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, I hadn't posted in a while and wanted to let folks know whats up with me and my project. My dad died after a long battle with lung cancer. Fortunately I was able to drive out to Texas and visit with him before he slipped into a terminal coma. I've also been busy working a lot on my part time job with a safety training company which involves a lot of travel.
    I haven't worked on my bike much since getting back from the Vetter Challenge in Ohio. I replaced the chain after it failed and have focused most of my efforts on improving the cooling airflow through the front end. I tested my new ducting today and it seemed to be cooling better though it wasn't a very hot day(~85*F.) Nonetheless, it seemed better to be working better.
    I also refilled today and had a pretty good tankfill: 379.8 miles/3.41 gal.=111 mpg.
    The Las Vegas to Barstow Vetter Challenge will be on November 18 so most of my efforts will be ensuring that the Ninja is roadworthy for the 500+ mile trip to Las Vegas and that my streamliner is running well and hopefully is competitive.
  2. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    I'm very sorry to hear about your father. :(
  3. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Sorry about your father, Vic.

    I wonder what your bike could do without Vetter's somewhat silly restrictions. Ya know, not everyone HAS to go 70 mph or carry four full bags of groceries. I think that at lower speeds and possibly some P&G , you could see 150 MPG.
    About improving the cooling airflow , were you having some overheating problems ?
    Does the Ninja have a temperature gauge ?
  4. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    Sean and Edwin, thank you for your kind thoughts.

    I have had a 136 mpg tankfill as my previous best and I agree that I could possibly break 150 mpg with an all-out hypermiling effort. I have been fighting overheating issues since I installed my dustbin-styled front end. The NInja 250 does have a temperature gauge and it was pegged out entirely too frequently before adding airscoops and ducting to the front fairing.
  5. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Sorry about your dad-good you got to say goodbye.

    I'm fallen behind on your efforts-last I "looked" you were getting 80 mpg or so on tanks.

    The Vetter Challenge-what speed does it require you average?

    What is your best guess on what you would get-now- level highway steady 60 mph-sea level?

    PS In 7 months I'll be $1500/mo richer-so I'll get a motorcycle again.My inclination is to get a single- SR500 Suzuki savage Buell Blast plain jane upright riding position single-cheap to buy etc
    But if you are in the 80 mpg and above range-a Ninja 250 looks pretty good. I could probably modify the riding position to make it more humane.
    Besides I think Suzuki made a more upright cruiser version of that bike in the distant past-forget the name- but pretty sure they did.
  6. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    Hi Charlie,
    I'm way past 80 mpg tanks now; 80 mpg would beA disappointing performaNCE NOW.

    The Vetter Challenges are run on publiuc roads at a " spirited " pace that is at least the speed limit and often above. Failure to keep ahead of the designated follower ( usually Craig Vetter ) is a disqualifying offense. My personal best tankfill was 136 mpg on a mostly freeway run at the 65 mph speed limit. i suspect I could break 150 mpg with slower speeds and the opportunity to use some hypermiling techniques.
    all the best , Vic
  7. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Vic:

    Did you run the Challenge last week and how did you do?

  8. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    Vic: Sorry to hear about your dad. But at least you could say your goodbye. It makes a huge difference, I know from experience.

    I had a sub-80 (72.7) mpg tank again this week. It's winter for Teresa, I can't help it.

    On the house: we moved up in the new attic. The temps are good, definitely better than down on the first floor, but the freshly smoothed floor emits humidity (maybe the 37 tons of concrete which has seen a bit of rain too). The air is at 100%, and we need something to get rid of this water. We bought a peltier dehumidifier a few weeks ago, of course its PSU is faulty, now it's repaired under warranty. Now a small chemical (salt) dehumidifier is here, but it's so tiny it'll take a lot of time to make any difference, if any, I guess. Today I had to start my computer with a fan heater... do you have any (cheap) idea to get rid of the water in the air and the structure? It's problematic to keep the windows open too much, it's basically winter outside.

    P.S. Originally I wanted to write that even those triple glassed, U=0.6 windows are wet now, but when I got up and tried to boot my PC I saw that even the furniture is wet inside.

    PS2: This post became a mashup that would look better in the daily grind. Whatever :eek:
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  9. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    Hi, Sorry for the late replies.

    Hi Wayne, Yes, I rode in the 2012 Las Vegas to Barstow Vetter Challenge. I had problems at the very end of the Challenge where my bike lost power running up the freeway into Barstow, forcing me to pull off the freeway. The official Challenge pacer passed me so I was disqualified from an official finish but my mpg for the event was pretty bad anyway ( ~60 mpg) . Very disappointing. The bike had a couple of more transient fuel starvation/stalling issues on the ride home but we made it back OK. SInce then I've checked the fuel tank and petcock, removed a fuel filter and found some junk in petcock vacuum line.
    I tok on a test run yesterday with Alan Smithand his Ninja Streamliner. We went 101 miles, I got 91 mpg and Alan got 133 mpg. I may have more issues than just the fuel flow to resolve.

    Alvaro, thank you for your kind thoughts. It sounds like you have your hands full with your house. I hope it all works out ok.
    Happy Holidays, Vic
  10. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    Hi all, I haven't posted in a while and thought I should report in.
    After a disappointing performance in the 2012 Las Vegas to Barstow Vetter Challenge I knew I needed to improve my streamlined Ninja 250 to return to its previous good finishes ( 2nd overall, 1st gasoline -powered @ 2012 Mid Ohio Challenge, 3rd best @ 2012 Carmel Challenge) .
    I decided to buy a Vetter fiberglass nosepiece as side by side testing with Alan Smith showed its superior performance . So I removed my Coroplast over sheetmetal framework nose and began by installing a plywood bulhead to mount the 2 fiberglass nose halves on. I cut the wheel slot, glassed the halves together and mounted the nose onto the bulkhead with 3 screws. I then made the framework to mount coroplast sides and the windscreen. I've been back on the road the past 2 weeks.

    I still need to do some more finish work such as sealing the plywoood bulhead and adding ducting but I wanted to see how the new nose felt and performed. I started using it to run errands to ensure it was strongly attached and that the turning clearance was OK. Engine temps are good although the weather has been cool. The bike is quieter through the air and I'm able to hold top gear longer and at smaller throttle openings than before. For lots of pictures of the construction check out Craig Vetter's website at www.craigvetter.com
    , its in Chapter 62

    Alan just got back from Phoenix with his "new" ( 2004 model ) Ninja 250 and wanted to do a baseline test on our 100 mile test loop. So we decided to ride this morning. Alan's friend Ken joined us with his new Honda CF250. We enjoyed the ride through the backroads between Livermore and Patterson and had some excellente Mexican food for lunch. We rode back to our starting point gas station and refilled our bikes: Alan: 77 mpg, Ken 83 mpg, Vic 100 mpg. The weather was cool with some wind. A good start for this current version.

    Next, I need to finish off the front end and then remake my tailsection. Still lots to do before the Carmel Vetter Challenge in May but I'm looking forward to it.

    all the best , Vic
  11. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    You'll do great in May, Vic.
  12. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

  13. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    A brief recap of current events with the Ninja streamliner:
    The bike stalled out and was producing no power near the end of a ride in the Cal/Neva Sierras. I had to trailer it home and feared major damage. Once home I tore into it and found that the problem was clogged carbs and got the bike running well again. During the trailer ride home my tailsection bodywork was damaged and needed significant repair.

    I was asked to display my streamliner at a local car and bike show so I hustled this past weekend to get the bodywork back together. I strengthened the front bulkhead as it was flexing a bit. I laminated more plywood onto the bulkhead and added 4 more steel tubing braces to it. I also added more frame members to the tail section and reskinned it with some new doorskin ( thin plywood veneer ). I just finished in time to ride to the show in Fremont. The crowd loved it.

    The bike is running well and I hope to do a bit of testing and tweak a few things before I get ready to head out to Lexington Ohio for the next round of the Vetter Challenge on 7/19/2013. I'll be trailering the streamliner this year rather than riding as I did last year. I hope to see some of you there at the AMA Vintage Days .
  14. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    Tomorrow morning I'll roll my streamliner onto my trailer and head for the AMA Vintage Days at the Mid Ohio racetrack for the next Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge on the morning of July 19. . I was 2nd overall and best gasoline-powered bike last year with 119 mpg, hopefullty I'll do as well this year. Wish me luck!

    I'll be heading East on I-80 and will be stopping in Salt Lake City on Sunday to drop off some aero parts for JeffM. I should in the Columbus OH area on Wed. or early Thurs. I'll be at the AMA Vintage Days event until Sunday morning, then I depart for Georgetown KY and a couple of days work there. If you are going to the AMA Vintage Days or are in the OH/KY area send me a PM if you want ot meet. I met Sendler, and Bschloop there jast year and had a blast. Its always great to meet my on-line friends in person.
  15. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Good luck , Vic. I'll be watching for your results.
  16. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    thannks Edwin!
  17. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Great stuff
    Ninja 250 on my short list once I'm become I motorcycle buyer again.

    Question- ODD that the carbs PLUGGED up while riding??
    Why would that happen??
    Usually my carbs would plug when it sat for 3-6 months
    never had carbs plug while riding??
    Did some grunge in the float bowl break loose- plug carb??
    Did you put some fuel cleaning stuff in fuel?? gunk became dislodged??
  18. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    Thanks! The stuff that likely plugged my jets was some form-a gasket I had applied around the float bowl seals that were weeping slightly. I found a small amount still in the float bowls when I took them apart. Everytrhing upstream of the carburetors was clean. This time I flipped the seals ( like a rectangular-shaped o-ring ) over and they sealed up fine.
  19. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Makes sense
    I have done things like that-fixes that caused worse problems
    MANY MANY times
    yeah learn from mistakes
  20. low&slow

    low&slow Well-Known Member

    yes, sometimes we are own worst enemies :D

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