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Buell heralds its latest revival with launch of Buell Hammerhead 1190 sportsbike

The Buell Hammerhead 1190 sportsbike bursts onto stage to formally announce the return of the rejuvenated American Buell Motorcycles brand

Buell Hammerhead


It’s lived under more owners, cycled through more revivals and promised brighter futures than I have had been to the gym (which isn’t really saying much to be honest…) but Buell is officially back. Again!

It was announced earlier this year that the storied but multiply-mothballed brand is being revived with a fresh injection of investment in an effort to bolster the United States’ international presencer in the motorcycle industry alongside Harley-Davidson and Indian.

The first fruits of its labour is the Buell Hammerhead, which received its formal launch this week in the United States.

With its sharp, rakish styling and eye-catching design signatures, the Hammerhead ensures Buell is prepared to make a statement with its comeback.

Indeed, with its built-in one-piece headlight, ‘fish gills’ and sculpted rear-end, the Hammerhead certainly has the visual punch to garner attention.

Under the skin you’ll find a 1190cc V-Twin engine pumping out 185bhp @ 10,600rpm, all in a 190kg package.

What does the future hold for Buell?

Peel the sharp, almost futuristic suit off the Hammerhead and - in short - you’ll find something rather more conventional under there. And when I say ‘conventional’ I mean ‘dated’ since the underpinnings can be traced back to the 1190 RX sportsbike of 2014.

So while the Hammerhead represents an interesting new direction for Buell, it’s really only skin deep. As such, upcoming models will better demonstrate more about whether the company has bright ideas for the future. 

Indeed, Buell would do well to glance at the steps taken by the aforementioned Indian, which - under the stewardship of Polaris - has morphed from a Harley-Davidson rivalling curio to a Harley-Davidson fighting serious alternative.

For now, Buell’s models don’t exist in the region of former owners Harley-Davidson’s but it will likely eventually lurch towards familiar ground. With this in mind, Buell’s next model will be a  Sports Tourer version of the 1190 boasting other quirky design traits to single it out from the Hammerhead.

Buell have been and gone on numerous occasions, but while the latest guise has shucked off the ‘Erik’ and ‘Racing’ monikers, we’re very intrigued about what Buell has up its sleeve...