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Motorcycle DIY Fairings/Cowlings on our road bikes

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Motorcycle DIY Fairings/Cowlings on our road bikes

Old 11-10-14, 07:20 AM
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timtak
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Motorcycle DIY Fairings/Cowlings on our road bikes

I had read that that was a UCI rule against fairings but I thought that it was a kind of unnecessary rule because I presumed that if fairings/cowlings actually worked then there would be loads of cyclists, who do not ride in UCI races (like me), that would have fairings/cowlings on their bikes.

But then someone recommended a Zzipper fairing to me. I thought it was only about avoid the cold. But it turns out that in fact, fairings and cowlings not only protect people from the cold but they also make cyclist go faster. Faster!? In other words I had been struggling through the cold not realizing that a fairing would keep me less cold and MAKE ME GO FASTER!?

So, why are there no cheap fairings/cowlings for my bike? Zzipper road bike fairings are not too expensive but with postage to Japan, 500-600 USD. Ouch.

At the same time there are motor cycle fairings for less than 100USD. Does anyone have a motorcycle fairing on their bike? If so what are the best fairings? Is a flat fronted fairing bad idea?



[I went to see a local cycle race, called a "criterium" which was a race around a very large car park. There were about ten guys in the lead group that were cornering at speed. In a group. I decided that I did not want ever to compete in such a race ever because it just looked too dangerous. The criterium conforms to UCI rules. But I do not want to take part in UCI rule bike races, ever. I am happy to do Strava or use my cycling fitness to improve my once yearly 10k run time. I care so little about UCI rules that it untrue. ]
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Old 11-10-14, 08:09 AM
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you should get a recumbent. it would make you more aerodynamic and spare the world from seeing your atrocious road bike fit ever again.
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Old 11-10-14, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Edonis13 View Post
you should get a recumbent. it would make you more aerodynamic and spare the world from seeing your atrocious road bike fit ever again.
Now that it's time to move from preposterous Fit Theories to fabulously fast Hardware that defies the UCI conspiracy why not go straight to this:



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Old 11-10-14, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by timtak View Post
I had read that that was a UCI rule against fairings but I thought that it was a kind of unnecessary rule because I presumed that if fairings/cowlings actually worked then there would be loads of cyclists, who do not ride in UCI races (like me), that would have fairings/cowlings on their bikes.

But then someone recommended a Zzipper fairing to me. I thought it was only about avoid the cold. But it turns out that in fact, fairings and cowlings not only protect people from the cold but they also make cyclist go faster. Faster!? In other words I had been struggling through the cold not realizing that a fairing would keep me less cold and MAKE ME GO FASTER!?

So, why are there no cheap fairings/cowlings for my bike? Zzipper road bike fairings are not too expensive but with postage to Japan, 500-600 USD. Ouch.

At the same time there are motor cycle fairings for less than 100USD. Does anyone have a motorcycle fairing on their bike? If so what are the best fairings? Is a flat fronted fairing bad idea?



[I went to see a local cycle race, called a "criterium" which was a race around a very large car park. There were about ten guys in the lead group that were cornering at speed. In a group. I decided that I did not want ever to compete in such a race ever because it just looked too dangerous. The criterium conforms to UCI rules. But I do not want to take part in UCI rule bike races, ever. I am happy to do Strava or use my cycling fitness to improve my once yearly 10k run time. I care so little about UCI rules that it untrue. ]
I had a ZZipper fairing for years - bought it in 1980, and it finally disintegrated a couple of years ago. The claim was that you could ride about one gear higher, due to the decrease in wind resistance, and that did seem to be the case.

I guess it is not a dramatic enough increase in efficiency for them to really catch on. I loved mine when touring, and if I ever do another big tour, would consider getting another one. Like you say, they are great at keeping you warm. Most cyclists are fair weather riders, so not a selling point for most people.

I've seen some diy jobs - looks like a lot of work, unless you have some experience forming kevlar. Motorcycle fairings I suspect would be too heavy to be practical - they have to withstand highway speeds of 80mph+; you don't need that kind of strength for a bicycle fairing.
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Old 11-10-14, 08:41 AM
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Old 11-10-14, 10:34 AM
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It is ironic that there is so much talk about buying expensive, high tech equipment to go faster that never considers the enormous speed gains to be had with an inexpensive fairing. This topic showed up in a thread about 2 mos ago and it was shocking to me to learn what the gains actually are.

Last edited by sced; 11-10-14 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 11-10-14, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by timtak View Post
I had read that that was a UCI rule against fairings but I thought that it was a kind of unnecessary rule because I presumed that if fairings/cowlings actually worked then there would be loads of cyclists, who do not ride in UCI races (like me), that would have fairings/cowlings on their bikes.

But then someone recommended a Zzipper fairing to me. I thought it was only about avoid the cold. But it turns out that in fact, fairings and cowlings not only protect people from the cold but they also make cyclist go faster. Faster!? In other words I had been struggling through the cold not realizing that a fairing would keep me less cold and MAKE ME GO FASTER!?

So, why are there no cheap fairings/cowlings for my bike? Zzipper road bike fairings are not too expensive but with postage to Japan, 500-600 USD. Ouch.

At the same time there are motor cycle fairings for less than 100USD. Does anyone have a motorcycle fairing on their bike? If so what are the best fairings? Is a flat fronted fairing bad idea?



[I went to see a local cycle race, called a "criterium" which was a race around a very large car park. There were about ten guys in the lead group that were cornering at speed. In a group. I decided that I did not want ever to compete in such a race ever because it just looked too dangerous. The criterium conforms to UCI rules. But I do not want to take part in UCI rule bike races, ever. I am happy to do Strava or use my cycling fitness to improve my once yearly 10k run time. I care so little about UCI rules that it untrue. ]
now you've found the actual fast guys in your area. still think your pedestrian times are special?
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Old 11-10-14, 12:29 PM
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There were about ten guys in the lead group that were cornering at speed. In a group.
Which brings us back to Proper Positioning on road bikes which is as much about the correct weight distribution and body positioning for safe high speed handling as it is about power production. Those guys were "cornering at speed. In a group" because they were practiced in the techniques of high speed handling, rode the proper frame sizes for good visibility and a classic road race fit for relaxed yet purposeful style. Here's' what it looks like, not some absurd fantasy-fit.



Now back to your regularly scheduled discussion of aerodynamic aids.



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Old 11-10-14, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by sced View Post
It is ironic that there is so much talk about buying expensive, high tech equipment to go faster that never considers the enormous speed gains to be had with an inexpensive fairing. This topic showed up in a thread about 2 mos ago and it was shocking to me to learn what the gains actually are.
Trade-offs that we probably don't hear much about. A 'bent with a fairing will suffer from the maneuverability standpoint, weight, and is awkward to store and park. The speed record types are not appropriate for traffic or utility, even if you could get in and out, started and stopped, without two or three assistants. A low recumbent or trike makes the most sense to me, but can you jump a curb, or wind through a sidewalk to wheel it into your front door, or store it in the hallway? Handle on rough gravel or dirt? Flexibility is another trade-off.

My home-made is probably the lightest that could be had for an upright, but it's still heavy. I'm not inclined to translate it into carbon fiber which would improve aerodynamics because of yet another compromise. Large body movements are restricted - there's no way around that with a rigid fairing narrow enough to be worthwhile. No one but me has ever ridden mine, and I'm not going to take the chance that someone else could without endangering himself - it's not the same as riding a road bike.

So while you can get faster speeds with a full fairing, and protection from the elements is stellar, the compromises are severe enough that it's very much a specialized niche.
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Old 11-10-14, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
...Those guys were "cornering at speed. In a group" because they were practiced in the techniques of high speed handling, rode the proper frame sizes for good visibility and a classic road race fit for relaxed yet purposeful style. ...
The bolded part yes, but the rest probably belongs in the "bike fit" forum where people of like mind are more accepting of it. Here it's nothing but a cheap shot at OP.
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Old 11-10-14, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
The bolded part yes, but the rest probably belongs in the "bike fit" forum where people of like mind are more accepting of it. Here it's nothing but a cheap shot at [the] OP.
No need to point out the obvious. There are likely many on this forum right now with itchy fingers waiting to take a shot; it's low hanging fruit after all.


P.S: This post is not intended to attack wphamilton in any way. Sorry if it has a bit of condescension in it.
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Old 11-10-14, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Trade-offs that we probably don't hear much about. A 'bent with a fairing will suffer from the maneuverability standpoint, weight, and is awkward to store and park. The speed record types are not appropriate for traffic or utility, even if you could get in and out, started and stopped, without two or three assistants. A low recumbent or trike makes the most sense to me, but can you jump a curb, or wind through a sidewalk to wheel it into your front door, or store it in the hallway? Handle on rough gravel or dirt? Flexibility is another trade-off.

My home-made is probably the lightest that could be had for an upright, but it's still heavy. I'm not inclined to translate it into carbon fiber which would improve aerodynamics because of yet another compromise. Large body movements are restricted - there's no way around that with a rigid fairing narrow enough to be worthwhile. No one but me has ever ridden mine, and I'm not going to take the chance that someone else could without endangering himself - it's not the same as riding a road bike.

So while you can get faster speeds with a full fairing, and protection from the elements is stellar, the compromises are severe enough that it's very much a specialized niche.
Those Zzipper fairings don't look that bad as far as tradeoffs and their web site shows some pretty impressive drag reductions. There's already a good review a few posts up. A bike designed from the start to have a fairing like a motorcycle might kick that $10k uberbike's hiney.
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Old 11-10-14, 03:28 PM
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I am expecting the, "What kickstand would look cool?" thread starter any day now. Or "Can anyone recommend a cool bell for a racing bike?" Or "How long should handlebar streamers be on a UCI-regulated racing bike?" or.... So many possibilities, so little time.
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Old 11-10-14, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
. . . "How long should handlebar streamers be on a UCI-regulated racing bike?" . . . .

Dang! Never even thought to measure mine. I hope they're within specs!
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Old 11-10-14, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by sced View Post
Those Zzipper fairings don't look that bad as far as tradeoffs and their web site shows some pretty impressive drag reductions. There's already a good review a few posts up. A bike designed from the start to have a fairing like a motorcycle might kick that $10k uberbike's hiney.
I can't speak to the Zzipper drag reduction numbers, except that they'll probably be less effective with the soft fairing than a full rigid fairing but while posing little issue with maneuverability. So some tradeoff still.

With the caution that I don't see the drag reduction claims for the upright products - I suspect small drag reduction with the small ones, but again I don't know. They specialize with recumbents, in my opinion because it's more effective on a 'bent.

I think you're right that a faired bike, especially a recumbent racer, could outperform the 10K uberbike.
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Old 11-10-14, 05:00 PM
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A fairing is the last thing I want on my bicycle. It would be BLAZING HOT in all but the coldest weather. Not to mention what happens in crosswinds.





Here's one from 1913 or so
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Old 11-10-14, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by loky1179 View Post
I've seen some diy jobs - looks like a lot of work, unless you have some experience forming kevlar. Motorcycle fairings I suspect would be too heavy to be practical - they have to withstand highway speeds of 80mph+; you don't need that kind of strength for a bicycle fairing.
Dang. Some of the motorcycle fairings look really cool such as this one (only 45cm wide but I could get smaller bars)

I would like a velombile or other recumbent but they are a bit too expensive.

Zzipper have yet to respond to me enquiry regarding whether they ship to Japan. It is amazing that they are not on a large percentage of bikes if they really make that much different (a gear). People pay the $200 that a Zzipper costs for parts that save them a few grams.

I do tend to ride in winter.

Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
No one but me has ever ridden mine, and I'm not going to take the chance that someone else could without endangering himself - it's not the same as riding a road bike.

So while you can get faster speeds with a full fairing, and protection from the elements is stellar, the compromises are severe enough that it's very much a specialized niche.
Might you be be so kind as to release plans?
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Old 11-10-14, 05:56 PM
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Old 11-10-14, 06:31 PM
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Fairings work great, provided you only go on flats. In anything other than time-trial conditions (flat, no drafting), they're basically just added weight. There are a few people who use them, but its really only a stopgap solution before going full recumbent. Reducing cross-section always beats reducing drag coefficient.

4/10 on the trolling.
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Old 11-10-14, 06:36 PM
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Old 11-10-14, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by gsa103 View Post
Fairings work great, provided you only go on flats. In anything other than time-trial conditions (flat, no drafting), they're basically just added weight.
I almost always ride on flats with no bicycles to draft. So there would be nothing weird, Reynolds, about a fairing.

Originally Posted by gsa103 View Post
There are a few people who use them
That only a few people use them is really weird.

Originally Posted by gsa103 View Post
but its really only a stopgap solution before going full recumbent. Reducing cross-section always beats reducing drag coefficient.
It was only recently that I realised that recumbent are faster than upright bikes. Since then I want one, but they are still twice the price. Once I can get a recumbent frame from Velobuild/PRC I will never get on a UCI bike again. CTC Forum ? View topic - Why did the UCI ban recumbents?

For the time being, in the increasing cold, I may adapt a recumbent fairing. This recumbent fairing below can be had for $250
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Old 11-11-14, 05:01 AM
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There are a lot of cheap motorcycle fairings on aliexpress
Online Buy Wholesale Motorcycle Windshield clear from China Motorcycle Windshield clear Wholesalers |Aliexpress.com -Page {3**
Such as

For about 22 usd delivered. They don't seem to weigh all that much either (about .5kg)
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Old 11-11-14, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by timtak View Post
That only a few people use them is really weird.
Not really. They're expensive, and one more thing to get in the way. The vast majority of riders would see zero net benefit because of hills, low average speeds, and group rides. Most of those who would are fast enough to see significant gains compete in UCI events and they're banned. Its a relatively simple solution to a problem most people don't encounter.
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Old 11-11-14, 09:23 AM
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Defeats a huge part of cycling for me.
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Old 11-11-14, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by timtak View Post
Those are tempting. I've been using polycarbonate/lexan panes (which already cost almost that much at Home Depot) which I bend with a heatgun. It only works well if you get a perfect curve. If I can just find the right size I'll order one.

I don't know about publishing a design. There are certain tolerances that will depend on bike geometry, and I'm reluctant to put out something that could be a death-trap without iterative testing. On the other hand rigging up a screen on the handlebar/fork should be a safer DIY. I'd still consider a tailbox though to balance out the center of lateral pressure.
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