Does The Lack Of A Fairing On Your Recumbent Ruin Your Ride?

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What do you do on those windy days out riding your long wheelbase recumbent bike? When you’re headed into a strong headwind it really makes it hard to enjoy your ride. A strong tailwind of course is the desire of all riders, but with one comes the other. So how do you solve this with a fairing? More importantly, can you make your own, instead of shucking out the big bucks to buy one?

The answer to both questions is “yes!” You can make one fairly inexpensively with any number of different materials. This blog will deal with fairings made with Coroplast exclusively, as it is an available material, fairly inexpensive and easy to work with.

Working on the kitchen table with Coroplast panel.

Sign shops are probably the worst place to buy Coroplast. They are in the business to sell signs and not sell their raw material. The cost of buying from a sign shop will reflect a mark up to compensate having to replace product, so not a good option.

The best bet is to search out their supplier, which can be done one of several ways. It doesn’t hurt to ask at a sign shop where they buy or who their supplier is. When they know you don’t want to go into competition with them and why you want it, they are likely to divulge who their supplier is and who to talk to.

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If that doesn’t work there is always Google. That will show suppliers in your area, provided you are in a metropolitan area. If in a suburb you may have to do some travel. The cost savings is usually worth it.

Buying from a distributor may not be so easy in the beginning. They too, want to move large quantities of product. Buying a sheet or two of 5mm product is a lot of paperwork when they are used to moving 20 to 50 sheets at a time. On the other hand, most sign shops only order blanks, to be used for the typical real estate or yard sale signs. The full sheets go to other shops for a variety of larger projects.

Depending on the style of your recumbent…will determine your next steps

Still, if you explain your project, you may find there is interest enough to win over any resistance to buying product. The challenge may be transporting a whole sheet that measures 4 ft. by 8 ft. in size. The good news is it can be rolled into a tube, which may fit in a trunk or even a back seat depending on your mode of transportation. This is accomplished by rolling the length over the width.

Once you have made the purchase and delivered this home, you are halfway there. But you’re not home free as this is going to require some planning and tools to complete the job.

The front fairing is the first effort anyone should take on

Depending on the style of your recumbent, be it LWB, SWB, CLWB, or HPV will determine your next steps. It is best to look at the various ways others have made their fairings, or be completely creative yourself. Practice makes perfect, and once you have made your first one, chances are it won’t be the last.

This was the very first attempt at making a fairing for a LWB Tour Easy clone. Using Zip Ties to connect to the front fork and the tiller steering, the rest is fairly easy.

The front fairing is the first effort anyone should take on, if for no other reason than to get your feet wet in making one.

There are no photos with good views of the best way to form your fairing. Much of what you will do is trial and error based on the type of recumbent you ride.

The good news is with a little patience, and knowing the way to form the Coroplast, you can do this.

Coroplast is basically plastic corrugated cardboard. The best way to form it is by cutting between the flutes, allowing it to bend without sacrificing the stiffness that makes it a great deflector on wind. Only where necessary would you need to cut across the flutes, such as where it connects to the front fork and it’s necessary to taper the ends to attach.

There are some tools that can make a huge difference in making your fairing.

Double blade flute knife for cutting between splines of Coroplast.

Flute knife

Leather punch for making holes to allow zip-ties on wheel fairings.

Leather punch

Box Knife

Box knife.

Zip Ties/Cable Ties
Zip Ties/Cable Ties

Zip ties

Whatever it takes to start on your fairing

A box knife and flute knife are nearly indispensable when working with Coroplast. Another tool is a simple leather punch to make the holes for the Zip-ties.

All these tools just make it a little easier to do the customizing of your fairing. If you do get a whole sheet of Coroplast, and you mess the first one up, there’s plenty left over to try again.

It’s even worth “recycling” one of those yard sale, realtor or many other Coroplast signs left in conspicuous places to practice on. Whatever it takes to start on your fairing. You will never regret it as much as you will if you never try.

Check out my photo gallery, but beware! There are 518 photos of a variety of fairings, trails, race events and more!So if go, grab a big cup of coffee or whatever, sit back, and enjoy. Next thing you’ll know, is what it means to “get bent!”