Other Observations on Madstad (and Freedom) Shields - Road Glide Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-03-2016, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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Other Observations on Madstad (and Freedom) Shields

Caveat: All observations are on a 2002 Roadglide with lowers, crash bar wind deflectors, and Sancho Wings (yea I like the "quiet pocket"). Obviously, does not directly relate to Rushmore bikes. 130,000 plus miles with swing arm bushings and forks rebuilt in January. Also added rear stabilizer link at that time. I am 5'11 with 32" inseam. Been riding over 50+ years.

Acquired the bike from a club Brother last October coming from an FXRT that I'd ridden since 1988. Been lots of other bikes (including road racing for years) but, the FXRT is still my baby. First things I did was replace the shorter shield he had with a 13" Freedom shield, replaced suspension components, and added 15" Bad Seed bars. Fantastic customer service by John at Freedom and was very happy with the still pocket it created. No turbulence at all but, I did notice the air flow was hitting right at the top of my helmet which created some wind noise that interfered with my bluetooth music and nav in the helmet. I read all the great reviews on the Madstad and, since I was getting ready for a trip from SoCal to Missouri, I decided to give them a call and see if I could improve on the wind management. Not because I needed it but, because everyone was raving about the Madstad.

Began the ordering process with a phone call about 3 weeks prior to my trip during which I gave them my order and was given a PayPal address to which I was to send the funds. I was assured the shield would be delivered in time for my trip. After not hearing anything for a week, I placed another call only to find out the hadn't received the funds and therefore hadn't begun production. After a couple more days of trying to find out where the money went, I again called and they let me know they had given me a wrong address. No problem, mistakes are made (would have been nice if they had called me but...). I told them I would be glad to resend the funds if they could expedite the shipment in time for my trip. After another couple of days, I received an email saying they would not be able to expedite the shipment at their expense (even though it was their error). I decided to cancel the order and re-order it when I returned. Not an overt knock on the service, stuff happens. In hind sight, this actually allowed me to do a better evaluation of the Freedom shield.

The trip was the end of April and there was torrential rain in North Texas and Oklahoma. In spite of the downfall the Freedom Shield provided great protection for the entire trip only getting a drizzle through to the face shield. Bike handled well even though headwinds and 40-45 mph crosswinds were bad at times.

Given my experience with the Freedom, I was really looking forward to how the much better the Madstad would do. Before I was able to re-place the order, a used 14.5" system from a 2011 became available at a great price and I picked that up.

I installed the Madstad just before leaving for a trip to Oregon in early Sept. I noticed that I was only able to achieve a maximum angle of around 57* even with the shield tilted all the way forward. Interesting but, with no time to look into I rode to Portland and back with the shield in that position (with a few adjustments at each gas stop along the way). In Portland, I added an 1/8" rubber washer behind the top mounting points of the top shield to get a little more angle. The pocket was great but, not significantly better than the Freedom. In fact the Freedom gave my hands better protection since it's wider at the top.

Both going and coming, the bike handled terribly. At 75-85 in the mountains it kept wanting to run wide in the turns and felt extremely unstable. Can't crank up the compression damping since I haven't been able to afford my Ohlins yet. The best I could do was crank the rear air pressure way up. This helped but, it still felt unstable, particularly in head winds or cross winds.

Last week I was returning from a run into a headwind and noticed that just shifting my weight back and forth would induce a slight wiggle in the front end. Steering head fall-away maybe? Then a realization: in my attempts to get an angle closer to the recommended 58-60* I had set the shield in a configuration where the top edge of the front shield was significantly further away from the base plate than the bottom edge. This was creating a low pressure area behind the top shield as the air slowed down after entering. This was, in effect, an airfoil and was creating lift on the front end at the speeds we run. I set the top edge at just slightly further away than the bottom and, presto, instability gone! In retrospect, the angle of the fairing changed by 4-5* in '04 so it made sense I wasn't able to get the correct angle but, I never thought of the light front end problem.

Called Madstad last week and was informed that the build list is different for 2000-2003 than 2004-2013. Brian was supposed to call me back on Friday regarding what the difference is (it's not the brackets) but, again, no return call from them yet. If it's a baseplate, I will probably try replacing that depending on cost.

In the mean time, I've ordered a 14" Freedom from John (he got back to me immediately when I gave them a call). This should give me a taller pocket roughly equivalent to the Madstad.

Bottom line:

1.If you routinely run higher speeds in mountain or twisty roads, be careful regarding setting the distances on the top shield from the baseplate on the Madstad.

2.The Madstad is a great shield and performed as advertised. No buffeting and a great sill air pocket. I was able to get the pocket adjusted the way everyone describes. Don't know about rain yet.

3.The Freedom shield is also a great shield providing (as far as I could tell) almost if not equal protection to the Madstad with added protection for my hands with the higher bars.

4. Again, the Madstad is everything people say it is providing you don't set it where it causes handling problems. Is it light years (or even twice as good relative to price) better than the Freedom? Sorry, not in my experience as of yet. Plus, I believe the Freedom actually gives better down-force on the front end at all speeds

*I ride 95% solo. Effect on the passenger is unknown except my OL has never complained behind the Freedom or the Madstad. I have no idea how much the other wind management items effect this comparison.

Last edited by Kabar1; 10-03-2016 at 04:30 PM.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-03-2016, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Kabar1 View Post

I installed the Madstad just before leaving for a trip to Oregon in early Sept. I noticed that I was only able to achieve a maximum angle of around 57* even with the shield tilted all the way forward. Interesting but, with no time to look into I rode to Portland and back with the shield in that position (with a few adjustments at each gas stop along the way). In Portland, I added an 1/8" rubber washer behind the top mounting points of the top shield to get a little more angle. The pocket was great but, not significantly better than the Freedom. In fact the Freedom gave my hands better protection since it's wider at the top.


4. Again, the Madstad is everything people say it is providing you don't set it where it causes handling problems..
Sounds like you were trying to set the adjustment too vertical. I have over 60k miles behind a MS and find that it performs best for me if I have it fairly close to parallel to the base plate. With it too vertical you are correct in your feeling because that is like bolting a small piece of plywood to the front of your bike. I have had both my 13" and 11" shields at 120+ mph and the bike felt rock solid. Not sure which brackets you are running but I have the 3 piece brackets that allow for more adjustments than even the latest 2 piece brackets. These brackets have the ability to move the shield further away from the base plate, creating more gap, and this makes a big difference when using the 13" or taller shield. If I am running the 11" shield I like it closer to the base plate. It also allows for more adjustment range on angle depending on whish holes you use. You may see if your brackets have those adjustment holes and see if you can get different results. I will try and post some pics of what I'm talking about if anyone needs me to.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-03-2016, 05:49 PM
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Sounds like you were trying to set the adjustment too vertical. I have over 60k miles behind a MS and find that it performs best for me if I have it fairly close to parallel to the base plate. With it too vertical you are correct in your feeling because that is like bolting a small piece of plywood to the front of your bike. I have had both my 13" and 11" shields at 120+ mph and the bike felt rock solid. Not sure which brackets you are running but I have the 3 piece brackets that allow for more adjustments than even the latest 2 piece brackets. These brackets have the ability to move the shield further away from the base plate, creating more gap, and this makes a big difference when using the 13" or taller shield. If I am running the 11" shield I like it closer to the base plate. It also allows for more adjustment range on angle depending on whish holes you use. You may see if your brackets have those adjustment holes and see if you can get different results. I will try and post some pics of what I'm talking about if anyone needs me to.
Yes, please post pics on new brackets.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-03-2016, 06:08 PM
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Yes, please post pics on new brackets.
They are not the newest 2 piece style. The ones I have are the 2nd or 3rd generation brackets that he made and are 3 pieces. I bought these about 3 years ago. I am out of town now and when I get back this weekend I will take some pics. I may have some on my phone or computer and if I can find those I will post sooner.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-03-2016, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input. Actually, I have the 3 piece brackets. I'll look at using some of the other holes to get further adjustment. My problem wasn't running the shield at too high an angle. It was at a 58* angle as measured with a magnetic inclinometer. The problem came about due to the widening air gap behind the shield. As I said, stability came back when the top shield was back within a couple of degrees of the base plate. Guess I still wait on a return call from Madstad regarding any base plate or build list differences. Gotta be honest though. Both of my dealings with Madstad have resulted in absolutely horrible communications on their part.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-03-2016, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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Here's a link to pictures of the brackets:

https://www.roadglide.org/106-parts-s...-brackets.html
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-03-2016, 06:49 PM
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Here's a link to pictures of the brackets:

https://www.roadglide.org/106-parts-s...-brackets.html
Those are the ones I got. I think I have them in the center hole. I didn't know they made different shields for different years. I had my Madstad since the original robo bracket design with the aluminum base plate. A few years ago I ordered the quick adjustable brackets.

2010 FLTRX , Stage 1, 13" Madstad, Mono tubes, SuperShox, Heritage style bars. Alpine CDE-HD149BT,Soundstream Picasso Nano Series PN4.520 , 5X7 and 6.5 Infinity Kappa speakers
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-03-2016, 06:56 PM
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Surprising you've had all the communication problems. I ordered a Madstad and immediately got an email from Mark the owner. He also followed up with me the next day as well.


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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-03-2016, 07:43 PM
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I used to try and stay around that 58* mark as well but after a while I just started moving it around until I found the angle that really felt best to me. Now I can't tell you what degree that is but I can tell it's right just by looking at it. I believe mine is set in the middle holes too like Big_Gary said when I use the 13" shield. You can't see it in the pics that Kabar1 posted a link to but on the top set of holes one of them has a double hole (2 holes slightly overlapping). The choice is there to give you a range of adjustment either more vertical (where the bottom of the shield will almost touch the fairing or baseplate when you push the top all the way forward) or the range will be back more (Top of the shield can move closer to you). The later is the one I prefer.

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