When I’m on my cruiser, I like the feel of air passing over me while riding backroads, but in the colder months – or when I’m on the interstate, which has a speed limit of 80 mph where I live – a windshield offers a pleasant reprieve that lets me enjoy other aspects of riding. My wife appreciates it too.
The factory windshield on my 2004 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail was starting to yellow and haze, which can be a serious problem when riding toward the setting sun. It also had some pitting, not to mention a few unsightly scratches from an incident I’m too embarrassed to relate. The scratches weren’t directly in my line of vision, but they were still right up front, detracting from an otherwise nearly flawless 20-year-old bike. So I was excited when I discovered National Cycle made a replacement.
But let’s be clear (pun entirely intended), the SwitchBlade 2-Up Quick Release Windshield is more than just a replacement; it’s a step up. National Cycle has had various SwitchBlades in its lineup – including the shorter Chopped windshield – for about as long as my bike has been around. The 2-Up matches the dimensions of my stock windshield and, as the name implies, provides good wind protection for both rider and passenger.
The 2-Up is constructed of 4mm polycarbonate with National Cycle’s exclusive Quantum hardcoating for scratch resistance. In a Taber abrasion test, the Quantum hardcoating measured 10 times more abrasion resistant than FMR hardcoated polycarbonate and 33 times more than acrylic. National Cycle also claims Quantum offers 2.5 times more UV protection than FMR.
The difference in visibility between my old windshield and the SwitchBlade 2-Up (MSRP $409.95 with a three-year warranty against breakage) was immediately apparent and pleasing. Installation of the hardware ($110.95, sold separately and model-specific) was quick and easy, but I recommend saving your old hardware. The windshield installation directions specify that a “slight flexing” of the shield might be required to get the lower notches on the lower spools, but I couldn’t bend the shield enough before getting blocked by the stock light bar, so I had to use a couple of my old washers for the lower spools. Even then, I had to loosen the top lights on the bar to squeeze the shield over the main nacelle and between the light bar and the fork.
After making these accommodations, the windshield now pops on and off without any problems. I love the completely unencumbered view from behind the handlebar of a cruiser, but the SwitchBlade 2-Up Quick Release Windshield allows me to choose the wind protection when I want it, combined with a crystal-clear view that should last for another 20 years.