The students from Virginia Tech are back!

At the 2013 Vetter Challenge, the V Tech Team ran a Ninja 250 inside standard Vetter Streamlining. This year, they thought they could do better with their own streamlining.

I love a Challenge

But I have concerns. 32 years ago Honda tried a similar shape only to have it blow over in spite of having world champion Trials Rider Debbie Evans as pilot.

Honda returned in 1983 looking like this- (left). We can see what Honda did but I cannot remember the comments that were made.

Has the VTech team been out in the wind yet? Have they been riding in the rain?

Can they get on and off by themselves with no help? These are very important qualities of a motorcycle that is to be our first choice in a garage full of great machines.

Postscript: The Virginia Tech machine arrived without its tail and did not compete at the 2014 Vintage Days Challenge

The Vetter Fuel Economy Contests of the 1980s determined the ultimate fuel economy riding in real American conditions. That, by the way, was 470mpg. There was no requirement that these machines be good, useful transportation. Some of the riders had to have help getting in and out. The machines had no carrying capacity. They led to nothing that changed motorcycling.

All that has changed in today's Vetter Challenges. Today we are after motorcycles that are comfortable, carry a useful load and consume the least energy in real American riding.

The spirit of the Vetter Challenges is very important. If you have not reviewed the Official Rules for Vetter Challenges, this might be a good time.

John Ousterhout's Diesel powered Guzzi
There is a lot of work here. The truth is, it might take a year or more to build a machine like this. But when you are all done, you will have a motorcycle that will be able to cross America from coast to coast on 25 gallons! In comfort. Carrying a useful load.

Burton Rosenberger's Zero
Burton found himself a Zero setup for road racing and decided to turn it into a Vetter Challenger

I sent Burton the sketch below. The red X indicated the frame portion that will be cut off to get the seat lower. Beginning with this sketch, we rebuilt Electric Terry's Zero.

Bob Horn's Feet Forward Ninja
Its not just eMoto Racing that is waking up to the value of real streamlining. The MRA is allowing Bob Horn to compete on his Feet Forward Ninja at High Plains Raceway in Colorado. Feet Forward leads to a much smaller frontal area which leads to higher top speeds:
Bob reports the following:

"The bike is surreal good fun. The feeling of speed is very intense and the perspective takes some getting used to (The combination of which had me braking waaaay too early for corners for a long time - I'm still working on that!). But, as is always the case with speed, one gets used to it and eventually bored with it."

Bob continues: "The view is very different - It is more like looking over the nose of a jet fighter than a motorcycle in the turns - and the view of the corners when cranked over is excellent. The helmet is also a LOT quieter at that angle, even though there is no windshield. One very unusual feeling at the end of the day was not having any sore muscles, except for my neck, which was my fault - I kept forgetting to use the headrest. The more I relaxed my back, shoulders, and head, the better the rear suspension worked and the better the bike tracked, especially after the apex and cranking on the power (Well, all 50HP of it...) when leaned over.

The reduced overall height also means that the overall width is a lot less when cranked over - never thought about that one 'til I experienced that Saturday (April 19, 2024).

As you probably guessed a bit ago, I'm very happy with the concept. You have me thinking about cleaning up the aerodynamics a lot for improving the straights."

What would happen if Bob was really streamlined?
Bob Horn's Feet Forward Ninja with standard Vetter Streamlining PhotoShopped on

Race sanctioning bodies, led by Europe's FIM, have made real streamlining illegal in motorcycle racing.

The motto of motorcycle manufacturers has been: "Win Sunday... sell Monday". Those manufacturers don't make streamlined motorcycles. Instead of promoting streamlining, it has been easier for the motorcycle manufacturers to ban it from the tracks. The FIM did just that in 1957.

Europe's FIM does not control us. It is time to demonstrate what streamlining really does.

Thank you, my pioneering friends.

Vetter Streamliner kit
The Last Vetter Fairing can be modified to fit any motorcycle.

Follow along as we show how to put it on these various machines

The goal: To be the most comfortable bike possible and to consume the lest fuel.

We want to live better on less energy.

So much less energy that we can harvest it from our own property

Master Index to the Last Vetter Fairing Story

Posted May 11, 2014

Updated Nov 23, 2014