Motorcycle fairings come in all shapes and sizes – from full to half and even quarter fairings.

But have you ever wondered what those fairings are for, or what they’re made from?

In this blog post, you’ll discover more about motorcycle fairings, including:

 

  • What a motorcycle fairing does
  • 3 common materials that a motorcycle fairing is made from
  • The 4 most common types of motorcycle fairings
Prefer to get this information in podcast form? Listen to the 30 Minute Motorcycling Podcast episode about motorcycle fairings:

What is a Motorcycle Fairing?

A fairing is a form of wind protection for your motorcycle. In addition to shielding you from any windblasts, the fairing also:

  • Makes the bike more aerodynamic
  • Increases rider comfort
  • Shields you against bugs, dirt, and other debris

Fairings are particularly common for sports bikes, but that doesn’t mean all motorcycles have them.

For example, a standard motorcycle has few fairings, which is why some people call this type of motorcycle a “naked bike.”

What is a Motorcycle Fairing Made From?

Motorcycle fairings and typically made from a special type of plastic known as “Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene,” or “ABS” for short (not to be confused with ABS brakes).

ABS plastics is strong and flexible while being lightweight enough to limit the overall weight of the motorcycle.

But it’s not the only material for fairings. Fiberglass is also a common fairing material – being more durable than ABS plastics. Furthermore, a damaged fiberglass panel can be repaired.

For an even more lightweight touch, carbon fiber polymer fairings are available, although their high cost means it’s reserved for only the most extreme of racing motorcycles.

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    4 Common Types of Motorcycle Fairings

    1. Full fairing

    JanH015, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

    A full fairing is a fairing that covers both the front and the bottom parts of the motorcycle – including the engine.

    On a fun trivia note, the BMW R100RS (pictured above) was the first sport touring motorcycle that came with a full fairing as standard.

    2. Half fairing

    Gogtjop at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

    If you’ve got a sports bike (such as the Suzuki SV650 pictured above), it highly likely has this type of fairing.

    Compared with a full fairing, the coverage from a half fairing isn’t as great. While a half fairing often uses a windshield and engine covers, the gearbox is typically not covered up.

    3. Quarter fairing

    Stahlkocher, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

    Sometimes known as a “bikini fairing,” the quarter fairing is minimal. The wind protection it offers is often limited to just the rider’s head and chest.

    4. Touring fairing

    Since touring motorcycles are for long-distance rides (sometimes even cross-country), the rider and their passengers need near-complete protection from the wind and the elements.

    Not only that, but touring riders also need plenty of luggage space.

    That’s where touring fairings come in, which offer even more coverage than a full fairing.