Evolution of the nose.

Chap 53: Building the Nose and Turret Top Windshield

The pictures above represent three years of design, engineering and riding. The shape of the nose is determined by so many more factors than just the wind. Which headlight will fit into the streamlining? On the left is the original Helix light which is not very streamlined. In the center, the nose is fitted with Dodge Caravan lights which didn't fit the shape and never pointed correctly down the road. Finally, Prius units which come with running lights and turnsignals, all streamlined.

Now the windshield:

How do we make a windshield that is streamlined still providing rider comfort? It is time to resolve these issues and finish this machine.

The goal, of course is to get the the best mileage at 70 mph, into a 30 mph headwind, sitting upright and comfortable, carrying a useful load, like four bags of groceries and be our first choice machine in the garage.

Designing an adjustable windshield

Streamlined windshield low
Streamlined windshield high
An inch of travel is all that is needed when the windshield is so close to the rider's face. I want to make the windshield adjustable - up and down - to accomodate different riders and weather conditions. For example, I have found that in some conditions the inside totally fogs up. I want to move the windshield lower so I can see over it. In very cold conditions, I'll want it a little high. On hot days, I'll want it lower.

The new windshield assembly moved to Alan's 250 Ninja
While I have been developing the new windshield, Alan has been working hard to make the special brackets he will need to make the Last Vetter Fairing fit on his bike. It is very convenient to be able to swap back and forth to his bike to be sure it works. The tricky thing here is getting the bodywork moved parallel to the rotating plate that holds the handlebars.


Alan had to raise his handlebars 7 1/2" to get them into "sit up" riding position. He also ordered an 8 1/2" extended clutch cable from Motion Pro and hydraulic cable from Spigler. Alan has come up with a very clever design using the stock Ninja handlebars!

Not good

The bodywork structure needs to be parallel to the rotation of the forks. We discovered that the streamlining body structure had shifted and was no longer parallel. His bars had to be lowered, too. It is good to find these mistakes now when they are easy to fix.

Modern, built in Hippo-Hands

It is time to determine the shape of the streamlined hand guards. They will keep my hands warm and complete the streamlining. Templates show the shape.

The clay from the nose is warmed up and turned into the streamlined shape for the hand guards. It is always important to check fit. If I could, I would go for a ride with the clay, too.
Left side hand streamlining

Jan 28, 2012: The finished shape is ready to be copied in reverse for the other side. Then to the fiberglass shop for the mold.

Mirrored with right side hand streamlining

Feb 2, 2012: Both right and left streamlined hand guards are combined into one shape and ready for the fiberglass shop.

While the the windshield turret is being designed, the fibreglass mold for the nose is being made.
Explaining the clay pattern for the hand streamlined pieces to Dave Smith who sees some kind of 1930s art deco thing. Dave and company prep the nose mold for the first Vetter streamliner nose parts. Scraping the clay out took time.
Feb 3, 2012: With the nose mold polished and waxed ( background-right ), the first streamliner nose parts are ready! Morgan Vetter holds the first streamliner nose part up onto Alan's Ninja 250!
Nose Dimensions
Morgan said that it was peaceful and tranquil in there. "A nice place to organize my thoughts"

I include these rough dimensions for those of you who might be ordering a Vetter Streamlined Nose for your own project. Typically, I simply double the cost to me of the fiberglass parts. Since this is the first mold and without a perfect finish, until further notice, if you want parts from this mold, I will add only 75% to my cost.

No price has been established yet. Lead time is about a week. Let me know if we can help. The 2012 Vetter Challenges are coming up fast!

Compelling questions and answers over the past few days:

Feb 9, 2012 Jim wrote: Hi Craig!

I keep checking every day for your next streamlined fairing update. The fiberglass nose is looking really promising. I definitely would like to get the whole kit at some point.

Hey, would do you think about Honda's new CBR250R? Kind of expensive, especially compared to a lightly used but scratched Ninja, but the ABS option sounds like a good safety feature, and fuel injection should be helpful, too.

Keep up the good work!


Feb 9, 2012 my answer: Hi Jim: We have some new nose pics to go up soon.

The CBR250 sounds like a good candidate, too. But you could buy 2 or 3 used Ninjas for the cost of a new Honda. I think that a 250 twin, made of two 125 cc cylinders, has more potential than an engine made up of one big 250 cylinder. It appears to me that each 125 cc size has more possibility each 250 cc size.

The real problem with the CBR and the Ninja is that they are motorcycles, meaning that you sit high up.

Meaning a bigger frontal area.

Meaning harder to get on and off.

For me, I'll stay with my trusty Honda Helix. There are those that say the CVT eats power.

I am not convinced.

Stay tuned. Craig

Next: Trimming, fitting and bonding together the nose halves. Things will be going much faster now.

Master Index to the Last Vetter Fairing Story

Page posted Jan 27, 2012

Updated Feb 9, 2012