You are here

Zipper Fairing?

I'm planning a medium to long tour from 500 to 2500 miles, and I'm wondering if it'd be worth it to buy the zipper fairing. I'd like to hear other people's experiences with it.

How much does it help to keep the wind and rain off your face? Does it make a noticeable difference in peddling effort in a headwind?

Also, just out of curiosity, does anyone on these forums also live in Seattle?

I have the fairing on my Lightning Phantom and I like it for commuting to work. I haven't ridden in any big downpours, but it keeps the rain surprisingly well off your chest and hands when in motion. You might have to duck down a little to keep the rain off your face and does a great job with the wind and bugs off your hands and face.

Is it worth it? I don't think I can answer that for you (at $300) and I don't know if I would take it a long tour. If you are loaded with bags and equipment, I wouldn't be worried about speed, and you still have to take protective gloves and jacket for bad weather. It might be a cumbersome for transporting although it's easy to put on and off.

I also have a Lightning P-38, but I don't think I'll get a fairing for it. But, on the other hand...,


I have a Terracycles XT fairing that mounts on the front derailleur post and covers my feet and knees. It weighs less than the Zipper, costs less than the Zipper, and is much better at reducing drag - i.e. it gives you more speed.

I had the big Muller (same as teracycle) on my Thunderbolt and can say the speed increases (scary on downhills) a lot. It's much warmer when cold and too warm when hot. Problem is, the arc of the fairing brings cold air right down on your neck requiring a scarf and it is difficult to get things adjusted so you can see over the fairing and still have clearance for your handlebars also hard to mount mirrors and lights. Check around for a used unit and try it before spending big bux for a pristine new windscreen.

I am a big fan of putting fairings on recumbent bikes. Recumbents and fairings naturally complement each other.

Having said that, I would add that not all fairings are created equal. The little handlebar mounted Zzipper will give you some free speed, but not very much. The larger Zzipper that attaches to the front end of the bike and provides greater coverage will do more. However, the Zzipper fairings are expensive. And they are made of a kind of Lexan plastic that scuffs and scratches easily, so they will not remain nice-looking and transparent for very long. Though scuffs will not hurt functionally.

For a long tour, I do not think I would bother with a Zzipper fairing on a Lightning bike. Either go naked, get a full Lighting F40 fairing, or build something yourself.

If you are a do-it-yourself kind of person, try cobbling together a fairing out of Coroplast corrugated plastic sheets. They are available cheaply from plastic wholesalers and signage shops. The WISIL site has plenty of information on how to work with this stuff. A home-made fairing will not look as cool as something professionally made, but it can give you a remarkable speed boost. In my experience, a full fairing can help you keep warmer in cold weather. But if it is raining hard, you will still get wet.

Safe riding,
Joel Dickman

Thanks for the advice guys :).

I live in Bellevue and can occasionally be seen riding my P-38 around Mercer Island or around Lake Washington.


I too have the small Zzipper fairing that I had on my P38 in the past. To be honest there is hardly any speed advantage. But it does keep your hands much warmer in cool/cold temps.

If you want fairing speed, consider adding the F40 fairing to your P38. Not cheap, but the added performance is simply incredible.


User login

Powered by Drupal