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Full fairings make a difference?

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by evman, Apr 29, 2016.

  1. So I currently ride a cb400 as my main transport, which includes riding the Hume freeway back home to Canberra for a few hours twice a week. I want a bike that is a bit (a lot?) more comfortable at 110. The naked cb400 is fine for the daily commute, but tiring on the longer ride, not to mention it sits at over 6000 rpm.

    Anyway my question to anyone who has spent some time on both types, is a full fairing e.g GSX1250 more comfortable than a half fairing e.g GSF1250/CBF1000? Other than cost to repair if dropped, is there any reason not to have the full fairing? Or is it irrelevant.

  2. To me most faired bikes send the wind straight into my face and are less comfortable at those speeds unless you tuck under the screen. I find aftermarket screens much worse than factory screens as factory screens tend to send the air into my chest (although they are harder to tuck under).

    I think it really depends on the individual. I'd try to wrangle a test ride on a highway and see how it goes. No better way to find out than that.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Thanks. I'm not against getting another naked either if its no worse. I guess I should mention I'm average height at 174cm
  4. I have fitted a couple of fairing to my bike over the years. It helped a lot when you could cruise at 130 and above. That doesnt happen now with the heavy weight of our overloads. With a set of resonably flatish bars 110 is not to bad with the wind holding you up and a better quality helmet with no buffering.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Yeah often a big part of the problem with buffetting is your helmet.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. A full fairing is generally better at prolonged freeway pace, provided you find the screen effective. Screens are incredibly subjective though. Really, you'll just have to try one, then another, and maybe another till you find the right one you like. As a positive though, after market screens are usually easy to find. I can recommend Eagle Screens in WA. I bought a touring style screen with a laminar lip on the top edge for my old ZZR, I found it excellent for weather protection, noise, vibration etc.

    A full fairing bike may be dearer to service (slightly) as there is more to remove to gain access etc, but otherwise would be a good choice for long freeway rides.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Thanks for the replies. Sounds like the main issue is the screen, not so much the fairings themselves, which is good as gives me more to choose from. I guess I'll just have to try some different types of bikes and see if any feel better.
  8. There is a big difference with a faired by compared to naked. So much easier at speed, and quieter and drier too.
    For a regular long ride like that a faired bike would make your trip more pleasant.
    What about one of the BMW tourers to add to your list? R1150RT or similar. The Suzuki GSX1250F would be well suited too.
  9. Yeah I'm looking at those too. I was just wondering if I should look at the half fairing bikes really, or just go full fairing.
  10. Hi evman,

    I've commuted on a couple of naked bikes, a 150cc 2 stroke road bike and a 250cc 4 stroke trail bikes geared up a bit, and I'm now on my second fully faired bike.
    In my opinion the answer to your question is yes, faired bikes are just better for those longhaul trips.

    There are several things to consider.

    Probably the big one for me is temperature and weather protection.

    On long runs and down to Coldberra, and through Couldburn in winter getting the wind off you makes a huge difference. A good fairing also keeps almost all the rain off you as well. Depending on the design you may also get more heat from the motor channeled through the fairing and coming out around your legs. Mmmmmmmmm toasty. I used to rug up for winter with layer upon layer and thick winter gauntlets and it would take me a minute or so to actually get my hands to unwrap from the bars when I arrived for my 7am start. Now I use summer gloves and my mesh jacket all year round, I may add a merino base layer under the jacket and put in the membrane when it gets cold or wet, but I rarely feel cold enough to need thermal liners or a layer under my draggin jeans. The downside is that you may not keep as cool in warm weather, but the fairing will also keep that fan heater blast off you in really hot weather too.

    Second issue is that a good fairing reduces the amount of buffeting you get which makes long rides physically less tiring. A fully faired big bike is more planted on the road less tiring to ride over a long day at freeway speeds. The bike doesn't get pushed around the lane as much by passing traffic either. It's worth doing a test ride at highway speed if you can arrange it as some fairings work better than others.

    Third issue, if you're buying a bike like a GSF1250FA, there aren't really a lot to choose from in that fully faired tourer class these days, but generally these bikes are pretty smooooooooth, so you get a lot less vibration issues for your hands. No bike is totally free of vibrations, but generally these bikes are smooth and having a bit more displacement than your 400 means less work for your wrist to roll on for a pass so hopefully you won't have tingly hands for a day or so after your commute.

    Yes, a fully faired tourer like a GS1250FA or my VFR800 is going to run more costs to service, but not necessarily a great deal more than your CB400. I felt those factors above made it well worthwhile, and I do periodically do a Central Coast to Canberra run when I need to a fast turnaround on a visa for example. In most cases that would be a day trip, so approximately an 800km day.
    • Informative Informative x 2
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    • Winner Winner x 1
  11. If it were me I'd go full fairing.
    It keeps your legs dry when it's raining and helps keep your feet dry too. Plus, in Winter it is keeping the wind off you and making it easier to stay warm.
    I reckon it would improve highway fuel economy too.
  12. Ok, keeping the freezing Canberra rain off my legs is a major concern. Interesting reading the difference fatbastared finds, in that your able to wear normal gear and not freeze. Full fairing sounds like the way to go.
  13. Full or half fairing compared to naked makes enormous difference "full stop" BUT you need to have screen or screen/spoiler just under eye level & tilted back about 10 deg to shift top air blast just over or at top of helmet.
    There are a ton of aftermarket screens available plus spoilers that can be attached around top of screen.
    Bottom line is the more protective frontal coverage you can hook up the better, unlike everybody thinks there is not a lot of science to it, is just all about stopping air blasting onto you, is that simple.
    Systems using screen & big spoiler on top work much better than just a tall screen as spoilers allow some low pressure air flow in to keep pressure differential between your front/back more balanced.
    Ps, If screen/spoiler is NOT at a minimum just under eye level it can cause more problems than not having one at all, as can direct air straight onto top of chest/helmet & create lots of buffeting issues.
    Apart from redirecting air off your chest/head they offer very good rain/cold protection.
    I got another 8klm/hr top speed out of my bike when I got screen/spoiler set up correctly as makes bike air path a lot more efficient.
    My bike has not a lot of HP but with a good screen/spoiler set up it certainly hauls in the disadvantages, my bike accelerates between roughly 140 to 230klm/hr noticeably quicker for this reason thus can keep up with much bigger bikes better now although I don't condone doing this unless on a track.
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  14. Ex-police FJR, ST, BMW etc not on your list?
    I have an FJR and if you keep moving, have the heated grips on, and the fairing adjusted to the right height, then it is almost a pleasure to
    be out in the weather on one of these. There is a good reason why the Sports Tourer bikes are what the police etc use as daily transport.
    • Like Like x 3
  15. Jump on a Goldwing and you will have great wind protection P1020579.JPG
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  16. Not sure on the fairing debate but I'd definitely go for a bigger engine, then lower revs on the fwy is going to be much more comfortable and probably more economical.
  17. Yeah, that's my plan. The 400 sits on the edge of vtec range now.
  18. That may actually be where it's most economical but you can always change a sprocket to drop the revs on the freeway for more relaxed cruising. Displacement will drop the revs back though. The big bandit may be your friend here, I'm not entirely sure why they gave it a gear box, for road legal speeds, you could just stick it in third and leave it there. It's got torque like a tractor and pulling away from the lights in third is no issue, or fourth for that matter. In top on the freeway it's not much above an idle. My choice came down to the big faired bandit or the VFR800 and I just felt more comfortable on the VFR and felt the build quality was better. Both beautiful bikes to ride though.
    • Like Like x 1