Me and my streamlined 17 hp Helix passing a Harley, just beyond the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca, The Quail Gathering of Streamliners. Photo courtest Steve Burton, the Quail Gathering
2nd Gathering of Streamliners AMA Vintage Days, 2010

July 9-11, Mansfield, Ohio

Interest is growing in the possibilities of streamlining and fuel economy. The Hall of Fame tent was filled. I invited electric pioneers Kraig Schultz, Matthew Childress, Randy Reisinger, Bryan Wilcox and Wolfgang Moeschei of Germany (fresh from X Prize prelims) to interact with traditional motorcyclists. We learned... they learned. The AMA provided display room for their machines. Additionally, they were able to take a lap around the Mid Ohio Raceway. It was a great weekend for all.
Vetter "Freedom Machine" Streamliner

Lots of changes from last year - 84 mpg from California

Schultz DELTA-12

High Performance Electric "Leaner" from Michigan

Matthew Childress, Randy Reisinger, Bryan Wilcox "EV/Sugar Ride"

Electric, streamlined, tandem seating from Illinois

Wolfgang Moesche's FINE Mobile"TW4XP"

Electric - side-by side seating, X Prize entry from Germany

Twike 433

With my hero, Ed Zagorski, my professor from the University of Illinois

Vetter and Eco

Dan Whitfield rode up from North Carolina

When I saw this picture I realized that these two machines are about the same size!

Kind of shocking.

The first "Gathering of Streamliners" @ Vintage Days, 2009
AMA Vintage Days, 2009, Mid Ohio Race Track, Lexington, Ohio
Motorcycle history was made as streamlined motorcycles from all over the US gathered along with their electric TTXGP counterparts to give motorcycle enthusiasts a peek at the future of motorcycling.

My son, Morgan was on hand to help out. This is the first time my Streamliner of 1981 and my Streamliner of today have been photographed side-by-side. Morgan wasn't born until 1984.

TTXGP Electric racing machines built for the first electric motorcycle race at the Isle of Man prepare for demonstration laps around the Mid Ohio Raceway.
Electric racing is coming to the US:

August 13th - 15th Virginia International Raceway, USA
At Mid Ohio, 2009, Kraig Schultz showed up with his beautiful electric streamliner, the white bike in the center, below.
Motorcycle history being made at AMA Vintage Days!
Real streamlining was banned from road racing by the FIM in 1957. When our AMA became the FIM affiliate in the US in 1962, we could not race real streamlined motorcycles either.
My goal is to allow real streamlining on the race tracks so that less energy will be required. Azhar Hussain, rt, founder of the TTXGP, Jeremy Burnes and I discuss ways to incorporate real streamlining into the new electric motorcycle racing. With real streamlining, electric bikes will go farther on a charge.

Real streamlining is allowed in 2010!

Interesting arguments against streamlining originating on my friend, Michael Czysz' website:

In the mean time, Americans are free to develop streamlining for our street bikes.

The AMA was celebrating its 85th Anniversary and had invited a motorcycle from each year, beginning with 1924 to parade around the track. Buzz Kanter led the field on his 1924, unrestored Harley. I trailed the pack on my futuristic Streamliner.

My talk in the 85th Tent - "Streamlining, the Future of Motorcycle Design"packed the house.

There will be another Gathering in 2010. Bring your streamliner. We look forward to seeing you.

Streamliners for the street
Dan Whitfield's 100 hp Eco, my 17 hp Helix, my 18 hp streamliner of 1981 and Jerry Greers' 12 hp Craig Vetter's Fuel Economy bike of 1982
I asked Dan for a ride in his Eco. I knew the opportunity might not come along again. After all, at $70,000 each, there are only two Eccos in the US.

First, let me say that the quality is really high. Look at the seam along the door. I am impressed at the thought and attention to detail Arnold Wagner has put into this thing. He has spent a lifetime solving the problems and it shows.

Climbing in is difficult for an old guy like me with racing injuries. Dan has worked out THE WAY... "Grab here with your right hand, put your left foot under here..." until I am in. Once in place, I was stuck. There is not a lot of room in there... sort of like a sailplane. Dan's trademark black cowboy hat blocked the view of the road directly in front and I had a hard time seeing where we were going.

From the beginning, it made me nervous knowing that I could not put my feet out. At just barely walking speed, Dan would retract the stabilizers. How could he do that? "Walking speed" is too slow for any motorcycle I have without constantly correcting or dragging a foot. The Eco does not require constant correcting. Dan made it look easy.

The "Stabilizers" or Stabs, as Dan calls them are manual. If they were automatic, they might try to go down in too tight a space - like between cars. Or, they might hit a curb. So, they must be manually triggered. If Dan was distracted and a split second off we would roll over. He is good. We never fell over.

This thing is fast and the faster we went, the quieter it got. Dan and I could easily converse, just like in a car. Very impressive. I can see how it would be easy for he and his son, Skyler to ride home to North Carolina by evening.

It was especially interesting to me just how much Dan knows about the Eco and its designer, Arnold Wagner. Arnold, it seems, fusses over his creations much like I do. His new design is the Monotracer. Shinji Morokuma of Atlanta has the only Monotracer in the US and had hoped to ride up but at the last minute had to abort. Maybe next year.

Bottom line: I am truly impressed. Even tho the Eco is considered by law to be a motorcycle, it is more like a long, tiny car. It would be great for pointing cross-country and going. But you probably wouldn't use it for the grocery store run. I was still nervous at the end of the ride about not being able to put my feet down. For me, it is more than I want. Now, if it got 100 mpg...

Thank you, Dan. What an experience.

After our ride... all grins.

Back to my umbrella girl:

We would like to give her credit and Carol wants to send her a T-shirt! Would somebody please tell us who she is?

Consider the following logic:

Horsepower consumes fuel
Less horsepower consumes less fuel.

Streamlining is round at the front and pointed at the rear.
The streamlined shape goes through the air with the least energy.

Streamlining allows less horsepower to push a person through the air.

Fuel economy begins with streamlining...................It is that simple.

This "Vetter/Rifle streamlined body kit is still available.

Pioneers in "Feet-Forward" designs
Sitting up in a comfortable position puts us in a very comfortable "Lawnchair" position - with our feet out in front. Thus the name "Feet-Forward". Because we sit so much lower than a motorcycle, our frontal area is smaller. This makes it easier to streamline. A "Feet Forward" sitting position is the first step in streamlining. Take a peek at some of the Pioneer "Feet-Forward" Designers.

It is my hope that today's innovators in fuel economy - especially the new electric machines - will be inspired by these efforts. We should take advantage of their pioneering head start.

This page posted June 22, 2009

Updated July 17, 2010