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  1. #1
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    Full fairing for a bicycle?

    Hey folks.

    I was considering making a small trailer for a mountain bicycle I have lying around, so I can use it to commute everywhere instead of taking public transport or resorting to cars. I figured that rain might be a problem (for me, not for the trailer, which is a modular shell-based design), so I wonder whether it is possible to make a complete fairing - out of, say, Coroplast or ABS plastic or fiberglass - for the bicycle? Not only might this provide complete weather protection, it could also result in more visibility on the road (that Wall of Remembrance thread is really scary), and a small edge in terms of aerodynamics, safety, and security.

    I'm aware of the zzipper, veltop, and velotop - something like that could work, but what I really want is an all-enclosing hardshell (no bodysock), with some aspects that can be adjusted (while riding) in case of crosswinds.

    Does something like this exist? Can it be made? The closest thing I see is the Lightning F-40 and F-90, but those are recumbents, and it's a bodysock design. The Wikipedia article on bicycle fairings as well as Google searches weren't very encouraging either.

    Thank you ^^

    (Not sure what subforum this topic was supposed to go to, I'm afraid.)

  2. #2
    ouate de phoque dramiscram's Avatar
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    You could also get a rain coat. Riding in the rain is not that bad at all.
    Originally Posted by Leebo

    Headwind is like a hill without a soul. Just gear down and suffer.
    Quote Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
    Headwinds are hills dipped in evil!

  3. #3
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by contrapunctus View Post
    Hey folks.

    I was considering making a small trailer for a mountain bicycle I have lying around, so I can use it to commute everywhere instead of taking public transport or resorting to cars. I figured that rain might be a problem (for me, not for the trailer, which is a modular shell-based design), so I wonder whether it is possible to make a complete fairing - out of, say, Coroplast or ABS plastic or fiberglass - for the bicycle? Not only might this provide complete weather protection, it could also result in more visibility on the road (that Wall of Remembrance thread is really scary), and a small edge in terms of aerodynamics, safety, and security.

    I'm aware of the zzipper, veltop, and velotop - something like that could work, but what I really want is an all-enclosing hardshell (no bodysock), with some aspects that can be adjusted (while riding) in case of crosswinds.

    Does something like this exist? Can it be made? The closest thing I see is the Lightning F-40 and F-90, but those are recumbents, and it's a bodysock design. The Wikipedia article on bicycle fairings as well as Google searches weren't very encouraging either.

    Thank you ^^

    (Not sure what subforum this topic was supposed to go to, I'm afraid.)
    I've never seen this on an upright bike (although I suppose it's possible).

    Many, many people have done exactly this on recumbent trikes. I've seen people sock a recumbent bike, but never coroplast on a two wheeled bicycle. You'd be adding a lot of weight high from the ground and that's probably not ideal for handling.

    And, of course, velomobiles already have the hard shell. The only hard shell bicycle I can think of is this one:



    On the plus side, it can do 80 mph on flat land (with the right rider, of course ).
    http://Charles.Plager.net
    http://RecumbentQuant.blogspot.com

  4. #4
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    I've never seen this on an upright bike (although I suppose it's possible).
    It is possible, although I've never seen a working full fairing on an upright other than mine. There may be some danger if the design and mounting isn't right.

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    Full fairings for upright bikes were made for the IHPVA races, back when people still thought that upright bikes were competitive in that event. Look around on recumbents.com or the IHPVA site for pictures.
    There is still some people that do it, for folding bicycles. AFAIK there is no separate timing event for folding bikes, it's just another flavor of kooky people.

    Also do note: a front fairing & body sock is a lot more practical in day-to-day use, as I have read it.
    1--It has some 'give' to provide better sidewind tolerance (rather important for a upright bike),
    2--it is VERY lightweight compared to any full hard-shell fairing, and finally,,,,
    3--it is cheap. It is easily the cheapest of all. And it can be REALLY cheap if you construct the front fairing yourself by stretching fabric over a thin tube frame, and don't use one of the fancy blown-polycarbonate fairings.
    4--it still drastically cuts your aero drag. Not as much as an ideally-shaped hard shell, but still way betterthan nothing.

  6. #6
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by contrapunctus View Post
    Hey folks.

    I was considering making a small trailer for a mountain bicycle I have lying around, so I can use it to commute everywhere instead of taking public transport or resorting to cars. I figured that rain might be a problem (for me, not for the trailer, which is a modular shell-based design), so I wonder whether it is possible to make a complete fairing - out of, say, Coroplast or ABS plastic or fiberglass - for the bicycle? Not only might this provide complete weather protection, it could also result in more visibility on the road (that Wall of Remembrance thread is really scary), and a small edge in terms of aerodynamics, safety, and security.

    I'm aware of the zzipper, veltop, and velotop - something like that could work, but what I really want is an all-enclosing hardshell (no bodysock), with some aspects that can be adjusted (while riding) in case of crosswinds.

    Does something like this exist? Can it be made? The closest thing I see is the Lightning F-40 and F-90, but those are recumbents, and it's a bodysock design. The Wikipedia article on bicycle fairings as well as Google searches weren't very encouraging either.

    Thank you ^^

    (Not sure what subforum this topic was supposed to go to, I'm afraid.)
    For what you want to do you can try a small universal fit motorcycle windshield. I put one on my utility bike for riding in the rain. Works great but really increases the pedaling effort if you want to go fast.
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

  7. #7
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    Here is a couple people I recall being mentioned, riding faired Moulton bikes-
    http://jnyyz.wordpress.com/2012/09/1...ay-am-results/

    This page-
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...peed-Challenge
    says he got up to only 40 MPH, which is not really a lot. There could be different reasons for that however.


    These are only partly faired with skirts however. And the fairings are open on top, which would not really be what you wanted for weather protection.
    But anyway.

    It has been done.

  8. #8
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug5150 View Post
    Here is a couple people I recall being mentioned, riding faired Moulton bikes-
    http://jnyyz.wordpress.com/2012/09/1...ay-am-results/

    This page-
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...peed-Challenge
    says he got up to only 40 MPH, which is not really a lot. There could be different reasons for that however.


    These are only partly faired with skirts however. And the fairings are open on top, which would not really be what you wanted for weather protection.
    But anyway.

    It has been done.
    You need a small wheel if you want it inside the cowling and still be able to turn at all. That's also a drawback of the high speed full fairing recumbents. I don't think they're suitable for general purpose use, with restricted turning and balance, and limitations on the surfaces you can ride on.

    Open on top is fine for weather protection, as long as you're moving.

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Does something like this exist? Can it be made?
    the IHPVA meets attest to the Can it be made pretty well , Vacuum molding can be done in a home shop,

    need a Pizza Oven, and a vacuum pump, And metal and woodworking tools, to make the molds for each part.


    Velomobiles often are Monocoque, the body is also the frame. .. saves weight..

  10. #10
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    wphamilton, why not pass him a link to the thread where you showed off your design. His wants are a bit different, but it might give him some hints to what the issues are.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Here's <google> this one ; http://www.ihpva.org/home/

  12. #12
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by himespau View Post
    wphamilton, why not pass him a link to the thread where you showed off your design. His wants are a bit different, but it might give him some hints to what the issues are.
    I was looking for that thread myself to pass along. I think it was in Commuting? Anyway, I remembered hotbike is into fairings as well. This thread is a couple of years old, so he's probably tweaked the design a bit by now- http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...es-Type-Eleven

  13. #13
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    I don't think a fairing would work on a bicycle, because most of the time, the bike is not going fast enough to allow the air to have the needed force/momentum to direct the wind and elements around and over the rider. They just don't work below a certain speed. I don't know what that exact speed is, but I'd wager it's at least up around 25-30MPH. Flying down a hill at 35MPH it might do some good...rest of the time, it'd just create more drag.

  14. #14
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by himespau View Post
    wphamilton, why not pass him a link to the thread where you showed off your design. His wants are a bit different, but it might give him some hints to what the issues are.
    This one? http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...much-free-time

    I don't necessarily want to encourage someone to DIY on that because at the speeds you can get, a mistake in construction or design could kill you. This one is pretty stable now and I've commuted with it every day this year.

    ps @daygloDago, there is no minimum speed for the aerodynamics to work. It's just less of an advantage at lower speeds than higher. Depending on small changes in shape and size however that can change from advantage to drag.
    Last edited by wphamilton; 02-27-13 at 11:21 AM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    I had been thinking about the one from a year or so ago when you started developing the fairing so he could have an idea of what you went through, but your finished product is cool.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  16. #16
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    One of the things uprights do well is, they work with standard heavy-weather clothing. Before my last move, I commuted 12 month a year on my hybrid, regardless of temp or if it was snowing, raining, blowing, etc. Proper clothing kept me dry and warm whenever the weather was Bad. I commuted in 100F, and I commuted in 0F. Uprights are just a poor platform for full fairings. By necessity, everything that needs to be protected is at the top, which maximizes crosswind issues. If you close it on top, you not only exacerbate the problem, you eliminate the possibility of standing on hills, and -presto!- you climb just like a recumbent. Or maybe worse, since you don't get the leverage a bent rider would.

  17. #17
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ng-my-Commuter from Nov 2011. If someone does make one, be sure to test at low speeds and many miles - you wouldn't want something to fail and suddenly interfere with the steering, wheels or drive train out on the road or 50 mph downhill.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Notso_fastLane's Avatar
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    If you really want a faired bike, I would say go with what already works, a recumbent. I'm getting my fairing this week. I'll have an Aerotrunk for it in a couple weeks, then I'm going to explore whether I think it's worth going for a full sock or not.

  19. #19
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I figured that rain might be a problem, for me,
    I have in the past used a Zzipper thriller and high Aero bar setup on a long commute,
    since moved, now I use a rain cape to stay Dry, on a different Bike.. Shorter commute Wetter Location.

    the thriller is their longer upright bike model, it splits to go over the front wheel.

    It reduced the cold air wanting to penetrate my clothing , enough, that I did not have to dress as warmly.

    Since I'm No wider, with the cape on, than without It is fine,
    just not as smooth an aerodynamic dome shape frontal area,
    I have a Pannier 1of2, on front with space for the rain gear, until needed..

  20. #20
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    Whoa, this is certainly a very active forum, thank you for the overwhelming number of responses

    cplager - I'm aware of velomobiles and really desire one, but recumbent trike prices are prohibitive, so doing a Facet is out of the question, let alone getting hold of a true blue velomobile =(

    wphamilton - Thank you! Although not exactly what I have in mind, that should help me in the task. Thank you for the advice, as well.

    Doug5150 - I am also somewhat concerned with people making off with accessories (bike computer, rear view mirrors, et cetera) when parked - a full fairing could act as a minor deterrent to that - a body sock, not as much. Interesting to see Jim Glover's Moulton, I hadn't thought of a fairing design like that.

    fietsbob - I know I mentioned ABS and fibreglass, but I think Coroplast would actually be best suited here. The things you mention would be very hard to find around here - even the 'blown fairings' method will be tricky to pull off for a dilettante like me.

    DayGloDago - I guess I'll give it a shot, and remove it if it doesn't quite measure up to the requirements.

    My design (I unfortunately do not know how to use any CAD or graphics software) is somewhat similar to wphamilton's - front wheel not covered, side doors to step into the bike. A roof is definitely in the plan, though, and the legs will be covered as well. In case of sidewinds, either slats on the doors which open with a single cable-lever arrangement, or maybe the doors themselves can be opened and 'stuck' (magnets) to the front and/or back frame(s), revealing a fabric covering for the sides underneath.

    If it doesn't work out, there's always the 'rain gear stowed away in the trailer+hope no one makes off with your bike upgrades while parked' way. =(

    Although...what IS the cheapest tadpole recumbent with front and back suspension and a decent compliment of gear ratios? (Maybe I've just been looking around in the wrong places.)

  21. #21
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by contrapunctus View Post
    Although...what IS the cheapest tadpole recumbent with front and back suspension and a decent compliment of gear ratios? (Maybe I've just been looking around in the wrong places.)
    I recommend considering used (see BROL's classified forum where you can post a 'wanted' ad as well as looking as what is currently for sale).
    http://Charles.Plager.net
    http://RecumbentQuant.blogspot.com

  22. #22
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    See this thread- I didn't read through the whole thing, but lots of information in it. Note the purpose in this is speed, not weather protection:
    http://www.recumbents.com/forums/top...?TOPIC_ID=3029
    However, the following lines jump out at me:
    "Ron remarked that the streamliner (streamlined upright) swerved with heart stopping unpredictability. In the late 1970's more streamlined uprights emerged to set records. They too had problems with swerving due to their tall thin shapes with large side areas."
    This video seems to be the guy above: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoWdbnDeCxk
    Check this out:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1GhW74pPS4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akTv5ZwTBSM
    See this:
    http://www.bakfiets-en-meer.nl/2007/...in-protection/
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  23. #23
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Coroplast will always have that home made Kludge look,because the stuff is made to be flat. ,
    radar bounce off stealth fighter flat. [those have abundant thrust]

    hotbike used a dead Mac case to make a partial fairing.. IMHO, a finished job only the maker can love.

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    cplager - Thanks, although the option of buying used is not available to me. Seems like even the cheapest tadpoles are insanely pricey and inspite of that one hardly seems to hear good words for them.

    StephenH - Thank you for those links. Looks like a full fairing is really not worth the trouble, then...

    fietsbob - I had similar thoughts about Coroplast...until I saw this! Damn! @_@ http://www.instructables.com/id/Facet-V1-Velomobile/
    One could add more facets to that design to make smoother 'curves', although that would complicate fabrication even further...although yeah, it does look like a stealth fighter )
    I agree with you on hotbike's fairing, too...looks kind of underwhelming :S

    I guess I will have to bite the bullet and set about making a tadpole trike, then. Something like this but with front suspension. I guess these could be helpful in that journey, as well -
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Sola...Vehicle-SHEPV/ (I don't intend to make it solar powered, though, except to maybe power onboard electronics)
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Buil...o-Trike-Frame/ (I don't intend to use bamboo, either)
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Three-Wheel-Bike-Car/
    And eventually topping that off with a Coroplast, or even blown acrylic, shell.

    I'll not be making it myself (no workshop, no experience in welding and cutting etc, no equipment, no mechanical engineering experience or knowledge), but will instead be giving it out to a workshop to work on, and will oversee the whole fabrication process. The skills of the folks at the workshops in my country may or may not be very good...but what's certain is that they've never seen a recumbent trike all their lives (in fact, mine might be the first in the country). Think it'll work out?
    Last edited by contrapunctus; 02-28-13 at 06:19 AM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    This video seems to be the guy above: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoWdbnDeCxk
    I raced against Mike a few times when he had that set-up. A one-hour mass-start time trial on a 1.4 mile track, and I'd routinely double-lap him. Since then he's gotten an unfaired lowracer. Last year he lapped me. Quite a turn-around.

    I've been looking at these
    http://www.trisled.com.au/rotovelo.asp
    to expand my riding season, but it's a hard sell to the wife unless I can use it for commuting. The problem is, I'd still need a car for snowy days.

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