Installing Motorcycle Fairings, The Right Way
To install a motorcycle fairing you'll need the fairing parts and the right tools. Many motorcycle fairings are supplied as aftermarket add-ons for enthusiasts to install on their bikes.
The installation process is all things to all men and women. It can be very difficult, or it can be very easy. What it depends on is the type of motorcycle that the owner owns. Familiarity with the process of installing custom parts on a motorbike plus the availability of the parts for the fairing all play a part and need to be considered when you set about installing fairing parts to your machine.
You can buy a motorcycle fairing for a variety of prices. The cost is commonly determined by the motorcycle for which they were designed and the type of fitting. You can get fairings which are head and front shield guards several hundreds of dollars. It all depends on whether the fairing was custom designed for the bike or was purchased directly from the bike's manufacturer.
Obviously different bikes and fairings may be subject to their own idiosyncrasies when it comes to installation but here the intention is to give you a general overview of the techniques that tend to be common to all fittings.
Bodywork panels which can be made of a glass-fiber and resin mix or a carbon-fiber or carbon-Kevlar mix, which is more expensive, aren’t always perfect and easy to fit, especially if they come with no mounting holes through which the fasteners can go.
What you’ll need is a combination socket spanner set, stands to hold the front and back of the bike, some electrical tape and a drill that is equipped with a high-speed function. You'll also need drill bits that suit the job in hand and a quantity of very fine sandpaper.
It's also a good idea to have a pencil, a black felt-tip pen and some liquid paper, and some aftermarket fasteners.
The most obvious thing that can go wrong is the holes you drill being in the wrong places on the body panels. The size of your holes may also be a problem as it can make fitting difficult and can lead to misalignment of body panels.
The most important thing to acquire before starting a job like fitting a fairing is a positive mental attitude. Armed with this, your fairing kit, the tools you'll need, the ability to follow instructions carefully, and a place to work that is warm and dry and you should be good to go.
When it comes to fitting bodywork, you will need to find the mounting brackets and work out how the upper fairing will accommodate the speedo and other road legal equipment.
You should always begin by fitting the upper fairing. Bodywork that has been designed for road-going bikes is invariably easier to fit because the parts generally come with pre-drilled holes as well as cut-outs for things like headlights, fasteners and indicators. On bodywork for race bikes this type of holes are generally blanked off. Be aware that if you see marks on any panel that look like it shows areas that need to be drilled out, you may be wrong. It's important never to assume marks like these are in the right place for the bike on which you are working.
Always check that the upper fairing is correctly aligned. Use whatever you can find like grips, tape, clothes pegs, or wood chocks to hold it in place. At this point check the alignment. When you are happy that the top fairing is perfectly placed, then check the handlebars, levers and any hoses. You don't want anything fouling when the steering is set to full lock.
When you come to drill any holes, you need to mark as accurately as possible where the fairing needs to be drilled. Do this by using a felt tip, the liquid whitener or a small, say 3mm, drill bit to make a scratch in the material. Don't forget to make the mark on the panel from the rear through the mounting hole.
The marked holes should not be drilled to suit the fastener's size. They need to be drilled with a 3mm bit first, so the fairing can be mounted with thin bolts and washers. The reason for doing this is in case the fairing needs to be moved to make sure all panels line up. Make sure the panels are not interfering with any hoses, wiring loom, the radiator or frame.
To fit a screen, follow the same procedure as for the bodywork. Make sure it's positioned correctly then secure it. Glass-fiber panels may have small porous holes that can cause paint to bubble. Prime these panels and rub them down with very fine sandpaper. Pre-colored or painted panels may be more expensive, but they save a lot of problems and time.
Original equipment fairings direct from the motorcycle manufacturer should be easily matched to your machine. Custom-made or independently made fairings need to be matched up with your machine's fittings.
Be sure to secure the fairing properly to your bike when you come to tighten the fasteners. When all the fasteners have been tightened it should be time to take your motorcycle out for a ride on the open road - not least to show off to your fellow enthusiasts the product of your handiwork.
If you encounter any problems with the installation of an aftermarket fairing the advice is to contact the designer for advice about correcting any problems that may be affecting the fairing's fitting to your motorcycle.