Remember Buell Motorcycles? And remember the company’s inglorious end announced by its founder, the soulful Erik Buell? If you haven’t been following the Buell saga since Harley-Davidson pulled the plug on the sporting brand in 2009, Erik Buell has returned to his grass roots, designing race bikes and continuing the development of the Buell 1125R.
The motorcycle industry rumour mill has been frothing at the mouth for a while over the release of a new production street bike from Buell. Typically these rumours originate from websites that spend far too much energy speculating about new models and posting spy shots, but their news of Buell’s return like a Phoenix rising from the ashes is the real deal.
The future of Buell– now branded as Erik Buell Racing (EBR) – is based on one machine: the Buell Racing 1190RR, a $44,900 (USD) race-only motorcycle that is claimed to produce 185 horsepower, at the rear wheel. The race bike that is currently being sold to racers with deep pockets is a highly potent modification of the 1125R, and when you read its description on the EBR website, it’s clear that Erik Buell has greater aspirations for it. “The 1190RR brings engine displacement close to the AMA (American Superbike) class limit for twins and the WSB (World Superbike) limit overall. Although it is not currently approved for AMA Superbike class racing, it can be raced in many classes.”
The frequent mention of the elite race classes is a clear indicator of where Buell would like to see his 1190RR being raced. However, both of those race series have homologation requirements for entry, which means Buell needs to build a street version of the 1190RR.
The leap from building a limited number of race specials to a production run of street motorcycles is normally an insurmountable obstacle for a small company. However, Buell has been here before. For a man who has always been driven to solving engineering challenges – especially those of getting a motorcycle to navigate a road course quicker – it appears that this obstacle will be overcome.
According to Buell, it’s time for him to pull a new production motorcycle out from under his sleeve. “We will be releasing this spring the EBR 1190RS. This will be the first production motorcycle from our little company,” said a proud Buell last November. Now there’s a teaser trailer showing a plated 1190RS with turn signals circulating the internet. The gossip sites have switched to overload. Just how many of these bikes will actually be produced, and at what price, remains to be seen. In the meantime we’ll keep our fingers crossed and continue working on our card that says ‘Welcome Back Erik’.