The question comes up a couple of times a year if a fairing is a good idea for a recumbent bicycle. At this time of year it is one of the best accessories I have ever owned.
Here are a few things you should know about Fairings:
Fairings are very expensive. Because the failure rate of blowing such a large plastic bubble, the cost of lost plastic sheets is part of the expense of your new fairing. Both Zipper and Mueller have a replacement special price if you have a problem within a certain time of ownership. Both are very reasonable.
Fairings scratch almost the very moment you set them up. Its almost impossible to keep them scratch free. There is polish to make them look better, but I have never been able to remove scratches.
The polycarbonate plastic is not optically correct. The view looking through the plastic is very distorted and not recommended. I have tried it and found it to not be safe. Both manufactures recommend the rider to be looking over the top of the fairing to see and be safe.
The extra length of a faired recumbent make it difficult to move the bike around. Carrying the bike through doorways and up and down stairs becomes a challenge, (as if it wasent before.)
However the advantages do out weigh the disadvantages at this time of year.
Moving into and with the wind is better. Its easier to move into the wind for obvious reasons, but with a tail wing you are pushed along. like having a sail. Because of this its best to not have the fairing held with your handlebars. A strong gust could take the bars out of your hand or steer the bike into traffic or off the road.
Riding in the rain is a treat. Dry feet and body have you smiling in short order. However, rain droplets build up on the surface of the recumbent and when you go over a bump, come off and hit you in the face, all at once. It wakes you up. Arriving with a dry body and feet after past years of rides of being soaked, is amazing.
Riding with a Fairing is warmer. As I have written before, sitting behind a Fairing is like being in a greenhouse. Less warm clothing is needed because less wind chill with less exposure to the wind. There is nothing like heading out on a cold day with only a T-shirt. (I have done it.)
Fairings really look odd. A driver seeing a faired recumbent cant stop looking. Some riders may not like this, but I like being seen around speeding automobiles. With a faired recumbent you are given more space to pass. I have never been cut off by a driver while riding a bike with a bubble.
With the the return to warmer weather, removing the Fairing is like being able to strip a layer of clothing. The bike becomes smaller, lighter and easier to corner, making the return of Spring for us Recumbent cyclists, an even nicer experience!
Check out the links below for prices and availability: