Klock Werks Flare Windshield – Putting Some “Flare” In Baggers
Wind Tunnel Testing With Klock Werks
In August of 2006, Klock Werks was the first shop to create a bagger for the Discovery Channel Biker Build-Off series. Their goal was to prove then that a “show” bike could be ridden, and even raced, to exhibit its new product line and the trend towards custom baggers. Three weeks following the Build-Off win, the Klock Werks team saw Laura Klock pilot the bagger to an AMA National Land Speed Record on the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats, earning the name “World’s Fastest Bagger” (WFB).
The scary part of the experience for Laura’s husband and Klock Werks founder, Brian Klock, was the dreaded bagger high-speed wobble. Having done modifications to the suspension, swingarm mounts, and adding a third stabilizer was not enough to stop the long-running fear. The wobble found Laura at 125-133 mph and she rode through it to 143 mph that first run. The fear of having his new bride on an unstable ride at record speed led to the development of a new windshield.
The theory Klock Werks subscribed to was that when approaching high speed the bike began to lift, thus unloading the front suspension and helping to introduce the stability problem some baggers had become haunted with. The Klock Werks team made prototypes of the new windshield on a Stratasys 3D Rapid Prototype machine and glued the pieces together for a test. “I had invited our entire team to take a ride and verify the incredible change I could feel in the stability of the bike,” stated Brian. The only missing link when the design was finalized was wind tunnel proof of what they theorized and that their new windshield solved the problem.
At Myrtle Beach in 2007, a customer turned Laura on to Randy Myers. Randy built the body on Dale Earnhardt’s car the only time he won the Daytona 500. It seemed if anyone had connections to a wind tunnel, Randy would be the guy. So following a Drag Specialties dealer event, the connection was made between Randy and the Klocks in Mooresville, North Carolina – home of the NASCAR teams.
Brian and Laura consulted with Randy and he then led them to his friend Bob Smith and the A2 Wind Tunnel. The A2 Wind Tunnel was located next to its sister wind tunnel, the AeroDyn wind tunnel, which is what all the major NASCAR and Cup teams use; it was a technology mecca. The A2 Wind Tunnel, designed and owned by Gary Eaker based on his long history in racing development with Aerodyn, is primarily a lower price version of the technology used by the big teams. With Bob and Randy’s pushing, Eaker’s team convinced Brian and Laura to set up a time and it was on – the WFB was headed to the tunnel!
For the first time users, the first two hours are $345 per hour. “From my personal experience, two hours, when you are properly prepared, can go a long way,” Brian shared. “We were fortunate that Randy and Bob were so helpful with their advice on what to bring and how to execute.” The tunnel is now managed by David Salazar and he has done wind tunnel testing on everything from off-road trucks to Olympic medal-winning bicycles.
Within the first few minutes, Brian and Laura quickly learned that wind tunnel testing can provide a wealth of information about the aerodynamics of a vehicle such as drag, down force, lift and pitch and roll movements. “The most revealing fact we learned was that the Road Glide had as much frontal drag as a NASCAR Truck Series racer,” Brian said. After getting an initial test with Laura in her race suit and helmet just as she raced in 2006, it was time to test with one of the short Road Glide wind shields from the H-D P&A; catalog. With the windshield in place and the tunnel in action everyone could literally see the upper fork cans rising on the lowers, which was encouraging as it proved what they felt – the bike lifted.Next, the 8-inch Flare Windshield was installed and they turned the wind back on. Once completely powered up, even Laura’s hair protruding under her helmet took a different pattern. The WFB slowly began to experience downforce and the fork can visuals were an indication as they were pushed down the fork legs.
When Laura dismounted and they walked into the control room, the A2 team was applauding and cheering. Bob exclaimed, “Congratulations, you just made that bike safer for everyone who owns one! Call your patent attorney!”
“Never will I forget that moment. We had spent every dime doing the WFB and developing these parts. What a relief – money well spent,” Brian stated.
The Flare Windshield has proven to be a God-send for Team Klock Werks. Laura set a faster record in 2007 but more importantly for Brian, no wobbles. She completed 10 runs in one day into a 10 mph direct headwind at speeds up to 147 mph without a worry. The windshield is 12 counts of drag less than a stock windshield but more importantly, the stock piece was creating 30 pounds of lift versus the Flare Windshield, which produces 15 pounds of downforce. Their goal of creating a safer, more stable ride was realized. “It’s amazing to think what a blessing it has been to our race team and safer public operation as well. We can’t thank Randy, Bob, David, the team at A2, and everyone who attended that fateful day enough for the aerodynamic inspiration,” Brian said.