Wind Noise = deal breaker

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superskip
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Wind Noise = deal breaker

#1 Unread post by superskip » Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:51 am

Thing I hate most about motorcycling is wind noise - around town not so much of a factor, but on longer trips wind noise just destroys the experience.

Ear plugs do little good although effective for light planes, power tools, lawnmowers, shooting range, hammering on an anvil etc, but my gosh the noise in my motorcycle helmet eclipses all of these -

How do u guys stand it ? My guess is most people just accept the inevitable degradation of their hearing over the years, pretending it's not happening.

Memorial day weekend I rode a 700 mile rt - shell shocked by the noise at journey's end and now a month later I still hear residual noise in my ears. Permanent damage no doubt. If I should keep this up (I won't) I'd be stone deaf by age 60...

I've tried a big windshield and that is effective if I hunch down behind it - but hunched posture is miserable for long trips...

Cut the windshield down to get 'clean air' on my helmet - worse.

I'm experimenting with mods to my helmet - baffles and air deflectors might help, but I'll look like an idiot going down the highway.

Looks like I'll have to drop several hundred $$$$ on a new helm - but which ? Opinions on any particular model re. wind noise are all over the place - I'll be po'd to buy an expensive brain bucket only to find it's as noisy as my current one. You can't ride-and-try helms to see how noisy they are before u buy.

Even the motorcycle/helmet review websites admit the quietest helmets still require use of earplugs - shameful.

IMHO the manufacturers could produce a quiet helmet - but STYLE is priority one. My online research turned up a comment by one rider who said he'd enjoyed a quiet helmet years ago, but has never matched the noise deadening qualities in any other. The makers seem to have dropped the ball on this.

Yeah it's ok to be deaf, as long as u look good .

So, I'll invest more $$$$ into custom ear plugs, an expensive helmet or two or three, maybe another windshield, heck, maybe another bike, in the quest for a quiet ride - no I'm not looking for a 'quiet' ride - QUIETER - meaning bearable , and not mind numbingly deafening .

My next loooong trip, I'm seriously considering taking the car. In fact I'll probably give up distance motorcycling altogether.

Ok just a rant, but honestly I am really disappointed.

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Re: Wind Noise = deal breaker

#2 Unread post by dirt dobber » Tue Jun 28, 2011 8:41 am

what do you ride? we all have have that problem at high speed. i complain about wind comming throu hole around head light after having windshield installed, they told me to stuff a jacket or something down in there, so i had a rain suit to small & i rolled pants up and put in there made a big difference. installed hand shields (from jpcycle.com) help with buffing.
also i wear a full face (flip up) helment, HJC-SY-MAXII.

update, 7-9-11...i put some packing foam sheeting 3/8 inch thick behind each ear pads in my helment and wore ear plugs on a 155 mile ride today, sure made big differents in way i felt and hearning when i got home.
Last edited by dirt dobber on Sat Jul 09, 2011 7:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Wind Noise = deal breaker

#3 Unread post by havegunjoe » Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:09 pm

I bought my wife a Scorpion full face helmet for her birthday and she said it was much quieter than her old helmet. I don’t know the model number but it ran a little over $300. She really likes it and she has tinnitus so noise is an issue with her.
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Re: Wind Noise = deal breaker

#4 Unread post by High_Side » Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:40 pm

superskip wrote:

My next loooong trip, I'm seriously considering taking the car. In fact I'll probably give up distance motorcycling altogether.

Ok just a rant, but honestly I am really disappointed.
Motorcycling is not for everyone, BUT I think that you must have a very bad helmet just the same. Buy a Shoei Quest (reportedly the quietest helmet that you can buy) or a Shoei RF1100. Save $$$ and pick up a lightly used one. Buy the good earplugs and use them correctly (if you get them wrong they do virtually nothing). Even using earplugs with a cheaper Shark Helmet that I prefer over my Arai, I find that the noise is not bad at all. I can actually hear my engine much better and I feel less fatigued at the end of the ride.

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Re: Wind Noise = deal breaker

#5 Unread post by Lion_Lady » Fri Jul 01, 2011 4:45 pm

There are so many variables causing wind noise inside a rider's helmet, there is no way that a single helmet design is going to completely abate wind noise for every rider that buys it. Why would a manufacturer spend the money to "fix" a problem that isn't critical to a helmet's single main function: protecting the rider from brain injury in a crash.

You don't mention what style helmet you wear.

You might consider buying a sample pack of foam/disposable ear plugs to find the one that works best for you.

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Re: Wind Noise = deal breaker

#6 Unread post by HYPERR » Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:37 pm

High_Side wrote: Motorcycling is not for everyone, BUT I think that you must have a very bad helmet just the same. Buy a Shoei Quest (reportedly the quietest helmet that you can buy) or a Shoei RF1100. Save $$$ and pick up a lightly used one. Buy the good earplugs and use them correctly (if you get them wrong they do virtually nothing). Even using earplugs with a cheaper Shark Helmet that I prefer over my Arai, I find that the noise is not bad at all. I can actually hear my engine much better and I feel less fatigued at the end of the ride.
+1

A dodo quality helmet, an helmet too large, or dodo earplugs will make a deafening roar.

I have a perfectly fitting Shoei RF1000 and use disposable ear plugs and even on my Hypermotard which has a very high seat height that sticks you right into the wind combined with no wind protection whatsoever, the wind noise is quite bearable even on a high speed highway run.
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Re: Wind Noise = deal breaker

#7 Unread post by jstark47 » Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:43 pm

Did the OP mention whether he was wearing a full-face or a modular? Modulars can be noisy. My wife went back to regular full-face helmets because she couldn't deal with the noise level from her modular.
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Re: Wind Noise = deal breaker

#8 Unread post by superskip » Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:08 am

Thanx everybody for your replies ( I'm the OP).

I'm using a full face - Bell Star II , a polycarbonate helmet iirc. http://www.thebellstore.com/Helmets/star2.html

My ride is a Suzi gs500. Added a Plexifaring II .

Been using the E.A.R. foam earplugs. And lately the 'Hearos' from walmart.

Wind noise is worse with the windshield than without.

I suspected that the polycarbonate material may be inherently noisy, compared to fiberglass/kevlar/carbon fiber ... so I've ordered a Scorpion exo 700.

Also, my old Bell Star II lacks the padding/neck roll that I see on my friends' helmets , and there is an appreciable gap particularly around the back half of my head - the new Scorpion should correct this. If not I'll craigslist it and work my way up the $$$$$ ladder towards the higher end helmets.

And sampling more different type earplugs.

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Re: Wind Noise = deal breaker

#9 Unread post by Meanie » Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:40 am

superskip wrote: Ear plugs do little good although effective for light planes, power tools, lawnmowers, shooting range, hammering on an anvil etc, but my gosh the noise in my motorcycle helmet eclipses all of these -
You're comparing a shooting range to wind noise? :lol: Have you ever been to a shooting range? Stay there for 5 or ten minutes without plugs and your ears will not stop ringing....ever. The average pistol produces a level of 155dBs. Combine that with many guns and guess what.... Far from the level of wind noise.

If ear plugs are not doing the job, then you're not wearing them correct or they're bad plugs. The average ear plugs are rated for 20 to 30 dB reduction with the highest being 33. If you're riding at 100mph, the average decibel is 110. Earplugs rated at 30dB, that would reduce the wind below the tolerable limit of 85dB. Since you shouldn't be riding 100mph, the wind noise will be reduced. Combine earplugs with a well fitted helmet and the level decreases more so. Another alternative can be a helmet with sound attenuating earpads which you can combine with earplugs for a greater reduction. The last alternative is to give up riding.

Overall, if it bothers you that much, the latter may be your best option.
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Re: Wind Noise = deal breaker

#10 Unread post by jstark47 » Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:22 pm

superskip wrote:I've tried a big windshield and that is effective if I hunch down behind it - but hunched posture is miserable for long trips...

Cut the windshield down to get 'clean air' on my helmet - worse.
Was thinking about this some more. Are you sure the cut-down windshield was putting your head in clean air? The worst (most noisy) place is the "boundary" between the air down behind the shield and the undisturbed air over top the bike. If that boundary is right at your head height, it's going to be noisy. And if the bike has some kind of fairing, you still might not have been in really clean air, even with no shield. I have this problem myself with my Triumph Trophy - unless I duck down, my head is right in the worst part of the airstream.
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Re: Wind Noise = deal breaker

#11 Unread post by superskip » Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:43 am

jstark47 wrote:
superskip wrote:I've tried a big windshield and that is effective if I hunch down behind it - but hunched posture is miserable for long trips...

Cut the windshield down to get 'clean air' on my helmet - worse.
Was thinking about this some more. Are you sure the cut-down windshield was putting your head in clean air? The worst (most noisy) place is the "boundary" between the air down behind the shield and the undisturbed air over top the bike. If that boundary is right at your head height, it's going to be noisy. And if the bike has some kind of fairing, you still might not have been in really clean air, even with no shield. I have this problem myself with my Triumph Trophy - unless I duck down, my head is right in the worst part of the airstream.
What you say appears to be the case - the boundary is on the helmet. And since its a small bike there's not much leeway to change sitting position . There's no fairing and noise is much less without the 'shield, but I do like the bug protection on long trips ...

Anyway, got my new helmet - less noisy than the old; of course the fit is tighter as it is new...

And ordered more different kinds of earplugs so I think more long distance trips are in my future without too much hearing loss.

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Re: Wind Noise = deal breaker

#12 Unread post by rlmitchell » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:32 am

I have the 3/4 faced helmet and notice a lot of wind noise. The other night, I grabbed my son's full-faced helmet simply because it was closer than mine which I left in the house. Much less wind noise. Although, I do have to kind of admit that I like the wind noise. Part of the experience of being just you and open road!


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Re: Wind Noise = deal breaker

#13 Unread post by jimbeemer » Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:49 pm

Get a BMWR1200RT - quietest bike I've ever owned. But my EXO-700 helmet is still noisy! Earplugs help - not much. Yup, helmet design has a way to go - but I love the neon colour of mine!!! People actually notice!!! :boat:

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Re: Wind Noise = deal breaker

#14 Unread post by blues2cruise » Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:24 pm

Custom ear plugs rock!!!!!!
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Re: Wind Noise = deal breaker

#15 Unread post by sapaul » Wed Oct 12, 2011 5:52 am

There are plenty of acousticians out there that will make you custom plugs. They have the capability to cater for your specific requirements according to your sport. Maybe that's where you have to spend the money
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Re: Wind Noise = deal breaker

#16 Unread post by flw » Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:41 am

If you can't find ear plugs that reduce the issue to a acceptable level, have you tried a tall windshield? It forces the air above your helmet so the wind hitting you isn't 65 mph.

I've ridden a bike with a standard height windshield that kept the bugs off my helmet but still buffetted my head at highway speeds. My current bike has a tall windshield which forces the air above/around my helmet so less forcefull air. It works for me.
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Re: Wind Noise = deal breaker

#17 Unread post by vito » Sun Oct 16, 2011 8:14 am

More about windscreens: the size is not what is significant but the shape. How it deflects the wind and where you are in relation to the wind flow can make huge noise differences. On a previous bike I bought a Laminar Lip which attached (easily) to the stock windscreen and made an enormous reduction in both buffeting and noise. On my current bike I got rid of the stock Triumph screen and replaced it with a Clearview screen ($200) and the difference again was tremendous. Personally I don't want too quiet an experience. My bike, for example, has no tachometer, so I shift based upon engine sound. I find that when I use earplugs in addition to my helmet it makes things too quiet in terms of engine sound and I fear I might not hear something approaching which might crush me. I'll second the comments about modular helmets being noisy. I used an RF900 for years and then moved "up" to the Shoei Multi-tec, a modular helmet. While much more convenient than a full face helmet it is much, much noisier. If I hadn't plunked down $400 for the Multi-tec I would go out and buy a new RF1000 today. If I were in your shoes today, however, the least expensive and likely most effective modification you could make would be to buy the Laminar Lip for your current windscreen.

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Re: Wind Noise = deal breaker

#18 Unread post by MmeMagpie » Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:30 pm

I wonder how much of this has to do with the windshield? Granted, my windshield is huge, but I can ride without ear protection in relative comfort sitting up straight and looking over the top at 80mph. I wear earplugs, anyway, because it is a lot more comfortable. Without the windshield, it's a completely different story.
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Re: Wind Noise = deal breaker

#19 Unread post by dirt dobber » Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:14 pm

since my last post, i installed a chin curtin on my helment. no wind come up into my face now. also put lower chaps on .
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Re: Wind Noise = deal breaker

#20 Unread post by dayll » Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:27 pm

On shorter rides, hot-"O Ring" days etc. I wear a modular, kinda wind-noisy helmet, but on long rides or in cold air I wear a
Shoei full face thingy. All I hear with that diving-bell helmet on is me talking to myself. Kinda odd, but when I was young I never wore a helmet and don't recall the wind noise ever bothering me. Rode across country twice even. ('67 305 Honda Scrambler/'69 BSA 650 Lightning. I guess was pretty numb back in those days. -dayll

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