When looking at motorcycle fairings, you’ll find two basic types, compression molding and injection molding. Both will have a similar look and may be difficult to tell apart, but the methods in which the fairings were put together are quite different. This is important because depending on the type of motorcycle you have, selecting the proper molding for your fairings can make a considerable difference in the time it takes to apply them to your bike.
What is Compression Molding?
Basically, compression molding is where the material is first pre-heated and then placed into a heated mold. At this point, the mold is then closed and compressed. The compression forced the material to come into contact with the mold and take its shape. The heat and pressure are continually applied until the molding process is completed.
Compression molding is quite popular because it is fairly quick and effective. Many motorcycle fairing manufacturers prefer compression molding because they can produce a high number of molds quickly and for complex molds, it works quite well.
What is Injection Molding?
Unlike material that is poured into the mold, this process injects the material instead. The material that is used is first poured into a heated barrel and then mixed with other properties before being injected into the mold itself. Once injected, the material then cools and hardens to the shape of the mold.
This process generally uses molds that are crafted from steel or aluminum which are then precision-machined into the exact shape the mold is desired. Because the steel or aluminum is far stronger than the mold material itself, they can be used a considerable number of times. In fact, proper maintenance and cleaning will keep these molds useful for quite some time.
Injection molding is often used for a wide variety of parts from very small pieces to large body panels for vehicles. It is a safe, reliable process of making fairings for motorcycles.
Compression vs. Injection Molds
The actual physical quality of the mold will be determined by the mixture of materials that were used, at least in terms of durability and ruggedness. However, in terms of accuracy, injection molding is generally far more accurate. In fact, injection molding is roughly 98% accurate in terms of fittings which is the standard for factories.
However, injection molding also costs more as well. The process is not quite as quick or efficient as compression molding. Generally speaking, if you have the time to reshape and perfect the fitting of your fairing, then you can save money by choosing those that were compression molded. If you like the fitting to be nearly accurate with little in the way of work, then injection molding is for you. Consider however that with many older bikes, only compression fitting molds are available which will naturally limit your choices.
Overall, both methods have their advantages and disadvantages that will come down to what exactly you want and how much you will be willing to pay for it.