Arthur Kowitz Streamlines a Brammo for road racing
Updated Nov 26, 2014
Arthur Kowitz (right) hosts the eMoto Racing Series of road racing which allows real streamlining. Real streamlining, as some of you know, has not been allowed on race tracks since 1957 when the FIM banned it.
I suggested in PhotoShop how he might streamline his Brammo
When visiting in April, Arthur took a Vetter Streamliner Kit to Florida to put on his road racing Brammo. Even tho my streamlining has been designed for street bikes, (the way we ride on the street) I assured him it could be modified to be used on the track. In fact, my streamlining just may be the best way to streamline any bike. Period.

In Arthur's words:

For the past 2 months we have been working on adapting a Vetter nose fairing and homemade tail section to my Brammo TTX electric racebike.
I sent Arthur some milk carton paper to wrap his tail. We discussed whether or not the opening behind his body (and the rear of the tail) should be open to let the air thru or not. We can see, on the right that he is experimenting with a flexible skin to hold the passing air tight. We are dealing with solving problems that nobody has ever dealt with. Streamlining in the 1950s never progressed this far.

My son, Bill Kowitz and I took the working model of the streamliner to a trackday at Roebling Road near Savannah GA. There were many issues, besides the obvious, to address; swift and easy access to service front and rear wheels, install tire warmers for the track, tie the bike down in the race transport, cool the motor and controller, cornering ground clearance, unfettered ergonomics to allow rider full range of motion, and so on...

Trackday at Roebling Road near Savannah GA

We selected Roebling for it's long straightaway and technical back section, a combination that would challenge all facets of a roadracer. Also, I raced the same bike here in February in the eMotoRacing series opener...and have the GPS data from that event showing segmented track times and speeds at all points along the course.

The first sessions of the day were spent altering rider clearance, changing gearing, and becoming familiar with the new feel of the is different!

What it felt like to be really streamlined
As we approach 100mph, the bike gave me a bit of a vague feeling as if it would not be stable as I went even faster...this proved to be untrue, as it never got worse, and I gained confidence in its feel. There were some winds, prevailing and some gustiness, throughout the day. These winds were coming from the northeast, requiring some real muscle to make it turn into the wind. Turn 3 is a high speed left hand sweeper that bends into Sunday's took noticeable effort to properly race through turn 3. Another, slower turn gave the same challenge, although to a lesser extent.

    I felt as thought there were no crosswind my pleasant surprise. Note, I have built a Kamm inspired tail section that only hangs past the rear tire by 5 inches.

Nothing to draft:

    Around midday, I was on track with a 2 stroke GP bike who was trailing me by only 2 bike lengths...he could not make a pass. I interviewed the rider after the session, curious to get his impression of my 'air-wake'. He said that he expected to get into my draft, and slingshot by me as we got near the long end of the straight...but there was no draft for him. I loved hearing that, as it suggests a lack of dirty air and good performance of my tail section.

Effect on speed:   

Now lets talk about raw speed. I was hoping for a 10mph top speed gain, dreaming of 15mph. I admit to being greedy and was disappointed in the 4mph improvement that was achieved...BUT, to my surprise, the real gain was in acceleration. GPS data indicated my greatest improvement was in the sections of the track where uphill acceleration was the challenge, coming out of turns 7 and 9.
    All in all, top speed was up, acceleration was up, time spent in the technical sections of the track were unchanged, and my lap times were 2 seconds quicker on this day to my best race time in Feb....gotta love that. 
I believe that if Sunday was racing, now that I have some confidence in the set-up, another second or so would be easy to gain. 

Aug 30, 2014: Kowitz at Miller Motorsports Park Tooele, Utah
The finish of the Vetter Bonneville Challenge

Arthur Kowitz of Ormond Beach, Florida, the series founder, sponsor, and current points leader broke all convention by putting on the track a fully streamlined Empulse TTX that attracted curiosity and kudos all weekend. This sleek, bullet-shaped bike had a brake failure on Saturday, but stormed back Sunday with a 5 second per lap improvement and a strong second place finish.

How fitting that this ground-breaking streamlined roadracer debuts just a few miles from the famed Bonneville Salt Flats and the termination of the Vetter Fuel Challenge from Bonneville to Tooele. The Vetter Streamlined fairing kit is used on both bikes.

Kowitz dialed in at Barbers with his Vetter streamlining
It is remarkable that Arthur was able to make the streamlining intended for the street work on the track. He has, you will notice, added "flats" to either side for road race cornering.

I am hoping to learn how real streamlined motorcycles interact with each other in windy track conditions. To do this, will require another streamliner racer.

Master Index to the Last Vetter Fairing Story

Posted Aug 10, 2014

Updated Nov 26, 2014