The Search for Fuel Economy

Pages from a Designers' Notebook Readers comments P2

Chap. 5: More Wind Testing

More sidewind testing, April 7, 2008

Highway 68 from Carmel to Salinas is infamous for its powerful afternoon sidewinds. Today was predicted to be a good one. My buddy, Don, agreed to follow me over to Salinas today to see what might happen with my Helix with the long tail. Now, there is probably no motorcycle made that does not react in sidewinds. Some more, some less. As we gain experience, we learn how to anticipate the effects of passing trucks. etc. Even tho I have been riding this thing for hundreds of miles as my daily transportation - I must admit I was a little worried. Don said he would never ride his KLR there again.

The foamboard is not going to last much longer.

You can see why I don't consider this to be streamlined - yet. Look at all those gaps. Remarkably, mileage, which is always around 64 mpg, is unchanged with or without the tail.

Let me summarize my experiences:

This is the best fairing I have ever ridden behind.

It reacts no worse in crosswinds and better than most bikes I have ridden

It must be the tail - which seems to "Smooth out" side wind gusts. Don, on his new Concourse was very impressed. So was I.

Perhaps the best part of this design is that the air does not blow backwards into my back or neck. There is no flutter of air from the windshield, either.

Isn't it remarkable what one can learn after doing this for 42 years?

My fairing designs beginning in 1966 are basically what you see on motorcycles today. This is the future.

2008: Making the Last Vetter Fairing
1966: Making the first Vetter Fairing
The pattern is becoming big and unwieldy. Keeping the fairing light weight will be a challenge.

It is important to not sand off too much. The only way to know what to do is to stop work and stare at it, waiting for it to tell me what to do.

It "Tells me what to do"
I call this the Last Vetter Fairing because it is represents everything I know about motorcycle design.
At this stage, the streamlined shape is within 1/4" of its final design. You can see how I have sanded it down to the two original bulkheads. I know that it will fit over my Helix and I know that I will fit into it. Now, I know the exact streamlined shape. Round at the front... pointed at the rear, not too big... not to small. I also know that it does well on the road in severe sidewinds - in its slab sided form - on my scooter. will this be better or worse. There is a lot of controversy regarding this.

Readers comments P2

The next step will to make templates or "stations" every 31/2". From those templates, I will cut 31/2" foam sections to assemble in reverse order on another piece of plywood to generate the other side.

This page updated April 18, 2008
Chap. 3: Road Testing the Long Tail Mar 28, 08
Chap. 1: Streamlining Saves Fuel Feb 20, 08
Chap.2: CAD Streamlined Body Mar 8, 08
Chap. 4: Planking with Foam Apl. 5, 09
Chap. 5: More Wind Testing Apl. 7, 08
Chap. 6: The Final Shape Apl. 17, 08
Chap. 7: Decisions about Details May 10, 08
Page 8: Making the Center Bulkhead June 1, 08
Chap. 9: Rear Bulkhead and Truck bed June 8, 08
Chap. 10: Finish Rear and go for ride June 17, 08

If you have not yet watched my DVD, How they Got 470 mpg it is time to get it for the basic foundation for what we are doing here

Chap. 11: Finish the Tail June 29, 08
Chap. 12: Heading for Ohio, July 13-23, 08
Introduction to Fuel Economy
Chap. 13: Riding in the Midwest July 24, 08
Chap. 14: Vintage Days Ohio, July 25-7, 08
Chap. 15: Summary to date Aug 12, 08
Chap. 16: Adding Weight to the Front Sep. 1, 08
Chap. 17: Truth and Motorcycle Design Sep 4, 08
Chap. 18: Where should the weight be? Sep 25, 08
Chapter 19: Finishing the Streamlining Oct 14, 08
Chapter 20: Streamlining the Handlebars Nov 4, 08
Chapter 21: Unexpected Problems Nov 11, 08
Chapter 23: Getting my feet in and out Dec 19, 08
Chapter 22: Streamlining is working Nov 25, 08
Chapter 24: Streamlining is beginning to work! Jan 1, 09
Chapter 25: Tuft Testing Mar 2, 2009
Chapter 26: Starting Over April 9, 09
Chapter 27: More Ideas for Starting over April 20, 09
Chapter 28: Show time! Aug 1, 2009
Chapter 29: Getting the big parts right Dec 10, 2009
Chapter 30: First evaluation from an outsider Dec 20, 2009
Chapter 31: Visit with Allert Jacobs Dec 24, 2009
Chapter 32: Prius Headlights Jan 18, 2010
Chapter 33: New Gears Feb 17, 2010
Chapter 34: New Mileage Records April 25, 2010
Chapter 35: The Quail Gathering of Motorcycles May 9, 2010
Chapter 36: End of the line with the Helix June 19, 2010
Chapter 37: Vetter Challenge Oct. 9, 2010
Chapter 38: John Keogh helps out Dec 8, 2010
Chapter 39: Working with Keogh Dec 17, 2010
Chapter 40 and up (Work continuing in 2011)
Designing the Last Vetter Fairing

Chapters 1 thru 39 (2007-2010)

Chapters: 40 thru 51 (2011)

Chapters: 52 thru 61 (2012)

Chapters 62 thru 68 (2013)

Chapters 69-up (2014)