Chapter 45: Streamlining A Ninja Part 2

Sep. 1, 2011: Building the tail

August 26-30, 2011: I have been working with Alan Smith to see how my new Streamlining Kit will fit on his Ninja 250.
It is time to put the rear bulkhead in place. We temporarily clip it with Cleco Clamps and aluminum yard sticks.
There is no structure yet so we prop it up with a piece of wood. The rear bulkhead is supposed to be vertical so we will have to change the angle of the main bulkhead before we finalize the mounting.
The rear deck serves as the floor of the storage compartment. Cardboard is an easy and fast way to figure out the shape that will do the job. We have placed a temporary skin over the tail to help us to imagine the actual size of the storage bay.
Alan put a grocery bag in place
We were surprised to discover that five grocery bags would fit

The fifth bag at the rear is a little squished but when we tip the tail up into its proper location, it will have more room. To win a Vetter Fuel Challenge, you must be able to carry at least four grocery bags, open top up, unsquished (to the satisfaction of my wife and Challenge Judge, Carol Vetter). Some complain that the requirement to carry a useful load - like four bags of groceries - means we will all look the same.

It is probably true.

I have been saying for years that when we are properly streamlined, we will all look the same.

Get over it.

Storage space is at a premium on motorcycles. I spotted some unused space under the new shelf. I emptied out my little "Tenex Model 410" trash container and asked Alan to hold it in place under the floor just behind the rear tire. It seems to fit perfectly. Before we are done, we will cut a hole into the shelf and drop the container in from the top.

Saddlebags and tail trunks have been an accepted tradition for years. But they "Un-streamline" the bike by making it wider at the rear... not pointed. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have excess carrying capacity? Streamlining gives us that extra carrying capacity and at the same time, allows us to burn less fuel.

There is a lot to look at here. Sure is a short motorcycle! Right angle extensions (household chimney parts) have been added to the exhausts to help get the hot gasses outside the surface of the streamlining.

Notice the angle of the rear storage floor. It slopes forward so things will slide forward to keep the weight forward. Conestoga wagons were curved to help things slide to the center.

From some views, the streamlining looks big. From others, it seems just right. When Alan gets on the road again, we will learn a lot.
It is time to do the tooling to round the corners. It is time to turn on my clay oven on to get my designer's clay soft and usable. Rounded corners are needed to help the air pass smoothly between the front and the rear.

Next stop: A visit to Kosman Specialties in Norhern California. Martin Windmill and Alan Smith consider how we might get the rider lower, thus reducing the frontal area.

If anybody can figure out how to get the rider lower on a Ninja - or any kind of motorcycle - it is the folks at Kosman.

Master Index to the Last Vetter Fairing Story

This page posted Sept. 1, 2011