GUIDES

BMW Motorcycle Fairings Buying Guide

The feeling of the wind blowing in your hair while weaving through traffic or winding along a long and lonesome highway gives many motorcycle riders the illusion of being able to fly. Of course the reality is that there are the rules of the road to follow and abide by, but that doesn’t take away the feeling that only a motorcycle can provide the rider.

While there are hundreds of motorcycle manufacturers on the market, have a strong presence on the market with their machines. They provide the rider with a sense of security, and the name itself implies comfort and luxury. Throughout the company’s long history, BMW motorcycles have continued to expand upon technology to provide riders with the most up to date safety mechanisms, for both OEM products and aftermarket options.

As with any type of mechanical product, it is up to the owner to maintain the motorcycle’s parts and obtain the correct upgrades. One such item that requires careful attention is the motorcycle fairings. To obtain the perfect BMW motorcycle fairings, riders benefit from having an understanding of how fairings operate, the differences among the various fairings, and how they are made. This buying guide helps the rider understand BMW motorcycle fairings and how to buy them.

BMW History

In 1916, BMW (Bavarian Motor Works) began with the production of truck and aircraft engines during World War 1. When the war ended and the Treaty of Versailles mandated that the making of aircraft engines be banned, BMW created BMW Motorrad (motorrad is the German word for motorcycle) and started on the journey toward becoming a leader in luxury motorcycles.

BMW motorcycles are defined by their unique design. They offer distinctive lines and were one of the leaders in offering anti-lock brakes (ABS) to their riders. BMW continues to offer their riders new technology and comfortable rides with many different series of motorcycles to choose from, including the R, K, F, and G Series.

Although genuine BMW motorcycle parts are manufactured in Germany, some of the engines are made in other areas around the world. The most well known motorcycle the company produces is from the R series, which made up almost one-third of sales in 2009.

The History of the Fairing

Fairings were actually created for aviation purposes. Mathematicians and engineers were concerned about the need for lift while minimizing air drag. Essentially, a curve with no break is called continuous while a curve with no sharp corners is smooth in the world of mathematicians. In simple terms, if there are no deviations in the radius of a curvature, the curve is called "fair." Thus, fairings were created to assist airplanes in minimizing turbulence and creating a smooth airplane ride. Airplanes have smooth curved sheets of metal that attach where the wing meets the body of the plane to create smooth airflow.

What Is a Motorcycle Fairing?

Motorcycle fairings are the protective shells that are fitted over the frame of the motorcycle. These are more common in motorcycles that are made to race as one of the main purposes of fairings is to minimize air drag. Motorcycle fairings may also assist in minimizing the consumption of fuel and protect the rider from any dangers that may otherwise pop up from the road. Additionally, motorcycle fairings offer protection to the driver and the motorcycle engine from wind-induced hypothermia.

BMW motorcycle fairings may be part of the original equipment or they may be an aftermarket addition. Typically, serious racers or riders upgrade the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) fairings, either on their own or by hiring professionals. As the rider needs the fairing to be secure and safe, those who are less handy with tools may find it worth the time and money to have them installed professionally.

As with most motorcycle parts, there are different kinds of fairings. The following chart outlines some of the most popular. Essentially, the larger the motorcycle fairing, the less of the original appearance the motorcycle will have.

Type of Fairing

Characteristics

Full fairing

Very large

Placed over top and bottom sections of the bike

Reduces drag and provide a windscreen

Protects the motorcycle engine and chassis if an accident occurs

Half fairing

Provides a windscreen

Only provides cover for half of the motorcycle

Less expensive

Quarter fairing, may also be called a bikini fairing

Windscreen

Partial fairing that extends from the headlight to the triple clamp

Dolphin fairing

Modeled after the front wheel mudguard

Very popular

Belly pan fairing

Quarter and half fairings may be added with a belly pan under the engine

Diverts air flow from the engine and minimizes aerodynamic lift

May be required for some race tracks

The size of the fairings depends upon the reason for adding them to the motorcycle. For racers who are looking to diminish wind drag, the larger fairings may be appropriate. If the rider is a casual rider who races non-competitively, the smaller fairings may suffice.

How Are Motorcycle Fairings Made?

BMW motorcycle fairing may be made from different materials. The most popular tends to be high grade ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) plastic as it is durable and light. This plastic works well for the creation of fairings because it is easy to work with in the molding process and the plastic comes in different grades. It is fairly reasonable in price and is heat resistant. Being heat resistant is imperative for motorcycles as the fairings are located in high energy zones and can become very hot.

Fairings may also be made from fiberglass or PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Fiberglass is lightweight and can be coated with a gel or other material to provide a protective sealant. It is commonly found on motorcycles used on racetracks as it is more durable than ABS. PVC is not as heat resistant as ABS and has been known to become brittle, leading to potential breakage.

Motorcycle fairings are created from molds and may be pressed or injected into the mold. Injection molds allow for the ABS plastic to be directly injected into the mold. Injection molds are thought to provide a solid product that is true to specifics. Compression molds force the plastic into a specific shape and are not be as highly regarded by some riders.

How to Buy BMW Motorcycle Fairings

eBay offers the motorcycle rider an opportunity to browse through new and used motorcycle parts. To make any purchases on eBay, it is best to become a registered user and it is easy to sign up from the home page. If you are new to eBay, you should take a few minutes to look over the site because familiarizing yourself with the terminology and setup of the site will assist you in making purchases more confidently.

To start the search for BMW motorcycle fairings, type "BMW motorcycle fairing" into the Search box on any page. The next page shows the results from that search. You can then use the Categories to narrow down the results. If you are looking for a specific part, you can type that into the Search box too, such as "BMW full fairing."

Be sure to ask any questions prior to making a purchase as some sellers do not offer returns. It’s also a good idea to get a feel for the seller by reading the seller’s feedback scores, which are ratings from previous transactions. Top-rated sellers are those who have made hundreds of transactions and they usually have high feedback scores.

Conclusion

Motorcycle riders have many options for customizing their bikes. From color to stickers and rims to fairings, the average rider may dress up his or her bike and make it as unique as the rider wants.

While there are multiple motorcycle manufacturers, BMW motorcycles have a reputation for durability and luxury. Upon making a motorcycle purchase, the rider has the option of keeping the OEM parts that come with the bike or upgrading any or all the parts on the bike.

BMW motorcycle fairings are one such upgrade that can be made. Some riders choose to do the upgrades themselves, while others choose to let a professional complete the upgrades for them. While the decision is totally up to the owner, it can make the difference in the level of safety for both the rider and the bike in the event of an accident.

BMW motorcycle fairings can be made from a variety of materials in a few different ways. The type of material used in the fairings in combination with how they were created does make a difference in the outcome of the final product. The rider benefits from doing some research into the different types of fairings to ensure they coordinate with the rider’s ability and needs.

If the rider is looking to make one upgrade that sets his or her bike apart from others, the fairing is a good choice. Even small and fairly unnoticeable fairings make a difference in the overall performance of the motorcycle. Fairings not only make the bike look good, they can provide some security measures for the rider as well. All in all, fairings are a great upgrade for the BMW motorcycles and their owners.