Effects of wind resistance and how to overcome it

wind in face

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Wind resistance can also be referred to as air resistance or drag. It refers to the opposite force applied against a moving object as it moves through the atmosphere, due to the compression of air molecules in front of the moving object. Wind resistance is thus a slowing effect that air presents to moving objects.

Why should it concern you?

When pulling a trailer behind a motorcycle, the trailer having a larger surface area will encounter more air molecules. The larger the surface area, the more resistance will be offered by the air and in turn offer more resistance towards the movement of the trailer. This is especially true for the space between the motorcycle and the trailer, where a lot of drag could form. A lot of energy will be expended trying to overcome this drag, energy in the form of gas and money.
Because wind resistance has a direct effect on the speeds at which an object can move through the atmosphere, this in turn, has a direct impact on the amount of time spent on the road. It can thus be scientifically proven that a motorcycle with a trailer behind will not be able to attain certain speeds within a given time period; contrasted to a motorcycle that does not have a trailer behind, which will be able to accelerate faster.

A motorcycle with a trailer behind will take a longer period on the road does directly imply that it will use more fuel to cover the same distance as compared to when it does not have a trailer. So you could say that because bike/trailer combo accelerates a little slower and cannot reach the same top speed, that the ride will be slightly longer.  (just a sec while I add this to the list of ways to ride more.)

The stability introduced by a trailer will and should also be questioned. At the engineering level, a lot of factors are taken into consideration to ensure the motorcycle is built in the most streamlined manner to ensure stability at curves and in general movement. The addition of the trailer can negate most of the engineering mastery implemented in the motorcycle.

Best ways to reduce wind resistance (drag)

  • Weight – Ensure that the trailer you are adding onto the motorcycle is well within the provided tare weight and load weight levels. This will ensure that the trailer will be of the correct weight level which will dictate the level of wind resistance that will be encountered.
  • Space – The space between the motorcycles should be kept at the bare minimum, this ensures that the drag associated with this space is greatly reduced. This will have a positive effect on the gas mileage.
  • Streamlined trailer – Having a motorcycle cargo trailer that has an aerodynamic design that reduces air resistance. This design is one which narrows towards its front. The concept of this is so that it cuts through the air and reduce sideways air pressures. Example of such a trailer is the V-neck make that is narrow at the front and becomes wider towards the back.
  • Cover goods – covered goods are said to reduce air resistance compared to open goods. It is thus advisable to cover what you are transporting to reduce wind drag. If you have an open trailer, you can cover goods with a canvas.
  • Low body profile – Air resistance is highly reduced when trailers are built with a low body profile. With a high body profile, you may strain more to pull or tow the cargo due to a larger surface area at the front.
  • Wind deflectors resist air more. This helps in reducing debris and bugs on the deflectors as they divert wind to a different direction.

When one put these measures in place, you will have increased fuel efficiency, increased speed, better stability on both the motorcycle and the trailer, and high performance. These changes are seen after a period of time when you check your monthly gas mileage and fuel consumption.

Ride safe and Get Lost,

Karl S

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