lower helmet areas receiving much less buffeting.

At speed, the most noticeable improvements are enhanced frontal coverage and reduced turbulence for both rider and passenger.

The overall cockpit environment is definitely quieter at virtually any windscreen position, with most riders finding the optimal “sweet spot” by playing with windscreen height settings.

At well above most legal speed limits, no lifting of the front end, vibration or other forces are felt at play; nothing negative in any way.

And based on input received for the new GS Adventure variant, it is just as stable at all speeds, even with increased frontal area and coverage.

The only modification made to the installed 1/8″ Bot-Wing was to slightly enlarge the mounting holes and insert rubber grommets through the holes.

Along with small nylon washers, these simple changes provide some flex when installing the hardware and far better isolation protection between surfaces.

In providing this feedback, the recommended changes were reviewed and are now implemented for the Bot-Wing products going forward.

Bot Wing With Hand Guard Fit
No interference with hand guards.

Conclusion

After almost four months of use, less a short timeout due to late winter snow, the Bot-Wing continues to be one of those accessories that (truly) becomes part of the motorcycle regarding form, fit and function.

The Bot-Wing generates a lot of interest, but typically only after it is pointed out and identified as an accessory piece, which is a testament to its discrete aerodynamic “OE” look.

From front, side or rider views, the Bot-Wing is so well integrated with the upper front end and sides of the GS that is seems to disappear; only the smoke tint provides a visual differentiator.

With the few minor fitment modifications made and now adopted for production, with a mold process being adopted for more uniform shaping and finish, there isn’t anything else about the Bot-Wing to pick on; as a new first-gen product it scores high.

And for those who may be considering or have installed a plastic headlight guard of some sort, you may find that the shaped upper front edge of the tinted/coloured Bot-Wing provides some functionality as a glare guard, which is a bonus.

The Bot-Wing is simple, visually appealing, aerodynamically effective and extremely lightweight.

Considering the benefits to be had, it is also a great deal; in either the 1/8″ thickness version I tried or the heavier, stronger 3/16″ version.

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wBW Review: Bot-Wing Airfoil
Available From: wfbotkin (at) comcast.net
Manufacturer: Gustafsson Plastics
List Price (2016): $149.95-$179.00
Made In: U.S.A.
Colors: Varied
Sizes: Fits BMW GS and variants.
Review Date: July 2016
Note: For informational use only. All material and photographs are Copyright © webWorld International, LLC since 2000. All rights reserved. See the webBikeWorld® Site Info page. Product specifications, features and details may change or differ from our descriptions. Always check before purchasing. Read the Terms and Conditions!

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