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Fiberglass vs ABS Plastic Fairing - Which is the Better Option?

Fiberglass vs ABS Plastic Fairing - Which is the Better Option?

All riders love to augment their vehicle’s look using aftermarket motorcycle parts. The degree of customization varies between riders. Most riders prefer to have fairings; others want to change handlebars, install sissy bars, etc.

To cater to different riders, different types of fairings are available on the market, including full, quarter, half, handlebar, and wheel fairings.

This guide will analyze fiberglass and ABS plastic fairings based on their dimensions, materials, and features to determine which option is better.

1. Importance Of Motorcycle Fairings

1.1 What Are Motorcycle Fairings?

Motorcycle fairings are durable shells placed over the motorcycle’s frame to deflect wind and reduce air drag.

A motorcycle fairing protects the rider from hypothermia and airborne hazards, and also prevents damage to the engine in case of an accident.

1.2 What Do Motorcycle Fairings Do?

Considered a stylish add-on, motorcycle fairing improves performance by reducing drag and helps with aerodynamics.

Also improving fuel efficiency and economy, a fairing makes it possible to ride at high speeds at low rpm ranges.

2. Better Aerodynamics & Performance

The main motive of fairings on a motorcycle is to reduce air resistance as much as possible. Streamlined motorcycles equipped with full fairings tend to perform best at high speeds due to their improved aerodynamics. Despite motorcycles being constructed with steel components, their streamlined frames can cut through the incoming wind with little resistance. Fiberglass and ABS plastic fairings are lightweight to prevent adding too much extra weight to your motorcycle. They are also curved to help wind flow around the front of the motorcycle, contributing to the vehicle’s streamlined shape. Since fiberglass and ABS plastic fairings help to reduce drag, your ride will not wobble and better maintain balance even when turning corners.

The lower drag means the motorcycle can cut through the air in a better way.

It helps the onward wind flow smoothly around the motorcycle, reducing the dragging effect of air on the vehicle. So, with the help of downforce, there is stability and better traction. Mostly in sports motorcycles, while riding at high speed, a lot of force is required. But with the help of fairings, you will be able to maintain the speed with less power.

3. Fiberglass vs. ABS Plastic Fairings - Which is the Better Option?

3.1 ABS Plastic

What is ABS Plastic?

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastic is an impact-resistant thermoplastic and amorphous polymer consisting of three monomers: acrylonitrile, styrene, and butadiene. ABS plastic has the following features:

  • Acrylonitrile ensures thermal and chemical stability, butadiene adds toughness and strength, and styrene gives the polymer a glossy finish.
  • ABS plastic has a low melting point making it suited for the injection molding process. It also has high tensile strength, is resistant to chemical corrosion, and suffers fewer abrasions.
  • ABS plastic can be molded, sanded, and shaped, while the glossy finish can have various glues and paints applied.

3.2 Fiberglass

What is Fiberglass?

Fiberglass is a high-grade, lightweight, and durable material made of glass fibers fitted in resin.

Fiberglass is made through a process known as pultrusion which includes the following steps:

  • Fiberglass is heated until it reaches a melting point and becomes a liquid
  • Liquid fiberglass is forced through super fine holes to create thin filaments.
  • Filaments will gather together in large numbers, allowing you to measure roving*
  • Continue processing depending on the intended use of fiberglass *Roving - Diameter and number of filaments that help measure weight

Gun roving is the process in which glass filaments are chopped into shorter lengths and dropped into a resin before being poured into a mold to manufacture CSM (Chopped strand mat).

Fiberglass has the following features:

  • Fiberglass can easily be molded into a variety of shapes due to its durability and malleability.
  • Fiberglass is highly versatile and won’t corrode, degrade, or rust in harsh or wet environments.

3.3 The Better Option - Fiberglass vs. ABS Plastic

While choosing a fairing, take the shape, size, style, and material into consideration. Here is a table to help you compare the characteristics of ABS plastic and fiberglass:

The Better Option - Fiberglass vs. ABS Plastic advantages

The Better Option - Fiberglass vs. ABS Plastic disadvantages

The Better Option - Fiberglass vs. ABS Plastic comparison table

4. Get The Most Out of a Motorcycle

While riding a motorcycle, strong incoming winds can put a strain on your neck and shoulders, causing you to quickly become fatigued. To fight the strength of the wind, your motorcycle’s engine has to work harder to generate adequate power output. Because motorcycle fairing offers wind protection and reduces air drag, it improves riding comfort, engine performance, safety, and fuel efficiency.

Affordable and functional, a motorcycle fairing can give your bike an aggressive modern look. To give your ride a custom look while improving its touring capability, you can install other add-ons like saddlebags, sissy bars, crash bars, luggage racks, etc.

5. FAQs

5.1 Are Motorcycle Fairings Necessary?

Though this opinion varies depending on preference, motorcycle fairings are necessary for sports and touring motorcycles.

5.2 What are the Benefits of Having a Fairing Installed on Your Motorcycle?

The benefits of having a fairing installed on your motorcycle include the following:

  • Better aerodynamics
  • Reduces drag significantly
  • Better fuel efficiency
  • Optimal riding comfort
  • Better traction and stability
  • Better aesthetics
  • Improved aerodynamic performance
  • Offers wind protection
  • Protects engine
  • Increases speed

6. Conclusion

Consider your riding style or motorcycle’s aesthetics before choosing the right fairing kit.

ABS plastic and fiberglass have their strengths and weaknesses. If you prefer cruising or touring often on your motorcycle, fiberglass fairings are the better choice due to their being durable and easy to repair.

If you prefer modifying your motorcycle or riding it only once per week, ABS plastic fairings are the better choice. Most riders prefer to get ABS plastic fairings due to their being more affordable.

Aftermarket motorcycle parts, like fairings, handlebars, saddle bags, sissy bars, etc., help improve your riding experience. Choose the right accessories and parts to make your next tour or ride memorable.

Reading next

Pros & Cons of Straight Motorcycle Sissy Bars
How to Choose the Right Bag for a Motorcycle Sissy Bar?

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