Written By: Craig Vetter
Many of you may not know who I am, or if you do, you might be thinking, " Vetter... is that guy still alive?" Fifty years is a long time to be doing anything.
Who is this guy?
In simple terms: I design things that make motorcycles better transportation. In America, I am best known as the inventor of the modern touring bike. When I graduated from Design School at the University of Illinois in 1965, there were hardly any fairings. Actually, there were hardly any motorcycles. "Nice people" did not ride motorcycles. They drove cars. Big cars.
1965: My Yamaha 250 YDS3 Big Bear ScramblerI rode motorcycles. After riding my Yamaha all around America I realized that I needed a fairing. I made one (below). It was such a hit that my friends wanted one, too. This was the beginning of the Vetter Fairing Company.
The first Vetter Fairing, October 1966
I designed a lot of fairings between 1966 and 1971. But it was my Windjammer Fairing of 1972 that changed motorcycling. By 1978, I had 500 employees and factories in Illinois and California. Only Harley Davidson was bigger in the American motorcycle industry. How that happened is an almost unbelievable story.
Besides the fairings above, I also made fairings for Honda, Kawasaki and Harley Davidson. Fairings became so popular that all motorcycle manufacturers eventually made their own Windjammer-like fairings.
The Guggenheim Art of the Motorcycle Exhibit
In England, I am best known as the designer of the Triumph Hurricane. Like the Windjammer fairing, the Triumph Hurricane of 1973 changed how motorcycles would look.
That was then. This is now.
At the end of the 1970s, I married the prettiest girl at the factory, sold my business, and moved to Carmel, California. Carol and I had two wonderful boys and I settled down to learn how to be a husband and father.
Today, I continue to make motorcycles better transportation, but with a twist. I work with a small but growing group of motorcycle pioneers to design and build the kind of motorcycles we will need tomorrow.
The goal is to be able to ride at any speed legal in America, sitting up in comfort, carrying a useful load while consuming the least energy. To that end, I make a kit that makes streamlining easy. I also host a series of contests around America where we can compete, swap stories and learn from each other.
By the way, the next Vetter Challenge will be at AMA's Vintage Days in Ohio July 11, followed by the Vetter Challenge at Bonneville, August 29.
This brings us to the reason I accepted MotoSport's invitation to write this blog. Years ago, I learned that motorcycle mechanics can - and will - build almost anything. The fact that you are buying motorcycle parts means that you are motorcycle mechanics. You are probably racers, too.
Lets face it... racing is fun
Certainly I have done my share of racing and I love it. But things have changed. It is not enough to just go faster. One out of every two gallons of the fuel that you and I consume is imported. This is making us poor and others rich. Some of these people, funded by money in our wallets right now, want to kill us.
The solution to this problem is simple: Cut our energy use in half.
Vetter Challengers have done just that. 50 mpg Ninjas get 100 mpg if they are streamlined! All around America, enthusiasts like you are building and riding new kinds of bikes - motorcycles they build themselves - that are gasoline powered, Diesel and electric. I invite you to join us.
Treven Baker and his home made Diesel
Who knows what is possible? Maybe you will help us find out. If you are interested, I will tell you more in future blogs.
I forgot to mention that Streamliners are Babe Magnets
Craig Vetter, Motorcycle Designer
This year AMA has asked me to speak at their annual fund-raising breakfast at Daytona Of course, I accepted. What an honor. I hope to see you there. Friday morning March 14 at 7 a.m.
PS: We will have a "Demonstration Challenge Ride" the Wednesday before the Breakfast. Come see what it is all about.
More on my web site: http://www.craigvetter.com