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Front Fairing #4

This fairing uses a new framing material for me: round aluminum tubing.  The goals I had for this fairing were: 1. lighter weight  2. narrower profile  3. Windshield unimpeded by frame  4. better, more stable mounting. I started out by making the main framing pieces. Instead of PVC or square aluminum tubing, I went with round stuff and copper fittings.

As you can see, I used copper tees as lugs. The 7/8" bright aluminum tubing fit snugly inside the 3/4" copper, and was glued to form strong joints. On the ends, I attached some aluminum bar, drilled and formed. This arrangement worked, but was subsequently replaced with larger pieces which could be attached with two pop rivets each, vice the one each as shown.  Attachment of the Coroplast was with a single zip tie through the hole at each mounting point. By using 30-lb zip ties, the frame sort of floats on the frame and has enough flexibility and strength that I can fold the frame down inside the fairing for transport. Here is what each piece looked like:

Tee detail
Coroplast mounting point
Glued frame assembly
Closeup of coroplast mounting point

The top mount for the bike is made from a 3/4" copper tee. I had to flatten the open side to fit against the main tube The front mount was made from a 1 to 3/4" reducer, shown before assembly. As in other fairings, I protected the paint with pieces of garden hose.

Top Mount
Front Mount
Top mount installed on bike
Unassembled pieces for front mount

After mounting the frame on the bike, the next step was to run a hoop around the perimeter of the fairing body. I did this to define the shape of the fairing. In place of my traditional 4mm yellow coroplast, here I am using 3mm 'natural' coroplast.  I taped a hoop to the top to help define the 'blow' at the top, and to help position the next, center strip. The center strip was not intended to remain in place, it was merely to define the center edges of the adjacent strips. With the adjacent pieces cut, I removed the center piece and butted the two adjacent pieces together, forming the 'keel' of the fairing. I then added more strips to fill out the rest of the body.

frame with perimeter strip installed
...after installing 2nd pair of strips to the main body
Perimeter strip
Two pairs of strips installed 
(ignore the tape along the center seam.)

As in past fairings, finish work involves adding a windshield, and taping edges and seams. And Voila! New fairing! Total time, about an hour one evening making the frame, and about two hours the next evening building the fairing itself.

finished side view
finished front view
Side view, finished fairing
Front view, finished fairing

Here it is, exactly as ridden on DALMAC 2001. I didn't get the curves quite right, as you can see by the side view, but easily fixed; this fairing as shown used about a third of a sheet of Coroplast. The perimeter strip allowed the profile to be narrower and better-defined than my previous fairings, which suffered, to varying degrees, from the 'billow' effect.

The road tests revealed a few weaknesses. First, the hard copper mounts cut into the soft aluminum tubing, causing rattles. The solution is shown, below left. The 1/2" to 3/4" adapter had some slop inside the aluminum, but the glue I used expanded to fill the gap as it hardened, making a nice tight bond. Second, the front mount kept slipping down under the weight of the fairing. Below right, attaching it to the shift tube wasn't quite as elegant, but it doesn't slip anymore. The 45 degree street elbow is glued to the aluminum and inserts into the tee so snugly I haven't needed to pin it.

New end piece for upper frame
New front mount
New copper end piece for upper frame
New front end mount

As an aside, although I don't have a Flip-It stem, this frame would allow a Flip-It to pivot forward further than my previous fairing frames.

I finally compared weights between this fairing with my front fairing #3, and it is noticeably lighter; more so than I originally thought it would be. I plan on painting the frame this winter to make it match the bike better. For now, I'm too busy riding.

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