AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame | Where Heroes Live On
First Name
Last Name

Don Emler Sr.


Founded Flying Machine Factory (FMF) in 1973
Developed "Q" series exhausts for two-stroke and four-stroke engines

When Don Emler Sr. started racing motorcycles in 1967, he just wanted to make his bikes go faster than everyone else’s.

But when his competition saw the difference between their bikes and Emler’s, they wanted to tap into that performance.

By 1973, Emler was spending more time on other racers’ bikes than he was on his own. So, he decided to plunge into the tuning business full time, launching the Flying Machine Factory in his Southern California shop.

During FMF’s early years, the company focused on the Southern California motocross scene, as Emler strived to provide the best performance equipment for the area’s up-and-coming pro racers. His efforts quickly paid off, and FMF earned a reputation as the region’s top independent shop.

Early FMF customers included AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers Danny LaPorte and Marty Smith.

Under Emler’s guidance, FMF developed into one of the world’s leading off-road exhaust system manufacturers, and its chrome-plated two-stroke systems were increasingly common on America’s motocross tracks throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

FMF Racing supported the off-road racing market, building specially-tuned exhaust systems for woods riding that were used by AMA Hall-of-Famers like Rodney Smith and Randy Hawkins during their championship years.

Emler also found a way to combine performance with environmental friendliness, developing the “Q” series exhausts for two-stroke and four-stroke engines. The “Q” systems include spark arrestors. But they also were designed to reduce the exhaust sound, resulting in an output below regulatory levels.

Over the decades, Emler and FMF Racing have sponsored scores of professional racers and supported thousands of amateurs. FMF products have powered untold numbers of competitors to AMA amateur and professional national championships.

“At the end of the day, the two major forces that keep all of us at FMF motivated are throwing a leg over a bike and heading out to the track and trails and—possibly the biggest reward of them all—knowing that we’re helping our customers get the most out of the FMF experience,” Emler said.

Today, FMF is one of the premier motorcycle aftermarket exhaust suppliers in the world. Its brand is recognized by riders and racers alike who proudly display the company logo in events everywhere.

And Emler remains active, as well. From the boardroom to the design table to the dyno, he continued to find ways to coax a little more power from motorcycle engines through advanced exhaust systems and other accessories.

“With over 43 years of championship experience under our belts, there is plenty to be proud of here at FMF,” Emler said. “But possibly our two greatest accomplishments to date have been our ability to remain true to our sport and the fact that everything we manufacture is still done right here under one roof in Southern California.”