Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bicycle Fairings

Bicycle Fairings are those clear plastic windshields you use to see on Recumbents years ago to reduce aerodynamic drag.
Made from polycarbonate film, the fairing is heated and then blown into shape forming into a bubble. As hard as the polycarbonate is, they scratch almost immediately and are not good as a windshield to look through.
The Fairing will keep you dry in the rain, but properly set up, You need to be looking over the top so your face gets wet. Water builds up in beads on the surface of the fairing and when you go over a bump. it comes free and you get it all in the face. Like a glass of water
Cold days seem warmer with a fairing. You don't have the wind on you so you stay warmer. The bicycle becomes more cumbersome because of its increased size.
Fairings give the Recumbent a totally different look. The clear bubble make the bike look more like a flying machine then a bicycle.
The bicycle becomes noisy because of the fairings parabolic reflector effect. Noise from the road and from the gears are amplified and sent at the rider. Noise from cars coming from the rear are amplified also on some setups.
Fairings are best attached to the frame of the bicycle and not the handlebars. Having a large sail like device attached to your steering in gusting winds can take the bars out of your hands and cause a crash.
Fairings are expensive. The failure rate while making them is considered in the price. Sometimes the bubble will be too thin to sell so the builder has to start over. Expect to spend around $300 on average. Mounting brackets are different on different bike and some can raise the cost.
I was talking to Mike at Bacchetta the other day and asked if they had noticed any improvements with dealing with the wind and less drag with their bikes with fairings. He said that the short wheel based bikes were not as effected as the long wheel based bikes except for keeping you warmer and out of the wind. Reason enough to have one for the winter months alone.
I use to use a fairing. I have had two different styles that I used on 3 different bikes. Fun to use and cool looking, I tend to want to ride a lighter, smaller sized bike and go without now a days.
I love riding different style bicycles and a fairing is different. It gives the bike a whole new feel.
No test rides, You need to commit to owning one to ride one. Once they are set up, they can be removed easily and return your recumbent to its original shape. Something more to buy!

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