Alex Earle is a full time professional car designer whose soul is stirred by two wheels, and those wheels are powered by Ducati.

Vicki’s View

Chris Thoms Photo

Chris Thoms Photo

What Happens When an Auto Designer Turns To Two Wheels?

Alex Earle is a full time professional car designer, a very good, very well-known one, with a portfolio that includes being on the team that graced the world with the incredible Porsche Carrera GT. But his soul is stirred by two wheels, and those wheels are often powered by Ducati. You might have seen his Earle Motors Designs on Ducati Island at Laguna Seca and COTA, or in the Handbuilt Show during MotoGP weekend. Beautifully rendered ambitious designs, they stand out from the crowd. Recently we had a chance to talk to Alex about his career, his designs and how he brings them to life…


Alex Earle with Tracker Prototype #000 “The green bike”  (Nathan Barbour photo) Tell us about yourself – what’s your background?

Alex Earle: I grew up in Utah and Colorado – working in bicycle shops since I was a kid. My career path was actually city planning / landscape architecture in Denver. My boss there kept his 916 and 748S in the foyer of our office for years (he also had a slew of 911’s and some pretty amazing, vintage aircraft!) About that time, I discovered the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. I scraped enough money together to visit the school and the minute I entered the gallery I knew my course. 3 years later I graduated and went to work for Porsche where I participated in the Carrera GT program. I’ve been in the automotive design business ever since.

Chris Thoms Photo

Chris Thoms Photo Obviously we love Ducati motorcycles, but this one is clearly something special. Tell us about the concept.

Alex Earle: I’ve been fascinated by Monsters since I saw my first outside a book shop in Cherry Creek. A yellow M900. The engine architecture and simplicity of the trellis construction took hold of my imagination immediately. I wanted to create something a little taller and even more raw from this platform. I could think of no bike more pure than the American flat tracker. Somehow the blending of this underdog, Italian bike and the unsung heroes of the American fairgrounds made perfect sense to me!

Chris Thoms Photo

Chris Thoms Photo Given your impressive credentials and exceptional skill with high line design and modeling tools, take us thru the steps of how you went from initial idea to creation of a working motorcycle


Chris Thoms Photo

Alex Earle: This process was just like the OEM car studios. Sketching to define the theme and gesture then I built a 1/5 scale physical model using my own Monster as reference. The model and Ducati frame were then 3-D scanned. Data was then built in Alias – allowing us to tightly package the major components develop the mounting system and perfect the surface highlighting before committing to a physical part. A full size master was then produced on a big, 5 axis, gantry mill. Then a female mold was pulled to create the final, carbon part…more or less! The result is a highly developed form with surface quality comparable to an OEM car.

Chris Thoms Photo

Chris Thoms Photo So that’s the process, tell us about the design…

Alex Earle: The one-piece design was the result of my automotive training. The focus is on proportion, stance and surface quality. A continuous chamfer circumnavigates the base of the body adding torsional stability and volume. It is exceptionally easy to pivot around the tank and very comfortable. The complete body can be removed in 2 minutes, providing perfect access to the carbs and electrical. And it’s very light! All the OEM’s must address issues of unit sales targets, parts distribution, model range, etc. Concerns that typically result in design compromises to broaden appeal to the masses. My tracker is a pure statement of my personal, ideal bike. Rugged, simple, iconic, sexy and the most fun I’ve ever had in the canyons. No compromise.

Lily Blueskyes Photo

Lily Blueskyes Photo We know quite a few designers and have heard many times that the bike they drew doesn’t usually make it to production for just the reason you mention. But it’s not normally possible to purchase “factory prototypes” which are closer to the original idea of the designer. We know you do sell these bikes and they really look like a lot like factory prototypes to us. What’s the difference between a traditional factory prototype and say, the “red bike”, the white bike (which immediately sold to a well-known collector and is now part of one of the best Ducati collection’s in the world) and especially, the green bike which was the DNA and testbed the other bikes evolved from.

Alex Earle: The green bike (prototype 000) was developed for over 3 years. It still differs in a few key details like a small aluminum fuel cell, different mounting system and wider seat. It was featured on the cover of Sideburn #14 ridden by AMA pro Kayl Kolkman. Comfortable on Mulholland, desert gravel roads, splitting lanes or the Super Hooligan class. I have been continuously riding, modifying, reconfiguring and upgrading it still today. Still my favorite bike to ride and the anchor of my three bike “Tricolore”.

The red bike features 19″ custom billet wheels and hubs. Increased diameter gives better ground clearance and “roll over”. Maxxis DTR-1’s provide exceptional traction on a broad variety of surfaces and conditions. The big, upright bars and solo rear sets put the rider in complete command position. A 4.75 gallon fuel capacity and aircraft, vented fuel cap bonded directly into the carbon body. Throaty custom tuned exhaust and open airbox improve throttle response, power and sound. Make some really nice noise!

Chris Thoms Photo

Chris Thoms Photo The white bike was sold as soon as you displayed it – what are your plans for the other two? Are they for sale?

Alex Earle: The red bike is for sale. Asking price $50k. It is the only carbon bike I have and I would love to keep it for myself but I need to turn it so I can develop the next bike! I plan to keep the prototype (green/black) but I’m open to offers.

Chris Thoms Photo

Chris Thoms Photo What’s next for you? Any projects you can talk about yet?

Alex Earle: Currently I am finishing another street tracker using a Harley Davidson XR1200X motor in a custom chromoly frame. It’s my homage to the genre defining XR750 but with street focused comfort, range, electric start and manners. I can’t wait to ride it! I’d like to stay focused on street tracker variants. The simplicity and dirt capability appeal to me personally and the riding position really makes for a quick, fun hooligan bike you can ride all day. A perfect counter to the extreme sports bikes and heavy, complex ADV bikes. EARLE MOTORS is always going to be a limited operation. There will be very few of these bikes produced. For me the design is paramount.


For more on Alex Earle, and Earle Motors Design check out his website and the gallery below. Gallery photo credits include Chris Thoms, Nathan Barbour, Lily Blueskyes, Daniel Simon, Alex Earle


Daniel Simon Photo


Chris Thoms Photo


Chris Thoms Photo




Chris Thoms Photo


Vicki Smith Photo

Vicki Smith Photo

Two Words – Come. Early.

American Flat Track racing, a 90 year old sport often described as the first “extreme sport” is coming to the Charlotte Motor Speedway complex next weekend to The Dirt Track at Charlotte and it’s not going to look like any flat track race you have ever seen.


Johnny Lewis (#10) come up thru the pack (Vicki Smith Photo)

AFT events, the brand new in-house event promotion company of AMA Pro Racing is coming out of the box swinging with the intention of seriously raising the bar on what this brand of racing looks like and how a fan spends their day at the races.

Here are eight must do things at next weekend’s races:

Take a new Harley Davidson for a spin. The Carolina Harley Davidson Dealer Association is the title sponsor and on Friday and Saturday from 10am – 4pm anyone 18 or older with a desire to check out this iconic brand can sign up and take a ride.  Don’t know how to ride?  Talk to them anyway, they have a new rider program that is available Friday and Saturday as well. (free, no ticket required)


Drive a real race simulator and try and beat the lap time of the International Motor Sports Association’s championship leading team driver, Dane Cameron. This isn’t some video game, these are the big bucks’ simulators actually used by the world’s top race drivers, but this weekend they are going to let mere mortals take a spin.  Even if you don’t win the time challenge, just getting to try out a piece of equipment of this caliber makes you the winner.  While you are there, take advantage of the unusual close up fan access and make sure you get a good look at the Action Express Racing Team – again, not something many people can normally do. (free, no ticket required)


Enjoy some live music. And not some local garage band either – the CHDDA Charlotte Half-Mile has lined up a North Carolina favorite. Burlington’s Drew Foust & the Slim Pickins. If you have an ear for Blues, Folk, Roots-Rock or Americana they put on a memorable show.  (free, no ticket required)   Prefer a hopping DJ mix?  No problem. In addition to the concert, top sporting event DJ Scott Beaty will be playing music inside the stadium beginning at 2:00 p.m. Beaty has performed at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the last 25 years, as well as other major sporting events such as the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four, NBA All-Star Weekend and several others. (ticket required) Like we said, there’s a LOT going on.charlotte schedule

Picnic! Take a stroll and check out the food choices. If you are looking for a paper thin burger with a stale bun you are going to be disappointed. This event has foodies on staff and they aren’t serving anything they wouldn’t line up to eat themselves. Housemade ice cream, Wonuts (you NEED to try this, it’s a fried waffle with donut toppings and it’s the latest foodie craze), BBQ, Veggie grilled cheese sammies, there’s even a Nathan’s hot dog stand in the Kid’s Zone. Maybe two more words – Come. Hungry. (Food trucks are located both inside and outside the venue so access to some of these requires an admission ticket, these are $29 at the door but can be found discounted 2 for 1 at Speedway Harley Davidson this weekend while supplies last)


Fans Zone/Kids Zone – So much is going on in the Fan Zone and the Kids Zone within it that it’s more than we can list here (and it’s all free). For adults Indian Motorcycles is coming with it’s impressive lineup, Greenville’s Dudley High School’s national award winning AVT Team will be on hand to display it’s Shell Eco-Marathon winning alternative fuel vehicles, there are minimotos and scooters, more motorcycle displays and the full range of the new AFT apparel line which debuts at the Charlotte Half Mile. The Kids Zone has an inflatable slide, rock climbing wall, and an obstacle course.  Kid’s 13 and under are free into the race with an accompanying adult.

Andrea Wilson Photo

Andrea Wilson Photo

Dunlop Fan Walk – Ever seen a Flat Track bike up close? Handbuilt frames, no front brakes, and every team has it’s own ideas how to make the magic happen for the rider.  These machines are hard to be fast on, riding them well is a special skill that takes years to master. And the riders are to motorcycle racing like the Special Ops guys are in the military.  Everybody, even the big bucks GP riders know these guys are fearless and skilled on a different level.  (access requires an event ticket)

Kenny Coolbeth Jr. on the Zanotti Harley-Davidson (Vicki Smith Photo)

Stunt Show! BMW factory Rider (and champion freestyler) Chris “Teach” McNeil, fresh off an appearance at World Superbike at Laguna Seca in California will be at the Charlotte Half Mile wowing the crowds with his impressive array of gravity defying stunts. He also teaches Latin. Really. “Ipse est Infigo!” (That’s “He is impressive” in Latin)


Chris “Teach” McNeil

The Racing – American Flat Track racing is the original extreme sport. It’s been around over 90 years and right now it’s hotter than ever. Rapidly gaining worldwide popularity, it’s a pure test of man and machine. The Charlotte Half-Mile on The Dirt Track at Charlotte is well known for producing close contests and great racing. And, there’s not a bad seat in the house, so last minute or well in advance, as long as there are still seats you can catch some of the wildest racing you will ever see regardless of the number of wheels. (Tickets start at $29 and are available at the gate)



The Dirt Track at Charlotte is located at 5555 Concord Parkway South in Concord, NC in the Charlotte Motor Speedway Complex.  Tickets can be purchased on site in front of the Dirt Track

Tickets are available on line here:   IMG_3914


AMA Pro Flat Track Circuit of the Americas, Austin Texas, April 9 2016

Regis Lefebure Photo Courtesy of AMA Pro Flat Track

Come for the Party, Stay for the race…

Never has a catchphrase been so true as it will be at the upcoming CHDDA Charlotte Half-Mile, on Saturday, July 30. With only a couple weeks left to put your trip to the races together here are the details you need to end the summer with a memorable vacation. Sure the racing on Saturday night is spectacular but with so much going on, coming in early and making it a weekend is a great way to up the fun. These guys are stepping it up and I know because I am helping them, (I, finally put my love of Flat Track to practical use!)  Parties, race-fan base camp hotel discounts and rider appearances are all a part of a weekend that’s both wallet-, fan- and family-friendly ($29 tickets and kids are free!). Want to embrace the weekend? Love it when trip planning is easy-peasy? You’re welcome.

Race Tickets:

The fast moving Charlotte Half-Mile has three ticket options that should fit everybody’s wallets. Kids up to age 13 get in free with an accompanying adult, and tickets start at just $29.00 for trackside grandstand seating and a 30-minute access to the Dunlop Fan Walk which lets you and your friends beat check out the bikes, riders and teams up close. Prefer the VIP treatment? Check out the suite package for $130.00 that includes food and drinks, parking and an air conditioned skybox view.

Buy Your Tickets HERE  Oh, and a little advice, Flat Track racing has gained worldwide popularity and races have been selling out fast, so wait to buy your tickets at the gate and you might get (literally) left out! 

Andrea Wilson Photo

Andrea Wilson Photo Courtesy of AMA Pro Flat Track

Flat Track Base Camp Hotels: The Charlotte Half-Mile, being held at The Dirt Track at Charlotte is a part of the world-class Charlotte Motor Speedway complex in Concord, N.C. so hotels are close. Five minutes will get you from the track to any of these specially-discounted race fan hotels:

Host Hotels Information:

Comfort Suites                         Sleep Inn and Suites                Wingate by Wyndham


If you and the family are traveling cross-country, check out the full-service RV campground at the Camping World Racing Resort. This facility is next door to the Charlotte Motor Speedway and suits campers that are 20 x 50 ft. and 30 x 50 ft. in size. Nightly rates are $30.00 and $50.00 depending on size and come with various amenities that can be found at

At the Track:

  • Friday and Saturday July 29/30 10am – 4pm: Free Harley Davidson Demo Rides (18 years or older, requires DOT helmet, eye protection, long pants, closed-toe shoes) 17 models on hand including a trike
  • Saturday July 30th 2:00 – 9:30:
  • Fan Zone – Stunt Show, Mini Moto Demos, Motorcycle Manufacturer Displays, Harley Davidson Heritage Motorcycle Exhibit, Live Music, Vendors, Monster Trucks, Prototype Sports Car Team display, Food Trucks, Beer Vendors
  • Kids Zone: 2-6pm (Kids under 13 free with accompanying adult) Bounce Houses, Rock Climbing Wall, Obstacle Course, Nathans Hot Dogs, Kids Ice Cream
  • Inside the track: Music by well-known sporting event DJ Scott Beaty, Paddock access from 2-5:30 ($10) or from 5pm – 5:30 (free), Fireworks display, and, of course, some of the greatest racing you will ever see!
Andrea Wilson Photo

Andrea Wilson Photo Courtesy of AMA Pro Flat Track

Family Fun:

The July 30th weekend wraps up most peoples’ Summer vacation and Charlotte has some really excellent choices to beat the heat. The Carowinds Water Park, US National Whitewater Center and beautiful Lake Norman are all great choices for getting wet or just dipping a toe.Not a water fan? Take a walk or bike ride through Freedom Park or maybe catch a free concert while enjoying the LED lights and the city skyline from Romare Bearden Park, right in the heart of Downtown Charlotte.

Side Trips for Gear Heads: Everybody knows Charlotte, N.C. is a gear head paradise. The town has a baseline culture built around racing and if you are like us, race shop tours and the world-class NASCAR Hall of Fame are a great way to spend a day. Here are a few state-of-the-art options that will impress even the most traveled race fan:

Parties, Bike Nights and Racer Appearances: The Charlotte Half-Mile has been embraced by the local community and the list of fun things to do the nights before is ever-growing (look for updates closer to the race weekend). Check here, and also on the AMA Pro Flat Track FaceBook Page for updates

So many great choices. The Summer clock is ticking and the Charlotte Half-Mile is the perfect way to join the party! Tickets for the Charlotte Half-Mile, scheduled for Saturday, July 30, start at just $29 for adults and kids 13 and under are free. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit


Hard to believe it’s here already but in a few days flat track  returns to COTA in Texas,  this time for the XGames which is making it’s last appearance in Austin before it heads to another city (which could turn out to be my hometown of Fort Lauderdale!). Rain has played a huge part in the event in the past and with over 8 inches yesterday there is nothing to suggest it won’t happen again in 2016.  The XGames is quite different because the athletes they invite aren’t all from the AMA Pro Flat Track series, and this year include in addition to the round the world list of XGames athletes an old friend Ducati fans know well, Larry Pegram (on a Harley this time) and of course I’ll be cheering on #10 Johnny Lewis on the Lloyd Brothers Motorsports machine, with new support from event sponsor LifeProof.  Johnny’s top 5 finish last year makes him one of the favorites to medal this year.  I’m excited because I know he is ready, the team is ready and the bikes are capable so fingers crossed for a good racetrack and the moon and stars to line up just right in the Texas sky.

It’s sold out to attend in person but it’s showing live on ESPN:  

Thursday June 2nd

8:30 – 11pm EST

Moto X Step Up Final

Harley-Davidson Flat-Track Racing Round One/LCQ/Final