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Memphis Shades Café Fairing Review

How it started

How does one wake up and go, “oh I know I fancy a fairing.” The reality is, for me, that’s not how it happened. The first Harley Davidson I ever rode was a Heritage Softail. For those that don’t know this model, it’s a large cruiser with insanely comfortable smooth suspension, and the version I rode had a mini windshield. Over 5 days I did 1000 miles with total comfort; I could literally ride for 8 hours and feel fresh getting off.

Fast forward to 2015 when I got my Street Bob and a weekend adventure up to Darlington for the Jungle Memorial Ride where I did over 750miles in two days. I was toasted by the end of it, and I realised that the wind fatigue was playing a huge part in it. So I decided to do some research on a screen of some kind but knowing that I am not personally a fan of windshields. Then Memphis Shades www.memphisshades.com entered my world, and I discovered their Café fairing. The ideal compromise between style and function.

Performance

I’m certain it does not add to the performance of my machine.

But, it almost certainly improves my personal physical performance in allowing me to last longer on the bike, by reducing the wind buffer. The fairing, while small, does an impressive amount in deflecting the wind off my chest, redirecting it up over my head. The one-piece construction machined design shape is perfectly tuned to cut through the air flow and provide an appreciated respite from the wind. And the faster you go, the more you appreciated it.

I have noticed that on really windy days, which suck on any bike, it can require slightly more riding compensation to adjust to the wind. Especially if it’s a crosswind as the wind can whip into the back of the fairing, and impact the bars, but just keep in mind that there is nothing to worry about.

This fairing is approximately 7″ from the top of the headlight bezel to the top of the fairing; it may seem small but big enough to make a difference.

For anyone interested in the safety side, Memphis Shades windshields and fairings are “DOT (Department of Transport) approved and conformed to American Nation Standards Institute (ANSI) Z26.1 – 1996, Group 6, Safety Glazing Material for use in Windscreens for Motorcycles”…how that translates to other markets…I’ve not a clue! Sorry.

Ultimately, if you want full protection from the wind there are better options than this little number, however, if you’re looking for something to make a difference to the wind while keeping your styling [i.e. not going full windshield], then this is a good purchase.

Look & Styling

One thing I love about this fairing is the extra road presence it gives to your bike. The fairing is beautifully made of a one-piece aircraft-grade Lucite acrylic construction. It’s seamless with a machined ‘witness line’ outlines windshield, purely for design which I love.

The fairing comes in a factory finish black, great as it is but the surface is also ready to paint to ensure you can easily custom to your ride if desired. As my bike is wrapped in the 3M vinyl wrap, I simply wrapped it to match [check out my pros & cons to wrapping / and how to wrap articles]. It looks the part! Worth noting is that the inside is a nice black finish, so it blends into the back of the headlight.

Build Quality

The fairing and kit, which includes relocations for the front turn signals, looks and feels great. The build is solid and firm, instilling trust, while also being super light-weight so as to not suck up to much pony power from your performance. The engineering design behind the quick release mounting points can’t be faulted, they’re simplistic in their design, functional in their use and mean switching to and from the café look literally takes seconds. Two clips and it’s off.

Their decision to use Lucite is down to its earned reputation as a high-quality material. It’s ultimately a trademarked version of acrylic resin developed by DuPont in 1937. And the key here is that this type of acrylic plastic can be used as replacements for glass while also supporting constructive qualities. Ideal for a fairing with glass and solids! But, don’t be fooled by some cheap options on the market made from acrylic as not all acrylic is equal! Lucite is a widely agreed higher grade acrylic plastic – good choice by Memphis Shades.

Ease of Installation

Super easy. It comes with clear instructions and a full installation kit. If you can use a spanner, you’ll find it a doddle. One slight complication is the need to relocate the front turn signals [if you have standard ones], but as it comes with the kit to do this, it’s all part of the ease.

The fairing is custom fit for your model, so it’s literally ready to go and comes with the Memphis Shades exclusive trigger lock mounting system allowing it to be taken on and off without tools.

An extra point here is that once you have a Memphis Shades trigger locking kit installed you can switch between the café fairing, fat/slim windshields, sport-shields or batwing fairing without the need for tools or different mounts. Totally interchangeable! I’ve only got the one, but I would definitely consider a larger shield if I was planning a week-long road trip.

One thinks to possibly check before ordering is the compatibility with any custom front headlines, I run a standard light, but I don’t know how it works with others. Most likely fine – better to check and be sure.

Crowd Reaction

Ok, so being totally honest I was a little unsure how it would be received. The nature of a fairing means it’s like Marmite [marmite explanation here]. People either love them or hate them. Well, that is what I thought; it turns out this cheeky little number is a converter. I’ve had a lot of people comment about how surprisingly good it looks, how it gives it road presence = surprisingly good meaning ‘I hate fairings, but I actually like this look.’ Yes, you still get the haters, but ultimately it’s my bike, I love it, and I reap the benefits of reduced wind fatigue. So haters can be haters. I’m a lover, and there are a lot of fellow lovers out there.

See for yourself – with and without:

£££

Ok, so being totally honest, I was a little unsure how it would be received. The nature of a fairing means it’s like Marmite [marmite explanation here]. People either love them or hate them. Well, that is what I thought; it turns out this cheeky little number is a converter. I’ve had a lot of people comment about how surprisingly good it looks, how it gives it road presence = surprisingly good meaning ‘I hate fairings, but I actually like this look.’ Yes, you still get the haters, but ultimately it’s my bike, I love it, and I reap the benefits of reducing wind fatigue. So haters can be haters. I’m a lover, and there are a lot of fellow lovers out there.

From my understanding, these sit at the mid to high price range. You’re getting a versatile, high-quality product that will last for years. You’ll also get a 24-month warranty and a great team at Memphis Shades on hand to support your every need.

Highlights

  1. Functionality merged with style
  2. Lightweight
  3. Removable in seconds with interchangeable range

Tips from Experience

  • Test and adjust the café fairing position for your body position to ensure the buffer goes over your head and not into it
  • Keep alert on windy days as the fairing can catch the wind

Overall Rating

Ideal accessory for combining functionality, flexibility to remove and Californian café styling to your ride.