Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Das Motorrad: VW designer builds a street tracker

Limited production Ducati street tracker motorcycle by VW designer Alex Earle.

Alex Earle is the Design Program Manager for Volkswagen of America. But he’s passionate about bikes as well as cars—and in particular, street trackers. Road-legal customs with a go fast, turn left vibe are getting more popular by the day. And Earle’s sleek Ducati Monster-based flyer is one of the best we’ve seen.

The concept is simple: A lightweight, modern-day tracker with cutting edge carbon fiber construction. “It’s the perfect convergence of my personal interests,” says Earle. “Excellent Ducati drivetrain, oversized wheels shod with aggressive rubber, tall seat height, and pure flat track proportion and graphics.”

The stance is perfect, probably because Earle has used the same prototyping process as you’d find in an automotive studio. He made a 1:5 scale model from sketches, and then 3D scanned it. The data from the scan then went into a milling machine, which produced a mold for the bodywork.

The result is a stunningly well-proportioned machine, and the dynamics match the aesthetics. Earle knows his stuff, and knows where to get that stuff made. “The beauty of working in Los Angeles is that there’s a small but fanatical group of fabricators who can realize just about anything you can dream up,” he says. “Guys have 3D scanners, big 5-axis mills and 3D printers. And most importantly, a deep well of experience with carbon, engineering, engines and exhaust dynamics.”

The first goal was to save weight: the Earle Motors Tracker tips the scales at just 345 pounds without fuel. That’s 157 kilos, or about the same as Honda’s superlight CBR300R. Earle has specc’d everything with weight saving in mind, from the LED lights to the 19-inch wheels, which are machined from billet.

The seat is closer to ADV than sportbike territory though, with a commanding height of 34 inches. Vortex flat track bars, wide and swept-back, put the rider into an upright position—perfect for charging the canyons, supermoto style. The monocoque bodywork is carbon fiber, with hints of a late 70s Montesa Cota. But the seat is resolutely modern: it’s upholstered with Niroxx, a lightweight and grippy suede-type material that’s also waterproof.

For engines, Earle uses Ducati’s 900cc air cooled, carbureted motors from the late 90s—as found in the Monster M900. Each motor is hooked up to an exhaust system tuned for maximum horsepower and constructed from stainless steel, with water jet-cut collars.

If you prefer more of a ‘retro superbike’ vibe, you can order the Tracker with 17-inch three-spoke wheels, and handlebars with reduced pullback. You’ll get what Earle calls a ‘road course bike’ with a much lower stand-over height. Earle has plans to build five bikes in this style. If you like what you see, drop him a line via the Earle Motors website.
Earle Motors | Facebook | Instagram
Custom, carbon fiber number plate with integrated LED headlamp
Vortex J Murph flat track bars
Custom bar clamp risers
Carbon fiber fork protectors
Brembo radial brake / clutch levers
K&N air filters (airbox eliminated)
Custom LED taillights incorporating turn indicators
Carbon fiber, illuminated number plate holder
Custom 19” wheels milled by RSD
Maxxis DTR-1 track tires with custom sidewall graphics
Ducati Performance rearsets
Full custom, tuned exhaust
Simple 4-bolt body removal
Carbon fiber body support
Carbon fiber battery tray, rear fender inner
Motogadget cycle computer
Bonded aircraft fuel cap (no mechanical fasteners)
Highly reworked frame
Ducati 900cc air cooled, carbureted engine 1994-1999

First read on  www.bikeexif.com

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