Chap 54: Fitting the Fiberglass nose

Things are getting fun. Even our wives can begin to see what we are up to.

Alan wisely bought an extra 250 Ninja that we could use to figure out the mounting. One day soon, we will remove everything new from this extra bike and transfer it to the bike he rides. I just purchased a second Helix for the same reason. We are working towards the Vetter Challenge at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering, coming up May 4, 2012 in Carmel, California. 137 miles through the most beautiful roads in California.

First, I had to see how it was going to work on my Helix. Son, Morgan holds the taped together nose pieces alongside. With PhotoShop, I "installed" it virtually on my Helix. Then we installed it for real on Alan's Ninja:
Removing the top portion gave us access to the bottom. The problem now was to figure out how to cut the peculiar shape that the front wheel requires as it bounces up and down and turns full lock.
After we removed the front wheel, the nose slipped right on the Ninja. We used Cleco Clamps that expand into 1/8" holes to hold it in place on the aluminum bulkhead. Clecos were developed to help build airplanes and are very handy.
Making a hard job easy. Cutting the "Smiley Face"

Have you noticed the cutout in nose of streamliners that looks like a smile? This shape is necessary for the wheel to turn lock to lock. Because each bike is different, each cutout is different.

Figuring out how to cut the "Smiley Face" perfectly, has plagued builders of streamliners. Most of us simply guessed at an opening hole and then slowly enlarged it with a grinding wheel until the motorcycle wheel cleared. It took about a day and itchy arms from the fiberglass dust.

I was not willing to do that again.

This time we made up cardboard shape of the front wheel - disc rotor and all - and hot melted it to a wooden "axel." Now it was a simple job of holding a marker at the fork angle and tracing around the shape as we turned the wheel from lock to lock. This is one of the reasons I made the nose "top and bottom"... so we could have easy access to do this.

Then Alan cut on the line with a sabre saw. The fit was perfect with one cut!

Do they look happy?
Now Alan could glass the two halves together. When it cured, visiting Vic Valdes climbed aboard for an imaginary ride. At last year's Quail, Vic rode a 550 Yamaha Vision.

Vic now has his own Ninja 250, fitted with his experimental bodywork. Here we catch him weighing the pros and cons of future streamlining. It is my belief that one simple streamlined shape is slipperier than a bunch of streamlined shapes.

We'll soon see on Alan's Ninja.

What is streamlining?

Master Index to the Last Vetter Fairing Story

This page posted Feb 10, 2012

Updated Feb 13, 2012