I just finished skinning my new tail section today. I used coroplast panels on the sides and plasticized sign papers for the rounded top. The coroplast is very easy to work with and pretty rigid in line with the tubes. I built my framework with 3/8" and 1/4" plywood bulkheads, light wood and sheetrock edging stringers. The coroplast is very light and provides additional stiffness to tailsection. The more I use coroplast the better I like it. The coroplast doesn't bend that well and is much better for straight panels. The sign paper is weather resistant, bends easily and is great for the curved portions of the structure. I used 1"x 3/4" wood lathe for some of the stringers as it is light , rigid, easy to attach with glue and screws. I also used some bamboo for x-bracing and just hot-glued it into place.
I tested the new tail today and it works great. The only modification I'll need to do is add another attachment from the tail structure to the MC frame as it has tipped downward slightly. I'll run another tank and see how much improvement there is with the new tail.
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: GreenJoe's 33 tooth. I also lubed my swingarm and shock linkage, shimmed the cush drive and shortened my chain by 4 links. Today, 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 don't know what a streamliner could get 2-up, but in my log there are a lot of mostly 2-up tanks, especially from 2010, but my 2011 entries are even better because they contain an estimated percentage of 2-up rides per tank.
On a stock (no streamlining, stock gearing) bike it seems not to impact FE too heavily - the difference looks <10% to me. When it comes to streamlining it becomes tricky, I think - low&slow's tail makes the bike a one seater, so if you want to ride 2-up, you'll have to design a different one.
L&S: a big YAY to having to downshift That means good in terms of efficiency, IMHO - now you have a real cruising gear and don't have to mess with high speed pulse&glide
Tradosaurus, That's too bad, I was hoping you be joining the motorcycle hypermiling revolution. Maybe you'll reconsider when the weather gets better.
I still haven't worked on my carbs yet but I have adjusted to the taller gearing and have the feeling it will pay off with some good results.
Latest update: I decided to clean my carbs. They actually didn't look too bad inside. I got it all back together and rode around some today and refueled.... 92.1 mpg
It appears the improved tail and taller gearing are doing their job. I need to adjust the carbs some more as it has some flat spots as I accelerate. Once I'm above 6K rpms it runs very well.
Sorry I haven't posted in awhile, I've been away from home a lot the last 3 weeks with more work travel scheduled just before the 5/4 Carmel Vetter Challenge.
I have my bike running better after cleaning and adjusting the carbs and installing the 15/33 gearing. The last tankfills have been 90mpg, 92 mpg and 76 mpg. The 76 mpg tankfill involved a lot of hard, fast running over 70mph playing with throttle response in top gear. My bike is now pretty susceptable to lugging in top gear at the low end of the power band so I need to downshift a lot more than previously. This week will be my last opportunity to work on the Ninja before I compete in the 5/4 Carmel Vetter Challenge so I will be doing some testing and refining it to get ready. I was hoping to do some riding with Alan Smith and see his new Vetter front end but he is going dirtbiking in Utah next week. The new front end looks great and I'm curious about how much of an improvement it will be over his previous one. I will probably go this route if it shows a signnificant improvement oveer the faired front fender/frame fairing combo.
I plan to seal up some opening in my front fairing, change to new spark plugs. Alan is leaving me a 37 tooth rear sprocket to try out, which I may do if testing indicates a problem with the current 33 tooth rear sprocket. I'm very pleased with the new tail and have worked on the interior to improve its cargo carrying capabilities ( over 4 paper grocery bags ) . We'll see how it goes.