CB500F on the highway; how to make it more comfortable - Honda CBR500R Forum : CB500F and CB500X Forums
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post #1 of 125 (permalink) Old 08-18-2017, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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CB500F on the highway; how to make it more comfortable

Hi All,

I'm starting a new thread to discuss my highway riding opinion, and request some help and ideas. I'm taking wendyjboss's 'Best of times... 'thread as a starting point, but I don't want to go off topic in that thread.

So, to begin. My normal commute is about 10 km/ 6 miles to work. Generally easy urban riding, with about 65 gear shifts each way. All fine and dandy, except for a stupidly placed horn button and an occasionally recalcitrant transmission. Yesterday I did my first highway ride- about 40km 25 miles (Vancouver to Tsawassen, for anybody who knows the BC lower mainland). I was riding at 90 - 105 kph, so 55 - 65 mph. It was horrible. I might have hit 110 kph but it was unbearable.

Not the traffic, not the bike necessarily, but the noise in my helmet. So, I'm hoping for some tips from others about how they feel about the F on the highway, and what you might have done to make it better. I'm frankly astounded that anyone thinks the bike is good at 130 kph plus. I don't actually think that the bike has enough power to do that easily, but clearly it will go that fast. I know that opinon is mine and may not be shared by others, but nothing about this bike feels like the highway is its happy place. But actually, all I want to do is find a way to make 110 kph tolerable.

I recognize that wind noise is different than mechanical noise. So, earplugs are a necessary starting point. I've also installed a Puig Touring II windshield, and we'll see how that goes. My worry is that it will just throw the wind stream into my helmet. I'd like not to be bent over along the tank, as that is just uncomfortable -hence the F rather than an R.

I have a Shoei Neotech, which is, by all accounts, a quiet helmet. I'm just under 6' tall. and not unusually shaped. Any other thoughts? Suggestions? Different windshield? Horror stories from other bikes?

Respectfully submitted....

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post #2 of 125 (permalink) Old 08-18-2017, 06:17 PM
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Preload the gearshift lever to make the shifts smoother. Go higher into the rev range before shifting to get into the power band. Very happy at highway speeds if you do that. schuberth helmets are quiet. You already mentioned ear plugs.

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post #3 of 125 (permalink) Old 08-18-2017, 07:04 PM
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I use ear plugs and a little windshield that keeps me from getting tossed around, it helps with wind guests or cross winds, smoother transition and easier on me. I'm relaxed on the bars without grip clutch on the bars that would very before the little windshield.
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post #4 of 125 (permalink) Old 08-18-2017, 08:18 PM
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In clean air, I don't feel like I have any problems at any speed on my 2013 F. I do have a small Puig windscreen (see my signature). Some have said screens make the buffeting worse. I loves two lane roads especially. On multi-lane freeways/interstates/highways, the massively disturbed air from all of te Trucks and RVs can be problematic above 65 mph, but I'll still plow though it when I have to. Nothing unbearable as you describe.

Ear plugs for sure.

You may want to try a different helmet. Helmets are designed differently with different riding positions in mind... full tuck, semi-tuck, upright, etc. I don't know for sure about yours and what it is best for. Helmets with a chin curtain and substantial neck roll can help the wind issue. I just use a fairly cheap HJC IS-17, but it did well in crash tests. (https://sharp.dft.gov.uk/helmets/?ma...l=IS-17&type=1)

+1 on keeping the revs up. You won't hurt this bike keeping it in the proper power range.
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post #5 of 125 (permalink) Old 08-18-2017, 08:47 PM
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I believe one of the biggest causes for reports of excessive wind noise is due to poor helmet design, and more importantly, wearing the wrong size of helmet. The vast majority of riders will purchase helmets that are too large... a looser-fitting helmet will naturally feel more comfy than a tighter fitting one, so most folks tend to go too large. This looser-fitting helmet results in excess wind noise. I have a 2014 CB500FA, and my helmet is a very snug (but very comfy) HJC CL-17 "Redline", and I have never had any wind noise issues at all. I've never felt as though I require earplugs, and quite frankly, I never think about wind noise, as my ride is so quiet, even at 120+ km/h. To test the fitment of your helmet... while wearing it, grab it with both hands and try to force it to turn, while at the same time keeping your head as still as you can. There should be no play (slippage) at all between head and helmet. If there is, then your helmet is too large. Look in the mirror, and you should be able to see that the padding is pushing significantly into your cheeks. If it's not making you look a bit like a chipmunk, it's too large/loose.

As for the wind itself, (at highway speeds) you really do get accustomed to it after awhile. I can remember the first few times I went out on my new 500F, and at even a modest 80-110 km/h I felt as though I was going to blow right off my bike! It felt like the wind was excessively hitting my chest and it was just an all-around scary feeling. But I had read on this fine forum that newbies will often complain about the wind, but will soon become accustomed to it, to the point that one no longer even notices it... at any speed... and they were right! In no time at all, I had forgotten all about my earlier wind complaints.

I have no wish to ever add a windshield to this bike, nor to my 2014 Yamaha V-Star Custom. (cruiser) It's just not necessary, plus I believe both bikes look nicer without them. Also, I know of many people who have installed these windshields, and then reported that they did not notice any significant improvement, or may have even made things a bit worse.

Anyway, just my two cents. I think more people need assistance in purchasing a proper-fitting helmet. Almost every rider that I know, wears a helmet which is too large for their head. They all say how comfortable it is, and at the same time will complain about the level of wind noise. I believe that if they all went down a size or two, they would no longer be needing earplugs. I have ridden my bike at 175 km/h, and even at this crazy speed the wind noise was surprisingly low... in fact the tires/chain/engine/exhaust note was louder than the wind.

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post #6 of 125 (permalink) Old 08-18-2017, 10:43 PM
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I find that the Givi A1126Windscreen gives me some protection from wind on my chest without causing additional helmet noise.
In winter, I use a taller windshield, but it is noisy.


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post #7 of 125 (permalink) Old 08-18-2017, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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Gents,

Thanks for all the considerate and extensive replies. To respond to some of the comments:

chzeckmate: the preload tip is interesting; I found that doing so actually 'works' the shifter to get it 'engaged' sort of the way that we used to do with kickstarters. I'm not worried about the power band however, and I can often shift smoothly at 3 -4k rpm. And my downshifts are excellent, to be honest. Still I don't see this bike being happy at 130 kph. The Schuberth is quiet, and the Shoei Neotech is measured at very close to the Schuberth.

irppcer: I'm getting the Puig Naked sport windshield tomorrow and that may make a useful difference. I've tried many helmets and the Shoei fits my head perfectly. I've tried HJC and they just don't fit the same. Riding position is certainly a variable I can control.

camperbc: I take your point on helmet fitting, but I'm very confident on my helmet fit. I'm not new to motorcycles or two wheeled transport. It's been about 23 years for me now. With respect, I'm not a newbie.

And interestingly, I recently removed all the padding and washed it; the pads fluffed up to a surprising degree, and the fit is now more snug than it was before. I've also done reasonable highway mileage on my Piaggio BV350 and it was less noisy than the CB. So, this could simply be a matter of windflow and the geometry of the CB and my body. But still, it is a serious problem. I can't imagine this bike at 175 kph.

I've had windscreens on and off my scooter, and the difference is huge, even in the city.

I'll try the other screen, possibly ride some other bikes. Also I'll look into some sort of shield that seals the neck area area of the helmet.

Again, my thanks for all the help.
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post #8 of 125 (permalink) Old 08-18-2017, 11:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Umbrianissimo View Post
camperbc:.. With respect, I'm not a newbie.
With respect, I was certainly not implying that you were a newbie. I was simply stating that any wind noise while riding my 500F is at a minimum, which I must attribute to my helmet. I also wish to add that at freeway speeds the 500F has got to be about the smoothest/quietest/easiest bike I have ever ridden in my 37 years on two wheels, so I was a bit surprised to hear you say that you "don't see this bike being happy at 130 km/h". At 130 the 500F is in fact not even breaking a sweat. Most owners do in time get used to the force of the wind at speed, so I believe that you will soon discover just how smooth and calm the 500F is, even at freeway speeds.

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post #9 of 125 (permalink) Old 08-19-2017, 08:38 AM
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I had a Schuberth helmet. One of the biggest reasons it's quiet is that it has a lower collar that completely seals the neck.


Most wind noise comes up through the bottom of the helmet. Try scrunching your head down when riding to hear the difference.

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post #10 of 125 (permalink) Old 08-19-2017, 09:19 AM
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Cool

I find that wind buffeting, wind noise and heavy traffic noise can be very distracting initially and they don't have to all be together. Supposedly my Shoei GT-Air is quiet, but I will believe it when I find a helmet that does not register noise, especially with the air vents open.

You get used to it, but ear plugs are a very good idea. If nothing else, because they won't drown everything out which is probably a good thing, they will help to protect your hearing when your louder and longer rides are more than 20 minutes ... should always use them.

I almost never shift up below 4000 rpms. Most likely I don't even shift from 5th to 6th until I've hit 5000 rpms and then its just go go go (!-)) ... I have the "R", but I don't think the bikes are that much different power-wise.
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