March 2: Alan is pretty happy about how his Ninja is going together Updated Mar 9, 2012

If we had the headlight figured out, he'd be out riding. I am disappointed that we cannot locate a 3" HID headlight. Altho the internet is lousy with conversion HID units, none seem to be legal. If you are aware of a DOT certified HID 3" motorcycle headlight, would you please tell me about it?

Alan has removed the mounting bracketry from his spare Ninja 250 and transfered everything over to his running Ninja. We used a laser beam - right - to make sure that the nose is oriented perfectly.

Meanwhile, I redesigned and simplified the turret mount on my Helix. After making sure it fit the Helix Streamliner OK, I put it on Alan's Ninja. We will upgrade the Ninja windshield mount to Helix specs. Alan's bike looked so good, we had to roll both bikes out and take pictures.

My Helix has never been finished because I am always changing it. This is the way I design: Make it... ride it... change it... ride it... remake it... and so on until I cannot think of a better way. There has been no reason to be precious about how it looks.

After 3 years, all the problems are pretty much solved*. All final improvements have ben incorporated into one new streamlined body.

Looking pretty good, isn't it?

Even my least imaginative friends are beginning to see how the final design is going to look. And they like what they see.

*These problems include anticipating how the Vetter Streamliner Kit will be made and transported economically. If you cannot afford to ship a kit, you won't buy it.

More about smaller Headlights
The headlight issue must be resolved. Notice how the yellow streamliner looks so wide at the front. This is because of the headlights. The Prius headlights seemed like a good solution at the time, coming with built-in streamlined turn signals and running lights. costing only $145 delivered. But side by side, they are 28 1/2" wide. 24 " seems to be the best overall width for streamliners. I hoped that the extra width of the Prius lights would "grow on me" but it never did.

Then I discovered that I needed to spend another $100 to buy special Toyota plugs and wiring parts to make the bulbs fit into the Prius light unit. Aaargh.

The obvious solution would be smaller, aftermarket, HID headlights. Research has shown - thanks to our readers - that there are no little DOT- certified HID headlights available for motorcycles. Worse, the internet is full of stories about tickets being issued to riders with non-DOT certified HID headlights. We must take another look at the lights that came on our bikes originally. It turns out they will probably work as good as anything.

Stock headlights

A paper template shows where the nose is so Alan can tell how far he can move his standard Ninja headlight forward. Looks like 4" will do the job. The angle of the lense is not perfect but not as bad as any aftermarket light we could find.

Alan marks the approximate hole for the Ninja headlight... about an inch smaller than the final opening. Next he will cut and grind it to match the shape of the Ninja headlight.

Final headlight trim... now a check to see that it has no effect on the pattern.
LED turn signal lights

I plan to use a strip of LEDs as turn signals - which means I don't need all the extra lamps that come with the Prius units. A proper arrangement of LEDs can be simpler and more visible to oncoming traffic.

We can now buy rolls of LED lights in colors. I bought some yellow and red. Alan measured the power draw of a standard 1157 dual element bulb - the kind used as running lights and turn signals - to see what an equilivant length of LEDs would be. The LEDs draw .1 amp per foot.

The smaller filament of the 1157 draws .6 amps - equivilant to 6 feet of LEDs

The brighter filament of the 1157 draws 2.2. amps - equivilant to 22 feet of LEDs

This is good information to have.

The upcoming May 4 Quail Vetter Challenge: Remember Vic Valdes?

Vic showed up - along with Treven Baker and his home made Diesel - at the Vetter Quail Ride Challenge in 2011 with his "sort of" streamlined Yamaha 550, getting 55 mpg.

Eventually, Vic realized that no matter what he did, his Yamaha had too much power and would never get the kind of mileage he wanted. Inspired by Alan Smith's stellar improvements with his Ninja 250, Vic started over with a used Ninja and recycled Coroplast.

Streamliners made of recycled political signs will probably will be more effective in saving energy than the politicians they promote.

Vic likes Coroplast. Used, free Coroplast is his favorite. We have some big elections coming up. After it is all over, grab that Coroplast and put it to good use!

Here is Vic's: report as of March 5, 2012: "I took the Ninja for a good hard ride on Saturday on the local backroads to test the new tail and to test the accuracy of my odometer/tripmeter. The new tail worked great and seems to be very sturdy. My destination was a local motorcycle hangout ( the Livermore Junction ); the brothers and sisters there seemed to like the streamliner. I had some fun and found that my odometer under-reported distance traveled by 9.2 %.

Yesterday, I decided to go ahead and change to the smallest rear sprocket I had: Joe Ray's 33 tooth. I also lubed my swingarm and shock linkage, shimmed the cush drive and shortened my chain by 4 links. I rode the bike to Fremont on some errands and found that the taller gearing was manageable. It starts from a dead stop OK , accelerates at an acceptable pace and brings the rpms way down while cruising. Hills and headwinds now need quick downshifts to maintain speed and often need dropping down 2 gears at a time. We'll see how it goes.

I fueled up on the way home and got ..... 90 mpg !!!

I'm pleased with this and hope to keep the upward trend continuing.

I will definitely be riding at the Quail and the Washington Challenge with a good chance of making it to Ohio as well . Can you tell me the town in WA it will be located at?
Please fell free to use my pictures and info on your website.

Lots of interesting work being done by future Vetter Challenge competitors at Ecomodders like Sendler, bschloop, Redyaris, GreenJoe and others. Alan told me than Treven will be riding in the Quail.

Very exciting, your revolution is catching hold and I'm very glad to be a part of it,
The new nose is awesome !!
all the best, Vic "

I hope that Vic's work is an inspiration to you. I think the air does not care much if the streamlining has a perfect surface. The shape is more important. Getting the BIG pieces right is our goal.

We will be learning a lot at the 2012 Vetter Challenges.

Master Index to the Last Vetter Fairing Story

Posted Mar 4, 2012

Upgraded Mar 9, 2012