The Suzuki V-Strom Buffeting Issue

The Suzuki V-Strom has, to many people, a serious buffeting problem.  Fortunately for most of us this is not a problem or just a minor annoyance.  Some people do find it to be unbearable though and it is for them that I added this page to my site.

Unfortunately there is no single cut-and-dried fix to the problem that I am aware of.  I spend a lot of time on the V-Strom forum at Stromtrooper.Com and this problem is a frequent topic of discussion.  Many things have been tried, and normally each person can find something that will alleviate or eliminate the problem for them.  Many times it is a trial and error process.  Other times it takes a combination of "Fixes" to eliminate the problem.  Sometimes it is simply a matter of adjusting the windscreen.

When reading the information below, keep a couple of things in mind.  First, these are provided by other riders who are trying to help.  They are reporting what worked for them, not trying to sell something or convince anyone to try something, they are simply reporting their experiences.  Second, by reading between the lines you'll see that anything can be causing the turbulent air.  It could be the windscreen, and frequently is, but it could also be something simple like mirrors, handguards, tank bags, or even what you are wearing.  If you are having a problem with buffeting first try and determine where the turbulence is coming from.  Use your hands to block air in places and see if that helps.  change the angle of your mirrors, take your tank bag off, TRY things!  Don't just complain about the problem and expect someone to find the answer for you, try things yourself.

I've put this page up on my site in the hopes that people who are experiencing the problem will be able to find some help here.  I welcome input from other V-Strom owners as to what has worked or not worked for them.  Anyone who has experience with this problem, good or bad, is certainly welcome to drop me an EMail and let me know what they have tried and what worked or didn't work.  I'll add anything that someone has to say that is pertinent to the topic.

Update: I had a request from one rider asking if people could also include their approximate miles per gallon.  He has a DL-1000 and feels that his gas mileage is rather low in addition to having more buffeting than he would like.  He is wondering whether the two items might be related in some way.

Update - 02-03-2008 - I've gotten a few photographs of different configurations from people and have added links to them at the bottom of this page.  All photos are used with the permission of the owner and may NOT be reproduced in any manner.

Let's get a few things straight about this situation.  First off not everyone has a problem.  In fact I'm of the opinion that it is actually a vocal minority that does have a problem, or perhaps it would be better to say that the vocal minority is the group that makes such an issue out of it.  Too many people lose fact that these are motorcycles, they are not cars, trucks, or SUV's.  There IS going to be some wind on you, there IS going to be some noise, your head IS going to shake some.  If you want perfectly dead-still air then drive a car with the windows rolled up.  If you don't like the noise get some ear plugs.  If you are going to ride a motorcycle then you can expect some wind and some wind noise.  Deal with it.

Next is what some people construe as buffeting or the conditions under which it occurs.  If the wind is just pushing your head back or to the side that is NOT buffeting, it is just wind.  If what you are experiencing is just wind noise that is not buffeting.  If your head shakes from side to side rapidly that IS buffeting but it is not necessarily the fault of the motorcycle.  If it only happens when there is a cross wind, as on a windy day or when passing a large truck, that is NOT the fault of the V-Strom, it is just the way that most motorcycles behave in crosswinds.

Next make sure the cause isn't you.  Has the problem been there from the day you bought the motorcycle or is it something that just recently started?  If it just started then look at what you have recently changed as the cause.  Instruments such as GPS devices, bar end mirrors, tank bags, anything that is in the air flow can cause turbulent air that causes the smooth flow over the screen to distort.  Does your helmet fit properly?  Your head isn't in the air your helmet is, and it just takes your head along for the ride.  If it doesn't fly smoothly then you can't expect your head to fly smoothly either.  A helmet that is too loose will be much more prone to buffet than one that fits properly.  Those dirt bike looking helmets that scoop up the air are going to much more prone to buffet than a helmet designed for road use.

Finally don't expect "Perfect".  You can eliminate most of the problem with trial and error but seldom will you ever find perfection.  You can throw money at the problem as long as you want to but it still isn't going to buy you a capsule of dead-smooth air.  You are going to have to learn to live with some air over your face or you are going to have to drive something else.

Now, if I've annoyed you it's probably because you were expecting more than this motorcycle has to give.  Sorry, but that's life.  You might want to take a look at my Motorcycle Facts of Life page.  The V-Strom is not a Gold Wing or a car or a SUV, it is a lightweight dual-sport motorcycle and it is going to behave like one.  If you are still willing to keep an open mind you might find some suggestions here that will help resolve your problem.  Keep in mind that I know of no single item that will always resolve the issue.  For some it's as simple as changing their helmet, but for others it can be an involved process trying to resolve the problem.

I've seen forum posts by people who have tried many varied things to determine "Where The Wind Is Coming From."  In truth it doesn't matter.  I'm not an aerodynamicist but I can tell you this, WHERE the wind comes from doesn't matter nearly as much as HOW the airflows interact.  But, if you are determined to find out "Where" the air is coming from here is an easy way to do it and it doesn't involve cutting little cardboard winglets or anything.  Simply get a few lengths of sewing yarn and tape them at strategic places.  Ride a little and watch the yarn.  Ignore the very ends because they are always going to flap and watch the entire piece of yarn.  It will show you exactly what is happening and where it is happening.

2006 DL650 - 5'11" 160 lbs

I tried all the different combinations with the stock screen but all of them gave some problems and did give some pretty bad buffeting on (I think)the top setting.

I got a madstad bracket and have been able to control any buffeting problems but not entirely eliminate them.  It sometimes seems to occur if there is a bit of cross wind or if I am following a big truck.  I have found that the only place there is any really still air is if I lean forward over the tank which is not too comfortable.  I don't exactly expect still air but sometimes on longer trips it would be nice.  I am considering trying a larger (wider and a bit taller) screen when it comes time to replace the stock one.

It drove me batty when I first got the bike.  I am about 6 foot tall, and have a '06 DL1000.  I got the MadStad brackets, and they pretty much just stay in one position, but I leave them just a little loose so I can yank on the windshield going down the road to move it around.  Still have the stock shield.

Also, I switched from an HJC flip up helmet, to a much more stream lined Shoei, which seemed to cut out 80% of the noise as well.

I also have a Pat Walsh radar shelf, I don't know if that changes the air flow or not, but it went on about the same time the MadStad did.

Bottom line, either I have gotten used to it, or these fixes have helped; it has not bothered me in a while.

2006 DL650 - 6'-0" tall with a 32" inseam.

When I bought the bike I had some severe problems with buffeting at first.  I switched to an HJC helmet which eliminated most of the problem.  I then added a Madstad windscreen bracket but stayed with the stock windscreen, and all I had left was a bit of "Buzzing" at speed.  Last winter I switched to an Arai helmet and now there is no buffeting at all.  About the only time I notice any is when I get close to another vehicle at speed, or when there is a turbulent crosswind such as when passing a large truck on the interstate.  Any other time there is just a little smooth wind.

The key to me was my helmet.  I strongly encourage people to try different helmets if they are experiencing a buffeting problem.  I know for an absolute fact, from personal experience, that they do make a huge difference.  Borrow a friend's helmet and try it.  Try a bunch of different ones if you can.  Make sure they fit snugly otherwise they will just move around in the wind and it will feel like buffeting.  If you can move the helmet on your head it's too loose.

Honestly, I'm not sure I'd be complaining about any buffeting on this bike if I hadn't read about it on this forum.  I think maybe most of it is all in my head (excuse the pun).  I'm coming off a 2002 Yamaha FZ1, and I sure wish I could ride them back to back and see which one has more of this buffeting, because I know it wasn't exactly a Goldwing-like ride on the FZ, and I can't honestly remember if it was an issue for me or not.

Now, on to the Strom.  The first time I took it out on the freeway I guess I did notice some buffeting above 70mph.  I noticed some described it as being hit on the helmet with a hammer, well I know for sure I didn't feel that.  Just a mild irritant, enough that I decided to buy the Madstad.  Such a great product, this bracket is what Zuk should've done stock.  Anyway, now that I have an infinite amount of adjustment possibilities, I'm still screwing around with it trying to get it perfect.  I tried it all the way down, that was brutal, and way up high, also an ass-kickin'.  Somewhere in the middle works for me, I'm 6'6" with a 36" inseam, stock windscreen, Scorpion EXO400 helmet.  I'm not looking for a Goldwing ride, just no eyeball pinball.  So far it's working.

I did not think I had a problem with buffeting.  Then, someone on the Stromtrooper forum wrote that to see what non-buffeting is, you should stand up on your bike once in a while and get your helmet into a clean air stream.  I tried it on a lunch time ride and was astounded at how much quieter and nicer it was when I was standing.  Clearly, I was being buffeted and didn't even realize it!

I ordered a MadStad bracket that afternoon and use it with the stock windshield.  Nothing but smiles.

Data:  I'm 5'11", 175 lbs., 32.5" inseam.  I sit on a seat pad that raises me by at least three-quarters of an inch.  I'm not positive any of that really matters, especially with the adjustable windscreen bracket, but some people obviously set great store by it.

I am 6' tall and have a 34" inseam.  The stock windshield was not terrible but I wanted a little better.  I added 1" spacers and longer bolts between the windshield mounting bracket and the fairing.  This moves the shield out farther and lets more air in between the shield and fairing.  The result is 80% better for a cost of under $6.  IMHO, it looks better then the Madstad bracket and is much cheaper.  Of course there is no adjusability.  But it is a large improvement over the stock mount!!

MadStadt bracket made a world of difference.  I'm 5'6", 30" inseam.  MadStadt almost all the way down, and almost all the way back seems to work best for me.  I also have the PowerMadd handguards with the large "spoilers" which may also help somewhat.  Still bothered somewhat by sidewinds and gusts, and will try a Scott's steering damper (I already have one on my dirt-bike, so just need to order the special bracket.  Interesting posts regarding differences in helmets relative to these issues.  Hard to get a demo ride to check out different helmets.

I've got an '06 DL1000, and I'm 6' even.

With the original screen I felt like I was being hit in the chest repeatedly at anything close to highway speeds.  I went and bought a Givi touring windscreen that seemed to alleviate the problem, but then I added a 48L topcase, and the bike started to get unstable at highway speeds.

I am assuming that the buffeting started happening behind me, and I never noticed it until the topcase was installed in that zone of unstable air.

I've now got to try something different, but I haven't found a solution yet.

Update - 02/01/08 - With the Madstad & MRA vario - the bike feels MUCH more settled and stable (as opposed to the instability of the Givi) and the wind feels like pure wind rather than the buffeting I was used to.

I'm a happy camper!

I have an 07 DL 650.  I experimented a bit and the best I have come up with is a Givi screen, I have two close to half inch rubber gromets installed in between the screen and fairing on the bottom screws.  It works pretty good both in the high and low position.

On top of that I always wear earplugs.  The plugs help alot.

I've got an '06 DL1000, and I'm 6' even.

I'm 6.0 with a 34" inseam and have an MP Cycle Designs touring windshield (23.5").  I've adjusted it so that the top of it is right at my horizon line under normal circumstances.  If I slouch a bit I'm looking though it but if I sit up tall, I'm looking over it on level ground.  Under most circumstances there's very little wind noise, let alone buffeting.  If the weatherman brings high winds and large gusts I do get wind noise.

I have a Caberg Justissimo flip up helmet, if that makes any difference to the stats you're collecting.

Bike - '02 DL1k.  (non-adjustable stock screen)

Screen - MonkeyGrass' homemade chop - 3" cut off the top, and a 2" vent duct cut into the nose to alleviate vacuum behind the screen

Height - 5'9"
Inseam - 30"

Sargent Seat (approx 1/2" taller than stock DL1k seat height)

No handguards

Shoei RF-900 helmet

ZERO buffetting.  Just lots of clean, fresh air to the helmet, like a naked standard ie: SV650.

Couldn't be happier!

2002 Vee w/ standard height Windstrom Manta Suzuki gel seat Stock ride height
My height: 6'3"
Weight: 225lbs
Inseam: 36"
Saddle to top of helmet: 39"
Top of screen: 4" below eye level
MPG: 34-38
Helmet: Nolan N102
Stock hand guards and mirrors.

I was experiencing what I would describe as severe buffeting so I called the Windstrom folks and they suggested increasing the rake of the screen by moving the lower mounting out 1/2".  First ride today showed marked improvement.  I was riding in 30+ MPH winds with lots of cross winds so I'm hoping that the ride will be better in calmer conditions.

I did notice that the most turbulent air seemed to be coming from between the mirrors and the screen (maybe there's something to the theory about the mirrors).  I am looking at removing them for a short trip around the back roads near my house to see if they play a part or not.  I'll send any additional info as I get it.

Rider: 6' tall, 33" inseam, with a line of sight of 21" over the tank.
Helmet: AGV Demon topvent
Windshield configuration 1: No windshield
Findings: Clean air over helmet, no buffet.
full force of wind on chest
no appreciable buffet off of stock mirrors
Windshield configuration 2: Stock windshield on stock mounts
Findings: Lowest setting: very light buffet at highway speeds 65-70 mph, no blurred vision
Middle setting: light, high frequency buffet, slightly blurred vision
High setting: medium, lower frequency buffet, blurrred vision starting at lower speeds
Windshield configuration 3: Stock windshield on Madstad bracket
Findings: Starting with the bracket all the way to the bottom and moving up, I found buffeting very similar to the stock mount when the mount was pushed all the way forward.  Buffet was actually worse with the bracket in its full up/ full forward position.  With the bracket raked half way or more back there was no buffet until over half way up the adjusting raills. Light buffet and VERY noisy at the top.  Half way up and tilted half way back seemed to be the nicest combination.
Windshield configuration 4: Suzuki Euro "sportshield" on Madstad
Findings: Very nice clean air with the bracket set down to midway up and raked half way back. Light buffet but no vision blur with the windshield in its highest setting and full forward.
Windshield configuration 5: 23.5" Cee Bailey on Madstad
Findings: Very nice, buffet free, bubble of calm air behind windshield roughly half up and half back.  Easily ride with visor open, with no wind in the eyes.  Still looking over the top of the shield. Tipping the windshield full forward produces buffet.
I didn't get to test all configurations at top speeds, and speed is definately a factor in the severity of buffet.  I can say for sure that I get no buffet at all from the sport shield and very very little from the stock at speeds up to 100 mph indicated with the Madstad half up and half back.

Noise is another issure for me, and I cannot find a configuration with any shield /bracket combination that gives me the clean air whistle I can get by standing on the pegs with my head in completely clean air.  I believe the wind noise is coming from air coming up from around the tank, and possibly off the stock mirrors.

Another interesting fact: With all combinatinos EXCEPT the Cee Bailey, I get full face windblast, but have a protected chest.  Mild to moderate buffet can be cured simply by opening my face shield.  Either the visor itself is acting like a spoiler to smooth out flow, or the big hole in the front of the now open helmet is spoiling lift.  With the Cee Bailey, opening the shield also makes the wind noise MUCH quieter.

There you go Scott, not very scientific but as comprehensive as I had the patience and time for.

And VERY comprehensive it is to!  Very well done, and I'm sure there are a lot of people who will appreciate the time and effort you put into accumulating this information for them.

Update - 06/20/2007 .....
I' ve got a little addendum to the buffeting report I sent you a while back.

I was able to test a second helmet on my bike recently and was REALLY suprised at the difference it can make.

The cure for buffeting for me has been a Madstad bracket paired with the Suzuki Euro sport shield.  I was however still experiencing wind howl far above the levels of having no screen, or standing on the pegs.  A switch from my AGV Topvent fullface to a Zox Navado R modular helmet yielded amazing results.  I would have thought a modular would have been noiser than a solid fullface given the number of possible spots for air leakage, but the exact opposite was true.  The Zox helmet, for me is much quieter than the AGV, enabling me to hear chain noise, engine noise etc, which was virtually impossible with the AGV.

So, as I have suspected for some time, and as some have reported on different helmets can yield remarkably different results regarding wind noise, and I would suspect to some degree, buffeting as well.

Webmaster Note:

Helmets DO make a significant difference in noise and buffeting.  Been there, done that, found out for myself.  If you are having buffeting or noise issues I would strongly recommend borrowing a helmet from a friend and seeing if it makes a difference.  You just might be surprised!

I am 6’2” 32 inseam.  I came from riding a 77 kz 650 with no windshield.  I like a little wind on my body.  After messing with various positions of the shield, I found I liked the feeling with no windshield, but it looks stupid.  I then saw threads about lexan being available cheap.  I bought a piece at Home depot - $13.  Patterned it after my stock windshield, and started cutting.  I bent the center down with a heat gun and a piece of vacuum cleaner wand.  Not the best finish, but it will work until I can find a better way to make the one I want.

After several revisions, here is what I have found works well.  It puts the wind at my chest and very little wind noise in the helmet.  Also, the vents on my jacket should work again!

Click Here For Photos (click on view my slideshow)

Hi ,I have a 2007 Vstrom 1000.  The first thing is regarding windscreen buffering.  I found a cheap easy solution and it made all the difference.  The trick is to lay the windscreen back to allow the wind to go over the rider.  All you need to do is buy four longer base screws and pack washers under the bottom two,and use silicon to hold the washers in place while fitting.  If you want to get more angle you just do the same to the four machine screws on the top mount - this allows increased airflow under the screen as it is this suction that creates the buffering on the rider, as air coming over and around the screen is drawn into the instrument area.  My fuel consumption is consistently around 5l per 100k even with a pillion rider on.  I travel 360-400 k before adding no more than 20l.  I hope this information is helpful to any v-strom riders out there.

Just to let you know after doing some web reading I put two .150" thick by .750" dia. washers under the lower stock mounts [with mount in highest position] rake back the stock screen letting more airflow underneath...seems to guy cut 1 1/4" off the bottom of the stock screen adding .125" thick neoprene faucet washers under the lower mounts [mount in lowest position] the same effect..obviously madstad is on to something..

I'm tall (6'5") but with very long leg , torso of a guy of 6'2" no-more.  I swap for the DL1000 taller seat & and lowering my pegs 1" 1/2 with home made aluminium plate.  Also , I dump the stock bar for lower one ( from a gs450ed '84 ).  My arms are very long too . Unfortunately I can't go for lower bar than this one.  Cause there an issue with the tank & fairing.

Anyway it's better than the stock bar and a plus, cause in '84 Suzuki allready fill his bars with (don't know exactly what) dense material.  Don't have to replace the bar-end weigth .

OK ... Now what is the fairing I use?  A friend of mine got a FJR1300 and he change the stock fairing with a Givi one.  He give me for free his OEM FJR fairing.  I've just had to drill 4 new holes ...plug the old one et voilà!  With my Madstad bracket ligthly back tilt and 3/4 height, the result is very good.  The Madstad is place over the four highers thread fairing holes.  The stock FJR fairing is wider than any of the aftermarket one for the Strom.  The only issue is the interference with the mirror, easy to fix with mirrors extender.  I'm sure there a lot of FJR fairing who eat dust in storage somewhere. The resulting look (harmonie des lignes) is not bad too.  Take a look in the classified.

Note:  Where the writer uses the word "Fairing" he means "Windscreen".  He speaks French and English is not his native language.

Photograph Links

MRA Vario windscreen with Madstad mount (left side)
MRA Vario windscreen with Madstad mount (right side)
MRA Vario windscreen with Madstad mount (closeup)
Givi windscreen with stock mount
Givi windscreen with stock mount
Givi windscreen with stock mount (shows black border around windscreen)
Stock screen with 1 1/4" cut off the bottom

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