Guys, I already know some of you will think I've lost my marbles, but even given that knowledge, I will still go ahead and share this experience with you. I've owned my 2011 XR since end of October, 2010. I've racked about 3,500 miles on it so far, and loving it. The whole time I've ridden it, partly due to the colder weather, I've kept the windshield on.
Yesterday, it was a sunny and warm Sunday, so I decided to take the windshield off. I was going for a boulevard ride which did not include any roads with speed limits above 45mph. I figured this was a good excuse to pull the shield off and test it out.
Wow! What a difference! I have two bikes! The one without the windshield made me feel like I was running a cruiser, not a touring bike at all. I found myself swerving and throwing it around from one end of my lane to the other. I couldn't help it. The bike seemed smaller than usual and lighter. No, I'm not saying the weight of the windshield made a weight difference. But without it, the airy feel gave me a completely different sensation than when I've ridden it with the shield on. If you had me riding one bike and then the other, without knowing it's the same bike, I would've told you they're two different bikes. One's a cruiser, and the other's a touring bike. One's a blonde and the other a brunette. Or one has long hair and the other short. One is quieter, and the other's more playful. I can't stop with the comparisons!
Yesterday, while I was riding, I started to laugh. It was a happy laughter, as if I had found gold. To me, the easy on/off windshield was a selling point when I decided to get the XR, but I had never expected such a drastic difference in ride once the shield came off. It took me by surprise. I'm still giggling about it, and even though I only park one bike in my garage, and pay insurance and registration for only one bike, in reality, I have two! They're similar, but they're different. And I can take out whichever one I want, without the other getting jealous!
If you own a XR, as soon as the weather permits it, you owe it to yourself to ride her without the windshield. It will be a blast to find out your bike has an even wilder side.