Back in the day, a motorcycle fairing was only installed on sports bikes for improved, streamlined aerodynamics. Motorcyclists who liked stylish plastic bodywork had to purchase expensive sports bikes to install a fairing. Luckily, companies that manufacture aftermarket parts, such as luggage bags, crash bars, sissy bars, and seats, also design fairings for different types of motorcycles.
You can easily find a fairing for a Harley Davidson cruiser, a Yamaha street bike, a Honda tourer, etc. Motorcycle fairings can be manufactured in different shapes, sizes, and colors. But when it comes to materials, most will be made of fiberglass or ABS plastic.
Most motorcycle companies prefer ABS plastic fairings over fiberglass fairings due to having better durability, lower production costs, and greater efficiency.
An ABS plastic motorcycle fairing is manufactured in two ways: compression or injection molding. These methods can have a huge impact on the product quality, cost, variety, and availability of the fairings. This article will highlight all the pros and cons of compression and injection molding.
- Table of Contents
- 1. Motorcycle Fairing: A Quick Intro
- 2. What is a Compression Fairing
- 3. What is an Injection Fairing
- 4. Should You Buy a Compression or Injection Fairing
- 4.1 Cost
- 4.2 Fitment, Finish, & Durability
- 4.3 Availability & Variety
- 4.4 Aerodynamic Design
- 4.5 Wind Protection
- 4.6 Crash Protection
- 5. Takeaway
1. Motorcycle Fairing: A Quick Intro
A motorcycle fairing is a frame or cover mounted to the front fork that acts as a shield against wind, rain, and debris. A motorcycle fairing’s functions include the following:
- Reduce Air Drag
- Improve Engine Efficiency
- Ensure Good Mileage
- Crash Protection
- Better Stability & Traction at Corners
- Improved Aesthetics
- Better Handling (if frame-mounted)
2. What is Compression Fairing
Compression molding is a manufacturing process in which ABS plastic is added to a preheated mold. The granulated plastic melts and conforms to the shape of the mold. Vertical pressure is applied to the plastic as the mold cools down. Due to uneven pressure, the compression fairings often have extra plastic that is removed after the fairing is completely cooled.
3. What is an Injection Fairing
An injection fairing is manufactured with an injection molding machine. The granulated ABS plastic is passed through heating tubes. The molten ABS plastic is then injected into the injection molded tool consisting of the mold and cooling bores. Once the plastic reaches the mold, high pressure is applied horizontally during the cooling process. The fairing is ejected from the mold once completely cooled.
4. Should You Buy a Compression or Injection Fairing
Compression and injection fairings may be made of the same material and have the same design, but there are differences between them.
Injection molding is a sophisticated manufacturing process. Due to the high-pressure levels, the production costs of injection fairings are higher than compression fairings. As a result, injection fairings are more expensive. When working with a tight budget, you should look for compression fairings. Some riders also prefer low-cost compression fairings because they are easy to replace in case they become damaged beyond repair.
4.2 Fitment, Finish, & Durability
Compression fairings have irregular thicker walls, while injection fairings always have smooth thinner walls. Even though compression fairings have thicker walls, injection fairings have better durability and finishes.
Moreover, the injection fairing gets all its mounting holes and cuts when it is still being made by the injection molding machine. All OEM precision fit fairings are injection molded.
On the other hand, the compression fairing has all its threaded holes and design cuts added manually. This is why compression fairing does not always fit even if the company claims that it is compatible with specific models. You may have to create new holes to ensure your fairings fit on your motorcycle, which could spoil the look of your fairing.
4.3 Availability & Variety
Injection molding is a time-efficient one-step manufacturing process. The plastic granules are converted into a fairing ready to use as soon as it leaves the machine. This is why many injection fairings are readily available on the market.
Compression molding is a two-step process that requires more time. Though the fairings are readily available on the market due to being made by a lot of manufacturers and distributors, you may not find a lot of variety.
4.4 Aerodynamic Design
Only well-designed fairings have the potential to improve a motorcycle’s aerodynamics. Since injection fairings have a more streamlined design, they are better suited for the task. You might also notice that popular sports bike brands like Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha equip their motorcycles with injection fairings. Even many of their OEM parts are made using the injection molded process.
4.5 Wind Protection
If you ride a motorcycle in an urban setting, you typically don’t need a motorcycle fairing for wind protection. In addition, city streets are better maintained, so there is less risk of flying debris interfering with your vision. However, a fairing is essential for highway rides. On highways, compression, and injection fairings can provide adequate wind protection. When choosing a fairing, make sure you consider your height and width in relation to the fairing’s dimensions. As long as it provides full body coverage, any type of fairing will keep you safe from wind-induced fatigue, wind buffeting, and extreme temperatures.
4.6 Crash Protection
In case of a crash, a motorcycle fairing will help protect your bike’s frame and engine and provide better leverage. Since injection and compression fairings are made from ABS plastic, they can absorb impacts and protect essential parts. However, it is best to get an injection fairing since they are sturdier and can last longer. To protect your motorcycle fairings, you can install frame or fairing-mounted sliders.
Both injection and compression fairings perform the same functions. However, their different manufacturing methods affect their quality and reliability. If you like going on tours, an injection fairing will provide better fuel economy and acceleration. Both types of fairings can offer adequate wind protection.
If you are looking to customize your motorcycle’s look, you can easily find a well-designed injection fairing. It is possible to get the same result with stylish compression fairing, but it is harder to find. Injection and compression fairings have their pros and cons, but if you want more affordable equipment, then injection fairing is the best option.