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Ducati Monster M900 – Earle Motors

Posted on June 29, 2013 by Andrew in Tracker. 36 comments

Like it or not, but I have a theory that goes kind of like this – anyone who rides a motorbike has a fair amount of kid in them. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling anyone immature here; it’s not about that at all. What I’m getting at is that fact that there’s a certain wide-eyed enthusiasm that motorcyclists have that says that they still have some degree of that beautiful, open-minded and untarnished approach to living that is usually leached out of adults as they swallow the bitter pill of ‘responsibility’ and slowly fade to grey. For me, I’ll always be part kid. Which probably explains why this bike rocks every bone in my body. To me it’s look takes the best of Battlestar Galactica, Evel Kenievel, and Megaforce all rolls it into one big 1970s TV show wet dream. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be in my pyjamas playing with my wind-up Kenievel Stunt Cycle on the living room floor.

Alex Earle, owner of Earle Motors, is an experienced automotive designer with work in his portfolio for the likes of Porsche, Audi and VW. He’s also an avid off-roader. Currently living in California, but originally hailing from Utah, he’s always keen to get his dirt on and has even entered himself in Romaina’s 6 day trials. Twice. We’re guessing that the whiff of flat track in the Ducati alongside the Kenievel-ness isn’t a coincidence at all.

Wondering what to do with his ageing M900 Monster, Alex decided to build a taller, more bad-ass bike utilising the cool Italian v-twin and a classic flat-tracker proportion; horizontal profile, tall, narrow wheels, flush number plate and high bars. Moreover, he wanted it to keep it’s roadworthness.

“Flat track always appealed to me,” says Alex. “I loved the brutal look of these racers and felt this could be the perfect antidote to the current proliferation of café racer bikes. This newly-emerging sub category of bike is a perfect blend of classic Southern California cool, robust suspension, urban ruggedness and meaty tires.”

Alex produced the concept sketches, then a 1/5 scale model in foam, paper and styrene. Next the model, Ducati motor, and frame were 3D scanned to facilitate the building of a digital version of the bike. The data was used to mill a female mold from which the fresh bodywork emerged. As this was being completed, the graphics, new aluminium tank, headers, and wheel adaptors were fabricated. The end result is bodywork with the fit and finish of an OEM production machine.

“The gas tank holds approximately 3 gallons of fuel and includes the threaded bung for the petcock and the factory fuel sending unit. The cap is a Ducati Performance vented unit. To keep the height of the tank low, the factory airbox was removed and replace with K&N direct filters.

For the rear wheel, a Harley 19″ front wheel was widened by 3 1/2″. An early 80s Kawasaki wheel was used almost stock in the front. Both require major wheel spacing, bearing carrier, rotor and sprocket surface machining. The parts were then powdercoated in a black wrinkle finish.”

Alex is planning to produce all the necessary parts as a kit for builders. It currently fits any first generation Monster and appareently it could easily be altered to fit Harley XR 1200s or a Triumph. “The build-up is very similar to the original Meyer’s Manx dune buggy concept. A fibreglass body on a a lightly modified, street legal frame. To further support the builder, I will also provide the fuel tank, exhaust, wheels and headlight assembly.”

If you’re interested, and we know you are, why not contact Alex and find out more? And make sure you send our regards while you’re at it.

(Spotted in the premier issue of TANK moto magazine. Photos by Chris Thoms.)

  • arnold

    Yup, for the negative $0.02 (cents) that it is worth, Alex I whole heartedly endorse and admire your enthusiasm.

  • Jacob Speis

    I just love seeing work like this; amazing work from people with incredible fabrication skills and one foot firmly planted in professional industrial/graphic design. The combination has produced some impressive bikes of late.

  • Yeah, that’s downright rad.

  • John Andrew Schmanek

    Art. Love it.

  • Carlos André Pinto

    Not sure if I like it or I hate it.

    • bigmattie

      You’re amongst friends here, be honest now, you love it…

  • What a cool looking Monster! I know from experience that most projects that have a positive outcome require lots of planning and this is an en example of that. It looks like a Ducatti factory show bike with great fit and finish. I just want to know how Alex lucked out with wheels from 2 different manufacturers that look the same? I also dig the asymetrical body work that covers the mufflers. The body work also looks like an homage to the flat track fiberglass bodies that were used on some Triumphs back in the day.

    • itsmefool

      Thought the same thing, Manx! Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about the AMA banning the Monster!

    • dead_elvis

      I think those are both Lester mag wheels (or knockoffs). I mostly associate them with 70s Yamahas & Triumphs, but Lester supplied wheels to multiple manufacturers (and for BMX bicycles too).

      • You would be wrong. These are exactly as described in the text. The spoke cross-section on the Morris type wheels (The HD 19″ were actually cast by Morris) is an “X”. The cross section on Lesters is an “I” beam type. But other than that, these are about half the weight and not nearly as cheezy looking as Lesters.

    • ccc40821

      Craig Vetter’s ‘Mystery Ship comes to mind too….

  • Guest

    The body work reminds me of a XS 650 Storm kit.

  • revdub


  • AndrewF

    It nearly made me cry, and I don’t mean for joy! … as the saying goes, ‘It’s like having sex in an elevator – wrong on so many levels’. 🙂
    Also, because of the font he used I keep reading ‘Earle’ as ‘Garlic’!

    • revdub

      Most of the US’s garlic does come from California. Just sayin’.

      • taka-tz

        The Garlic Festival in Gilroy is fun, and the backroads in that area are motorcycle-jockey heaven.

        • arnold

          Pacheco Pass is a highlight, Chowchilla is not.

      • AndrewF

        Here’s another fun fact: much of our (that is, Australian) garlic does too. I’ve also seen shipments from Argentina, Chile and of course China. We seem incapable of even growing our own garlic anymore….

        • taka-tz

          Also, A necklace of garlic will make a vampire have an involuntary bowel movement.

          • AndrewF

            So will this bike, most likely.

    • arnold

      I keep reading ‘itsmefool’ as ‘itsmefoot’ , which I think is much better. Ah, my youthful drain bamage.

    • Mugget

      Haha, glad I’m not the only one!

      Except every time I see a photo I keep thinking it says “Carle”. Then I spend the next few seconds wondering who Carl is. Haha.

  • Just in case you’ve never seen it:

    • I want one of those!

    • Mike B

      That was awesome. I don’t think I noticed watching that show as a kid that their helmets were like the Sphinx. So weird (and cool).

  • coldsunshine

    I like seeing builds by vehicle designers. I think he missed a couple of places he could have put his name.

  • BoxerFanatic

    How does this bike not have an Earles Fork? Otherwise, not bad… I am just not feeling the shape of the “tank” section of the unified bodywork.

    • coldsunshine

      It does. See, his name is on it.

  • menormeh

    Redefining ugly……… For some inane reason I am reminded of those plastic piece of cr*p “Big Wheel” tricycles that were around a few years back.

    • coldsunshine

      HEY! Don’t be disrespecting the Big Wheel, man. Just put down the computer and back away slowly.

      • menormeh

        I never had one, a big wheel that is. They came along after I had already graduated to Harley’s, Norton’s and the like. I did however run over three or four of them with a gravel truck I used to drive when they were left abandoned in the street. Most satisfying to hear that plastic crunching and breaking up under my duals……..

        • coldsunshine


  • ACD

    Remind me a Montesa Cota 348.

  • Davidabl2

    Maybe it’s just me, but the first thing I thought of when I saw it was one of those racy little european….mopeds.

  • Mugget

    I also saw this in Tank Moto – I jumped straight on the web searching for more info. At the time there was not much out there, glad to see that the bike is starting to spread it’s flat track leanings far and wide!