Chapter 64: Streamlining Terry Hershner's Electric Zero-Pt 2

"If fuel ever becomes precious, we will want to be streamlined"

Craig Vetter, 2008

Fuel is precious in electric motorcycles now.

Terry Hershner wants to set cross-country records with his electric Zero motorcycle. It looks like real streamlining can double the distance a gallon of fuel can take us. Will real streamlining double the distance a battery full of electricity can take us? We wanted to find out. First, I had to make changes to the tooling, make new molds and make new parts.
Finishing the nose tooling for the Last Vetter Fairing:
The combination aluminum / fiberglass nose structure proved to be too hard to make. I decided to make it totally of fiberglass. Alan Smith cut the top portion off. This would be the basis for the Turret Top.
The turret top has built-in streamlined Hippo Hands. A little more sanding and off to Dave the fiberglass man for new molds. Son Zak brings the first two nose parts: 17 pounds total. Terry tries the Turret on his Zero.

Fitting the new Streamlining onto Terry's Electric Zero Motorcycle:
Terry is not so sure about this

You just don't see many streamliners. Streamlining is a big jump for any motorcyclist to get used to. Here Terry is learning that he will be sitting more vertically because there will be no wind to lean against. His handlebars must be raised 6". The nose is too long for the way Terry wants to sit. We must remove about 5" from the nose.

We simply cut 5" off and re-attached the "Shelf" to the inside by fi-glass. Now it fits better for the way Terry wants to sit. For best handling, it is best to install the nose as far rearward as possible. We will fill in any gaps later.
Now it is time to scribe the hole that the front wheel makes. Using a cardboard wheel shape, Alan rotates the forks while Terry draws a paint line around the wheel shape. This is the exact shape to cut to clear the front wheel.

Terry drills holes on the line and then sabre-saw cuts from hole to hole from the outside where it is easier to cut.
We made a quick windshield of milk-carton paper. It is easy to trim the final windshield to any height and any angle. We will fibreglass the top and bottom together later, filling in the gaps. It is now time to make the mounting brackets. It is a good thing Terry can weld.

Three point mounting: One at the top... two at the bottom. The goal is to be able to lift the motorcycle off the ground from the front. These mounts must be very strong. (Think about what would happen if the nose fell off while you were riding...)

Finally we can mount the top and bottom nose halves. We pull them together with plates of aluminum so the sided match up.

It is now time to fiberglass the top and bottom.

Alan designed a new windshield according to the way Terry wants to sit and Cleco'd it into place. Clecos are aircraft fixtures that temporarily hold things. Then Alan then reinstalled the Zero instrumentation and added Terry's iPhone to the inside. It is beginning to look like an airplane cockpit. I like it.
Meanwhile, Terry laminates three layers of matt glass to the inside. I teach Terry about fiberglass and streamlining. He teaches me about electric motorcycles.

When the glass has set, we drill out the Pop Rivets that hold the temporary plates. Now any extra glass is ground down.
I do the final sanding. Because Terry wants to sit a little differently than I do, I had to trim and add pieces to the nose resulting in them not fitting perfectly. I had to make them perfect again. Terry wants his bike to be black. Hot Rod Black Primer it is.
Justin Burr just graduated from Virginia Tech where he headed up the school's Vetter Challenge bike project. We thought it would jump-start his understanding if he came to Carmel for a couple of weeks and work with us. We are learning a lot from each other. As soon as the new nose was on, Terry took off for a little test ride.

This was a happy moment for us all.

Posted May 20, 2013

Modified May 24, 2013