Hi from Alaska

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Midnitmike, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. Midnitmike
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    Midnitmike Grasshopper

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    I just wanted to say hi to all the members of the Vetter Forum.

    I've been a fan of this fairing for years and now that I'm riding again hardly a day goes by that I don't wish they were still in production. Riding up here in here in the north country can be a chilly experience and it pains me to know that Craig's enormous talents won't be providing me (or any of us for that matter) with new fairing designs for these bigger cruisers. I did manage to luck into a Vetter fairing recently that was stashed away in a garage and it's my hope that with a few mods I'll be able to fit it to my 2009 1100 V-Star. Once the riding season is over I'll pull the bike into the shop and see what I can come up with.

    MM
     
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  2. Scott-E
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    Scott-E Vetter Aficionado

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    Welcome to the forum! Finding a used Windjammer is not such a hard thing to do. Mr. Vetter produced a half million over a decade and were of such high quality a goodly portion of them are still around just waiting for another Bike.
    Mounting a Windjammer on a modern bike is not that difficult if you have basic fabrication skills. The trick is mounting it at the proper angle. I found that the base of the fairing just below the mounts where fairing lowers are mounted should be 5 degrees slopping upward to the front of the fairing. Mr. Vetter suggests placing a level under that area and making the front gap 1.5 inches above the level. You also want to fairing mounted as far back toward the the forks as possible. On modern bikes you'll run into two problems. Modern Forks are wider than 70's era forks due to the use of disk brakes instead of drum brakes. Modern Bikes also have much wider gas tanks. Some bikes also have air filter canisters that stick out the side instead of behind the engine cylinders and heads. The easiest way to check fairing placement on the bike is to hang the fairing from the overhead and then pull the bike under it. This allows you to figure out where the fairing will be mounted in relation to the bike. You can then check fork, tank, and perhaps air filter clearance. I mounted a Windjammer 4 on my Honda Shadow VLX 600. It turned out very nice. I also enjoy riding the bike a lot more behind that Windjammer.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Larry Fine
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    Larry Fine Vetter Aficionado

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    Mike, welcome, and it certainly can be done. Since all WJ's use the same mount bolt pattern, I suggest starting with finding a mounting bracket for (or from) a bike with a frame configuration that is closest to your bike. For example, I mounted a WJ5 on my '96 Nighthawk 750 using a mount for mid-80's Honda 750's. Be sure to check out the pics:

    http://www.vetterowners.com/threads/the-wj5-is-going-on-the-nighthawk-after-all.869/
     
  4. Midnitmike
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    Midnitmike Grasshopper

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    There do seem to be plenty of old WJ's out there, the biggest problem always turns out to be the cost and availability of shipping. As far as getting one to fit...well that's going to require some major modifications. The front end on my Vulcan is 13" wide and the tank is 18" wide, meaning there's just not enough room inside the fairing. My 1100 V-Star might be easier since it doesn't have the fork tube covers but the tank is again 18" wide and the fairing is only 16" between the interior walls. I've already cut away most of the interior to make room for the tank just to get an idea how it's going to look on the bike.

    Seeing as how I have all the skills necessary to make the changes it's just a matter of finding the time. I've even considered splitting a fairing in half and widening it so that I keep the original side pockets and at the same time make it wide enough to provide better wind protection for my hands. If I do that I'll have to use the modified fairing as a plug, pull a mold and then the part. Kind of a lot of work for a one off part but considering what they want for anything resembling a fairing these days I might just do it for the heck of it.

    MM
     
  5. Midnitmike
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    Midnitmike Grasshopper

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    I'm not sure that's possible since I want to build a mount for either a 2010 Vulcan, 2009 1100 V-Star or a 2009 1300 V-Star. Anyone of these bikes are going to require that I mod the fairing to the point that a standard mount may not fit. I don't see the mount fabrication as too much of a problem in any case since it's just a couple pieces of steel. What concerns me the most is making sure I don't screw up the lines of the fairing too much. I don't really want to try and duplicate Mr. Vetter design genius with my own pathetic skills.

    MM
     
  6. Scott-E
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    Scott-E Vetter Aficionado

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    Windjammer Fairings are made of ABS Plastic. A special 2 part epoxy is required for repair and only available from Mr. Vetters web site. It's typically used for cracks and holes. I don't think it's possible to cut one and make it wider and expect it to survive using that special epoxy. A better solution may be to make the bike fit the fairing. That would require a narrower tank and new narrow triple tree and forks. Custom vintage style tanks are available for choppers and bobbers that are narrow and would easily fit inside a WJ. Harley Davidson Sportster Forks are narrow and will easily fit in the fork bucket of the WJ. Sportster Forks are also heavy duty and come with a decent disc brake. There are a few shops around that will custom fabricate tanks. If I were going that route I would have one made to just fit inside and the top of the tank flush with the fairing pockets. I would build the tank to match the fairing. That tank could be slab sided with a flat top as it would mostly be hidden inside the fairing. It would be similar to the easy to fabricate "coffin" tanks used on choppers in the 60's and 70's as all the peaces are flat. Another option may be custom fuel bladders located in the fairing pockets. That empty space where the tank was could become storage space or a sheet aluminium dash fabricated and attached to the fairing and used for a radio, speakers, and the bikes dash that was mounted in the old tank.
    Craig Vetter Replacement Parts Link
    http://www.craigvetter.com/pages/Online_Store/Replacement_Parts/Details.html#Anchor-Hotcha-60133

    A Coffin Tank
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Midnitmike
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    Midnitmike Grasshopper

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    Hi Scott,
    You're right most of the fairings are indeed made out of ABS which is why I spent so much time trying to track down one of the original fiberglass versions. I've been doing fiberglass work for about 30 years now so the idea of working with just a straight glass model appealed to me on a number of levels. I could make all the mods I wanted and in the end have a useable part without going through the plug/mold/part process. It doesn't look like that's going to happen and it's mostly due to my inability to track down a glass model (they are a lot harder to find and identify correctly). The ABS version I have will have to do for now, so I'll use it to fashion a mock up and go from there. Now I wish I hadn't cut out the interior in my haste to try and fit it to the bike. In my defense I did try to pry them apart first, but even after all those years that glue stuck like crazy and I was afraid of breaking it.

    I have to admit that I have some serious reservations about pulling a mold off of this part no matter how much I modify it. After all this is Mr Vetter's design and right now I can't think of anyone I admire more. It almost seems sacrilegious to contemplate such a thing. I've realized one thing that Craig was mistaken about when he sold the business so long ago. That it wouldn't be long before the demand for his fairings would disappear. I've looked long and hard and today there simply isn't anything that even comes close.

    I disagree that I would be better off modifying the bike to fit the fairing. That's an enormous amount of time and expense to turn my cruiser/tourer into a 60's chopper...that isn't going to happen. I'd rather follow Craig's inspiration and redesign the fairing to fit the bike.

    MM
     
  8. AVetterXS
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    AVetterXS Admin

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  9. Scott-E
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    Scott-E Vetter Aficionado

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    I don't think Mr. Vetter would mind if you blatantly copying it going so far as to use the one you have now to make a mold. After all it's been out of production since 1982 and I'm sure any patents are long dead. Back then Windjammer knockoffs hit the market soon after the Windjammer hit the market due to it's popularity. They even went so far as to copy it so closely the same mounting brackets could be used which reduced their costs. As you can do fibreglass I think you should use the one you have as a mold. Cut it apart as it was molded in separate parts and then assembled, expand it's width, and make your molds from it. It could become a big seller as you are correct about current aftermarket fairings. While you are producing your molds you might make some much needed updates such as speaker and radio pockets and square off those pocket access ports so simple lockable hard covers can be made for them. You'll need to redesign the headlight bucket for a modern headlight assembly. The new wider fairing would allow fitting duel headlights much like the Liberator fairing. I would not include those Leading Edge Lights as found on later Windjammer models. For that era they were nice looking but doing away with them would cut production costs. I think standard Motorcycle LED turn signals mounted in the same way the early model Windjammers were fitted would actually be a lot better. Another thing to think about doing is modifying the fairing so it comes in separate sections that can be assembled by the customer so as to greatly reduce shipping costs. It would also allow customers to order separate sections for crash damage repair.
     
  10. Midnitmike
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    Midnitmike Grasshopper

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    I'll be sure to do that since it might give someone else the knowledge and inspiration to try something like this on their own. I've been cruising some of the bike forums lately and I can't believe how much bad advice is out there. Because I've been doing stuff like this for so long maybe I can pass on a little wisdom.

    MM
     
  11. Midnitmike
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    Midnitmike Grasshopper

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    Hi Scott,
    Yeah I've read a lot about the history on Craig's site and was actually surprised that so many people would blatantly steal his work...while he was in production. The only way to defend your patent is to sue them all, but that's a lot of time, money and energy gone to waste. I understand that legally the design patents ran out a long time ago, so it's probably fair game it's just that as a professional I try to hold myself to a higher standard.

    For now my thoughts are focused on making the fairing wider to accommodate the larger tanks found on today's bikes. Other than that I'll keep the original headlight and side pockets if at all possible. I doubt that I'll be making room for a stereo or speakers...I just can't imagine making something that looks like the Quadzilla! I'll try to keep it simple just so I get through the process, but you've got a lot of good ideas that I'll be considering as I go along. I definitely want to keep the standard turn signals because like you I think they look better then the leading edge versions. Besides it will simplify the mold process and I'm all about that.

    Now if I can just get a couple of projects done and out of the shop I'll have some room to play ;)

    MM
     
  12. Larry Fine
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    Larry Fine Vetter Aficionado

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    #12 Larry Fine, Sep 10, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
  13. Scott-E
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    Scott-E Vetter Aficionado

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    Modern Electronics eliminates the need to make adding radios and speakers look like a Quadzilla project.
    No need to make space for a DIN standard radio. CD's are now obsolete so now a standard Marine Radio that fits in a 3" speedometer hole in the dash can be used. They are much smaller and you don't need a hinged lid to keep rain out. All have AM/FM, Bluetooth and USB ports. Speakers can be mounted inside the fairing and the sound "Vented" to ports in the fairing. Dr. Bose originated the idea of porting sound that way. When Mr. Vetter designed those leading edge lights he included vents so dual horns could be mounted inside the fairing and the sound vented through those leading edge vents. I'm pretty sure Dr. Bose actually got the idea for porting sound from seeing that design idea in Windjammer Advertisements in the 70's.
    Perhaps the thing to do is simply buy an old Liberator and make molds from it. There is a saying that "Everything old can be made new again" and I think with a few modifications it could be sold in large numbers for Metric Cruisers and Harley Davidson Motorcycles. The Batwing Fairing has been around since the Liberator and it's so common today a Liberator copy would be something new.
    3" waterproof Marine Radio
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Midnitmike
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    Midnitmike Grasshopper

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    I hadn't really considered that as an option. I was under the impression that very few of them were ever made and once the mold was destroyed that was the end of the line. I don't think I've ever seen one for sale and the guy in the link wants $3000 for the whole kit...I don't think so.

    MM
     
  15. Scott-E
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    Scott-E Vetter Aficionado

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    They do show up every now and then. Usually they are damaged and can be purchased cheap for just the (damaged) fibreglass parts. A mold could be pulled from a damaged fairing. The one you are speaking of has no damage, is in like new condition, and has all the hardware with it. If I was within reasonable driving distance I would pay that much for it.
    A fire destroyed the Liberator Tooling which ended production. New Molds could have been made but Harley Davidson had already chosen to use the Batwing Fairing instead of the Liberator. At that point bringing the Liberator back would have been a losing proposition. It is interesting that Harley has started supplying a Modern Knockoff of the Liberator for their high end touring bikes. It's frame mounted and sports duel headlights just like the old Liberator.
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Englishjohn
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    Englishjohn Grasshopper

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    Mike
    Good evening,

    I am confident I have seen a post about your fitment of a wj to an xvs, can I ask for any measurements you have for the mounting frame height from the ground, it would help me a great deal with my fabrication and modifications to existing kit.
    Many thanks
     

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