PowerMadd Cobra Windshields for Ski-Doo XP
Wind protection for your Ski-Doo sportster
Story by Paul Johnson, Photography by Paul Johnson, Created Feb 05, 2009
Low stock windshields are often like no stock windshield. Such is the case with the stock low windshield for the 2008 Ski-Doo MX Z TNT and many of its XP-chassis Ski-Doo siblings.
In certain terms, these low windshields lack any functional protection from wind, snow, debris, and roost. In reality, it’s like riding with no windshield at all. Cobra windshields have been on the market for more than 10 years, and a wide selection of heights and styles is offered for late model machines, various applications and individual tastes.
PowerMadd recognized that the low stock three-inch ‘bikini’ windshields on the Ski-Doo XP sleds lacked protection and recently released three new windshields - a 12-inch low, 15-inch mid-height, and a 17.25-inch tall windshield. Since I sought the most protection for racking up hundreds of miles on groomed trails, I opted for the high windshield.
All of the windshields are molded from durable polycarbonate and have a high-quality edge trim rolled black trim. The low and the mid windshields are tinted with black accent, while the tall is clear with black accent.
Style Versus Function
When the factories build a high-performance trail sled, the windshield often becomes a styling piece rather than a functional component of the sled. In order to enhance aesthetic appeal of a sled, low windshields are chosen over high windshields. While these slim windshields may accentuate the lines of a particular sled, usually these windshields offer little in the way of real world protection.
I logged about 200 miles on a 2008 MX Z TNT equipped with the three-inch tall stock windshield in temperatures ranging from -10 F to +10F. When riding the TNT above 30 miles per hour, I was exposed to a very strong stream of air. I took the full brunt of the arctic blast, and I felt like I was in a frigid wind tunnel. As the miles ticked away, I realized that this was indeed the coldest sled I had ever ridden. But this wasn’t a revelation; many journalists in the industry had formed the same opinion. Aboard the MX Z, wind would stream around the cowling and over the windshield and hit me in the abdomen and in the chest. If it was a windy day and I was riding on open land, it was even chillier.
In addition, the faster I rode the sled the tighter I had to hold on to the bars because of the increased air resistance hitting my body. As the ride wore on, I wore down. Mile after mile, the wind was pounding my body and I was reminded of what it felt to ride a motorcycle with no fairing in sub-freezing temperatures. Also, I had to dress warmer for a particular set of conditions, especially when the temps dipped below zero. But the windshield is only part of the reason why the sled felt so cold. Ski-Doo shaved 50 pounds off the XP chassis and it carries very trim bodywork, a small instrument pod and a sleek console, and hence a lot air comes the rider’s way.
It was clear. I needed vastly improved wind protection so I opted for the Cobra high windshield. Installation was a snap. The stock Ski-Doo low windshield/trim piece is fastened to the head light/console with three compression fittings. I simply wedged a couple fingers under one side and gently pulled the male end out of the compression fitting and then the other two compression fittings popped out of the console.
The Cobra windshield came properly protected in a plastic sleeve, and cellophane was shrink-wrapped to both sides of the windshield to help prevent any damage during shipping or storage. Clear concise instructions with photo illustrations explained how to install it. All the fasteners and shims were included. Also, only a Phillips screwdriver was needed to complete the install.
While the stock windshield is fastened with compression fittings, the Cobra windshield fastens to the bodywork using four plastic screws and spacers. First, I put the spacers between the windshield and the bodywork. Next, I slipped the plastic screws through the windshield and finger tightened the screws. Once I determined the windshield was properly positioned, I tightened all four screws but I was careful not to over tighten them and snap them off. Once the windshield was installed, I turned the handlebars from lock to lock to verify that the hand guards cleared the windshield. And indeed, the hand guards cleared the windshield, so I could still enjoy the protection from the stock hand guards.
The high windshield design features an aggressive up-slope angle and side wings or flairs. I am 5 foot 10 inches and I could easily see over the windshield to the trail ahead as well as through the windshield at immediately approaching terrain, and the skis were in clear view on either side of the windshield. Visual clarity was excellent and there were no distortions. Beyond that, the windshield is not absolutely rigid. It has some give and resists shattering if it comes in contact with a tree branch or another object.
On the trail, the improved protection of the windshield was plainly evident. The wind wasn’t pounding like before with the stock windshield. In fact, the windshield provided an envelop of air that kept my body from waist to shoulders warm and protected. The windshield flairs definitely helped direct the wind around my chest and abdomen for additional warmth. While my upper body was out of the wind, my helmet remained in the air stream, but the profile of the windshield interrupted the air stream so I wasn’t subjected to a strong windblast.
While the tall windshield was high enough to keep most of my body protected, I maintained clear sight lines to the ski tips, which is important to me because I like to see how the skis are responding to the terrain. As I increased speed, I didn’t have to tightly grip the handlebar; I was able to relax my grip, arms and shoulders. I rocketed down the straights and railed through the corners with far greater comfort. The riding experience aboard the sled was transformed; the miles ticked away with less effort. When I leaned out into corners, I could feel the wind against my elbows but this was temporary before I pulled them back in for the next straight. After a full day’s ride, I was far less fatigued than with the stock windshield and I was excited to reel off the next few hundred miles.
If you look at adding a PowerMadd Cobra Windshields for your Ski-Doo REV XP, you can expect to pay about US$84.95 for the Low-Height 12-inch Tint w/Black Accent version; US$89.95 for the Mid-Height 15-inch Tint w/Black Accent version; or, it will be US$94.95 if you get the High Height 17.25-inch Clear w/Black Accent version we installed.
For more information, contact:
5190 260th Street
Wyoming, MN 55092
Toll Free: 800-435-6881