The Search for Fuel Economy

Pages from a Designers' Notebook Readers comments P3

Chap. 7: Decisions about Details
These images will help those - like my wife, Carol - who may have a little difficulty in seeing how the final streamlined shape relates to the Helix I am riding.
By generating the streamlined body in this manner, it is sure to fit around me and the Helix.
One of the biggest benefits I experience in riding this thing is the lack of "Reverse air" blowing on me. Every fairing that bores a hole through the air creates a "partial pressure" behind it where the air tries to fill in. Usually, the passenger gets the worst of it. With the tail fairing, that reverse draft is eliminated. The only annoying air left is around my helmet. This streamlining for my head should smooth that out, too. In airplane talk, this is called a "Turtledeck"
Foamboard Turtledeck
May 7, 2008: Riding

I ride this all the time. (Except in heavy fog and drizzle.) Before I commit to the final design, I want to be sure this machine will be something I will really want to ride.

Think of it like this:

"Of all my choices, will this be my first choice to ride today?"

If the answer is: "Yes" I figure I am on the right track. (The turtledeck stops all wind.)

"What will be my first choice to ride today?"
( I often wonder how they can do this solely on a computer )
It has become clear that I will not be able to ride my Helix and work on it at the same time. Fortunately, a very nice 2000 Helix showed up on EBAY and I was able to buy it.

It seems to be better than my original black one and I am tempted to use this one for the Streamliner. But I cannot because I realy do not know what kind of mileage it gets.

So... I will ride this one and design on the black one.

EBAY comes through with another Helix in Ft. Bragg, CA.
Here we have a naked Helix superimposed over the machine I am riding. Not much there is there? It is time to determine where the three mounting bulkheads will go. The bluelines represent where I will make bulkhead rings. The bodywork will slip over these rings.
Bulkhead mounting locations
Have I ever done this before? Nope. But I am confident that bulkheads are the best way to mount the bodywork. I want all components to go on and off easily. Bulkhead mounting will be simple and strong.

One of my most important design "One Liners" is: "A good design is not more trouble than it is worth."

The real foam streamlined Photoshop layer is in place to see where the bulkheads go. The parallel lines on the foam make it easy to translate.

These bulkheads are not made up of straight lines and will have to be made of rivited together sections of aluminum. The front bulkhead is just behind the front wheel. The middle is my seat back and the back one is at the end of the standard Helix.

Blue lines are where I will make the mounting bulkheads.
I use .050 plastic stock, normally used for ringbinders to develop the subtley curved shapes required to hug the surface. From these plastic templates, I will cut .125 aluminum, form them into rings and figure out how to attach them to the stripped-down Helix frame.
This is where we must stop for a week or so. I will be attending the fabulous "Riding into History" Concourse in Saturday, May 17, 2008 at the World Golf Village, St. Augustine,
This page updated May 10, 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)