1st place in the "Pump Fuel" Class: 187mpg. That is 1.76¢ per mile!

Updated Oct 15, 2014

You are probably wondering how streamlining made of old political signs can be effective streamlining. I certainly have. But this is not an anomaly. Vic has been doing consistantly well with his 250 Ninja... barely taking back seat to Alan Smith's Ninja.

A couple of months earlier, Vic got 99mpg at the Wendover Challenge

126mpg at 2014 Vintage Days... 131mpg the year before.

Vic began with a Vetter streamlined nose kit. The shape is right. His body surfaces are in the right place. It is just that they are not fitted together as smoothly as we think they should be. Does this mean that the air does not care about such surface irregularities?

It is looking like that. Farther down in this page, you will see Rohit Sachhdev's streamlined Burgman scooter. It, too, has a pretty good shape but has very irregular surfaces. His bodywork is huge... totally enclosing the rider. And yet, he was able to go 70 mph and slip thru the winds at 57mpg.

What do you think is going on here?

This is worth discussing.

Ambassador of Streamlining Alan Smith took 2nd place place in the "Pump Fuel" Class: 156mpg on his trusty Ninja 250. 2.1¢ per mile

Alan, on the other hand, has been very careful with the surface of his streamlining, even to adding side doors to help the air slip by. Yet, in side by side riding from San Luis Obispo, he burned (a little) more gas than Vic.

Third place in the "Pump Fuel" Class: 84 mpg 4.2¢ per mile

This is about normal for my old streamlined Honda Helix. 16 hp has proven to be not quite enough. 20-25 seems better.

It is getting to be time to build another machine.

Fourth place in the "Pump Fuel" Class: Glen Barreth from Canada: 76 mpg, 4.5¢ per mile
What a treat to finally see what the Enfield from India can do in my Challenge. Glen brought his 500cc single equipped with a little "Cafe" fairing and some lower leg fairings. He carried his four bags of groceries in the cute little trailer.

Glen seemed to have a good time. I hope we'll see him back. He certainly has a good start at 76mpg.

What happened to Electric Terry?

He got 1st place in the electric class, but 3rd overall. Terry just ran out of time to put his bike together.

Anybody watching knows that Terry Hershner is constantly trying new ideas on his fabulous streamlined Zero. For two weeks prior to the SLO Challenge, he was fitting more robust forks to the front that would better handle the hundreds of pounds of extra batteries and chargers he carries inside his streamlined nose. Saturday morning, the day of the Challenge, Terry still had not installed his Vetter "Turret" which is essential to his streamlining - and rider comfort. The Turret guides the air around the rider's body. Without it, Terry knew his streamlining would be severely compromised. He had no choice but to ride his incomplete bike to the Challenge.

This was a much appreciated decision because there were a lot of people at the Central Coast Classic Motorcycle Club Show waiting to see him.

On the ride to SLO, monitoring his electrical use, Terry was aware that his lack of streamlining was causing a dramatic increase in power used.

In Terry's words:

"The turret top helps immensely! Without it, my range suffered 30% or more.  Next time I'll do better.  But I'm sure Alan and Vic will too!

This is a close race as we all get better!! Great stuff!

The missing Turret Top ruined Terry's streamlining

Notes about riding on electricity:

There are so many new things to consider with electric power. While the gas bikes were able to go the 160 miles from gas station to gas station, Terry had to go from charge station to charge station and they are not as convenient to find. Using an app on his iPhone, Terry found a ChargePoint charging station at SLO and another at the end of the Challenge at the Monterey airport. Thus the longer, 203 mile ride. This has no effect on the resulting cost per mile.

Even with good numbers from the ChargePoint stations, calculating the cost per mile is a little complicated:

Calculating Terry's electrical "cost per mile"

Terry consumed 28.118 kwh to full for 203.5 miles from SLO charge station to Monterey charge station. 

Cal electricity cost: 13.5 cents per kwh

203.5/160=1.27 times as far as the gas bikes went

1.27 x 61.13 = 77.75¢ for road tax

28.118 x 13.5¢= $3.796 total electricity for 203.5 miles

1.27x=$3.796 x=$2.99 for electricity

Add 61.13¢ for road tax=$3.60 total Terry cost, or 2.25¢ per mile

(They don't pay me to do math, so feel free to check this)

A couple of other interesting entries:
Rohit Sachdev just "appeared" at the San Luis Obispo event, Saturday morning in his 650 Burgman. He explained that he had ridden thousands of miles around the US with no problems. His interest, he explained, was to be able to be kept dry in the rain.
Rohit's RatLiner:

His bodywork was taped together from scraps of aluminum and old political signs.

He had to untape the side piece to get in and out.

His "tail light" was a string of LEDs.

At one point, Rohit pulled out a pair of metal shears and cut off some pieces.

Thus the name "RatLiner"

On the road and in the wind, Rohit's bike blew around more than anything we had ever seen. But he never blew over and he never left the pavement.

What did I learn? 57mph may or may not be an improvement over a stock Burgman. But staying dry in the rain should count for something.

We invite any interested people to come ride with us. Sayyed Bashir rode down from Sacramento to check out the Vetter Challenges for himself. Sayyed ended up spending $15 to do what Vic did for $3.

But Sayyed enjoyed the ride as he wrote in an E mail:

"I also have an idea for a future streamliner project."

Posted Oct 14, 2014

Updated Oct 15, 2015