Planning and project management


I’m incredibly fortunate in my job to work with a fantastic project manager. I’m learning everything she’ll teach me about managing web development projects, but she’s also been kind enough to give me some tools and tricks for this project as well.

So while I’ve been quiet here on the site in terms of updates, I’ve been working diligently on the planning pieces of Project Streetliner. Some of that initial work has involved breaking down the vehicle into its key components and delineating which pieces will come from a donor vehicle, which will be repurposed off-the-shelf parts, and which will need to be fabricated from scratch. The break-down so far:

Component Donor bike Shelf parts Custom Fabrication notes
Body Shell X The body shell will be constructed out of fiberglass over hand-sculpted foam. At this point, both pilot entry and mechanical access have not been designed. It’s also undecided at this point if there will be an inner wall of fiberglass creating a “helmet” structure around the pilot.
Body Mounts X These will have to be thought through in conjunction with the body construction. For best results, it’s likely that they’ll have to be built into the construction process so that the fiberglass is laid right onto the “tabs”
Headlights X At this point, I’m planning to repurpose small, round, hi/low headlights from another vehicle. A more “off the shelf” solution from JC Whitney or O’Reily’s might also be a good option.
Running Lights X Similarly to the headlights, these will be shelf items. Although, a custom strip of running light / turn indicator on each wheel pant would be cool too.
Turn Signals X Wiring and switching will be from the donor bike, but the lens assemblies will likely be either custom or off-the-shelf
Rims / Tires (front) X Taking my cue from both the Leanster and the TMW front end, I’ll likely utilize larger front wheels than will come on the scooter donor vehicle. This will also help with side-to-side shift during suspension travel (especially during leaning)
Rim / Tire (rear) X Part of the engine assembly. Duh.
Brake disks / calipers (front) X Both the TMW and the Leanster utilize inverted ring brake rotors. This makes the steering knuckle possibly easier to fabricate but I’m not sure. Ideally, I’ll be able to utilize the brake calipers and rotors off the donor vehicle.
Brake disk / caliper (rear) X Part of the engine assembly. Duh.
Steering knuckles / hubs X X This is probably the trickiest part of the whole build. The hubs will have to be customized to the rims and then some sort of custom bracket for the brake calipers and rotors. Then of course, everything has to clear the rims.
Tie rods X Tie rods will likely just come from some other vehicle source. Hopefully I can consolidate “shelf parts” from one particular vehicle or consistent source not likely to go away over the years.
Steering bottom end X This will be a combination of shelf parts and tie-rod parts. The Leanster has the ideal design, most likely.
Steering column / U-joints X X The input to the tie rods will need to be fairly upright, but the extension to the hand controls will need to be fairly flat. But the hand control input needs to be pretty flat as well so that the tilt will have the most intuitive lean control. The end design is likely a mix of shelf parts and custom bracketry. The most important thing is a minimal amount of slop in the mechanism.
Handlebars X The handlebars will have to be compact enough to fit within the body enclosure and placed in such a place that they’re both functional and ergonomically comfortable.
Hand controls X There’s no better way to use signals, kill switches, horns, starters, and so forth — or at least no good reason to re-engineer all that stuff.
Grips X X Depending on the aesthetic interior style, the grips will follow that look and feel. Also, they will include electrical heating elements for cold weather comfort.
Front Suspension Structure X Though the exact proportions will be customized for this application, I’ll be using the design from the Leanster verbatim. I still have to figure out just what joints use bearings/bushings and what kind are ideal. I also need to nail down the exact materials of the pieces.
Front Suspension sub-frame X This is simply the frame piece that connects the suspension box and swing arms to the safety cage. This will not only allow the two to be fabricated separately, but allow for alternate components to be tried if needed. Also, in the event of damage, minimizes the chance that I’d have to rebuild both components.
Front shocks X In both the Leanster and the TMW, the front shocks have had to be custom ordered from a manufacturer. Hopefully I can find something off the shelf, but I’ll have to be ready for this contingency.
Rear suspension / engine sub-frame X Part of the engine assembly. Duh.
Chassis / Safety Cage X Made from a mix of large and small diameter steel tubing, the safety frame will function as both the principle stiffening structure of the chassis, but also as robust impact protection for the pilot. The basic structure design for this has been drawn up, but no plans for entry/exit as of yet. The basic construction of the vehicle is that the drivetrain bolts onto the rear of the safety cage, and the front suspension assembly to the front. Boom. Vehicle.
Entry subframe X As of yet undesigned, this structure will have to be secure so that in a wreck, the opening protects the pilot without coming apart in any sort of hazardous way. Also, it needs to be robust enough so that emergency extrication from the vehicle in the case of a particularly nasty crash is possible.
Seat X Right now I’m leaning toward a Sparco adjustible racing seat. Depending on the comfort level, I’ll consider a solid frame aluminum raicing seat. Whatever seat I use, it’ll utilize a 5-point racing harness.
Interior surfaces X The interior of cockpit will likely be a mix of fiberglass and aluminum panels with steel reinforcements where needed. I may use an interior carpet for a softer lining. The key will be to cover up the exposed frame pieces from hazard. May even utilize some wood trim.
Windshield X The windshield design will ultimately depend a lot on the canopy design. It may be a permanent piece that the canopy attaches to, or the canopy may replace the windshield entirely. The windshield will also be paired with a soft-top for inclement weather.
Canopy X The canopy will be plexi and fully removeable. It will need some manner of venting / defrosting mechanism either by fan-driven air or outside air.
Radiator X Taken from the donor vehicle and installed in the front of the vehicle by simple, fabricated brackets, the radiator will need custom hoses run to the rear to the motor. The engine’s water pump will move the water ’round. I may utilize a small heat exchanger for cabin heat.
Wiring harness X From the donor bike. I won’t try to run it through the steel frame, but rather attach it.
Wiring mounts X A combination of steel tabs and probably just cable ties. Move along, the rockets and all that science is in another department.
Engine / transmission / final drive X Part of the engine assembly. Duh.
Wheel pants X Custom fiberglass pieces that at this point will not turn with the front wheels, but will tilt with them. This will likely neccesitate that they simply have holes shaped into them for the wheels and call it better than naked.
Wheel pant mounts x These will have to attach to the swing arms in order to tilt without turning with the wheels. Likely just steel bolting into reinforced points on the pants.
Instrumentation X X x The bulk of the guages will come directly from the donor bike, although I will likely re-bezel them into a custom dash. I’ll probably add a water temperature, oil pressure, battery volts, and lean angle. I’ll also likely add iPhone support for charging (using the iPhone for GPS and such).

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