Low & Slow's Ninja 250 project

Discussion in 'Street and Performance Bikes' started by low&slow, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    Hi Herm, As Kirk says, during the Vetter Callenge running, close following is forbidden, P&G , EOC and other hypermiling driving techniques are discouraged. There is a ride leader and a designated follower ( usually Craig) and the Vetter Challengers are to stay riding between them. If the designated follower passes a competitor , they are eliminated for going too slow. One could try them during the run but at the risk of being passed by Craig and eliminated. The rides are on public roads , usually with hills and windy areas and the pace is usually "spirited". That is why breaking 100mpg is so difficult in the Vetter Challenges.
     
  2. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    Yup, the Vetter rule set is made to test streamlined vehicles, not driving techniques.

    (Though I'd like to see some city competition too)
     
  3. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    Latest update: refueled today, mixed riding in cool to cold weather, 209.5 miles, 2.63 gallons to refill... 79.7 mpg . My 3 tank average is 83.3 mpg , OK but I want more!

    Next steps; taller gearing and redo the tail section. My current tail is a bit small to hold the Vetter-mandated 4 bags of groceries so it's time to go all out before the May 4 Vetter Challenge in Carmel.
     
  4. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    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.
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  5. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    WOW! 80mpg and that is some tail.
    No complaints from LEOS? Some are busybodies might claim it is illegal for whatever reason,
    Charlie
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
  6. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    Charlie, I got pulled over once by the CHP but he was concerned because it was a windy day and he saw get pushed a little by a gust of wind. I think he was also curious about the bike as he asked lots of questuons and took some pictures. He looked the bike over, asked to see my license, registration and insurance and that was that. To my knowledge I meet all the applicable regulations for motrcycles in CA. I do get people driving alongside me, giving thumbs up and taking pictures and video . My bike gets more attention than a Ferrari.:D
     
  7. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    So curious CHPs but no real problems.
    Do you actually use the tail to carry stuff?
    In the past I had a rear rack on my SR500's-I would mount a coke carrier on the rack and could carry 2 bags of groceries in it.
    4 bags would be great-that tail looks big enough.
     
  8. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    Hi Charlie,
    I haven't carried groceries in this new tail yet but I plan to. I have often used the tail compartment in my Yamaha Vision and a few times in the previous tail on my Ninja 250. This new tail is huge and will have no problem meeting the 4 bags of groceries requirement to meet the Vetter Challenge. Some of the most interesting encounters I have with people intrigued by my streamlined motrocycles is when they see me loading bags of groceries into them. The ides you could put a week's worth of groceries into a motorcycle amazes them.
    :D
     
  9. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    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. 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 !!! :bananajump:
    I'm pleased with this and hope to keep the upward trend continuing.
     
  10. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Very nice!!! :thumbs_up:

    So... when are we going to see triple digits from you? ;)
     
  11. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    Thanks! Actually my best tank is 104mpg so far, but I fell back in the high 70's to low 80s after that. It's good to be closer to my best mark Its been feast or famine so far with this project. The Ninja may be bipolar :D
     
  12. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    I like the sound of that new sprocket. Needing an occasional downshift is a good thing - it means you're more efficient the rest of the time. When you do need to downshift, you're back to where you were before the swap, but only when you need to. :D
     
  13. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    Thanks Andrew! It was interesting in my studying of the Ninja 250 gearing that many recommended no higher than 15/37 gearing, even some hypermilers. I now have the tallest geared Ninja 250 that I am aware of and it seems to work. More testing will tell the tale but I am very optiimistic. You are correct, I've expanded the efficient range on the top end with minimal downside at the bottom. I'm still quicker than cars only now I have to downshoft rather than just open the throttle more.
     
  14. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    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:D
    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.
     
  15. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    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.
     
  16. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    Filled up the bike today after running errands this past week. 168.6 miles / 1.75 gal.= 96.3 mpg. The more I ride around with the 15/33 gearing, the better I like it. I sealed up some side vents on the front fairing and lubed and checked the chain. I plan to install some plugs , other than that I'm pretty much ready for the Vetter Challenge on May 4. Hopefully I can breaK 100mpg in the event.
     
  17. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Lookin' good -- good luck!!!
     
  18. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    Thanks Sean!

    I did some more running around during this warm spell we are having and filled up today; 138.2 miles/1.08 gal.=127.96 mpg!!! :eek:
    The main things I attribute the improvement to is the taller gearing, the warm weather , that I'm rode slower , and included fewer short trips. It may be a fluke but the next tank will be a good indicator. My last tank was 96 mpg. things are looking good for Carmel. :D
     
  19. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    That's higher than I've ever managed over that sort of distance in my Insight! :thumbs_up:
     
  20. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    Waiting for the next tank :)
    If you can retain this FE with the ninja... well, I won't replace Teresa just to beat you, but at least I'll be very envious :D
     

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