An electric flat tracker rises from the ashes of Alta

Electric flat tracker by ex Alta designers at Blatant Moto
Elegant is not often a word used to describe electric bikes, but this pared-down tracker is both petite and beautiful. It’s from a new shop called Blatant Moto, based in the Dogpatch area of San Francisco—and the builders obviously know what they are doing.

“We’re three ex-Alta employees,” says designer and co-founder John McInnis. “The same group that put together the Crapshoot, an Alta-powered drag bike.”

Electric flat tracker by ex Alta designers at Blatant Moto
That explains the pro level of thinking and finishing on this build, nicknamed ‘The Death Rattle.’

After the fall of Alta, John and his friends Vinnie Falzon (assembly line supervisor) and Brandon Dawson (quality control) had a few ideas kicking around. They were ideas that never saw the light of day while the company was making motocross machines.

Electric flat tracker by ex Alta designers at Blatant Moto
“One of the ideas was a flat track race bike, with proper frame geometry, that would maximize the advantages of the Redshift drivetrain on a short track,” he reveals.

John had access—albeit limited—to a few drivetrain parts that were going to be scrapped. Many of the parts were from Alta’s testing fleet, or were engineering samples going through development.

Electric flat tracker by ex Alta designers at Blatant Moto
Sitting on the bench were a battery, a rear bulkhead, a motor and the reduction gear.

Around those parts, Blatant have built a trellis front frame section using chromoly tubing and a swingarm. These lowered and steepened the head tube and shortened the wheelbase for better race geometry.

Electric flat tracker by ex Alta designers at Blatant Moto
“We put together a frame jig specific to this bike. We set our wheelbase, headtube angle, and swingarm angle based on information provided by local flattrack legend [and fellow ex Alta employee] Dale Lineaweaver,” says John.

The front suspension comes from a Yamaha R6, and hooked up with Weiss Racing triple clamps. (“We turned down the fork legs, cleaned them up, and rebuilt them.”)

Electric flat tracker by ex Alta designers at Blatant Moto
The rear shock is from Penske. “They were extremely helpful, setting us up with the right spring and hardware to get us dialed,” says John. The wheels are from Durelle Racing, the bars are from Biltwell, and the grips are prototype ProTaper items from none other than the Geico Honda supercross team.

The bodywork is all custom, though. After sketching it out by hand and evolving in CAD, John printed out 1:1 drawings and used them as reference when hand carving a foam buck.

Electric flat tracker by ex Alta designers at Blatant Moto
Then he cut the buck into smaller sections and vacuum formed them using 1/16″ sheets of polystyrene. “It’s cheap, abundant, and won’t poke a hole in your leg if you fall,” he says. “I’ve popped off a few more copies of the bodywork for when this thing eventually ends up in the dirt!”

Not that there is a lot of it. “It’s only a tool for the rider. All of what you need, nothing that you don’t,” says John. “The ‘tank’ is there to protect the rider from the giant capacitor beneath. The Redshift electronics also cannot function without the instrument display, so that’s hidden under there as well.”

Electric flat tracker by ex Alta designers at Blatant Moto
The tracker is also running a super-light wiring harness, and the minimum amount of coolant for short bursts on the eighth-mile.

“Our good friend Ryan Kuhlenbeck took our pieces of a stock harness and spliced in more wire to give us the freedom to place components wherever we wanted,” says John. “Vinnie fashioned a trick little switch bracket that relocates the on/off and map switching controls under the seat.”

There aren’t many other controls you need on an electric flat tracker: just a throttle and a rear brake. (Plus foot controls and pegs, which are custom made here.) There isn’t even an on-board charging port. “The intent was to showcase just how clean and pure the electric experience can be,” says John.

“Being a race bike, didn’t want our frame to be cluttered with components necessary for a ‘functioning’ bike—like the ACM (Accessory Control Module) and DCCP (DC charge port).”

Electric flat tracker by ex Alta designers at Blatant Moto
The ACM now lives in the tail, and the DCCP was removed entirely and lives offboard. When you need to charge the bike, you unplug the battery and plug in the DCCP, inline with a charger.

“Riding this bike is a unique experience, even compared to other electric motorcycles,” says John. “We’ve stripped it to the bare necessities, so when you’re riding it and you look down at the cockpit, it doesn’t seem like the bike should even run, let alone rip the way it does.”

John likens the experience to getting on his dad’s Schwinn Typhoon cruiser for the first time as a kid, and bombing down a big hill near his house. “Riding this bike is the closest I’ve ever gotten back to that feeling.”

“It’s boiling the experience down to its purest form. Without the cacophony of engine noise or the need for shifting, the rider can focus on one thing: riding.”

‘The Death Rattle’ is a sophisticated build worthy of an OEM studio full of megabucks electronics and machinery, but it was actually born in a garage.

“Our shop setup is still evolving—this bike was almost entirely built in Vinnie’s garage in San Francisco. It’s a small garage but he’s quite the welder, and has almost all the fab tools required,” says John.

“We were crawling over each other though, and kept his roommates up every night for about three weeks!” Blatant Moto now operates out of a slightly bigger space in San Francisco, and they don’t have to worry about the noise anymore.

Check out this flat tracker at the Petersen Automotive Museum, where the bike is in the Electric Revolution exhibit—focused on game-changing electric motorcycles.

Blatant Moto | Instagram | Images by John McInnis and Julia LaPalme