LRS 11" thresher & 10" freedom sport touring
I thought I would write a review to provide just a bit more reference material for folks looking for some windshield options. I’ve recently purchased an 11” LRS thresher & a 10” Freedom shields sport touring, both in dark tint. For reference, I’m 5’-11” with a 32” inseam.
I’ve been riding with the stock shield since last October when I got the bike, and for me, it’s virtually worthless except on warmer days. More importantly, the wind noise is pretty terrible. Some days I don’t mind it, but for the most part, it becomes a fatigue thing.
This became especially apparent late last year here in MN when my morning ride into work, the temps can be around the mid 30’s, but for the ride home after work, it’s 50+ deg F. With the stock shield, between the wind noise & the colder temps, I found I was much more comfortable with a full face helmet. I usually don’t like to wear a lid, so I needed a shield that would block more of the wind, keeping me more comfortable on those cooler mornings as well as allowing me to hear my tunes more clearly.
Unfortunately for you guys, I can’t truly give an “apples to apples” comparison, as I picked two different heights for my shields, looking for each of them to fill a niche in my riding style & the situations I’d be using them for. However, I’m hoping that someone can glean some useful information regarding either height or construction of both of these shield options.
So here are the two shields, I’ll list some pros & cons for each then try to give a fairly direct comparison on wind management:
1.) LRS 11” thresher dark tint
-Cheap! $100 shipped is hard to beat! You could buy two different LRS shields with change to spare for the price of one Klock Werks (one of the other shields I was considering buying)
-Fit – install was fairly easy once you know the proper sequence. You leave the two outer screws installed, but have to remove the two inner screws. Once you have the shield seated, then insert the inner screws, put pressure at the middle of the shield while tightening down the inner screws and work your way outside. The shield fit nicely against the rubber trim for me when I followed this sequence.
-Wind management is quite good due to height (more on this later). Virtually zero buffeting, save for a very small amount of wind buffeting noise on the ears. I’d say the wind is right at the top of my head, or maybe 1” over my head without a helmet. I did take notice of the air coming up from below the tank, but it wasn’t terribly bothersome. Opening & closing the two lower vents seemed to make virtually no difference. I did notice just a slight increase in turbulence when I would close the top center vent.
-Customer service is good and they are willing to work with you (more on this below)
-Tint has more of an amber hue, not like the cool blue/grey of the stock shield. I get the feeling this is more common with these aftermarket shields than not. I can live with it although I’d like to see these companies take a page out of Klock Werks’ book and make the tints blue/grey vs. amber.
-Although install is pretty easy, it’s not as easy as the stock shield or even klock werks. You are able to leave all screws inserted to install either of those other two shields. Certainly not a deal-breaker, but it would be nice to be able to leave the screws installed when swapping out shields.
-There is a significant amount of optical distortion with this shield. Not only can you see a definitive distortion line where the re-curve starts, but I’ve noticed that the shield has additional spots of distortion in other areas. Because I don’t really look through the shield, this isn’t that big of a deal, but if you find you need to look through it or glance down occasionally, you will absolutely notice the areas of distortion, especially at the recurve.
-Packaging was good overall, but the wrapping on the shield isn’t quite set up right to allow one to test ride it very easily. You can’t really get a feel for what it’s like to look through it as the wrapping isn’t tightly pressed against the shield on the inside; rather, it was stretched straight across the inside curvature. Not a huge deal, but when compared to the freedom shield, it shows a bit of lack of foresight on LRS’ part to allow an initial test ride to give you the full picture of what you are getting and whether it will work for you.
-I ordered the 11” height based off of the measurements shown on the LRS website for both the thresher & the stingray shields…and wow, they are waaaaay off. The 11” shield is supposed to measure 3” above the center vent vertically. However, the 11” shield I received measures 4.5” high. When I sat on my bike to take measurements originally, I knew that 3” was going to be on the low side and I was okay with some wind on the top of my head or even on my forehead. I really just wanted to make sure I would have no problem seeing over the top of the shield. So when I got the LRS shield, I opened it up and thought “damn, this is really tall!”, compared to what I was expecting. I called customer service at LRS and explained what I had encountered and the CSR I spoke to was quite surprised and wasn’t sure why the measurement was so far off. However, he said that I could go ahead and peel off the plastic and try it out anyway, and if I wasn’t happy with it, they would exchange it for the 10” shield. I felt that was fair considering the discrepancy in height.
A secondary comment on the height; at first, I was pretty disappointed in the overall height and how it changes the sleek, sporty look of the bike vs. the stock shield. However, after riding with the shield, I’m actually glad it is as tall as it is. It really affords me a great deal of protection and I was actually surprised how much I look over it rather than through it. This will be my shield for when I run my sundowner seat and for cooler & inclement weather because it is taller and really protects me well. Also, after having it on the bike for a while, I’ve kind of gotten used to it now and I don’t think it looks as terrible as I did at first.
2.) Freedom shields – 10” sport touring dark tint. Wevspot had given an earlier review in another thread that pretty well spot on for this shield, but here are some additional thoughts.
-Packaging was very good. The shield came in a box packed full of styro peanuts. Also, the protective wrap on the shield is applied to the surface of the shield inside & out, following the shield’s profile & curves exactly. This basically allows you to merely poke some holes through the wrap where the screws go and you can bolt it right up. Because the wrap is pressed tightly on all surfaces of the shield, you get a better understanding of what it’s like if one needed to look through the shield.
-The optical clarity on this shield is significantly better than the LRS. While there is a little bit of optical distortion where the recurve starts, it’s quite minimal and very graduated. The distortion on the LRS shield is very distinct and has a sharp line. In fact, the only noticeable distortion I found was actually around half way down the shield. It is far enough down on the shield that you wouldn’t look through it anyway, so I almost can’t count this as a con, but I felt I should mention it. There are no additional “puckers” or occlusions anywhere else on the shield.
-Freedom adds a black painted “frit” to follow the outline of where the shield sits against the rubber trim. It’s a nice touch and adds to the fit and finish of the part.
-Freedom polishes the edges of the shield, which I feel adds to the overall fit & finish. While the edge on the LRS was not polished, I didn’t feel that it was something that would’ve swayed me one way or the other, but it does show the extra time that John @ Freedom puts into his shields.
-Looks. This shield looks almost as good as stock. It’s so close, that unless you ride a RG and know what the stock shield looks like on the bike, I don’t think you would know the difference. Wevspot hit the nail on the head with his review, the wind management concessions are worth the look.
-Wind management. This shield height-wise was spot on, 3” above the center vent, which put the wind at the top of my head or maybe about 1” below the crown of my head (no helmet). The only down side I see with the sport touring is that I believe that the side cutouts allow more wind buffeting noise on your ears. It’s not that there is buffeting in the traditional sense, but more of that random “thumping” of wind in your ears. It is a noisier ride vs. the 11” LRS, but I expected as much considering the 1.5” of height difference. I see this shield being used as my warmer-weather daily rider due to the lower level of protection vs. the LRS. I’ll still end up trying it out in cooler weather and I’m sure I’ll get caught in a rainstorm or two with it, and that will determine whether I keep it or how often I actually use it.
I noticed a significant difference in wind management when it came to the vents. The turbulence was much greater when I had the lower vents closed vs. open. I found the same could be said for the center vent; although, the center vent had a lesser effect on how much turbulence was created vs. the lower vents. I had the smoothest air with all 3 vents open, but even with all vents closed, the turbulence isn’t unacceptable.
-The shield is about 1/16” thicker than the LRS. It just feels solid!
-The fit of the shield is perfect as far as how it lays on the rubber trim, but the fact that it has holes & not slots makes it a bit of a pain in the arse to mount. You have to fully remove all four screws and the fit tolerance between the vent body panel being held in place with merely two clips, the shield, & the outer fairing…..it’s a bit of a chore to align all 3 holes with the brass inserts. I know John @ Freedom mentioned this upon ordering, but I’d perfer to see slots & not holes. Maybe it’s a constraint of the thicker material, I don’t know. I’m just afraid of stripping out one of those inserts one of these days……I guess if you don’t ever switch shields, this isn’t an issue, but I know I will be swapping back and forth between the two.
-This shield also has more of an amber tint than the cool grey/blue of the stock shield.
The tint isn’t really a con (much like it wasn’t on the LRS), but rather to echo Wevspot’s comments. This shield would look sick if it were available in opaque black! The opaque black KW 9” flare windshield looks awesome on the bike and the 10” freedom would easily rival the look and functionality of the KW if it were opaque….at 2/3 of the price!
All in all, both options are viable. If I were to do it over again, I probably would’ve just opted for an 11” freedom standard touring shield, which I think would have given me a best “all-around” shield. Yeah, it wouldn’t look as nice as the 10” Freedom sport, but would have been pretty close in looks & likely would have performed nearly as good as the LRS. Oh well, now I have choices….
Hope this is useful!