How to Build Your $5 "Trash Can" Windscreen

Have you heard of or seen pictures of this famous windshield mod for your bushpig? It's inexpensive and great for wind protection if you aren't ready to drop more than $125 for an aftermarket one? Here's how to make a cheap and cheerful alternative.

A DR650 fitted with a "trash can" windscreen at Molybdenite Lake, BC, Canada.

Like most dual-sports used for ADV riding, the DR650, DR-Z400, and XR650 bikes aren't the most comfortable at sustained highway speeds. With their simple headlight cowl offering little to no protection against the wind for the rider, you might want to add a windscreen to improve comfort on those highway stretches during your adventure trips.

Not ready to spend on the good, but expensive options from Bajaworx, Parabellum or Laminar? Give this a try!

It will not exactly cost $5, especially here in Northern Pesos. You can build this windscreen at a minimal cost of around $25 if you have to buy everything.


Does it Work?

Yes, it works brilliantly! Even though it lacks a "complex computer-modelled aerodynamic shape," this windscreen will protect your chest from the wind, bugs, and road debris.


Depending on your bike, your height and how you shape it, it may also deflect most of the wind above your helmet. You can also adjust the height and angle to find the perfect fit instead of being stuck with an expensive windshield that only pushes the wind straight into your helmet. Many riders report their disappointment with expensive non-adjustable windshields.


Is it Gonna Hold at Speed?

Yes, even if it is made of a simple plastic sheet, the shape gives it plenty of strength.

When using a 2" wide industrial Velcro properly applied, it's rock-solid even at high speeds. You might see the top moving a little, but it isn't going anywhere.


Pros:

  • It's cheap;

  • it can be modified, replicated and improved upon;

  • it's removable on the fly and easy to pack flat once you hit the dirt; and

  • it's ultra-lightweight.

Cons:

  • It looks cheap;

  • if you care, add some stickers; and

  • it's opaque.

The main downside for some riders is that it isn't a see-through solution. Some really like to see the road directly in front of them as though they're viewing their ride through an actual windshield, but it has never been an issue while riding from our experience.


You could certainly make the same out of plexiglass if you have the right tools to form it.


If you really feel the need to look precisely right in front of you, you might be better off spending some time learning proper riding techniques.

 

Here is the Tutorial to Make Your Own "Trash Can" Windscreen

Tools and supplies needed:

  • A plastic product with a large enough flat surface.

  • About 16" of industrial Velcro tape, 2" wide.

  • A ruler.

  • A hot gun or a good hair drier (optional).

  • A sheet of thick paper and a pencil.

  • A sharp utility knife, a good pair of scissors or metal snips.

  • A clean rag and alcohol isopropyl.

$6 Trash Can Windshield supplies
Paper pattern, remaining sheet and Velcro tape

A Few Words About Supplies


It's actually not easy to find a garbage can with a flat side large enough to fit the entire windscreen and not cost $40 or more, at least here in Canada.


If you have to buy it, search for a tote lid instead. The best option we found is from the largest tote, a 30-gallon version, you can find at Home Depot, Canadian Tire or Walmart or your local independent hardware store.


Our Sterilite model's centre part is flat and fits the entire pattern within the reinforcement ridges close to the lid's edges.


We got lucky with a nice cashier that let us take the lid for free, as they don't sell the lids individually. Your experience may vary.


Pick up a box of "Industrial-strength" type, 2" wide velcro. This small box includes a 4-foot roll of velcro, leaving you plenty to share with your riding buddies.

$6 Trash Can Windshield supplies
Industrial-strength velcro tape 2" wide.



$6 Trash Can Windshield supplies
Sterilite 30 gallon tote with a few colours available.

















Step 1: Cut Your Pattern and Prep Your Sheet


Once you've gathered all your supplies, prepare your lid or garbage can for size and cut the part you will be using. Remove the ridges and other moulded shapes around, retaining only the flat portion. You can either make a paper pattern (shown below) to check on your bike for fit or draw directly on your plastic sheet.


DR650 / DR-Z400 Pattern Dimensions for OEM Cowl


Note: The headlight cowl is identical for both models and all years. Only the pre-1996 DR650 has a slightly different headlight cowl. This design will fit with minor modifications. It's the same idea for other bikes with similar headlights like the Honda XR650L.

$6 trash can windshield for DR650 and DR-Z400
DR650 and DR-Z400 windscreen dimensions

You don't need to be exact. These dimensions provide a great starting point. The windscreen height could be as high as you like but anywhere between 14-16" works well for wind protection.


Step 2: Shape the Plastic.


Once you have your flat piece cut to dimension, it's time to draw the fold lines.

These are the five black lines on the pattern above.


Both outside folds will make the mounting panels against the headlight cowl.

They need to be bent a little less than 90°.


The 3 remaining folds lines in the middle need to be started from the bottom and stop at about 6" from the bottom edge. This is only a matter of aesthetic preference. You can make a bend of about 20° all along to the top or fade it in the flat part.


The goal here is only to give the windscreen some shape, do as you please.


With any plastic, most likely Low-density polyethylene (LDPE: Sterilite tote, for example), heating the area before making a crease will help shape it more easily. LDPE has a form shaping temperature of about 130°C. A heat gun or, with time, a hair drier will work wonders.


Doing it cold is possible, but there is a risk of snapping the plastic, and it's hard to form permanent folds.


TIP: Heat only a small section of the fold line. When it feels flexible, bend it over an edge (like a bench, tabletop or a finished piece of wood), then hold it in place until it cools and forms the fold. Repeat and progress along the line rather than trying to do it all at once.


Step 3: Complete the Folds and Install.


Grab the velcro and cut two pieces for the mounting panels. Cut them full length like a trapezoid to get the maximum mounting surface.

trash can windscreen DR650 @rtwpaul
Photo credit: @rtwpaul

As pictured here on @rtwpaul DR650, the 2" Velcro is fitted on the cowl (check out his website for some excellent articles on the DR650 and much more).


To do so, cut your velcro as one piece, don't split it yet. Tape it first on the windscreen to align it properly on the mounting tabs. Then remove the plastic protection off the other side and stick it onto the bike.


TIP: Apply the hook's side on the bike and the loop's side on the windscreen. If you ride without it, the hook side is more durable and easy to clean on the bike.


Below you can see the same pattern used to make a windscreen for a DR650 and an XR650 with a slight modification from the same trash can.

trash can windscreen diy dr650 xr650
2 bushpigs fitted with trash can windscreens!

Enjoy a more comfortable ride on highway transitions and better protection. Happy trails! #gofargetdirty


#windscreen #trashcan #diy #dr650 #drz400 #xr650 #windshield #howto

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