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,

Master Index to the Last Vetter Fairing Story

This page updated May 10, 2008