MotorcycleDaily.com – Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Erik Buell Racing Typhon Streetfighter: Will it See Production?

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.

Also, take into account that Erik’s non-compete clause with Harley-Davidson has been dropped (according to more than one source) and the fact that Erik is a very driven person, and you will also start to believe. Believe enough, in any case, to go to Erik’s rockband’s website where you can buy EBR 1190RS swag to support the effort. But even if that doesn’t happen, present 1125 owners may be able to buy parts from Pegasus racing to improve their bikes’ looks and performance. In the meantime, watch the teaser video from EBR, complete with music from the band Wratchet Head.

58 Comments

  1. jacob peterson says:

    America has fischer… doesn’t use an american powerplant, but does it really matter anymore? It takes time for a good company to make enough money to manufacture a good motor. Think aprilia. I do hope this buell goes into production, even in small numbers. 15-17k? give me some time, and it will be mine. Untill then, I am happy on my fischer :-) Best of luck to Buell… I really want to see him continue to produce bikes.

  2. breeze says:

    It seems that everyone that belittles or critcises Erik Buells bikes and his amazing accomplishments have little or absolutely no knowledge of how his bikes work, or have ever even ridden one.Ive been riding motorcycles for almost fifty years,foreign and domestic,thats the choice we have here in america,we can ride what we choose.Ive owned four sportsters,the last of which is a 68 xlch which I have totally restored.Erik Buell gave the sportster his own dose of steroids,which HD should have done years ago.Willie G.needs to come out of the corporate closet again and listen to riders,who arent concerned so much with image,and give them a bike to be ridden.As it stands now,I would not even buy a sparkplug from a HD dealer.I still sit and stare at my 97 S1,what a magnificent machine,if I have to explaine,you wouldnt understand. The Breeze.

  3. Jeremy in TX says:

    Now that is the 1125CR I would have bought. The “pods” had to go!

  4. Zuki says:

    Cool but it needs a seat and the handlebars are too low. Plus, the seat is too jacked (as in raised-up to high). Why do Germans like the tail ramped up so high on their custom bikes? I don’t get that look.

    I hope Buell comes back as an affordable alternative to the mainstream bikes again someday soon! Can’t wait to see that.

    Lame to use an inline 4 sound sample (at the beginning of the video) for a wicked V2.

  5. Z says:

    So Harley axed Buell out of the blue and then made Erik sign a non-compete? I’m so glad they felt the need to be protected from someone infringing on their unoriginal carbon copies. I hope Erik fired his lawyer.

    Go take some more bailout money Harley. I would never buy one of your 2 wheeled Packards.

  6. Scott says:

    First year’s production looks to be in the hundreds. That’s going to result in a VERY high price, but it’s just the start. Each year, production will ramp up, distribution will solidify and cost will come down.

    The 1190RS will be a good start and, by the way, the first real Amercan Superbike in the history of the world. That’s reason enough for me to root for Geoff May in AMA Superbike next year even if I won’t be able to afford one of them for a few years.

  7. monsterduc1000 says:

    Did anyone else notice the front tire is on backwards?

  8. Greg G. says:

    American? What part(other than the name)?

    • Scott says:

      Greg, the frame, subframe, swingarm, body panels and, I would guess roughly half or more of the content of the 1190RS will be made in America. The bike itself was designed and will be manufactured in America. Even the engine is a Rotax that is being modified by EBR, so, I don’t know the exact details, but I’d bet valves, valve springs, pistons etc. may be made in America.

      • Scott says:

        Everybody has to remember that this isn’t a Harley anymore. When Harley owned Buell, a lot of parts were outsourced and production was realatively high. EBR, partly by necessity, will likely work with smaller volume US manufacturers for parts. Many of the parts on the 1190RS will likely be heavily based on race parts and many of those race parts are made in the US.

  9. Bob says:

    Mr. B. has had what? Twenty-six years to screw the pooch? I’m absolutely certain that his latest dream bike will be just as successful as his rock band. Funny how KTM delivers where all the millions of dollars of Harley Davidson could not.

    • kirk66 says:

      KTM is successful because it uses racing to sell bikes. Much like the rest of the motorcycle world that has a footprint visible from space. Erik had no race budget. However, his bikes do well in European race series (sold to priavteers) and his 1125 in select AMA events last year managed more tops 10s than not (using Erik’s own money).

      • Bob says:

        Actually Kirk, I agree with everything you say. Eric’s bikes darn well ought to finish in the top 10. They’re purpose built racing bikes competing against production machinery. Before Harley pulled the plug I almost bought a 1125 Cafe Racer. I lost interest when I found out that the engine has to be dropped in order to adjust the valves. That’s what I was referring to; failure to make a decent street bike, as defined by sales figures.

        • Gary says:

          If you actually new what you were talking about, you might have a point. The fact is ther was only one Buell AMA superbike. And it was no more modified than any other AMA superbike.To say that he has a purpose built race bike against production machinery is not only misleading but false. I f you new the rules you would know this. The only 2 mods that the buell was allowed, that the other machines already have , was a larger air box and allowed to run bigger valve’s than stock. The other machine do run different valves by the way, just not larger. Oh and if your judging success by sales figures and talking KTM out of one side of your mouth wrong again. I have seen one KTM on the street ever and there sales figures on street bikes is lower than Buell’s. And it takes no longer to lower the front portion of the Buell’s motor than it does to dismantle a 4 cyl. bike and do the valve adjustment.

  10. MarkF says:

    now how about another Uly? I would have one now if I didn’t need to go to a harley dealer for one.

  11. Tom says:

    As a current 2004 Buell XB12R owner I cheer on the effort to get these into production. Also… WOW! What a cool looking bike!

    I love my air cooled Buell for rides when I want to feel fast going slow. That bike makes all the right noise and vibration to give you the feeling of speed at a sane pace. Now my Ducati 996 I owned back in 2000-01 was the complete opposite. It never EVER felt like I was going fast. Even on track days with knee dragging speed it always felt like it was going slow.

    So those that must have the fastest production bike or latest WSB champ replica don’t laugh at me having a ball on the CT back roads on my slow bike. (My ’10 BMW R1200RT is my current fast bike ;-)

  12. Montana says:

    Rather than sell MV Augusta at a huge loss, I’ve wondered why Harley didn’t put Eric Buell in charge of that company and let his imagination run wild. Seems a logical pairing of talent and facility.
    Am I the only one who sees this or am I missing something?

  13. asphalt surfer says:

    Nice bike. I hope it sees production at the hands of EBR. The motorcycle world needs the “Eric’s” of the world to keep the creativity, individuality and motorcycles made from the heart not a marketing spreadsheet!

    There are a lot of unique details on this one to look like it is ready for production. The radiators are huge but very stylish, much like a 1198 which has similar HP. Unlike a few others on this thread I think it has the cooling to get the job done.

    If the original Rotax/Buell had looked like this one maybe H-D would have seen sales that would have kept interest in producing the line. However, I’d bet on one real biker’s passion over an executive board run by a “golfer” any day of the week!

  14. Stinky says:

    I might have to modify my checkbooks 10,000 redline for a bike like that from Erik. I kick myself for not picking up a 1125CR when I got my XB12XT to go with my S1. The guys a genius, and it looks like the Swedes agree. I’d really like to have him get a real green light that he never got at HD. Sorry harry, inline 4s are common and sound like electric shavers. They win races but don’t make me grin like twins.

  15. Stinky says:

    I might overlook my checkbooks 10,000 redline for this one. I’m almost done paying for the XB12XT and I’m sorry I didn’t just testicle up for the 1125CR. It’s not an inline 4 ((thank god!sorry harry they sound like electric shavers)just a modern twin. I’d make it a 3rd Buell in the garage alongside the S1 (which I still love). I really only need 75 or 80 horses but I’d take an extra hundred if the price isn’t too high.

  16. effortless636 says:

    not bad looking for a buell. I don’t see any front brake rotors. From the rear I like the bike, the rear subframe is interesting. What’s the point of fuel in the frame? Also not an American bike just an American name.

  17. Steve says:

    using that rationale, I guess that makes MV Agusta junk too….

  18. JW says:

    Erm… sorry but it is obvious from the still massive radiators that the engine is never going to be reliable with its current power output and needs to be radically detuned so that it can get away with a neat, small radiator, esp in street-bike guise.

    • MikeD says:

      I don’t think they have that problem here. This is not a marine engine that’s almost all the time AT or NEAR Full Blast (185 Hp +). At a race track even less of a problem (constant air flow).
      Some decent cooling fans and presto ! Besides, is a NAKED…it’ll never be as hot working as let’s say… a full clad 1198 for comparo sakes.
      I hope they do something about that back cylinder xhaust routing tho and do it like the RSV4 or 1198 thru the frame and swing arm out of sight and away from the frame and rider’s rigth leg.

  19. Jack says:

    Guys, could you clarify something for me? I have searched and found many theories but no proof if Rotax makes KTM’s v twin motor. I have read where a defection occured from a Rotax engineer to KTM to design the LC8 but thats as far as that goes. I was under the impression that KTM alone makes their motors, LC8 included.

    • yeah.. says:

      Yes, LC8 is all KTM, as are all of their engines. Its been a long time since Rotax made KTM engines – 20 years or more. Beta used to make some of the minibike engines (and Beta used to use KTM big-bike engines).

      • EZMark says:

        The LC8 was designed by an engineer who used to work at Rotax.
        The same engineer who designed the Mille engine for Aprilia.
        It is built 100% by KTM.

  20. kirk66 says:

    The 1190 Superbike will be closer to the price of the 1198s when it goes into production. If they copy this bike as it is I would suspect a $16k-$17k price tag. Without the huge HD network and the fact that Erik is probably paying more for the parts, since he can’t buy the previously huge numbers of parts and compenents, he must charge more for the bikes when they are put into production. Expect assembly numbers to be half (or even a quarter) of the 1198 or SF numbers. At least for two or three years. But it will be nice to see Geoff May racing the 1190 in the AMA when the gets bikes start rolling off the production line.
    This is all conjecture, however. But with my experience in the industry I believe my conjecture will be proven very accurate.

  21. burtg says:

    Not true Jimmy. The engine is a rotax…NOT a harley (think KTM). And most parts these days are coming from Japan anyway. Doesn’t sound like you know anything about the latest engine Eric Buell is using. Pay attention.

  22. john says:

    Harley was crazy for cutting him lose if anything should have marketed as a Harley rather than some sort of albatrose as the did. the dealers never got behind it and niether did the motor company. A big mistake if they want a new generation for there cruisers.. Most guys in there 20′s and 30′s cant make sense out of Harleys and the people who would ride one. A quality sport bike sure would have helped.
    One thing is for sure (imho) a bike like a buell is alot more fun in reall world application (at least for me) than a litre plus metric sport bike. A big torqey v twin is just a hoot to ride. imho..

    John
    Holland Ohio

    2000 Valkyrie Tourer
    2004 Valkyrie Rune
    (in negotiations on a Buell currently)

  23. MikeD says:

    Looking Good! I still after all these years haven’t warmed up to the sight of that Godzilla front brake rotor and brick for a caliper(don’t like asymmetric stuff).
    Like Brinskee said, throw it out there for less than $12k and see them fly of the shelf.
    OH! And i wouldn’t mind the Rads to be xposed, i actually think that plastic black cowling around it make it look Bad… but i might be biased, since my SV1000N doesn’t have any plastic Rad Cover/Cowling(s).

  24. Doug says:

    Huh? In what sense are Buells “still a Harley?” Show me a Harley with a Rotax liquid-cooled motor.

  25. James says:

    Which part would that be? Unless Rotax/BRP got bought out by Harley recently.

  26. big bopper says:

    “still a harley, still junk!!”
    There probably isn’t a single solitary component in this bike from Harley, but because the name Harley is mentioned in the article you have to diss it. Grow up.

  27. Mickey says:

    355 pounds wet (tank empty)……..

    I thought wet meant full of fluids?

    Anyhow, I have never ridden a Buell personally. My son has ridden 3 different models and thought they all were horrible. However, I think Eric Buell got a really bum deal from Harley Davidson and wish him the best with his new venture.

    • b says:

      I’ve heard mixed reviews. Some bikes were just terrible (the Blast) while others were quite nice. People tend to love the handling but hate the engines.

      • Mickey says:

        Actually that sounds like a quote from my son after riding them. He said they handled sweet, but the but the motors were awful and ruined the whole experience

        • Tom Barber says:

          It does not seem appropriate to generalize about Buell bikes on the basis of the engine, because of the very diverse engines and diverse character. I am not intimately familiar with the model history, but I know that for most of the history of their affiliation with Harley, they used Harley engines, even if bikes that were supposed to be sport bikes, which was just stupid from day one, owing to the power/weight ratio of those engines. But then more recently they built these more modern sport bikes using a completely different engine from a completely different source, using a more extreme bore/stroke ratio. The engines are about as far apart on the spectrum as they could possibly be. As such, it just doesn’t make sense to talk about Buell engines in a collective, general way.

          • Mickey says:

            I think all of the Thunderbolt, Ulysses and Lightning models used a
            derivative of the Sportster V twin motor, while the Blast used a Rotax single
            and the 1125′s used a Rotax V twin.

          • Mark P. says:

            Not quite. Thunderbolt, Firebolt, Ulysses and Lightning models used a *much* improved engine derived from the Sportster engine. The Blast engine is also derived from the Sportster engine minus one cylinder. The 1125 bikes used an engine designed by Buell and built by Rotax.

            >>I think all of the Thunderbolt, Ulysses and Lightning models used a
            derivative of the Sportster V twin motor, while the Blast used a Rotax single
            and the 1125’s used a Rotax V twin.

          • craigj says:

            The Blast used essentially half a Sportster motor.

            My admittedly short time abord a Ulysses revealed to to be one of the
            better bikes I’ve ever ridden. Sure it shook at idle, but once moving
            you’d never know it was a Harley paint shaker motor. The thing handled
            like a cat on velcro. It was comfortable and quick. I really enjoyed it.

    • Just Joe says:

      Wet weight (tank empty )is a measure that doesn’t penalize the comparative weight of bikes with large fuel capacity. Ironically, because Buell’s carry the fuel in the frame, the fuel weight ( theoretically )has less negative effect on handling.

    • Zuki says:

      He had to own 3 before he proclaimed them to be horrible? Hmmmmmm.

      • Zuki says:

        ??? So after his first experience with Buell, which was horrible for him, he went ahead and bought another, and afer that horrible experience, bought yet another but still found it horrible? Did he expect that the experience would be different even though they all had the same basic engine? Sounds like horseshit to me.

  28. Superchicken says:

    @Harry – You don’t have to buy it. I myself would take a light v-twin any day: that’s a great combo for a street bike. I’d need saddlebags though, I’ve been spoiled by my ST3. I’d hoped that Buell would eventually make a Ulysses with the Rotax, but sadly they were axed before doing so.

  29. harry says:

    I dont want a sport motorcycle a naked sport motorcycle or whatever a streetfighter is. I dont want to look like a flying “C” on a v-twin cruiser. I want an inline 4 standard that has at least 1100cc. Oh yeah.

    • Bud says:

      Well, the important thing is that you’re happy. I’ll let Buell know to cancel his plans and get to work on that inline 4 for you.

    • GBrag says:

      Good for you … and the rest of you 4 cylinder clone heads (What is that annoying buzzing in my ear? Well Martha, that is the torqueless inline four people used to ride. They all liked to be like everyone else.)

      • Doc says:

        Four cylinder clone heads?? I ride a Road King Classic, my 2000 W650 should be arriving any day now, but I still want a inline four cylinder bike! Make mine a Honda CB1100F. Sounds like you’re the one with little imagination.

  30. RAD says:

    I like it , and yes I would by it .
    It would look great next to my sb12xtt.

  31. Brinskee says:

    I’d buy it. If it were under $12k, they will have a winner. Finally great power combined with good looks – make it happen!

    • Gabe says:

      Under $12k? No way! Under $25k…maybe. This won’t be a mass-produced bike. Think an American Bimota.

      • brinskee says:

        The Buell name does not have the sex appeal that Bimota (or any exotic brand) could command for a Streetfighter, even such a powerful one as they’ve put together here. Add to that the motorcycling public’s generalized anxiety over a brand that’s struggling to put something together – dealer network, parts, resale value – and it would be terrible business to put that thing out anywhere near $25k. It seems like a great bike, but the bigger picture always seems to be at stake with Buell. It’s frustrating to watch… I’d love to see a strong American sport brand. England has Triumph… what do we have? Pie on our collective face.

        • Stinky says:

          Well said brinskee.
          I’ve been messing with bikes for a long time and realized a few years ago that my that I was my bikes weren’t coming from the same place. Buell came along and America
          had a sportbike maker (thanks to HD)!
          Italy has 2, Gerrmany 1+, Japan 4, England 1, (thanks to HD again) America 0.