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motorcycle Aerodynamics.


Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
As some of you may be aware,

I am currently writting my thesis on motorcycle aerodynamics focusing on historic motorcycles, (1920 up untill 1960 ish) Therefore I need to read about it, and know a fair amount about it, before I can start writting about it, I have a lot of SAE papers on modern motorcycle aerodynamics, and a few articals from journals and magazines on bits and bobs.

Does anyone have any recommendations as to other places to look / people to talk to / books to read?

(And yes my project does already mention vincents twice in the first 8 pages - once on the design intent of a black knight, the second, a breif mention of vincent bonneville racing in streamlinners (and bathing suites) this is due to there almost ideal teardrop Cd values of around 0.01.


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Prince Duster

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VOC Member
Hi there.

From memory, a German magazine put an enclosed D in a wind tunnel. Apologies, can't recall the Cd or the magazine but the tear drop rear was, apparently, effective. There was much debate, I have heard and read, between Vincent development rider Ted Davies, and PCV, over the wheel mounted fairing on the enclosed front of the Knights and Princes, the former preferring GP dustbin fairing practice, the latter the system (adopted) which allowed the front light beam to reflect the steering input for tighter corners.

A much missed British journalist, who passed away a few years ago, was John Robinson of Performance Bikes. There should be something on this area in his book Motorcycle Tuning, at Amazon on http://www.amazon.co.uk/Motorcyle-Tuning-Chassis-Motorcycle/dp/075061840X. He was a fine rider as well as author - I recall him out-braking the new ABS equipped Yamaha FJ 1200 at the launch... on a slip pad, with the ABS turned off. Yamaha people not too impressed at that.

Also worth getting is anything on the subject by another great writer now departed, LKJ Setright, especially his BMW book, Bahnstomer.

Finally, I believe Moto Guzzi were the only major factory with a wind tunnel for many years. BMW hired it to develop the R100RS in the mid 1970s - worth the investment, as the RS was a major step forward, the down force the fairing generated acting to improve the steering with speed, rather than the normal habit of the reverse happening, due to lift. The RS is a generation ahead of the R90S at over 90 - 100mph.

Good luck.
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