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Simple solution to a nagging problem
for Gold Wing and Can Am Spyder riders.
By Chet Walters
Based on an idea by Dave Humphries

Click for Chet's Wing Pages


(1)Helmet visor (flexible)

Enough sticky back Velcro (as you will see)

Duct tape


" bit


vice or vice grips

If you, like me, suffer from the nagging cold air that always manages to creep onto the back of your neck at the base of your helmet when riding the GL1800 or GL1500, then you know what I mean by BACKDRAFT!  The problem arises after a bit of riding, mostly on cold days, but sometimes even any day.  The wind from the backdraft slips between your helmet and collar aimed primarily to the area of your skull's occipital bone (see below). This causes the trapezious muscles to contract.  It then wends its way into the mastoid process which causes the sternocleidomastoid muscles to tighten up as well.  Plus, by conduction from the chilled skull's mastoid process, it can also affect the inner ear and move on to the sinuses.... If this is all too "tech" for you, let's just say this: -- You ride; you stop; you have a headache, stiff neck, shoulder pain in the mid-back area, sometimes ear pain & noise (ringing) and likewise sinus problems.  It's all because of the BACKDRAFT!

           We can fix that!  And it's really easy, inexpensive, unobtrusive and, by golly, it works!

Click any pic to enlarge - close window when done viewing.

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As well as all the other stuff, I have an old football injury to my cervical vertebrae which makes wearing a heavy helmet difficult to begin with and the added BACKDRAFT was a real problem, a BIG pain!  My first solution was to wear a "novelty" helmet with two baseball caps "Sherlock Holmes" style.  I would put one cap on the correct way for a sun visor and add another cap on top with the bill facing back for the backdraft problem.  It works and I do enjoy the air and the feeling of freedom this solution affords. I actually only wore the helmet to keep the ball caps in place.  But, safety goes out the window needless to say.  When I would wear a "real" helmet (especially when it's cold), the weight combined with the BACKDRAFT.. well, I already said that.  Picture is shown of the contrivance I usually wear when riding the Wing.  This helmet has been painted with American Accents Stone Creations spray paint (Lowes, Home Depot) with a coat of clear over it.
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I tried many solutions from scarves, collars, to even a stocking cap with the top cut off and pulled down around my neck for use with a "real" helmet.  Nothing worked. The problem here was that air still snuck in plus, whatever I had put on got cold then transferred the cold to a larger area of my neck and made the problem worse. The solution was something that blocked the backdraft but did not contact the skin or collar. I was talking to my wingman Dave and he said, "if only there was a way to put some plastic bent out on the back of there....."  What on earth would fit the bill?  Next day, as I was thinking about it, I remembered that he was wearing a helmet visor! Eurika! So I grabbed a $3.00 visor at the bike shop a few days later and set to work. First, I drilled out the snaps. Why? Because the snaps put the visor about of an inch away from the helmet leaving a nice place for air to sneak in.  I grabbed the snaps with a vice (vice grips work too) and drilled out the snap with a drill bit.  Now, how to attach it? What on earth would fit the bill?

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HA!  Well, not really.  The duct tape was for experimentation only.  Didn't really want to look like a redneck and my neck wasn't red anyway, it was blue from the cold.  But, I needed to get the placement correct on the back of the helmet before any permanent attachment.  I recommend if you decide to try this, you do the same.  Experiment then make it permanent.  But you don't really want it to be permanent so when you get the placement right with duct tape, mark the location, then go on to use....

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I scrounged around the wife's sewing room and found a nice roll of sticky back inch black VELCRO.  Just right!  I chose to put the HOOK part onto the visor because the hook stuff grabs onto lint and whatnot and if it's on the helmet without the visor in place, it'll grab your collar too. First, clean the helmet and visor with Isopropyl alcohol so the sticky will stick.  I found the best way to line the hook part up is to set the visor on the table with the hook Velcro as pictured and slowly stick the center of the Velcro to the center of the visor then work your way out.

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The best way to set up placement of Velcro is to first join the LOOP part to the hook part.  After you line up the visor and mark your helmet where it goes, remove the sticky back protector from the loop part, flex the visor out at the ends, start in the center and stick the thing where you want it.  Run a hair dryer over it to "set" the adhesive and let it cool (put it in the frig if the wife is amenable).  DONE!

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Mount the visor on low enough so that it will go over your collar but high enough so it will not interfere with head turning.  Cool thing about a visor is that it's curved.  It will not pick up any air from the front to direct it underneath, it will not hamper the "head in the direction of your turn" proper riding technique and does not snag on anything much at all.  The only thing it does prevent is stargazing which you shouldn't do while riding anyway!  Here's a view of it with my FIRSTGEAR riding jacket.

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I found it necessary to trim some of the "edge guard" from my HJC open face, but no trim necessary on my Shoei full face.




Here are side views of the finished product on both my HJC open face and  Shoei full face. Note that I used only one visor which can be swapped from helmet to helmet.  Note also that the visor must be FLEXIBLE so that easy removal is possible - just start at one end and zzzzip!  The use of Velcro serves another purpose: Should you be unfortunate enough to have an accident, the visor will likely just pop off, preventing any injury from it.

Longer visors will help too.

A vinyl alternative which works just fine!

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My new alternative is a mini ghutra which works pretty good too. If you need more protection or cannot find a long enough bill/visor you can make one from some vinyl material. Here, I use a left over cut of vinyl from when I was building a curtain for my cargo trailer.  It's 11 inches long and 6 inches deep at the "point" but you can experiment with different sizes because vinyl is inexpensive. We put the VELCRO HOOK strip on the vinyl side so it sticks or sewing is a good alternative too. Leave it an inch or so longer than the loop strip strip on your helmet to facilitate removal by grabbing the strip rather than the vinyl.


  A few helpful items which keep you warm
Seamless ski/Motorcycle Neck Tube Warmers. <-click-<-If you buy a few of these and stack them up your neck, they keep the area warm and toasty. They can be worn in many ways as well. And/or, a balaclava worn under your helmet adds to the warmth.

 Here's the tech stuff.. Click any pic to enlarge

to see how to make your own heated clothing!

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The information on these pages is accurate to the best of the author's knowledge. The author can assume no responsibility for the use or misuse of this information by the reader. The reader is expected to secure any other information needed from Service Manuals or other sources. It is up to the reader to determine his/her ability to make any modifications noted. If the reader does not feel qualified he/she should enlist professional help.