Saturday, October 18, 2008

Streamer Fairing

I just got back from a 25 mi ride to test my new Streamer Fairing from HP Velotechnik. I am quite pleased. I sold my other 2 bikes and have been holding on to the money deciding on my next bike purchase. I was trying to decide between another bike, Velokit for winter riding or adding just a fairing to my trike. The Velokit seemed great. At $1000 I could fully enclose my trike and ride all winter except on snow days. I liked the idea, but, I new polycarbonate fairings tend to scratch and in time it would be difficult to see through. I then decided a fairing alone would be better as you look over it, not through it and I prefer feeling more open and outdoors. I looked into the Mueller Windrap with the swing arm for easy on and off, but, at $709 plus shipping it seemed ridiculous. For $300 more I could get the Velokit, which would give all that and much more. What I really wanted was a fairing for winter riding to protect my feet as they seem to be the most vulnerable in winter riding for me. I then remembered the Streamer Fairing. I checked the dealer list and called around for price and availability. Rob at Recumbent Bike Riders had stock, the best price and knowledge of the product. I ordered it on Tuesday, shipped on Wednesday and received on Thursday. Can't beat that.
It took me a couple of hours for 3 days to finally tweak things out. The Fairing, as Rob described it, is large, which offers great coverage. It's shape is perfect for trikes. The new mounting system is OK and takes some time to adjust. Remember this Fairing is not bike specific, so tinkering is a must as are most recumbent parts. I am not fond of the Velcro and found I had to add nylon bolts and wing nuts to secure the fairing to the front strut to keep it from moving. The rear fairng Velcro mount seemed to hold fine. Mounts to the front and rear struts seemed OK. It's obviously designed for versatility and simplicity. I replaced the rear clamp which was much too large with a smaller one and used an old tube to protect the frame. Worked fine.
He is my conclusion. The fairing itself is 1st rate in quality workmanship and design. The mounting system is OK for it's universal design. Price for comparable products is not to be beat. Great Bang for the Buck. Here is the kicker, which I new. You have to be somewhat of a contortionists to get in and out. You have to sit on the side of the seat, then swing 1 leg over the handle bar and then the other. Then swing 1 leg over the front strut and then the other. Sounds complicated. Not all that bad if you are reasonably slim and agile. I am 56 and have no problem.
I rode 25mi with 15mph winds.  The fairing is quite light. I didn't notice any difference in climbing, due to weight. Head Winds, Tailwinds seemed unchanged. Side winds are still the worst. The fairing didn't seem to change my performance much and I didn't expect it too. I just want some added protection for my feet and this seemed to do the job well.
At about $400, I believe this a good bang for the buck for winter riding.
One last thing. You can't be shy riding a recumbent and riding a trike is even more outlandish. Adding this fairing has given me more thumbs up than ever.
If asthetics is what you crave, there is no finer looking fairing than this one.
Works for me.

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