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Old 01-04-2012, 11:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Enduro Enclosure Project- An Ecomod with Ground Clearance

Hi Everyone. I'm in the process of modding my green 2008 Kawasaki KLR650 for Adventure Touring. I'm adding storage and want to at least partially enclose my ride for improved efficiency, privacy for my cargo and myself, weather and abrasion protection. I figured I might as well put the extra panels in an efficient configuration and improve upon my ~55 MPG stock.

My bike is an Enduro, AKA Duo-Sport or Dual-Sport. It's like a street-legal dirtbike that's heavier and fast enough for the highway due to a larger displacement engine. For off-road adventures, I want to keep my current ground clearance. To get to those adventures, I want to go further from and between gas stations, with crosswind stability. I wouldn't mind low-hanging panels on blacktop if I can raise them up when the pavement runs out. I don't expect as good mileage off-road anyway.

After 20 years of KLRs, 2008 began a new style with a much bigger fairing, among other changes. It has a rather high seat and an upright riding position. IIRC, my eyes are higher than car drivers, so while less visible than I car, I'll be more visible than those low-slung pods you never see around. In cruising mode, I have highway pegs and am modding my seat to be lower and tilted back for a Feet-Forward posture. The seat will still be higher than a cruiser, so the higher CoG provides maneuverability. The heavier engine that's low and forward provides stability. I know keeping my increased cargo capacity as low and forward as possible is important for stability, but I anticipate tradeoffs for easier load-balancing of a larger topcase and smaller panniers.

I'll post design and other project images. This being the 2-wheeled forum, I'm sure you understand occasional compromises in favor of driver comfort, storage etc. I'm excited to breech the topic of Ecomodding a vehicle that can forge the occasional stream and cross the random gully when the whim hits.

Besides designing for a range of enclosure depending upon desert weather, I'm also interested in driving habits and fuel mods like Hydrogen augmentation, GEET by Paul and David Pantone, and the Gadgetman Groove. I've got some coroplast scraps comin' in soon, as well as some mail-order farkles, so Winter time is modding season.

I love being Green- now I want to Ecomod the perfect vehicle to hack, go on and off the beaten path, get deep into nature, and get camping. Who's down?


Last edited by Green Myst; 01-05-2012 at 12:17 PM..
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Old 01-05-2012, 02:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Check out Vetter's fairing work. Last Vetter Fairing

Its a lot of reading, but he fixed some serious mistakes that can be learned from.
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:04 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks! I've read much on ecomodder about Craig Vetter when I was lurking around, but I saw mostly work like the 1983 Rifle Streamliner and some of the Rifle. I knew his recumbent stuff, but not his dual-sport fairings like Alcan, and Mystery Ship. I'm enjoying seeing under the fairings in the photos of the Last Fairing, 1981 Streamliner High Mileage bike, the dual-sport pictured next to the Rifle enclosure on a trailer, and all those great historical images and stories. It's quite a rich and fun site.

In Chapter 36:

"
My Motorcycle Design Dilemma
It is generally believed that a KLR is pretty good for all-round riding. It does everything. But my Streamlined Helix has become my first choice in machines to actually ride. Really, I would rather take it anywhere... to the grocery store.. to Big Sur... to Alaska. It has built-in storage way beyond any motorcycle. I just throw stuff into the enormous space its streamlining naturally provides. No saddlebags flapping in the wind.
The streamlined Helix "Freedom Machine" is more comfortable. It is much easier to get on and off. The seat pad is huge! My bottom never hurts. The ride at 70 mph is quiet. I do not need ear plugs. It has enough power. My son, Zak said the KLR topped out at 86 mph into the 34 mph headwinds. My streamlined Helix would go 78 mph into those winds. Isn't that fast enough?

I don't think we can really streamline a standard bike like a KLR - or a CRF for that matter. The seats are too high on standard motorcycles. For streamlining, lower is better because it reduces frontal area. Reduced frontal area means less drag. Reduced frontal area means less side area for the winds to push on. In the movie above, you can see that Alan blew around more than me. He is higher because his seat is higher.
"


There you have it. With a KLR I might consider something like an Alcan front with a teardrop tail. Hmmm- I thought I'd put a giant box back and panniers there. Secure storage is still important, so I might have to fab something light but rigid. The teardrop tail is definitely the most key thing I've learned this year. Thanks again!

Last edited by Green Myst; 01-05-2012 at 12:18 PM..
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi Craig,

I see you're a member of ecomodder and a fellow KLR rider. I have an aluminum bashplate on its way to me, and I'm interested in using it as a base for an oval plate that runs all the way around the triple tree like your latest Alcan fairing. I'm considering building around my existing 2008 KLR650 fairing, incorporating my turn signals from their stalks into the fairing, trying Bugeyes as replacement mirrors, and removing/relocating the stock windshield. I am getting some coroplast scraps from a local sign shop too, which I might clad around the oval behind the forks, and maybe scoop the radiator intake

Last edited by Green Myst; 01-05-2012 at 12:16 PM.. Reason: update
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Craig and Zak Vetter plan a Alcan Fairing and Streamliner Tail combo, as does Jack Greenman for his Suzuki. I don't know about using a kit for this, but I would be interested in the patterns and modding the tail design with the option of taking up less space in the rear for parking. I'm considering a tail design where the very back can be retracted into the tail portion that's above the wheel.

I'm also planning on linking the fairing and the tail with something like clear marine windshield plastic, stretchy fabric, perhaps coroplast, or a combination thereof.

I plan to combine a custom lowered and reclining seat, handlebar risers that put the controls farther back, and highway pegs for a more recumbent than upright riding position, which will also lower my the height of my helmet. I will incorporate my legs on highway pegs and beyond into the width of the fairing. I also hope to fabricate the tail around a large topcase and 1' worth (that's two 6" wide cases) of pannier width (plus the sideracks). This is for lockable luggage space that is as forward and low as possible with the design.

So, it's not really a kit project for the Alcan Fairing and Streamliner Tail, since I'll be modding them around my legs, cases, etc. In my case, it would be awesome to have some patterns to scale. I have an opaque projector that I could use to scale up standard computer printed patterns up to full size. I'd adhere some paper or sheetmetal to a wall, project and trace the pattern, transfer it if need be, cut, bend, possibly pop rivet, bolt on, photograph, and share here.
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Old 01-08-2012, 05:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The red sections are locations for the more rigid components of Vetter Alcan Fairing and Vetter Streamliner designs. The green sections are more reconfigurable. These will all probably be done in a combination of aluminum, Coroplast, clear marine vinyl, and an Inherently Fire Retardant (IFR) stretchy fabric.



I am starting in the middle of the bike with the ergonomics. I am lowering the seat, making a seat back, and will be positioning the handlebars back and seeing how far my control cables will go.

I'll also be mounting my luggage behind me, and a boom mic stand that can be used to support stretch fabric for the tail in road mode, or material to keep the elements off me.

Once I know where the handlebars will end up, I plan to use Craig's trick to rotate them behind a fully fixed fairing, since that is how the KLR is setup anyway. I'll add fog lights, maybe pull in my turn signals, make a window for all my lights, add a fork brace, and drop the front fender just above the front wheel.

So far, I am the least sure about the design covering the front wheel. That will probably be skinned with stretchy fabric and among my last sections to tackle anyway.

Last edited by Green Myst; 01-08-2012 at 06:12 PM..
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Old 01-10-2012, 10:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Green Myst, Be careful about trying to fully enclose the rider with your streamlining. Fully enclosed bikes are very prone to sidewind problems ( check out the story about the Honda streamliner crashing out of a Vetter Challenge in the 80's). I'm not certain if that is your intention but picture you posted would have some big problems. Plan for some " blow through" space around the rider, safer and easier to get on and off.
Good luck with your project. L&S
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Copy that.
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
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It seems that the tail is the most important aspect to start with so I think you are on the right track there. The weather vane effect it has on the bike steers it into cross winds, aiding stability.

An enclosed front fender can also assist as there is more side area in front of the forks than the rear. This causes a side wind to steer the front wheel downwind, essentially doing the countersteering for you, again steering the bike into the wind.

I'm sure there is some aerodynamic tuning of these parts to make it all stable in turbulent winds.

How low can you reasonably go with the KLR seat and have good control off road?
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Old 01-11-2012, 03:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beatr911 View Post
How low can you reasonably go with the KLR seat and have good control off road?
I've gone 140 miles in a day before seat modification, and my pre-ecomod range is over 200 miles without external fuel containers. Through mods, I hope to increase my range in both man and machine so I will be comfortable enough to safely and enjoyably control my bike as far as its extended mileage and fuel supply will allow. One factor will definitely include lowering my resistance to air currents.

I'm extremely interested in crafting the skin of the tail section out of IFR stretch fabric. I want to be able to extend my telescoping aluminum tubing aftwards to tighten up the tail fabric, so there is very little deflection left in the material for the wind to significantly alter its shape.

I realize a lot of my protection from rain will come from the front. If riding in rain, I might also want to cover above me with clear marine vinyl, but I wouldn't enclose the sides while riding, as pointed out by low&slow. The enclosure around the seat functions merely as a bike cover when parked, so it won't affect road handling.

I got my scrap Coroplast and my Clymer maintenance manual yesterday! Thanks for your tips, comments and interest!

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