Chapter 41: April 24, 2011

Pages from a designer's notebook

We are back in business!
When Jan Vos (gear-maker to the world of experimenters) heard of my plight, he said he assured me he could make new gears that would never break.

Even better, Mr. Vos paid us a visit to make sure things were OK. While he was here, he took a ride on my Vetter-Liner. His suggestion: "Slow the engine down even more." He made the gears to do it but I don't think it will take the California mountains very well. Tehachapie is tough.

Vos is building his own streamliner in Belgium, based upon a Burgman.

The magic formula for consuming less fuel:

Streamlining and custom gears to slow the engine down

My mileage is now consistently in the mid 80s, in all driving: In town and on the road at speed... The Vetter-Liner will be a tough bike to beat at my upcoming Challenges!

Brit reporter, Paul Blezard also stopped by to evaluates the Vetter-Liner
If anybody understands what we are doing here it is Paul Blezard... otherwise known as "Blez" to his readers. He seems to be in the center of all the cool stuff relating scooters, "feet-forward" and electric powered machines.

For me it was an opportunity for somebody with real experience to tell me what they thought. We got him onto the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca for a few laps.

Paul Blezard piloting the Vetter-Liner on Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca

That is water spraying from the wheels. It was raining pretty hard that day. Paul Blezard is one heck of a rider. Since he came all the way from the UK, he wasn't going to let a little rain stop him. We also rode the Quail Ride route, where my next Fuel Challenge will be held. I followed on my KLR but could not stay with Paul. He rides fast. At the end of the day, the Vetter-Liner, ridden by Blez, consumed fuel at the rate of 85.4 mpg. That ought to worry any Challenger, don't you think?

Some of Paul's comments:

"It feels like a Helix." Well, it should. I changed only the bodywork.

He doesn't like a foot brake. Paul is already accustomed to a hand-brake for the rear. The Helix seems to be the last of foot brake scooters.

"The windshield was too close". I trimmed it for him. Now it is too low.

"The bars are too wide" Euro riders seem to prefer narrower, flatter bars. Americans like high, wide bars.

Paul wanted to slouch more than I do. Consequently, the bodywork dug into his back. "I should slouch more", he suggested. This was his most interesting comment:

I tried souching. My shoulders dropped way below the rear streamlining which means I can lower the rear. This could be good because it would reduce the side area of the body. Is it comfortable slouching? Don't know yet. It is worth experimenting with. Thank you, Paul.

Paul wanted to see it with the tail off. Think about it... this is how the Brit feet-forward machines look. No tail. He wanted to know the difference in fuel consumption. The fact is, I really cannot compare "Tail-no tail" because no two rides could be the same. Besides, I like the tail. The tail completes the streamlining.

We headed for Big Sur but a big slide had closed the road. Paul wanted his picture taken at the same place Charly Perethian was captured in 1983. He got his wish:

1983: Charly Perethian 2011: Paul Blezard in the same place
Master Index to the Last Vetter Fairing Story

Page posted April 24, 2011

Revised May 1, 2011