Buell coming back

EBR set to expand

Posted: 11 December 2012
by Visordown News

Erik with a Buell Useleyss

ERIK Buell Racing – the firm formed from the ashes of the Harley-owned Buell brand which was unceremoniously closed down when the financial crisis hit – is set to expand and might actually be building bikes you'll be able to buy come 2014.

Founded by Erik Buell, who left Harley shortly after his eponymous brand was killed, EBR has so far made the massively-expensive 1190RS. Effectively a hand-made version of the 'Barracuda 2' prototype that Buell was developing as its next superbike model (to replace the ugly 1125R) when the Harley pulled the plug, only 100 1190RS models were made at around $40,000 each. 

Now, Buell has found a cash injection for his new company courtesy of GE Capital, allowing him to start the process of building a dealer network to supply and service more mass-produced models carrying his name.

The first of these is to be called EBR RX, according to rumours a lower-spec variant of the RS and effectively the Buell Barracuda 2 that would have been on sale since 2010 had the company not been closed. It will be followed by the SX, a naked street bike, and the AX dual-sports adventure bike. All are likely to use the same water-cooled, Rotax-made V-twin as the 1190. Effectively, the range will reflect the Buell line up of five years ago, when the XB12R Firebolt, XB12S Lightning and XB12X Ulysses were the three main models, but instead of plodding, underpowered air-cooled twins and belt drive they'll all have modern, water-cooled motors, drive chains and, hopefully, more attractive styling. As usual, Buell's unique fuel-in-frame chassis and rim-mounted brakes are sure to be used.

Prices for all three bikes are expected to be under $20,000 in America. That's £12,500 over here, although it's unclear if and when the machines will be exported.

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Discuss this story

Why.... ?? Perhaps they have appeal to a patriotic American market, and sure at least they are moving away from the air cooled dogs they used to be. But if someone hands me £12,500 and says there mate, go buy a bike, there would a fair few models above the Buel. At £12,500 if you had to have a twin that figure would get you a far superior Duke 1198, or KTM 1190 ... with plenty of change.....

Posted: 11/12/2012 at 15:15

Have you seen the EBR in person? It is beautiful man. Don't knock it till you try it. They are doing really well in AMA also with no electronics at all! Couple podiums this year. These bikes are sick. I would rather have the Buell than either of those KTMs. Geoff May and Eslick kicked Filmore's/KTM's ass all season!

Posted: 11/12/2012 at 16:41

Wait, my bad. Should have read the whole article.

Posted: 11/12/2012 at 16:43

Never did get round to trying a Buell but have always kind of liked the loony styling and the alternative engineering - huge front disc, oil in frame and so on and historically it always seemed that with a decent (i.e. better) motor they would have been terrific bikes, so who knows, hopefully now it'll all come together as it always should have done. One reservation though, WRT retail prices is that in that past it's often been one pound per dollar, so a $20,000 bike in the US will be a £20,000 bike in the UK, which really would be pushing a point.

Anyway, I've got to hand it to Erik Buell, the man is certainly a trier and I wish him luck with this new development.

Posted: 11/12/2012 at 17:10

Im not knocking the mans efforts and certainly his engineering prowess. I just think that for the type of machine he is trying to relaunch with - i.e a superbike twin, there are just better established machines that are arguably more desirable for less money. If they tried to launch this at £20,000 that is Panigalle territory and theres a machine that id as equally if not better engineered and for more desirable. I worry for this relaunch :/

Posted: 11/12/2012 at 19:10

Scott22n you read my mind,spot on

Posted: 11/12/2012 at 20:26

Hmmm. There is a whole lot of difference in making bikes that you can buy and ones that you would want to. Hence Hardley Abletoo pulling the plug.

The other rather funny thing is that Buell is going to make bikes effectively the same as his previous lineup. Apart from the fact that they were so bad no-one actually wanted to buy them, the article states that they will have proper engines, good styling and chain drive. So actually nothing like the previous bikes then.

I hope he does it. I like bikes that are a little different and I hope now he makes reliable good looking machines with engines that are for a 21st Century vehicle. However I just don't think so. For reasons I don't understand Americans can make one kind of bike and that's a cruiser.

Posted: 12/12/2012 at 00:56

no thank you

Posted: 12/12/2012 at 13:06

I have owned 3 buells in the past all were brilliant , and cheap but the 1125r was so ugly , anyway i hope he has success ,

the rotax engine is stomping

Posted: 13/12/2012 at 07:10

"I just think that for the type of machine he is trying to relaunch with - i.e a superbike twin, there are just better established machines that are arguably more desirable for less money."

Motorcyclist magazine named the Buell 1190RS the "Best Dreambike" of 2011. I'd much sooner have that bike, or even a somewhat economized version, than a Ducati Panagale,

Posted: 13/12/2012 at 15:41

Mark Chisholm2 wrote:

"Hmmm. There is a whole lot of difference in making bikes that you can buy and ones that you would want to. Hence Hardley Abletoo pulling the plug....Apart from the fact that they were so bad no-one actually wanted to buy them"

I bought two of them, including an air cooled XB12Ss and the liquid cooled 1125CR. Both bikes are brilliant and in almost 40 years of riding (since I was 12), I've never owned another bike as satisfying or that handled as well. And I've owned bikes by all four of the Big 4 Japanese manufacturers and BMW.

"they will have proper engines, good styling and chain drive."

And what's not "proper" about the 146hp liquid cooled engine in my 1125CR? Even the 100hp+ XB12Ss I have is probably more bike than you've got the skill to fully exploit. As to the chain drive, that's a shame, but ignorant consumers never really understood how much better belt drives were for street use (for track use, you need to be able to change sprocket ratios based on the course). Belts are quieter, sap less horsepower, require no maintenance, last the life of the bike, and don't fling oil about.

Posted: 13/12/2012 at 15:51

Any of the negative naysayers ever actually try riding a Buell?

I never have, but I'd give one a go if I had the chance. They look like a pretty interesting bike.

Posted: 13/12/2012 at 16:25

iv always liked the buell's they have distinct syling and logical engineering in them that just makes sence

brake rotors on the outside of the wheel? certainly, increased stopping power with that same old pot you had on your 60's superbike, thank you very much !!

Posted: 14/12/2012 at 13:35

Well I'll bow to your superior knowledge regarding chains and belts. Right after Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Triumph, Ducati, Yamaha and, well, every other manufacturer takes your advice on board and uses belts.

Or maybe you are just a little bit wrong. Maybe Buell was a bit wrong too because the runaway success - not - of his rather interesting but badly made bikes is testament to the fact that maybe he wasn't actually on to something.

As for the 1125CR making 146 HP. Hmmm. I don't think anyone really believes that. Most reviews at the time had it at best around 125 hp.

As I said. I hope he makes a go of it, but my point remains. He has to make something that uses proper engines and running gear. It would also help if the bikes were not butt ugly too.

Posted: 15/12/2012 at 10:53

Most of you guys making assumptions on how good or bad buell bikes are, have actually never been on one.
Old buells, (apart from 1125 series) had hd engines. they handles like beasts and were really fun to drive. Reliability wasn't actually that bad too.

With the 1125 they actually were selling a superb piece of engineering, rotax engine (arguably producing the best v twins on the planet) water cooling system, more torque than any human could even imagine having on any 4 cilinder bikes and 172kg of weight.
Can you imagine the adrenaline that the above described beast can give?

To top that the 1190rs is a hand made piece of kit that I would chose over a ducati any day. And I am italian...

Posted: 17/12/2012 at 14:38

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