How To Bike Better
Simple device makes your bike easier to ride fast

April 8, 2013

Simple device makes your bike easier to ride fast

Biking is good exercise and is often great fun, but there is no getting around the fact that it takes energy and can even be hard work, depending on the terrain, and especially so if you aren’t in shape.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to make biking easier for casual cyclists and commuters that didn’t involve expensive and bulky electric motors and batteries? Well, actually, there is, but few casual cyclists have ever seen or heard of it (and it isn’t legal in competition so few serious cyclists use it either) though many motorcycles sport them.

It’s called a partial fairing. Made of clear, shatter-resistant plastic, it is a curved windscreen that attaches in front of the handlebars and reduces air resistance making it easier to push yourself and your bike forward.

How much of a difference does one make? Well quite a lot, actually. One source says that, for a road bike ridden sitting up, adding a partial fairing cuts the energy needed to make it go 35 km/hr from 220 watts to 157 watts.

Since air resistance decreases with speed a partial fairing offers little benefit at slow speeds and, sigh, it won’t do much to make climbing hills easier, but it is great at cruising speeds and it also helps keep you clean and comfy by deflecting bugs, rain, cold air, and road debris.

It appears to be easy to find fairings for recumbent bikes, but a few are available for upright bikes, such as the ZZipper-OS .