Dutch vehicle designer Allert Jacobs knew that his fuel-sipping, shell-encased motorcycle was street-legal. Unfortunately, the police didn't, and impounded it after pulling him over during a test run.
But Jacobs has a lot of patience. He first built a resistance-reducing nose cone in 2007, in an attempt to increase his Honda Innova 125i's 114-mpg rating. That design fell short, so he built a 1:5 scale model, followed by a full-size polyurethane and wood mold. By 2009, he was crafting the fiberglass shell. Steel tubes welded to the bike's frame attach it, and a frame and rails added to the front of the bike allow the front of the shell to slide forward like a door and lock shut. Last winter, he even made aerodynamic cones with indicator lights for his side-view mirrors.
Most of the mileage boost comes from the aerodynamic shape, but Jacobs also converted the bike's automatic clutch to manual to keep it from slipping. Altogether, the changes worked: On one long trip, the bike got 214 miles per gallon. And as for the impound? "I got it back," he says, "and they had to apologize."
Time: 3 years Cost: $5,000
Jacobs can put his feet down to steady himself when stopped, but the shell prevents him from planting them out wide. He's considering building a new version with open sides in order to reduce balance issues.
After lowering the seat and raising the footrests above the wheel, Jacobs decided that they would improve steering if they were closer to the hub, so he welded tubes to the frame parallel to the front forks and attached the footrests to them.
Jacobs welded and bolted a steel rail to the front of the bike so that half the shell can slide forward 18 inches, allowing him easy access and exit. There's a security bonus too, since he can lock up his bike along with any valuables inside.
3 More MPG-Boosting Mods
Chang Ho Kim, who runs an auto-repair shop in Massachusetts, skipped doing airflow calculations and modified his 1989 Honda CRX HF largely on instinct. He added a narrow, wedge-shaped acrylic nose to move the air over the hood and roof, taped the seams between the body panels to prevent turbulence, and installed acrylic skirts to keep air flowing past the rear tires. An aerodynamic tail extends down off the hatchback glass. A few screws and lots of aluminum duct tape keep the pieces together. The mods yielded results: Previously, his Honda ran at 40 miles per gallon; now it routinely tops 60.
Glass artist and furniture maker Marcus Sabathil's Toyota Previa minivan is a moving example of his dedication to green principles: He increased its highway mileage from 20 mpg to 36. Sabathil made more than a dozen mechanical modifications, crafted a clear Lexan plastic aerodynamic tail with stainless-steel trim, and added interior side-view mirrors so he could fold in the outer ones on the road.
Phil Knox, an aeromodding legend, attached an inverted and partially sawed-off boat to the top of a utility trailer and added fairings in front of and behind the wheels, as well as a smooth aluminum belly pan to reduce drag beneath the trailer. As a result, unlike normal trailers, Knox's 430-pound creation—still awaiting a few tweaks before it's finished—does not appear to reduce his pickup truck's mileage.
The H2Whoa Credo: DIY can be dangerous. We review all our projects before publishing them, but ultimately your safety is your responsibility. Always wear protective gear, take proper safety precautions, and follow all laws and regulations
haha i love those modded vehicles! the previa lol
thats kinda cool I guess. But not really. I love my motorcycle but would never ride that thing. I would how ever ride that electric bike they showed a few weeks ago. The energy put into these vehicles would be better spent on alternative power sources.
Well I think these are a good quick improvement, now a mod like that on a Piaggio MP3 would be cool
They need to mod the weiner mobile. It sucks mega gas.
This thing will fail for one major reason, No where to put a girl on the back. OK maybe two reasons, if there was somplace, no girl would want to ride on the back.
those are good ones hahahaha
This stuff is all great and wonderful but none of it is a solution to the problem. Until we manage to end our need for oil were only delaying a problem not preventing it. I don't mean to sound like a downer but slowing it down is only a solution for this generation. sooner or latter its gonna be to late. If you want to find out how to do your part to stop the problem check our my site below.
@inaka_rob Don't worry too much. One day you will grow up and realize that aesthetics are not everything; especially when Mom and Dad aren't giving you gas money anymore.
This will only prolong the inevitable, we need to get off gasoline. Ethanol is renewable, but causes too much negative effect on the world's food markets. We need renewable fuel that is not used for any other purpose than fuel. Electric is nice too, but lithium is also in limited supply and most of it is also in the Middle East; even if lithium were in endless supply, coal is how we generate a good deal of electricity in this country and coal is non-renewable.
I don't know what the answer is and I don't think we are looking hard enough. Maybe there's something to those chemical xenon batteries..
One of the best and cheapest ways to clean up airflow on the tail end of squarish vehicles is vortex generators developed by NASA. Airtabs is one product. They're less than three bucks each: you space them about 3 inches apart around the trailing edge of a van, trailer etc.
wow, some out of the box designers here for sure. I guess if it works, it works is the mindset to have. They might be ugly, but they are saving money..
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That is the coolest looking bike and it gets 200 mpg the auto industry needs to hire this guy fast lol. If cars got anywhere near that in mpg the auto industry would sell so many cars it would not be funny! But the oil industry has its hands in everything and would do everything in its power to make sure that wouldn't happen. It would eat into their profits too much. Very cool!
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Honda would make something like this....
*D Ace Lee*
Of course, most of you should realize this as an integral step toward moving away from fossil fuels. In order to use alternative energy in a vehicle, it needs to be as efficient as possible independent of its propulsion system to maximize the energy source's potential. Great innovation.
Given the rising petrol prices, we will need more efforts like this! By the way, the model looks cool as well! :)