Motorcycle News - Über sled: The Earle Motors Ducati ‘Alaskan’
If you’ve ploughed hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into a bike, you’re not likely to put it through a torture test. But that’s exactly what LA-based Alex Earle has just done with his latest build. He’s thrashed this Ducati dirt bike for two weeks and hundreds of miles through Alaska’s toughest terrain, and lived to tell us the tale.
“It’s a middleweight ADV bike with all the necessities and none of the frills,” he says. “Rugged and capable.” And also, we might add, very sharp-looking too.
We were curious to see where his current inspiration comes from, and it turns out to be true adventure bikes: not the kind that dawdle through Baja California, but the kind that might tackle the Road of Bones in the Russian Far East.
“The concept was to build and campaign a bike for the back roads and trails of Alaska, and make some memories. The vast distances and remote locations require a high degree of self-sufficiency and flexibility, so the bike is endowed with high capacity multi-tanks, armor and a winch.”
“Admittedly the Ducati Scrambler could use a few more horses on the highway,” says Alex. “But in the dirt, the power is ample and easily controlled. All the more reason to stay on the dirt!”
Unlike many Ducati Scrambler owners, who gear their bikes a little higher to relax the engine at highway speeds, Alex has geared his down. He’s dropped the ratio about 10% using new sprockets, going from 15F/46R to 14F/48R.
The new rims are ultra-strong Excel A60s, a tough alloy design used by several factory motocross race teams. They’re laced to the original Ducati hubs, but Alex has boosted the front wheel two sizes to 21”.
It also opens up a world of tire options not available to lesser specs. For this trip, Alex used Pirelli Scorpion tires—both Rally and XC Mid-Hards.
Right behind is a solo seat, narrow yet plush for long days in the saddle. It’s flanked by a heavy-duty luggage carrier system, with wide enduro-style foot pegs below.
Even in July, temperatures in Alaska can drop to the low 50s (11 degrees Celsius), so the Ducati is now sporting heated grips and bark buskers to keep wind chill at bay.
There’s a carbon fiber wind deflector to keep the icy wind away, and the low front fender is carbon fiber too. And if the fecal matter hits the air recirculation device, there’s a mount for a compact Warn winch to tug the Desert Sled out of trouble.
Alex has just got back to LA, and he’s more than pleased with the bike’s performance. “It exceeded my expectations as an off-roader,” he says. “Really works well in that environment, with deep river crossings, mud, snow and gravel.”
The Ducati will arrive back in Alex’s garage in a few days, and he’ll tear it down again. “I’m thinking of building a second, stripped-down variant for trips in warmer climes,” he confides.
Sounds like an excellent plan. We’re just hoping we don’t have to wait another three years to see that one.
via Bike EXIF http://www.bikeexif.com
July 11, 2018 at 12:05PM