A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Craig Vetter?s workshop as he worked with elite hypermiling motorcyclist, Alan Smith to adapt the Vetter streamlining to Alan?s 250 Ninja.
The day began with me meeting Alan at his home in Castro Valley and us riding our bikes southward to the Carmel Valley. Traffic was still fairly heavy but we knifed the stoppages with our narrow, streamlined bikes with ease. In the gridlocked urban roadway environment the 2- wheeler is king! Alan?s 250 easily maintained a comfortable pace and demonstrated the adequacy of 20+ horsepower for our transportations needs.
We were able to enjoy some twisty backgrounds as we neared Carmel and Craig?s home.
Craig has a beautiful home on some wooded hillside acreage as well as his workshop/storage building. Craig welcomed us warmly and we proceeded to the workshop. Craig and Alan had been working on developing a kit so other Kawasaki Ninja 250 owners could quickly add streamlining that has the proven benefits of the Vetter design. The concept is to develop templates that that can be laid out on aluminum stock and cut to the correct shape for assembling into the framework. The framework is then attached to the motorcycle and covered with the milk-carton sheeting, similar to what Craig has done with his Honda Helix scooter.
It was interesting to see the plans and detail work needed to make and assemble the planned frame members. Alan and Craig are both very accomplished fabricators while my skills are those of a hobbyist. We worked on assembling the bulkheads for the long tail section. After a couple of hours it was time to break for lunch so we rode our bike down to a nearby Mexican restaurant.
At lunch we discussed quite a number of topics, among them, the need for our nation?s energy independence from foreign oil. It was great to be able to talk with my new friends on subjects that we are passionate about; motorcycling, personal responsibility and mechanical efficiency and individual freedom.
After lunch we returned to our work. Unfortunately my visit was cut short by a family emergency that needed my prompt return to Livermore. None the less it was a wonderful experience. For more details on the Ninja project check out Craig?s website, www.craigvetter.com . Also Craig asked me to extend an invitation to motorcycle hypermilers to join us in our next fuel economy run, a ride from the Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas NV to Barstow CA on the morning of 11-20 -2011. Please RSVP if you plan on joining us.