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Your motorcycle might be covered in fairings – or not at all.

Either way, if you’d like to discover more about what makes motorcycle fairings so special, this episode is for you. 

Tune in to discover:

  • What a motorcycle fairing does
  • The 3 most common material types for fairings
  • 4 common types of motorcycle fairings


Hello, and welcome to another episode of 30-minute motorcycling – a podcast for those riders who are at the beginning of their own Dual Wheel Journey, where you’ll discover something new about how your motorcycle, moped, or scooter works – in less than 30 minutes.


Your motorcycle might have fairings on it. Or maybe it doesn’t. Either way, do you know what a fairing does – and what it’s made from?


That’s what this episode is about – but we’re also going to dive deeper into the 4 most common types of motorcycle fairings.


So, what is a fairing, and what is it made from?


A fairing is a form of protection for your motorcycle, mainly wind protection. But aside from shielding you from any windblasts, the fairing also


  • Makes the bike more aerodynamic
  • Increases your overall riding comfort
  • Shield you against bugs, dirt, and other debris


Some types of motorcycles have plenty of fairings on them, while others have little to none. For example, sport bikes often have plenty of fairings, while a standard motorcycle has next to none – it’s for this reason why standards are sometimes known as “naked bikes.”


There’s also the “streetfighter” which is a sports bike with all its fairings removed.


Typically, motorcycle fairings are made from a type of plastic known as “Acryolonitril Butadiene Sturene,” (just rolls off your tongue, doesn’t it?) or “ABS” for short – by the way, this plastic has no relation to ABS brakes apart from the abbreviation.


So to keep it easy to differentiate between the two, I’ll refer to this plastic as”ABS plastics” from here on out – that, and it’s easier to pronounce. 


Anyway, these ABS plastics are strong and flexible, while also being lightweight enough to limit the total weight of the motorcycle.


But that’s not to say that there aren’t other fairing materials available. For example, fiberglass is also common, as it has the advantage of being more durable than ABS plastic.


Even better, if a fiberglass panel is damaged, it’s possible to repair it.


But for the ultimate in lightweight fairings, carbon fiber polymer ones are also available. Of course, they’re usually only reserved for the most extreme racing motorcycles, since they come at a high cost.


With that covered, let’s move on to the 4 most common fairing types.


The first type is known as the “full fairing,” which covers the front and bottom parts of the bike – including the engine.


On a fun trivia note, the BMW R100RS was the first sports touring motorcycle that came with a full fairing as standard.


The second type of fairing is known as “half fairing.” 


If you’ve got a sports bike, it most likely has this type of fairing – with its partial covering of the engine covers and even sometimes a windscreen. However, unlike the full fairing type, the half fairing typically does not cover up the gearbox.


Let’s move on to the third fairing type – the quarter fairing, or the “bikini fairing,” as it’s sometimes known.


And like a bikini, the quarter fairing covers up very little – usually, only the rider’s head and chest are protected from any wind blasts.


Finally, there’s arguably the largest type of motorcycle fairing, and that’s the touring fairing – which, as the name suggests, is designed for touring motorcycles.


If you’ve listened to the first-ever episode of 30 Minute Motorcycling, you’ll remember that touring motorcycles are designed for riding long distances – such as cross-country, or even cross-countries.


And to do this, a touring motorcycle must have touring fairings, which give you near-complete protection from the wind, but also protects any luggage or passengers you might be carrying. 


And that’s what motorcycle fairings is, what it’s made from, and the 4 most common fairing types – from full to touring. 


I hope you enjoyed listening and above all, that you discovered something new. 


Until next time, keep your helmet on and your eyes on the road. Bye!