We all know the sad story of Buell being summarily executed behind the woodshed by Harley-Davidson’s corporate executioners, but those of us familiar with the long story of Erik Buell and his dream to build an uncompromising American sportbike knew he wouldn’t be out of the picture long. In September, Erik Buell Racing (EBR) announced it was building a street-going version of its 1190RR roadracer, the 1190RS. And it turns out, a streetfighter derivative is also in the works.
The bike you see here—a delicious-looking prototype built to show the world what a modern Buell streetbike could look like—was actually built not by Erik Buell Racing (EBR), but by Swiss race team Pegasus Racing. Assisted by automotive design firm Gruner Engineering, the bike—called “Typhon”—has done away with the eyesore that is the massive radiator nacelles on the 1125R and 1125CR, replacing them with odd-shaped radiators tucked neatly behind the front wheel, preserving the 1190’s tight (and adjustable) 55-57-inch wheelbase. With a liquid-cooled, 185-horsepower motor, Buell’s signature fuel-in-frame chassis, tough, simple styling and low 355-pound wet weight (tank empty), it may be (finally!) an American muscle bike that needs no excuses.
But will it happen? And at what price? Usually, I’d scoff at the idea of a bike like this or the 1190RS ever being available at anything like an affordable price in any significant numbers. However, there may be some surprises in store. First, the components that make up the 1190RS have already been designed and tooled up for—recall that the 1190 was destined to be released as a Buell production model for 2011. Second, modern motorcycle manufacturers rarely make anything anymore—most of them are assembly plants, where hundreds of components from various suppliers get put together. Finally, there is a large contingent of Buell fans who have been waiting for this bike, some of them for decades.