Putting the first Vetter Streamlining Kit on a motorcycle.
Up to this point, we have been in "mock-up" mode... studying the best way to mount the body. I want the entire body to come off with three fasteners. The plywood structure with its 3 point mounting seems to be very strong. It is time to make the real thing from aluminum.
Little by little, we replaced the wood with accurately-cut aluminum. We want the thinnest and lightest that will do the job. .090" seemed appropriate. Weight at the rear is weight at the wrong end. We clamped the plywood as a guide to two sheets of .090" aluminum, and cut them out with the band saw.
It is a little like making a ship-in-a-bottle
With the sides attached, we can hold the tail assembly in place with the promised three points: A knob on top, threaded into the frame and two bolts that hold the mufflers.

We decided to make the storage sump in aluminum which added some weight. But, we want no failures.

We don't want to make any structural changes to the Ninja. We want to use what is there.

We Pop-Rivit the pieces together that have redundant fasteners and use counter-sunk, 8-32 machine screws with self locking nuts where it is essential there be no failure. This is very easy and enjoyable work... but it takes time. When I lived in the MidWest, we did these projects in the Winter, looking forward to riding to Daytona in the Spring.

About this time I received this note from fellow experimenter, David Hyatt:
Hi Craig,
Here is a look at my new project. Stock and in the "sit up and beg" position I can get 80 mpg.

The rider is dropped 14 to 15 inches. The footpegs and controls will be mounted near the bottom of the front forks, and a dustbin fairing will sweep to the back of the bike. Imagine the possibilities. I don't need to do 70 into a headwind with 4 bags. I need something that is easy and anyone could reproduce it in their garage with a few basic tools.

My response: Funny... I never noticed that it would be so easy to convert a CT110. It looks really promising.

OK... you don't aspire to ride in Vetter conditions. But consider this: The engines in the 1980-85 contests - in a 55 mph world - were all 125 to 180cc. Even tho those bikes were really streamlined, smaller engines simply did not have the power.

To be usable, you will need twice the power a 90 puts out.. If you hop it up or replace it with a Lifan - which it sounds like you have - it will generate so much heat that it will cook inside the streamlining. You will need liquid cooling.

Then again, I could be wrong about all this...

That said... My CT110 is among my favorite machines, altho, it simply cannot go 55 mph sitting up. Actually, it won't do 55, period. But it always starts and takes me anywhere I want on my ranch. It is a fantastic machine. Some electric bike manufacturer should make an electric powered CT110. If we powered it from solar panels and batteries, we would have our dream machine.

Would you like for me to superimpose my streamlining kit over this for you?

I trust that you will keep us posted. Thanks.

Back to streamlining Alan's Ninja:
23 pounds
4 bags of groceries
Cutting seat foam
3" is probably too thick. We'll see...
The streamlined 250 Ninja just may offer the best possibilities for cross country touring

Over the past year, Alan Smith rode this Ninja 10,000 miles around the US... stopping in Ohio for the Vetter Fuel Challenge. He always got around 90 mpg, riding at 70-80 mph. At the 2011 AMA Vintage Days Challenge, Alan placed 5th, getting 115 mpg, just ahead of me at 109 mpg on my Helix.

Another experimenter asked about the Ninja 250:
Hi Craig,

I have been tinkering with motorcycles for years and find your "High Mileage Challenge" very interesting and am looking forward to building a model.
My question to you is why the popularity of the Kaw. Ninja 250 Motor. Most owners I talk with report about 50 or so MPG. Somehow this doesn't seem like a good start and the fact its a 2 cylinder is not appealing to me.
I know you use a scooter motor and I have already decided against this for various reasons. Hope to hear your opinion.
Also, are there any forums for your Challenge?


Mark O.

My response: This is a good question. I am not an engineer, Mark, just an observer:

Over my lifetime I have observed that there is something very special about 125-180 cc cylinder sized engines. They put out a lot of power for their size... making more power than you would expect.

The following observations will "date me." I am old. But consider:

My racing 125 AT1 was as fast or faster than the double sized, single cylinder, 250 DT1. The Suzuki X6 was made up of two 125 cc cylinders. The RD350 had two175 cc cylinders. The Kawasaki 500 was made up of three 166 cc cylinders. These were all the fastest motorcycles of their time.

I think it has to do with how fast gas burns... flame travel... inertia... things I only have words for and little understanding. It has to do with the scale of how things work in our world. Maybe a real engineer can add to this.

The 250 cc Ninja is made up of two of these magical sized 125 cc cylinders. It goes a whole lot faster than a single cylinder 250. It gets better mileage, too. Alan's home-made streamlining has proven the Ninja's potential. When he is fully equipped with the Vetter Streamliner Kit, we expect that he will be able to gear his bike up more - slowing the engine down more - and get even better mileage.

Stay tuned and learn with us.

Oh... this is the Forum. But folks often discuss Vetter things on Ecomodder: www.ecomodder.com