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  1. #1
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Fairing Question

    To buy or not to buy? That is the question.

    At $400 to outfit my Tour Easy LE, not an insignificant decision. The only reason I'd have for getting one is if it increased my speed by a mile or two/hour. Rain/cold wind protection not an issue.

    Ideas for less expensive fairings? Any had experience with DIY?
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  2. #2
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    How fast are you riding now? You've got to be going 16-18 mph before a fairing is going to help much. Below that speed, a fairing is just extra weight. I've built several fairings for my V-Rex; a simple curve out of Coroplast would be fairly (pun!) simple to do for your TE, and be a lot cheaper than $400.

  3. #3
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    If speed is your only criteria....don't bother. But if you have some frequent routes where you will constantly be facing a headwind it can make the difference of a pleasant versus tedious ride. But if you are gonna do it then go for the slightly heavier version which is quieter and will allow you to add a sock later if you so decide.
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  4. #4
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    It's worth it. A fairing on a Tour Easy "makes" the bike, especially if you're where the where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain (wait- that's north of you). Whatever. I would not have a Tour Easy or Gold Rush without at least a front fairing. Besides, It gives me an opportunity to post a picture of my lovely wife:

    Jeff Wills

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  5. #5
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Have used a Zipper fairing on our tandem back in the early 1980s on a 5-day tour from the Grand Canyon to Mexico.
    While a tandem is not a 'bent, it has similar long wheelbase.
    It's just extra weight (and can be noisy) until you to 18+ mph.
    However in a crosswind it can become bothersome. Stoker/wife complained that it felt like the tail wagging the dog and back of bike felt squirelly.
    Got rid of the fairing.
    Just our experience.

  6. #6
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    Have used a Zipper fairing on our tandem back in the early 1980s on a 5-day tour from the Grand Canyon to Mexico.
    While a tandem is not a 'bent, it has similar long wheelbase.
    It's just extra weight (and can be noisy) until you to 18+ mph.
    However in a crosswind it can become bothersome. Stoker/wife complained that it felt like the tail wagging the dog and back of bike felt squirelly.
    Got rid of the fairing.
    Just our experience.
    One day, I forgot to pack the fairings for a time trial. We drove to the start and discovered this. My wife refused to ride without the fairing, so we drove back to fetch them (fortunately not that far). Just our experience.
    Jeff Wills

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  7. #7
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Jeff, that picture of your wife on her bent is the best ad I've seen for such. You oughta license that for use in bent shops. Is that really your wife? Wow!

    Oh well, back to the tread. After a lot of thinking, not necessarily a good thing, I've decided to stay au naturale. Speed is not a major concern really, and I realized today that I like the 'wind to come sweepin' down the plain' and onto my legs, especially in the 8 months of summer we have in NE Tx. Not sayin' never, just not right now.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  8. #8
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Jeff, that picture of your wife on her bent is the best ad I've seen for such. You oughta license that for use in bent shops. Is that really your wife? Wow!
    Yes, that is really my wife. Been married for 19 1/2 years. She's 5-foot-10, natural blonde, and has a Master's in Computer Science. Eat your hearts, out, guys.

    She's got a couple quirks, though. One of them is that she keeps me around. Danged if I know why.
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  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    .02p, Put a Zzipper fairing on my DF bike, and it made a winter commute bearable.

    because Cold Air wasn't trying to go thru my outerwear all the time.

    Speed was ... just maintained,,, as the motor remained the same.

  10. #10
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    Riding along with some friends with that have fairings, I notice that they are shaped to focus road noise right at the rider. Any comment by others that have fairings?

  11. #11
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
    Riding along with some friends with that have fairings, I notice that they are shaped to focus road noise right at the rider. Any comment by others that have fairings?
    Yes, but it quickly gets drowned out by the wind roar in your ears. Thicker fairings tend to be quieter, and soft mounts help a lot. A couple friends have made soft mounts from hard rubber kite fittings.
    Jeff Wills

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  12. #12
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
    Yes, but it quickly gets drowned out by the wind roar in your ears. Thicker fairings tend to be quieter, and soft mounts help a lot. A couple friends have made soft mounts from hard rubber kite fittings.
    True, all 'dat. Some fairings rumble more than others. Can depend on material and set-up. My Coroplast fairings were very quiet. Except for the hollow 'whoosh' noise the bike made.

  13. #13
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    Well....I wouldn't call my Zipper on the Gold Rush quiet! And it's the heavier one. I think it makes enough of a diference in the wind to make it a more pleasant ride and somewhat overcome the noise nuisance.

  14. #14
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    I suggest seeking out a faired bike for at least a short test ride before investing. Some experienced riders love them. Others of us, although appreciating the aerodynamic advantage, definitely do not.
    George
    Laissez les bon temps rouler

  15. #15
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    I've done a little with fairings on an upright so I'll chime in here. I don't have any wind noise on my DIY fairing until a bit over 30mph, where I'll hear some whistling but lower volume than having no fairing at that speed. No road noise or structural noise at all, but I use all flexible mounting without bolts or clamps.

    I imagine that the noise everyone is talking about comes from the fabric or "wind-sock" enclosures, and from the large windshields if you don't have an enclosing fairing. A couple of other notes, the front fairing by itself, or windscreen, probably doesn't improve your aerodynamics appreciably. If you have a full fairing which encloses you , either rigid or fabric I think you can find an improvement in efficiency (ie, speed) which is noticeable even at slower speeds like 15 or 16 mph.

  16. #16
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Fairings don't tend to help uprights, because they don't shield the 36% of the rider that riders tend to forget about: their legs. The noise being talked about is the 'rumble.' A lexan fairing can act as a drum cover, booming over every bump. The thinner Zzippers are especially bad if the user tries to stretch it wider at the top to cover more of their hands. The other factor is the shape and orientation, which tends to funnel road noises up to the rider's face. I've seen a lot of riders who mount a bag inside the ape-hanger bars, which tends to break up that noise.

  17. #17
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Makes sense, as mine is baffled by the dash (and also a cover underneath) and covers the legs down to about the last 1/4 pedal stroke. The lexan is mounted on springy wood and supported by the hard shell so no drum boom. Looks like I accidentally avoided the common issues?

    Anyhow, I do know that the noises are avoidable and it can help speed by reducing drag, more so on a 'bent. A full enclosed fairing doesn't require as large a windshield and can be mounted fixed relative to the frame, so it can be less noisy and more aerodynamic than just the windscreen mounted on the handlebars and forks. My main point is that they're two different things, with different purposes and characteristics.
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  18. #18
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    Makes sense, as mine is baffled by the dash (and also a cover underneath) and covers the legs down to about the last 1/4 pedal stroke. The lexan is mounted on springy wood and supported by the hard shell so no drum boom. Looks like I accidentally avoided the common issues?

    Anyhow, I do know that the noises are avoidable and it can help speed by reducing drag, more so on a 'bent. A full enclosed fairing doesn't require as large a windshield and can be mounted fixed relative to the frame, so it can be less noisy and more aerodynamic than just the windscreen mounted on the handlebars and forks. My main point is that they're two different things, with different purposes and characteristics.
    I would love to see more pictures of your setup. What kind of bike?
    Car-Free IT Geek
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  19. #19
    Senior Member Trikin''s Avatar
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    I use the Windwrap GX on my Catrike Trail. Without a doubt I gain at least 5K faster than a trike without a fairing, and not to mention the fairing protects the feet from wet and cold as well those heavy headwinds
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    When I get rountuit, I'm gonna fashion myself a coroplast test fairing. There's a 200 yard long, 8% grade hill nearby. Plan to coast down the hill faired/unfaired and check max speed and roll distance. If impressive enough, might just spring for that expensive rollable fairing. Is this reinventing the wheel? Yeah, I guess so. Either way, be kinda fun, and more telling and dramatic than test riding flats, where consistent power output would be difficult to attain for an objective test. Realistic? Yep. I only ride downhill.

    Will post results. One of these days.
    Last edited by Cyclebum; 11-24-11 at 05:22 AM.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  21. #21
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    It's too bad the techniques used to build this



    Don't necessarily transfer to building one for a LWB bike; otherwise I could help some.

  22. #22
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    Cyclebum,

    I also own an Easyracer and have recently bought a second one just for touring. I set up the second bike with a fairing because, like you, I heard so much about them. I knew that it was not going to give me to much of a speed advantage due to the fact that I don't tour at speeds over 16 to 18 miles per hour unless I'm going down hill. I was looking for some weather protection with the idea that I could off set the weight penalty of the fairing by packing less clothing ie. wind shirt or jacket and maybe my rain pants. Also I wanted to distribute some of the pack weight up front instead of everything on the back, but I did not want to create more wind resistance.

    So far this has not worked out the way I have hoped. While it does offer some measure of protection, It is not enough that I would reduce my packing list. It also diminished my turning radius some what which I was not expecting, but I'm learning to deal with. The fairing does roll up, but it does not roll up small. It is not something that I would put in a luggage compartment for fear of it being crushed so you have to make room for it when packing, or carry it.

    The fairing is staying on the bike for right now, it being winter, and every little bit helps. When spring comes I'll move it over to my lighter Gold Rush and see if I can increase my speed a bit on that bike.

    I hope this helps.

    By the way, I think we've met. It was in 2010 in Washington and across the Astoria bridge to Oregon. I was heading down the coast and you were with your touring buddy heading east following the Lewis and Clark trail.

    Neal
    Last edited by Grumpybear; 11-28-11 at 07:02 PM. Reason: spelling

  23. #23
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Small world Neil. Yep, and here you are on the journal page. An Oren and an Oren. My account here. Good times.

    Thanks for the relevant observations, especially about the 'rollable' fairing that doesn't roll too good. I'll get around to the trial runs with the coroplast DIY just for the fun of doing it.

    I'll PM you.
    Last edited by Cyclebum; 11-28-11 at 08:20 PM.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  24. #24
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    this isn't a serious attempt, but here's an atv fairing





    going more for a look than real function. haven't even tried it yet. it is pretty light (not the mounting hardware though), and it was only $15 at the time (picked up two off ebay. i've forgotten what shipping added). cheap enough to experiment with trimming down, working out a lower section or whatever.

    might be a little too goofy for something serious, but just throwin' it out there.

  25. #25
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    Jerry,

    I live in Fresno Ca., and much to my regret I did not journal my tour. At the time I thought it would be a hassle I did not even bring a camera ,instead I took pictures with my phone.

    There are a few journals in CGOAB with me in them by Dana Lieberman. One of them I ghost wrote, “Big Sur by Trike” the others are “Death Valley by Trike” and “Oregon Coast by Trike”.

    I know what you mean about comfort. I switched from a df to a Lightning Phantom (swb) in 2003 and did a few tours on that. Then I decided to make another leap to a Greenspeed GTO Trike in 2006 and did a lot of touring on that. In 2009 I bought a Easyracer Gold Rush (sold the Phantom) and set it up for speed and sport but I loved it so much that I decided to tour the coast on it. I had to change over the wheels and the drive train then add some racks but it worked out well (the bike in your picture).

    I'm one of the few people that I've ever heard of that moved back to a bike after touring on a Trike. Last year I converted my Gold Rush back to speed and sport (SS), then bought a Tour Easy that I set up for Touring just the way I want it.

    Keep riding your bike, the recumbent muscles will come with time. Don't worry about up hill speed. The advantages of a df going up hill diminish when touring because you generally don't stand up or pull on the bars anyway (although the bike is a bit heavier). Your wise decision will will hit home once again at the end of a long touring day when your buddies are moving and walking funny while you feel great.

    I cannot post private messages on the forum yet, so I'm afraid I've hijacked the post a bit, my apologies. Carry on!

    Neal

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