Fairings, Streamlining and Drag


Let the record show I think the fully faired “dustbin” style streamlining fairings are among the ugliest sights on God’s Green Earth.  Hell.  I don’t even much like full race fairings, and in spite of all the wisdom and numbers I can see about efficiency I doubt I’ll ever spring for one.  I may…  one day, in a fit of dementia, buy one of those classic, 1970s style race fairings that the TD3 used to run, but I’m not counting on it.  So there.

That said, I’ve been curious about fairings and aerodynamics in general, and the difference between an unfaired bike, a race fairing and the full-on streamliner fairing.  Well, I found this graphic on the Shultz Engineering site.  He’s manic into electric motocycles anyway so it’s a great link, but here’s the graphic.



OK, that’s a surprise.  The racing fairing, a “modern” one at that, has almost double the Coefficient of Drag as a full Front/Rear.  That results in what looks like 25 – 30% more force on the bike at 50mph*.  Um.  yeah.  OK.  More than double the full Front/Rear and you get the unfaired bike, and that’s about 50% more than the race fairing.  Damn.

*Don’t you dare give me crap about my maths.  I guessed, from the pitcha.  If you have exact numbers then post them graciously and I’ll take credit for them and act like I figured them out myself.



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