Motorcycle fairings are the shell that covers and surrounds parts of the motorcycle’s front and sides. Usually, motorcycle fairings are made from different types of ABS plastic or fiberglass.
However, just because motorcycle fairings are made from plastic or fiberglass does not mean they are cheap.
In fact this is one of the things that will unpleasantly surprise most motorcycle owners—the price of motorcycle fairings and how bizarrely expensive they can be.
Why are motorcycle fairings so expensive? Motorcycle fairings are expensive because they are not easy to manufacture. The making of motorcycle fairings is an expensive process because it involves a lot of craftsmanship and expertise, and since they are usually produced abroad, they are also expensive to ship.
The actual cost of motorcycle fairings can come off as a surprise to new riders. But are the higher costs justified? Let’s take a more in-depth look at what influences the prices of motorcycle fairings and what you can expect to see.
What makes motorcycle fairings so expensive?
Some people may say that motorcycle fairings are expensive simply because they can be. But there is more to motorcycle fairings than meets the eye.
There are several reasons why motorcycle fairings are so expensive.
The manufacturing process
Not all motorcycle fairings are created equal.
The quality of the materials and paint used will affect the price of the end product, however, there is more to motorcycle fairings than just that.
One thing to consider is the number of pieces the motorcycle’s fairings consist of and their size.
Smaller pieces are usually easier and less expensive to make, while in comparison, some motorcycles can have their front fairing be one piece; which is trickier to make and as a result more expensive.
For example, smaller quarter front motorcycle fairings can cost $100, while a front dragbike fairing, which can be one big piece, can cost as much as $700 in some instances.
That being said, the different fairing pieces tend to cost differently. Upper front fairings can cost between $100 and $700, while lower front fairings can cost between $150 to $350, and tail sections can be between $200 to $450.
There are two types of motorcycle fairings depending on how they are made: compression molded and injection molded.
Compression-molded motorcycle fairings are usually cheaper but are also prone to fitting issues due to the way they are made. The injection-molded motorcycle fairings, on the other hand, is considered to be superior.
The plastic injection moulding process used for making motorcycle fairings is fairly expensive because the molds are also not cheap. Making the molds for the fairings alone can cost several thousand dollars because making a good and precise mold is tricky and requires a good deal of craftsmanship and measuring equipment.
These costs stack up pretty quickly, bringing the prices for motorcycle fairings up as well.
See article: How much do motorcycle fairings cost
The paint job
Usually, unpainted motorcycle fairings will be less expensive. Unpainted motorcycle fairings can cost about $600 on average.
Depending on the type of the paint job, fairings will get more expensive, with the most expensive usually being the custom airbrushed fairings, some of which can sell for more than $2,000.
Usually, there will be a slight difference in the quality of the paint on aftermarket fairings compared to stock fairings.
The demand vs. supply
Another simple reason why some motorcycle fairings can be so expensive is due to the type of motorcycle they are designed for.
Some motorcycles simply have a larger following, and there will be a bigger market for some fairings compared to others.
The bigger the demand, the more companies will be interested in making motorcycle fairings for that said motorcycle brand or model, leading to bigger competition and subsequently lower prices.
Since manufacturing motorcycle fairings can be costly and overall a big investment for the manufacturer, motorcycle fairings that are in low demand will often be more expensive.
OEM vs. aftermarket fairings
Aftermarket motorcycle fairings are usually less expensive than OEM fairings. OEM parts can be very expensive, often costing between $150 to $550 each.
OEM motorcycle fairings can be as much as five times as expensive as aftermarket fairings.
A full set of OEM fairings often cost upwards of $2,500, while aftermarket fairings can be found for $300 to $1,200 or more, depending on the type, quality, and number of pieces.
Often the larger OEM fairing pieces can cost between $350 to $650 each, when, in comparison, full aftermarket fairing kits can be found for $600 to $700.
However, that doesn’t make aftermarket fairings necessarily bad. Usually, some work is needed to get them on, but that does not have to involve drilling or sawing.
However, due to the lower price, aftermarket fairings are often more in demand than OEM parts.
Shipping is one of the biggest expenses when it comes to buying motorcycle fairings.
Not all riders will have the pleasure of buying their fairings from a local seller or store.
Depending on the seller’s and buyer’s location, often shipping a full set of motorcycle fairings can cost $200 to $350.
What are the most expensive motorcycle fairings?
Motorcycle fairings can cost between $100 to $650 per piece, with full sets costing on average between $550 and $850. However, the most expensive motorcycle fairings can cost between $3,400 to $4,500, depending on their type and quality.
Full fairings are usually the most expensive, often costing between $550 to upwards of $3,000. Half and quarter motorcycle fairings are normally less expensive, costing between $100 to $650.
Do expensive motorcycle fairings make a difference?
The old adage you get what you pay for holds true for motorcycle fairings as well. However, you don’t necessarily have to go for the most expensive options.
Here’s the thing.
More expensive motorcycle fairings normally fit better, while less expensive motorcycle fairings will have some slight fitment issues and can be hit or miss.
Some of the cheaper fairings can have gaps between the panels or need additional drilling and sawing as holes can sometimes be in the wrong places.
Another problem with some of the really cheap fairings is that they can end up melting due to the engine’s heat.
One of the concerns riders can have with cheaper motorcycle fairings is whether the color will match with the rest of the motorcycle. Usually, there is a good variety of colors to choose from, especially since (depending on where you buy from) some sellers make the fairings per order. Reaching out to them and asking them for a specific or even stock color is usually not a problem.
Generally speaking, though, aftermarket fairings may have lower quality paint jobs, and the paint tends to crack easier.
Expensive motorcycle fairings are worth it if you don’t mind spending significantly more money on something that has been made specifically for your motorcycle.
Motorcycle fairings have different pros and cons. Usually, motorcycle fairings are used for reducing air drag. They can reduce the amount of wind buffeting the rider experiences while riding and offer some low levels of protection to the mechanical parts covered by the fairings against possible damage.
However, one of the downsides to fairings is that they are a big investment and are expensive to replace, and on top of that, they are usually one of the parts that tend to break a lot. Even dropping a motorcycle at 0 mph can result in damaged or scuffed fairings that may need to be replaced.
However, due to how expensive OEM motorcycle fairings can be, riders will often prefer to go for cheaper aftermarket fairings or shop for used fairings.
When ordering aftermarket motorcycle fairings, it is recommended to always find sellers who have good reviews and reputation as you will still be spending a fairly large sum of money.
Are second-hand motorcycle fairings expensive?
Second-hand or used motorcycle fairings will be cheaper than brand new ones but how much they will cost depends on their quality and type.
Used aftermarket fairings will sell cheaply, often for less than $200.
However, second-hand OEM motorcycle fairings can still be pretty expensive sometimes. Depending on their quality, a full set of OEM motorcycle fairings can cost between $200 to $400, and sometimes they can sell for as much as $1,500.