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how useful are fairings in bad weather?

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by mrnamjama, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. Hi

    In December-ish I'll be upgrading to a non-lams bike, so of course i've been racking my brains for months already about what to get... I live in Canberra and commute all year 'round, so up to now I've been thinking that a faired bike would definitely be a goer - to keep me out of the elements.

    now, since i'm 6'5" with long legs, I don't exactly like restricting my choices much... so the question is, what kind of difference is there between semi faired and faired bikes, in rain, hail, strong wind, bad weather in general?

    if i'm commuting year round, is there really a tangible benefit in going fully faired? does that benefit apply to sports bikes as well, or mostly the touring/ sport touring ones?

    usually the approach might be to test ride - but i honestly doubt that i'll be able to compare different bikes' performance in bad weather in december...

    for reference, i ride a cruiser now and i'm not going to ever buy a cruiser by choice again. i love the vfr800, tentatively like the gsx650f (though its weight and capacity are potentially throwing me off a little - i don't have a point of reference for performance vs displacement in bikes), i love the gsxr1000 (k5), like the versys, hate the vee and wee stroms, don't like bmws, love street triples, love the fz1... and love the budget of ~$10k.

    basically give me a small, nimble, 1000cc bike with full fairings which will comfortably accomodate my 6'5" frame and i'll be happy - failing that, what's the next best thing? :)

    i'd especially appreciate contributions from anyone who does ride in bad weather, and who has ridden naked and faired bikes - but everyone else might as well chime in too :)
  2. I can only talk about sports tourers such as the Kawasaki ZZR1100, Honda CBR1000F and the Honda Blackbird models. But they're all much of a muchness, anyway. You still get wet.
  3. current AMCN has an article about wind resistance. the make a small mention of fairings and weather in it iirc. Wet weather gear is the only way to be mostly sure, but a full fairing will help whilst your moving, but not as much as a cage.
  4. Barn door fairings on big tourers do an excellent job of keeping you out of the elements, but sportsbike fairings don't do a lot. What you want is a sportsbike with tourer fairing - doesn't exist, at least under 10 grand.
    Nearest thing is a VFR or Sprint ST.
    ZX9R is a bit sportier an a bit less comfy than these.
  5. Commuting all year round I'd personally try to avoid fully faired, as semi faired / naked is easier to maintain if you're lazy like me.

    How many kms you doing for your commute? If doing a fair bit, especially if it involves the freeway for any length, I'd say a big suzuki bandit would be worth a look at, I've seen plenty of big guys riding them.

    If your commute isn't far, doesn't require freewayish speeds then I wouldn't limit myself to a type of fairing, type or size.

    I can say when its freezing cold and raining it is nice to be able to tuck under fairing, but can't compare it to nakeds as I've never ridden one in bad weather.
  6. i used to have a vtr250, and i definatly get more wet then on my cbr600F4i.

    but depending on the down pour you will still get drenched.. so buy some wet gear just to be sure..

    i would also be tipping that you would not get as wet on a bike with more fairing then a SS bike. given that SS bike have minimal farings..
  7. The only 2 bikes I've ever owned which I could ride in moderate rain (at about 110kph) and basically not get wet were my old Kawasaki GTR1000 and my Current Moto Guzzi Norge GT. Even with those you still got wet if the wind was gusty or coming strongly from the wrong angle or it was very heavy.

    And both of those bikes are well towards the touring end of the equation.

    None of the sports tourers I've owned (like my Triumph Sprint ST) have provided much in the way of protection from rain. They keep your chest area out of the rain but that's about it. Having said that they do reduce the amount of rain that hits your body which means it takes longer for your wet weather gear to start leaking.
  8. Full touring fairings do definitely help. My old K series ex-cop bike worked well on the move. Unfortunately you spend a lot of time going slowly or actually stopped in traffic when you are commuting so they are not all that effective in town.

    If you really want to stay dry - a scooter wiht a big screen and a waterproof lap rug.
  9. my commute is quite short - ~11kms, 80km/h limit most of the way, with 60km/h zones at either end. it usually involves 4 or 5 stops at lights, but other than that i'm moving...

    i have wet weather gear which hasn't let me down at all so far (granted, haven't spent longer than ~30 mins in 'cat and dog' downpours)

    it sounds like unless i go for a full on tourer, fairings are there basically to provide a bit of relief from chest wind and better aerodynamics... reduced exposure to the elements is a secondary effect and doesn't do away with the need for full wet weather gear in any case - does that about sum it up?

    if that's the case, then i wouldn't discount naked bikes for commuting during winter
  10. sounds about right until someone invents a star trek type shield
  11. IMO it sums it up pretty well except that one effect of naked bikes vs sports tourers is the wind chill effect.

    Because your chest/stomach is your body core and it's your core temperature that's most important in very cold conditions a rider on a sports/tourer with full fairing will feel significantly less chill than a rider on a naked bike.

    Having said that for a shortish commute and lowish speeds the effect won't be great (different if you're doing the BMW icicle ride for 8 hours in the middle of night in the middle of winter).
  12. that's a fair point, and it's for that reason that i currently put the massive windscreen onto the xv750 in winter.

    i remove it as soon as i can because it does something which makes me feel disconnected from the road... i can't put my finger on it, but without the screen i feel much more like i'm on a motorbike!

    really it's not that bad without it, just need to rug up a little bit in winter...
  13. Fairings are great for keeping you dry. You simply yank them off your bike (in the process, stopping being a poof) and hold them over your head when you walk around.

    Oh, and the palms, soles and face are the key body parts that can influence the body's core temperature most effectively, as far as I'm aware.

  14. when i got my Ls, ~40% of my rides were around 1-3am, in the middle of canberra's winter, and in rain.

    now that was fun! ha ha
  15. I thought they were the parts that most influenced your partners core temperature.

  16. NICE!!!!
  17. Bandit 1250S FTW
  18. If your fairings arnt keeping you dry it means your just not riding fast enough.
  19. Strong wind can make things lively on some faired bikes.
  20. funny you should say that - I was made aware of that bike just yesterday... it sounds pretty good, though i'm not a huge fan of its bikini fairing; it's kind of nosey, too far forward...

    they look like pretty big bikes, i'm guessing my height wouldn't be much of a problem?