Fairings schmairings, or do they really work?

Discussion in 'Recumbent bicycles' started by skymax, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. skymax

    skymax New Member

    Jul 25, 2005
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    While I can see that a fairing would be wonderful for protecting you
    from light rain and the icy slipstream some of you Americans get over
    I sometimes wonder if having one simply creates one extra low
    pressure bubble to drag around with you.
    If anyone can point me to some real, hard, professionally undertaken
    windtunnel tests that show they reduce drag to a point that
    compensates for their extra weight at the speeds that the AVERAGE
    Bentrider travels on the flat I would love to see it.

    Whooah! Now before you fairing owners/non-owners get on your war
    horses I want to state that I have no position in this debate and my
    mind is completely open to information on the subject. BUT, what I am
    looking for is some real evidence (if it exists) rather than personal

  2. BigEZbentman

    BigEZbentman New Member

    Oct 17, 2005
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    I just posed that question to a friend and former riding partner of mine that has years of experience in recumbent technology.

    He told me that a full fairing (from bottom of fork to top of handlebars) reaches it's potential aerodynamic advantage at 15 MPH or better. In other words, he says that at low speeds they do little or nothing to promote greater speed. He added that they are worth having in spite of speed gain as they do tend to dampen or stabilize the front wheel steering when attached to the fork/handlebars.
  3. blazingpedals

    blazingpedals New Member

    Oct 18, 2004
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    The only actual windtunnel testing of which I'm aware was done by Vision in 1999. Here's the link:

    Countless people have done more informal coastdown tests, which have been discussed on various forums ad infinitum. A search of Usenet for "coastdown" would probably turn up a zillion hits.
  4. ncaudio

    ncaudio New Member

    May 28, 2005
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    Fairings (especially of the full style) work and work well, there are certain tradeoffs such as sensitivites to sidewinds, but if you want to go fast, it's the way to go. For example Lighting has a 4 man team (1 on the bike at a time) that ran the RAMM (Race Across America) with F-40 in 5.1 days and averaged 24 MPH for the coast to coast run, try that without a fairing.

    If you want to look at ultimate aerodynamics, look at the IHPVA website that documents the races that they have every year in Nevada, flat level ground, from a standing start, 5 mile run up, timed runs, at least one bicycle has topped 80 MPH. One rule of aerodynamics is that to increase your speed by 10% takes 33% more power, so it's a lot easier to improve aerodynamics that increase power.

    I ride a Lightining F-40, I'm only a recreational rider and go out on the group rides on the weekends which include a number of very strong riders, some of whom are racers, (and some about half my age) we have an impromptu race to the break point about half way through the ride, I've come from the back and passed everyone a number of times. As one guy said: " I thought I was going pretty fast in that breakaway until you blew past"