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The "Parachute Effect" - Any Ideas?

12179 Views 43 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  texascycle
I read an interesting review of the Majesty that pointed out of of it's real drawbacks - the "parachute effect":
The front of the body (the black plastic part) is quite large, and concave facing forwards. It is styled to look like it is all louvers but actually it is solid except for the very bottom where a small portion is louvered to let in air for the radiator. This makes the Majesty look like a sportbike.
But sportbikes need that large frontal opening as they have much larger radiators, air cooled oil coolers (the Majesty's oil cooler is cooled by radiator fluid) and to cool the forward facing exhaust headers - and the air passes through outlets on the sides of the body of the bikes - it has an outlet.
The air trapped by the front of the Majesty has no where to go - it's like a large parachute slowing down the bike. I think this is one of the major
reasons fuel consumption jumps at higher speeds - the front of the Majesty, being solid and concave is actually less aerodynamic than a sheet of plywood.
There are what look like air outlets above the handlebars but again these are phony.
I would venture to guess that if an outlet could be found for the majority of the air trapped by the front of the Majesty's body front fuel mileage at speed would go up significantly, as would top speed. Any ideas???
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Interesting... was the source article the article that also faulted the high-speed handling of the Majesty?
Yup, same article. I didn't agree so much with the handling issue.
I do think the Majesty is suceptible to sidewinds due to the large body size of the sides - and also the fact that the rear wheel is almost fully enclosed by the air boxes, but I can't see the "parachute" affecting high speed handling. All scooters/cycles with the rider uncovered are essentially "pieces of plywood" aerodynamically at very high speeds compared to aerodynamic racing cars and yet Grand Prix and World Superbike bikes handle corners well at speeds over 150mph.

What I was daydreaming about would be some kind of hole(s) in the "parachute" with ducting to let the trapped air out the sides/bottom/back/or passenger section of the scooter. I think the biggest benefit would be gas mileage, I don't think many people want to ride the Maj at over 100mph, but I notice a major drop in gas mileage between about 55 and 75mph.

Another daydream would be to have a switchable duct for the air going through the radiator, like some Gold Wings have - it could exit out the back of the scooter as it does now in hot weather, and aimed at the rider's torso in cold weather.
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Thinking more about a subject I am not an expert at - I think the difference in handling between the Majesty and a motorcycle at speed is probably due to the WHEELS. A motorcycles much larger diameter wheels provide a far greater gyroscopic effect - which is what keeps all two wheeled vehicles stable at speed.
If poor frontal aerodynamics resulted in instability at highway speeds I would expect U.P.S. vans to go flying off the highway all the time :lol:
I guess we could call it tropospheric ducting :p

but seriously, there is a LOT of frontal area on these bikes and ducting some of that air through the undercarriage might help the high speed drag coefficient. It might also route water and other stuff where it might not be good to have it. I went for a cruise today and tried to hold the speed down to no more than 55 but above 45 with no hard acceleration and as few stops as possible and managed to get 65 mpg for the ride. I thought that was excellent. Now if I could get somewhere close to that in the city. In the city I consistently get around 51-53 mpg. At about 60 mph I get around 60 mpg. Above 60 mph the mileage is going to be terrible, I can see that now. Its still way better than my 25 mpg subaru :)
I may be mistaken but I think there is a small hole that leads to the box containing the fuel filler pipe. I vaguely remember feeling air being blown through there once when I opened the fuel door after parking. The bike was on it's center stand with the engine running and the electric fan blowing.

Maybe one could open that door to improve venting and get a little bit of hot air in the winter? BTW, somewhere else on this forum the suggestion to use the fuel filler area when the door is open for a beverage holder, works great. I drove up to Starbucks, got my frapuccino set it atop my fuel cap and off I went. (before that I would put my loosely topped beverage in the lower cargo area and fold whatever was floating around in there to form a cushion around the cup so it wouldn't tip over).

Does anyone have a cutaway view of these bikes? Would it be possible to run ducting around the fuel tank and/or the engine?
When I read posts like kb6zmj's it takes me a couple of seconds to realize that not everyone rides with a full face helmet like I do and can actually drink while riding. I have taken sort of a hard line approach I guess and decided that the safety issues of trying to juggle a (hot?) beverage outweigh the convenience of being able to drink and ride...I figure if I need a drink, I need to do that and then ride. I know everyone draws the line in a different place, but I have had a few close calls that had I been juggling anything more than what I was, I would have ended up hurt, so I have to ask why do anything that makes riding a bike riskier than it has to be??? Yeah I know, the thread has been hijacked again...at least I am not holding hostages :roll:

I take exception to your post. :evil:

I don't drink when I am riding (alcohol or otherwise). I always wear a full face helmet. I am carrying my drink from the retailer to my work so I can enjoy it there.

I am also the Unit Safety Representative for my Air Force Reserve squadron. I promote the Motorcylce Safety Course as well as other safety related issues for riders and non-riders. I think you should not read too much into some ones post before you berate them in the third person.

Thanks (it would be good for your karma not to hold any more hostages),

John :!:
Sorry for my outburst but I was having a bad day. :?

As soon as I got home I took the panel containing the fuel filler door and saw mostly the frame. There is not a lot of free space in there, just some of the control cables, etc. I then looked above the right unlocked storage area and saw that was mostly empty except for the instrument cluster. Those fake vents could be cut open with a dremel tool and made functional. However that would vent right onto the grips (good/bad?) and it might look funky.

My wife's Burgman 400 seems to have functional vents in the very same place. I'll verify their funcitionality if I get some time this weekend. :D

No offense intended whatsoever, but when I read the post in question, it wasn't clear to me whether your purpose was to simply transport the drink or make it accessible for drinking while underway. I too am a safety advocate and don't encourage anything on two wheels that is even remotely houligan, and I do it by example and by what I say online or in person. I also remember that our readers here have not necessarily had the advantages of the MSF courses or the experience that many years of riding gives one. SO, having said all that, my point was just to point that out, not make you out to be a houligan. As a safety minded person, I would think you would want that clarified. You would not want one of your students to read one of your posts online and get the wrong idea would you? If I misinterpreted what you said, then they could too. So, as I said, no offense intended, but I wanted what you were saying to be clear and to point out the negative safety aspect of drinking ANYTHING from a cup while in motion on two wheels.
Enough said on that subject, let's get on to the venting aspect of the high pressure area inside the bike's cowling...have you looked at what the Burgy does in that regard??? I have a strong suspicion that to effectively reduce that high pressure area, it is going to take more vent area than those simulated vents will provide. And you already pointed out that the location might be a problem in winter riding, venting cold air precisely where you really don't want it-on the hands. When you pulled the cover around the gas tank filler, was there any way to duct some of the excess back out, say even under the bike????
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It's pretty tight in there. The frame is pretty thick. I'm a little wary of cutting up my own plastic to do any of these mods (but I am very tempted). If I happen to find a wrecked Majesty I might try this, (I don't think this is too likely though). The stats we have in the military regarding 2-wheel vehicle deaths and injuries are extremely biased towards sport bike riders; maxi-scoots are not even a blip on the radar.

Hi KB,

Yeah, I can believe that about the stats being biased toward sportbike riders and that we arent even on the radar...oh yeah, that is easily believable. I think in some ways that is a good thing, as a class, we may have better odds of riding many years with no major mishaps, particularly given our constant safety focus. Most sportbike riders that I know ride with no protective gear, do really houligan kinds of things when they do ride and generally tempt fate with their riding style and their cavalier attitude towards safety. So yeah, I expect many of the military guys who ride the sport bikes are at least a little like the ones I know...and the stats support that.
But getting to the main point of the post...I too am leary of hacking up the tupperware just to test an idea that might be a total flop and then have to go buy more body panels to replace it. Not a well considered plan...and due to the statistically low accident rate of these bikes, the chances of finding good usable body panels cheap to experiment with is going to be slim to none. But who knows, you might stumble across one somewhere cheap...but I bet if you do, you'll have to snatch it up quick if you want to get it.
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Why not remove the instrument panel, to test the theory. That would definitely test the theory. The small holes that go to 'em, would seem to have minimal effect to me. The r/h side compartment could be removed as well. Air caught in the large cowl area, behind the wheel, could exit there and should be far more beneficial than the small air vent thingies. If anyone tries the above, be sure to share with the class. By the way, I drink coffee while riding and wearing a FULL FACE helmet at times. Must tilt head way back and have properly disigned cup to fit between chin & helmet + large enough base to fit well in fuel door beverage holder. 8) When I ride naked, it's much easier to drink... :wink:
Removing the package trays might test the theory...why didnt I think of that??? Dont answer that!!!! :oops: Aand on the other subject, of drinking beverages while riding...I'll refrain from any other comments on that subject. 'Nuff said.
hotshoetom said:
Yeah, I can believe that about the stats being biased toward sportbike riders and that we arent even on the radar...oh yeah, that is easily believable... Most sportbike riders that I know ride with no protective gear, do really houligan kinds of things when they do ride and generally tempt fate with their riding style and their cavalier attitude towards safety. So yeah, I expect many of the military guys who ride the sport bikes are at least a little like the ones I know...and the stats support that.
Aren't we perpetuating a common stereotype here? Not all sportbike riders are careless "houligans" who are fighting to be first in line at the organ donor clinic... The houligans are just the ones you hear about or notice the most. And keep in mind that some of these riders are wannabe stunters who should be practicing in a closed area and not on the streets... Anyway, my point is don't label a whole group based on the actions of the few...
Good point Black Sheep...certainly not all sport bike riders are irresponsible about the way they ride. There are many who, at least when I see or hear them, are behaving. There are also many who don't. I submit that of that group of motorcyclists, there are more who push the envelope then in our scooter group...but maybe that is wrong too...we just notice them more because the bikes make more noise, etc. It would be interesting to see accident stats segregated on type of bike involved...that might tell us more about who the real hooligans are. We might be surprised to find that scooter riders are the most hooligan and accident prone...wouldnt that be an eye opener!
Based on:
6) Other engine features
Other engine-related features include (1) a radiator positioned under the foot space to make effective use of the cooling effect of the running air flow, (2) an engine oil capacity of 1800cc for minimized oil deterioration (vs. 1400cc on the existing Majesty), (3) a side drain bolt for easier maintenance, (4) automatic decompression for great starting performance and (5) an air induction system and catalytic converter for outstanding environment friendliness to clear EU2 emissions standards.
from http://www.yamaha-motor.co.jp/global/ne ... jesty.html

The lower section of the fairing houses the radiator which benefits from the air-flow produces by the shape of the concave section behind the front wheel. Trapping the air to force it through is how our scoot manages to dissipate engine heat without actually showing a radiator. If you look at most current sport bikes, they have the same configuration. There is a fan and coolant tank very near to the same area.

As for the large body work ... it is give and take. Wind protection ... or not? Take off the fairings and you might have a slight bit of advantage at certain speeds and the benefit of less weight, but you will not have an aerodynamic advantage at higher speeds unless you cut the windshield down to just below the level you could tuck to at high speeds ... like the high-speed sport-bikes do. The Majesty has much better wind protection than my FZ1 at speeds between 50-100, but after that it is much more comfortable to tuck down behind the small windshield ... not as easy to do on a scoot.

Compare nearly any vehicle that does not have an over-drive system with boat loads of torque and you will see the same pattern of better fuel economy at 55 mph vs. 75 mph. (and maybe even then!)

The Majesty is not perfect, but it is certainly an excellent design within its cost and technology parameters. If you removed all the fairings and made it fugly like the Ruckus, I suspect you would see even lower mpgs at highway speeds, not to mention the discomfort level.

As for the original topic of parachute effect, this not an issue at all if you wear proper riding gear which is, by its protective properties, more rigid than a cotton shirt or loose fitting jacket. When I ride the Majesty with my best gear I am never affected by the wind. The few times I have ridden with casual clothes, I do occassionally have my shirt puffing up like the Pillsbury Dough Boy ... depending on which way the wind is blowing.

To me, its a non-issue ... if you are riding highway speeds you should always have the proper gear which eliminates the parachute effect from bothering ... if you are riding slow there is no parachute effect from the lack of wind speed.

Scoot on!
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Oh yeah, and as for the hooligan thread hi-jacking ...

I have ridden with just about every type of rider there is and in my experience there are hooligans to be found in every crowd. From Harleys to scooters and everything in between you can find a bunch of idiots without looking too hard. As far as punks acting stupid, I think sport-bike hooligans take the cake. You can spot them easily by the lack of helmet, gear and the chicken strips ... that is if you didn't see them wheelieing between cars at a stop light first. I have seen people attempt to do that on Harleys and scooters, too, though ... just did work out as well in the end.

I am still curious how the hooligans got into the parachute :D :roll:
texascycle said:
Oh yeah, and as for the hooligan thread hi-jacking ...

I am still curious how the hooligans got into the parachute :D :roll:
They came flying in busting stoppies and wanted to let us know that the parachute effect ain't got nothing on finding the balance point when you got your ass in the air... damn houligans...
Heh, heh, this is the most off the track I have ever seen a thread get :wink:
Since I started it:
- the parachute effect has nothing to do with your clothing acting
as a parachute
- it has to do with the fact that the front end of the Majesty is designed
to look like the front end of a sportbike, most of which is phoney - the
radiator opening is TINY, so the rest of the front-end acts as a very
un-aerodynamic parachute. Sportbikes with much bigger engines
need front ends that look like the Majesty's as they have much
bigger radiators, air/oil oil coolers, and; usually, front exiting headers
that need cooling off. They also usually have side mounted fairing
ducts that let all that air that is trapped by the front end escape, this
making them much more aerodynamic.
- if you count every single phoney air duct on the front of the Maj
AND by the handgrips I think it wins the "phoney air duct contest"
hands-down. :lol:
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