Red Dog and Me

This is an on-going dialog between me and a certain motor scooter, namely a 2009 Piaggio MP3 500 that came to live with me in October of 2009. I've named the scooter Red Dog and as yet have not determined its gender. In the past when I've named boats, bikes, and other like characters I've thought of them as feminine due to their behavior characteristics. Red Dog I'm not so sure about...we'll see. Update: OK, Red Dog's a girl...with an attitude

Sunday, March 13, 2011

March 12, 2011 What the devil’s a Laminar Lip? And is it contagious?

Constant wind buffeting on a motorcycle or  scooter can quickly lead to fatigue which can greatly reduce the enjoyment of riding. I’m not referring to short distance rides or those lasting less than a couple of hours; I’m talking about day-long rides covering 200-300 miles or greater as you'd encounter on a tour across country.

Red Dog with her new GIVI windshield
When I first got Red Dog she came without a windshield having only a small airfoil type of device to help stave off the wind. You can see what that looked like in the main picture in the blog title. That worked ok but nowhere near well enough to deflect an ample amount of wind and when it came along, rain pelted me mercilessly. 

To improve things I installed a GIVI windscreen and that helped a lot; suddenly Red Dog was transformed from a hooligan into a much more sophisticated lady. 

But even with that I could still feel a fair amount of buffeting as the main wind stream collided with my face about midway up. Wearing a full-faced helmet helped but my noggin was still wanting to act like one of those bobble dolls you see in the back windows of cars. I had to find a cure and decided to look into a well-known product, the Laminar Lip.

Several members of the Modern Vespa Forum website had already installed the “Lip” on their scooters and were kind enough to post reports as to how well they worked and stating that they liked them. The only downside was Laminar isn't making a version specifically designed for the MP3's GIVI windscreen but the one that fits the CanAm Spyder is close enough and seems to work ok.

One day not long ago I was having coffee with Jerry Smith, a rider friend who also happens to be in the business of writing for a number of publications and is often called upon to evaluate motorcyle products. When I mentioned I was going to have a look at the Laminar Lip he said he had one he wasn’t using and if I wanted it he’d bring it by next time we had coffee. Neither of us was sure if it would fit Red Dog’s GIVI windscreen as his was for a Suzuki V-Strom but I was open to trying it.

3M Dual Locks
The only thing I'd need to do would be obtain new mounting tabs and I'd be set. I contacted the Laminar Lip factory to see if I could order the 3M Dual Locks that are used for mounting and it turned out they are available in small quantities for $6.00 per package. The guy who answered their phone was friendly and super helpful saying he’d mail them out the same day which he did.
When they arrived I followed the installation instructions that I downloaded from their website and after a 24-hour waiting period for the glue to dry I pressed the Lip in place.

Laminar Lip installed
So far I’ve only ridden a few hundred miles with the Lip but I can definitely tell the difference in the way wind buffeting occurs.

The Lip redirects the wind stream upwards over the top of my helmet which greatly reduces the buffeting and also the wind noise, a very welcome benefit. Overall I'm happy with the results; this is one farkle that's going to be great to have.

To sum up I think most riders would realize the same benefits using one of these novel accessories and the price of $84 is much less than that of a taller windscreen.
Here’s a link to the Laminar Lip website where you can learn more about them:  

Plus you may want to read an article published on, another of my favorite information resources:

Hey, lest I forget…THANKS JERRY!


  1. That looks like the two layer windscreen Colin Chapman invented and installed in his early Lotus 25s and 33s. The two pieces acted to create a venturi and accelerate the air over the open helmets of the day.

  2. Somehow that doesn't come as a surprise to me. When the Lip is mounted it forms a curved bridge away from the surface of the windscreen which acts the same way. The bottom line is it seems to do what it's supposed to so I'm happy. Odd that you mentioned him, just last week I ran across a set of hubcap inserts for my old Lotus Europa JPS. Just what I need around here...

  3. You need hubcaps or your old Europa?

  4. Neither, but if you know of anyone who's in need of a set...