Deciding on whether to use motorcycle fairings or not can be a difficult task. Especially if you are not sure what the pros and cons of riding a faired motorcycle as opposed to a naked motorcycle are.
The pros of motorcycle fairings are that they lower wind buffeting, improve the motorcycle’s aerodynamics, and make long rides less tiring. Some fairings can even provide additional storage for accessories and bags. The cons of motorcycle fairings are that they generally make servicing and cleaning the motorcycle harder.
However, there some other subtle advantages and disadvantages to motorcycle fairings, and in this article, we will take a more detailed look at the pros and cons of motorcycle fairings.
By the end of it, you will have a better idea of whether or not motorcycle fairings will be right for you and if you are truly missing out on something. Let’s take a look.
List of the pros of motorcycle fairings
Motorcycle fairings make the motorcycle more aerodynamic
One of the main purposes of motorcycle fairings is improving the motorcycle’s aerodynamics, thus reducing the air drag and providing downforce for better traction and stability.
This can make the motorcycle cut through the air a lot more smoothly. It will need less power to maintain its speed, too.
As a result, fairings can positively affect fuel consumption, which is observed only at high speeds as at low speeds when riding at highways or interstates, and can allow the motorcycle to gain speed a little faster.
At lower speeds, read street riding, usually the amount of fuel you can save is negligible.
Motorcycle fairings can positively affect the motorcycle’s handling
Typically fairings provide better stability at higher speeds and, in certain cases, improved feedback from the front end of the motorcycle.
That being said, fairings can also have a negative effect on the handling. (More on that in a bit.)
You will experience less buffeting
Fairings can typically reduce the wind buffeting that you can normally experience with a naked motorcycle.
The amount of buffeting will depend on the motorcycle and the fairings it has but, generally, the wind buffeting up to the chest area is lowered, and there is usually also less wind noise.
This will be a big plus for people who tend to ride on highways and really don’t like the wind buffeting.
For riders who do not do a lot of highway miles or don’t mind feeling the wind, this may not really be a big advantage over a naked motorcycle. That being said, windshields can be used on naked motorcycles, which can help to deal with the wind buffeting on a naked motorcycle.
However, on interstates and highways, especially at high speeds, for the fairing to make a big difference, you need to tuck in, which is not something every rider would like to do.
And here’s the thing.
If you are riding a lot on highways and interstates, you will have to consider getting a windshield even for a fully-faired motorcycle, granted you want to protect yourself from the wind.
So the difference overall will be slight. Often naked motorcycles can be better for street riding—many naked motorcycles are tuned for better low to mid-range power, while faired motorcycles will be more comfortable to ride on highways.
Read Next: Pros and cons of motorcycle windshield
Fairings can offer protection against the elements
With some types of fairings (like the Batwing, for example), you will also have better protection for your hands, which is especially important in winter.
Some fairings can actually keep you drier if it rains.
However, during hot weather, a naked motorcycle may be better than a faired one for short trips.
More storage room
Fully faired motorcycles can sometimes offer plenty of luggage space, allowing you to haul things with ease. On top of that, you can also add some accessories like a radio or speakers behind the fairing.
Fairings can make riding less tiring
Since motorcycle fairings (and windshields, too) reduce wind buffeting, they are great for longer trips and higher speeds.
Since you will not be fighting the wind all the time, you will feel less tired overall compared to riding on a naked motorcycle.
As a result, a good motorcycle fairing can make riding your motorcycle a lot more pleasant and enjoyable to the point where refueling can turn into an unpleasant chore.
List of the cons of motorcycle fairings
Motorcycle fairings can make maintenance and care harder
One of the problems that many owners will run into when doing their regular maintenance or just all-around working on their motorcycle is that they will need to remove the fairings to be able to get the engine or other parts of the motorcycle.
Even routine maintenance and care and even cleaning the motorcycle can be somewhat frustrating with a fully-faired motorcycle.
In comparison with the naked motorcycles, you can see every part of the motorcycle and access it. This makes the maintenance and care on naked motorcycles a breeze.
Fairings add weight
Motorcycle fairings can end up being fairly heavy.
Heavier motorcycles are not necessarily harder to ride, but some riders will not appreciate the added weight to the front of their motorcycle.
Fairings can be expensive to replace
Motorcycle fairings can be very expensive. And if you happen to drop your motorcycle or get in an accident, it is almost guaranteed that you will need to replace the fairings.
They are fairly easy to scratch and break, and even a low-speed drop can damage them.
On the other hand, there is a higher chance of damaging some of the motorcycle’s important parts if it doesn’t have fairings.
See article: How much do motorcycle fairings cost
Faired motorcycles may have poorer ergonomics
Some fully-faired motorcycle may not have the best ergonomics compared to some naked motorcycles.
It all comes down to what the motorcycle has been designed to do and how the ergonomics determine the position of your body.
Some of the faired motorcycles will have their seats high while the handlebar remains fairly low. This results in a more demanding body position. This body position is more demanding and less comfortable.
A more upright position is usually more comfortable and fun for most riders—especially for beginners—and is less tiring.
And this brings us nicely to the next topic.
Fairings can negatively affect the handling of the motorcycle
One of the things that riders will experience is that fairings can affect the motorcycle’s handling. Handlebar fairings can affect the handling of the motorcycle more than frame-mounted fairings.
Usually, the front of the motorcycle will feel heavier and depending on the type of the fairings and how big they are, they can be affected by the wind in different ways.
One of the downsides is that you cannot really be certain how the fairings will affect the motorcycle’s handling, if at all. Some poorly designed fairings can even case speed-wobbles, which can be extremely dangerous.
Overall usually, the change in handling is not too big and should take most riders one to four weeks to adapt.
Danger of tipping over
The wind can blow over the motorcycle depending on the wind’s speed and how the motorcycle has been parked—especially if blowing from behind and gets cached in the fairings.
Read Next: How much wind is too much for a motorcycle?
Fairings can take more space
One of the problems with fully-faired motorcycles, depending on the motorcycle and the fairings installed, is that the fairings can reduce the ground clearance and pass through cramped spaces.
Faired motorcycles may not be the best option for beginners
One of the issues with faired motorcycles is that they promote a more tucked-in body position, which can get you tired more easily. And being tired affects your concentration, alertness, and overall ability to focus and decision-making skills.
Riding tired is one of the biggest mistakes motorcyclists can make as this can be very dangerous as it increases the risk of crashing.
This is why faired motorcycles may not be a good idea for beginners. That being said, there are plenty of choices nowadays, and there are fully-faired motorcycles that can be ridden in a more upright position. So it is something to be aware of.
But it is not all about ergonomics.
Naked is also a subtle way that you can keep your speed in check, as once the speed gets really high, riders will experience an excellent feedback loop in the face of the wind resistance.
With a faired motorcycle, riders will often feel a lot more comfortable pushing into higher speeds, which can be dangerous for beginners.
Fairings can affect your field of view
The fairings can also affect how much of the road you can see.
However, the impact is fairly small, and many riders do not consider this to be of significant importance. Nonetheless, it should be noted.
Top Motorcycle Fairings Pros and Cons of : Summary List
|Motorcycle Fairings Pros||Motorcycle Fairings Cons|
|Fairings improve motorcycle aerodynamics||Motorcycle fairings add weight|
|They lower wind and buffeting||They can make maintenance and care harder|
|They can offer protection against the elements||Can negatively affect ergonomics|
|Fairings can improve motorcycle’s handling||Low quality fairings can negative affect handling|
|They can make riding less tiring||Fairings can be expensive to replace|
|Fairings can offer extra storage room||They can take more space|
|They may positively affect MPG||Fairings can affect the rider’s FOV|
Do you need motorcycle fairings?
So far, you have learned what the advantages and disadvantages of motorcycle fairings are.
Motorcycle fairing advantages
- Better aerodynamics
- Less tiring long trips
- Better MPGs
- Lower wind buffeting
- Better protection against the elements
Motorcycle fairing disadvantages
- More difficult routine maintenance and care
- Fairings add weight
- Faired motorcycles can have bad ergonomics
- Fairings can possibly affect handling negatively
- Fairings allow for riding at higher speeds
A fully-faired motorcycle is not necessarily better than a naked motorcycle and vice versa.
You have learned so far that there are some small and subtle ways fairings can affect your riding experience, but generally speaking, it will all depend on your riding style and what you like.
With fairings, it can be said that there is one big trade-off. You trade convenience off the road, when you are doing your maintenance and care, for convenience on the road.
However, there is one thing that we have not discussed. And this is aesthetics.
The way the motorcycle looks is undeniably one of the important things about the motorcycle. But stylistic preferences are up to a personal choice and liking.
Some people like the look of naked motorcycles, while others will prefer the looks of a fully-faired motorcycle.
A naked motorcycle is going to have that classic, raw look, while a faired motorcycle will look more sleek and sport-like look.
The question that needs to be answered here is what do you personally like or what kind of motorcycles do you like?
And when it comes to aesthetics, there will always be different opinions. There is no right or wrong answer here.
To some, fairings will be an advantage, while to others, a disadvantage.