– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

EBR 1190RX in Production at Wisconsin Factory


Almost 5 years ago, I toured the Buell Factory in East Troy, Wisconsin. It was a busy place, with assembly lines cranking out about 15,000 of the quirky fuel-in-frame Twins a year. When Harley-Davidson abruptly killed the brand in 2009, I was filled with sadness, knowing that building would never again see crates of brand-new motorcycles leaving its loading docks. The big auction of equipment and furnishings in early 2010 was a nail in the coffin.

Or was it? A very nice story in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin Journal Sentinel took a good look at operations in the new Erik Buell Racing factory, just a few doors down the road from the old factory (which is a logistics warehouse now, judging from Google Maps). It’s a smaller space, but there’s enough room to get down to business: making production street motorcycles for riders who “get” Erik Buell’s vision.

As we told you last year, India’s Hero Motors paid $25 million for 49.2-percent stake in Erik Buell Racing. In return, EBR has been providing engineering and design help, and it’s paid off—13 of the 19 new models Hero will show in Dehli next month will “have ties to Buell engineers,” (including a Buell-designed hybrid scooter) according to the story, written by Rick Barrett. Hero reciprocated by providing engineering and other assistance to help EBR set up its assembly line, and the story’s photo gallery, with shots by Mark Hoffman, show the 185-horsepower liquid-cooled V-Twins taking shape. The company expects bikes to be at dealers in February.

In fact, Buell told the Sentinel he’s worried the fledgling company will quickly outgrow its space and is looking for more room. He’d like to keep it in East Troy—many of the 120 EBR employees are from the area and even stayed on from the old Buell—but it’s a small town and the article hints Buell will do what it takes to meet demand for the $18,995 sportbike. It’s a “wonderful problem to have,” Buell told the paper. So far there are about 40 U.S. dealerships listed on the Erik Buell Racing website, there’s a distributor in Australia, and the company announced it opened a European subsidiary in the Netherlands.

It’s remarkable EBR is building motorcycles, never mind motorcycles that offer the kind of performance and styling of the 1190RX. I can’t wait to ride the new bike (and its expected streetfighter and adventure-touring sisters), but I think I may just enjoy a tour of the Buell plant in East Troy even more.


  1. chris4Christ says:

    First of all if you have never owned, or even ridden, one of Erik Buell’s creations then your “opinion” is simply a regurgitation of what someone else has told you or an uniformed conclusion based on irrelevant information. I have owned many motorcycles in the twenty-five years that I have been riding and my current and last two rides have been Buell’s. My current is a 2008 1125R, and she is one sweet ride. I have done plenty of track days on her along with 15,000 miles of street riding and I am completely happy with my purchase. When I was contemplating buying my last bike, I seriously considered every make and model that fitted the role of reasonably comfortable commuter and track day demon. Nothing else fit the bill in my designated price range. The next time I am in the market the EBR1190RX will definitely be my first consideration. A bike is so much more than stats, it is an extension of ones ego. And until you wring this type of bike out on a race track, you just can’t appreciate what you have. On top of all this, EBR is truly a great American story. Way to go again Erik!

  2. Lenz says:

    So “Normie” – you’ve been presented with hard facts re: exhaust dB attenuation not the “attention to detail you like” and there’s still the ongoing, superficial verbage you’re so adept at.

  3. Norm G. says:

    breaking news, the EBR has met it’s first test of homologation…


  4. Lenz says:

    An exhaust that exits in the orientation shown in the pic provides a very high sound wave transfer into the surrounding environment ie elevated Db Vs RPM. An exhaust stream that is directed towards the road / track surface is reduced very significantly in terms of referred Db for zero loss of power. A lower exhaust with the exit vector directed towards the road surface is a solution that provides a lower COG and reduced exhaust Db readings.

    These facts were demonstrated repeatedly when our race club was negotiating with the Local Authority on operational noise issues.

  5. Tim says:

    This bike is making BIG power for its size. The airbox is HUGE so there will a lot of induction noise. The exhaust is free flowing as well. That means drone. For a racebike its no issue although the Panigale is so loud it can’t pass sound test at some tracks, but for a street bike drone gets old quick. Other Mfg’s go with a flapper vale to smooth out the step in the power band, EBR used a tune pipe which in the end is both a lighter, more flexible, less complex option. Don’t like it just pull it but you will have a louder, more steeper stepped power band. And just for the record nearly all the WSBK teams use a high mount exhaust as do all Moto GP bikes for the same reason, not just muffle the sound but custom tune the powerband. above 170bhp your exhaust can be pretty but stepped power and loud or civil with smooth power and side mounted. Hard to do both. It would be there if the engineers didn’t prove to Erik it was the very best way.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “for the record nearly all the WSBK teams use a high mount exhaust as do all Moto GP bikes for the same reason, not just muffle the sound but custom tune the powerband.”

      kudos. attention to detail. I like that.

  6. Norm G. says:

    for the record gents, the exhaust looks and points the way it does because Erik has set the bike up for the world. everything you see is purely to pass sound tests in Japan. if you don’t believe, do a search on the abomination of a high exit exhausts Ducati has to saddle both it’s 1199 and 899 just to retail them in the island nation.

    but of course, thank god there’s something called that AFTERMARKET that makes motorcycling that much more enjoyable, and 98% avail ourselves of anyway right…? 🙂

  7. bikerrandy says:

    Oh I see, above all else the angle, looks of the muffler is critical in whether the MC is competitive or not. That’s all that really matters.

  8. Norm G. says:

    Pegram says that exhaust is SOOOO changeable.

  9. mikeg says:

    I wish Erik would go back to the older Harley engine, tweak it like he used to but put it in a frame/package that was affordable and ride-able for the average guy. There are a lot of us out here who would like to buy an affordable, Harley based standard that doesn’t ruin your back or your savings account. People keep trying to push exotica when what we want is basic reliable fun transportation. I am going to look closely at the new Harley water cooled bikes but I bet they still put you in that laid-back position. It feels great in the showroom, but lousy out on the road after a couple hours. Ah, what’s the use, it’ll never happen. Exotic / radical designs get the press and the hype and the buzz, just not the sales. Never learn do they.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      The Harley engines are the main reason Buells never sold well. I hope he NEVER goes back to that.

      • Fred M. says:

        The main reason Buell didn’t sell well was because they were only sold at Harley dealerships. Most sportbike riders would rather be seen walking into an erectile dysfunction clinic than a Harley dealership. Those who did venture into the Harley dealership were often met by salespeople who were uninformed and/or openly hostile to the Buell brand.

        You didn’t see Ducati having any trouble selling air-cooled Monsters that weighed more, made less horsepower, and didn’t handle as well as the Buells.

        From a VisorDown road test of the air-cooled Buell XB12Ss:

        “The best bit about the XB12Ss is its engine. Which is good because the thumping great 1203cc V-twin is one of the main reasons for buying a Buell in the first place. A lot of thought has gone both into the bits inside the engine and into the way the lump’s mounted in the frame. Bags of torque you’d expect, but just how smooth and free revving the engine is comes as a surprise. Instead of using the low-down torque to blast out of corners and overtake cars, you find yourself winding up the motor just for the pleasure of it and the magic noise it makes.”

        • Oscar says:

          I disagree. As much as I loved the Ulysses’ chasis, I didn’t buy one because I hated the engine. If it had the current EBR 1200cc liquid cooled twin, I’d have bought it without a second thought.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          People who owned Buells have more of an issue with HD dealers than those that chose not to buy or consider one. The dealer network didn’t help, but that isn’t the reason they sold poorly – it was the engine. I believe the VisorDown comment must have been made in the context of what the Buell engine is – a piece of junk made viable by a determined engineering team. Don’t mistake that to mean that the engine is good, only that it is better than one would expect. It is not particularly smooth, certainly not free-revving and frankly is a bit of a letdown in the torque department. Ridden back to back with a Monster, the Monster feels much faster even though there isn’t much difference on a stopwatch.

          For the record, the Monster S2R 1000 and later 1100 are both lighter than the XB’s and have better brakes. In my opinion, they also handle better. The 1100 equals the XB12’s power, and the 1000 wasn’t that far off of the mark.

          • Jdilpkle says:

            I must have missed the memo – I’m riding my third “piece of junk” engined Buell, and thet have all have had ZERO issues and are absolute gems in the thousands of apexes I’ve carved with each of them. I knew exactly what the engine was before I bought the Buell. If I wanted a “hair on fire” engined ride, I would have bought one. After my friends finish riding my Buell from having been riding their GSXR’s and Aprilia’s – they cant say enough about the quickness of the XB’s steering and the ability it has to effortlessly change lines mid-corner as needed. I guess I have to look harder in my memo in-basket. Just ride.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I’m glad you’ve had great luck with your Buells and obviously love them. That doesn’t change my opinion concerning Buell’s ineffectiveness at reaching the market potential it desired was due to the engine. Many won’t even give the big lump a chance, and most who sample it are left wanting.

          • Fred M. says:

            “For the record, the Monster S2R 1000 and later 1100 are both lighter than the XB’s and have better brakes.”

            Better brakes are the ones that make the best compromise between braking and unsprung mass. Engineering is a balancing act.

            “In my opinion, they also handle better.”

            Motorcycle News magazine disagrees with you, having named the Buell Lightning series one of the five best handling production bikes ever.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Hi again Fred.

            Better brakes are the ones that stop the bike in the fastest, most controlled manner. No one I know that has ridden both a ZTL Buell and Monster prefer the ZTL.

            The Motorcycle News piece was a rider survey. The XB doesn’t make their editors’ list, at least not for any year that I am aware of. The Monster is the better handler in my opinion. You are welcome to disagree.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “There are a lot of us out here who would like to buy an affordable, Harley based standard that doesn’t ruin your back or your savings account.”

      what, no love for the XR1200…? honestly I don’t know what they sell for, but technically we can’t say HD hasn’t responded.

      • Fred M. says:

        The XR1200 that Harley discontinued?

        That was a pig of a bike compared to the Buells.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “The XR1200 that Harley discontinued?”

          yeah, Ducati “discontinued” the MH900, and Honda “discontinued” the Sp1. what makes you think it was meant to be anything more than a limited run to support the American Vance and Hines series…?

          re: “That was a pig of a bike compared to the Buells.”

          and the old buells weren’t pigs of a bike compared to any Japanese 600…?

          see, I can come up with better comparisons, but that’s losing the plot innit…?

          • Fred M. says:

            “what makes you think it was meant to be anything more than a limited run to support the American Vance and Hines series…?”

            Because the series didn’t exist until years later and the bikes were initially offered by Harley only in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East — not America. That was easy.

            The other poster was bemoaning the lack of a Harley based standard (now that Buell is gone) and you said that they could purchase a bike that’s no longer available for sale.

            “Yeah, Harley discontinued the XR1200 and never replaced it with anything similar. So it’s not an option for people wanting a “Harley based standard.”

            re: “and the old buells weren’t pigs of a bike compared to any Japanese 600…?”

            No, they were not, as evidenced by Motorcycle News choosing the Buell Lightning XB12S as one of the five top handling motorcycles ever built. The XB9R was chosen as the best turning motorcycle, ever, by a British publication.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            That Motorcycle News piece was from a reader survey (never underestimate the enthusiasm of Buell-aid drinkers – “To the keyboards lads! Support Erik!”). The XB has never made Motorcycle News’ own “Best Handling” top five to my knowledge. I am not familiar with the other article you mention.

            Not saying that the XBs don’t handle well – they do. The capabilities are often overrated, though.

  10. fred h says:

    I would like for kicks and giggles to see a Buell rider on his bike proudly standing in front of Harley head quarters giving it the middle finger salute !

  11. Tim says:

    I saw the limited edition bike in the flesh a few weeks ago, and it was really a beautiful bike. I have a feeling this will sell better than any of the bikes Buell built under Harley. This bike has competitive horsepower, and it has half the fit and finish of the limited edition, I believe people will buy them. It is a little expensive compared to the competition, but it is unique, and some will be willing to pay a premium.

  12. Joe Lewis says:

    I always liked the idea of Buell but the execution was always poor. Often Buell showed imagination where it wasn’t needed. Remember the reverse pull under engine shock? Terrible idea as the forces caused the shock to break. Not good. The perimeter brake system never was as effective as a traditional system.
    I owned a X-1 lightning and it was a beautiful bike. But…. It had to much chrome and those PM wheels were a pain to keep up. Also it had 10 different warranty issues! Harley came through every time and took care of the problems. Just too numerous. Sounded and looked good though.
    They just never had the motor though. Mine made 86 hp at 6800rpm. It would probably blow up at 7500.
    Now fast forward to the new EBR. Dated high exhaust. What happened to the under engine exhaust.
    Let’s see how it plays out. Maybe it will. Wierd Buell mixed with inferior Indian engineering. Hum……

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      A large part of the exhaust system is already taking up the “underslung” space. I agree that a lot of the past Buell stuff was just engineering for engineering’s sake… Didn’t really play out to produce a better solution. But some of it is clever. I think Hero mixed with Buell that clever engineering, for opportunities to develop the EBR and Hero brands and US market penetration. And Buell mixed with Hero for money and production capabilty.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Dated high exhaust.”

      bite your tongue. let’s just call it “classic”. though the execution appears a lil’ wonky, you can place the blame squarely at the feet of the regulators. however (comma) don’t poo poo it just yet. there’s more to this than just emissions and noise compliance. if things progress the way I think (nay, know) they will, this will not be the last you see of this in regards to this kit.

      re: “What happened to the under engine exhaust.”

      it’s there, just not smart to put all your high temp catalysts in one spot and then think you’re going to completely enclose it with a plastic fairing and not have shit load of customers whining on the internet and warranty claims.

  13. Ricardo says:

    The US is not ready for “boutique” motorcycles, just look at what Ducati had to do, lower their prices to make bikes more affordable and demand will come right away. Because people like “boutique” bikes but not the prices…I do think Buell has a success with this bike, it is beautiful and has the power, just needs to be more accesible.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “The US is not ready for “boutique” motorcycles”

      the us IS boutique motorcycles.

      i google searched the term, it returned like a million pictures of CONUS. ie. satellite views, relief maps, driving maps, temperature gradients. weird.

    • Fred M. says:

      It’s only $19K — and that’s not a “boutique” motorcycle price. It’s $4K less than a Ducati 1199 Panigale S and $11K less than an 1199 Panigale R. It’s the exact same price as a Ducati Diavel or Triumph Trophy SE. It’s less than a Yamaha V-Max, Honda Gold Wing, Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring, or Harley CVO Breakout (just to name a few).

      A boutique motorcycle is something like a $55K Confederate X132 Hellcat or a #37K Motus MST R, not something like the EBR 1190RX, which costs less than a Toyota Corolla.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        I agree the EBR isn’t boutique. But it is $4K more than the class leader, equal in price the Panigale of equal kit and more expensive than all of the other competitors in the segment. The premium trim models of the Panigale and BMW include technology not yet offered by EBR in addition to other performance and aesthetic goodies. It doesn’t compete with Vmaxes, Gold Wings or the others you mentioned, so I don’t think that is relevant. The EBR may prove to be more (and I hope it does), but on paper it is a $15K motorcycle with a $19K price tag. I think they will have trouble selling bikes after the initial Buell-aid drinkers rush the dealerships for the first round of available bikes.

        • Fred M. says:

          Neither the Panigale nor the BMW S1000RR are as technologically advanced or innovative as the Buell 1190RX. Look at the Buell’s fuel-in-frame chassis, vacuum-operated slipper clutch, and Zero Torque Load front brakes for just a few examples. That said, it was smart of engineers at Ducati and BMW to incorporate inverted forks and mass-centralized, underslung exhausts, both first seen on production motorcycles introduced by Buell.

          “It doesn’t compete with Vmaxes, Gold Wings or the others you mentioned, so I don’t think that is relevant.”

          They are very relevant; when mainstream bikes in all classes are at or above the price of the Buell, it argues strongly against the notion that the Buell is some kind of extravagant boutique bike.

          “I think they will have trouble selling bikes after the initial Buell-aid drinkers rush the dealerships for the first round of available bikes.”

          Lose the insults. I own two bikes by Buell as well as a BMW and a Suzuki. I’ve also owned bikes by Honda, Kawasaki, and Yamaha. I’m not a “Buell-aid drinker.” I am a motorcyclist with decades of riding experience and am an engineer. If I choose to buy a Buell, it’s because it is one of the best bikes in its class.

          Hero MotoCorp bought a 49.2% stake in Buell because of the engineering talent at Buell. Hero MotoCorp (formerly Hero Honda) is the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the world, with a $3.9 billion revenue in 2012. They didn’t buy into Buell because they were “Buell-aid drinkers.”

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I disagree that the RX is more advanced. Being different does not make a machine more advanced. All past iterations of the ZTL have fallen short of the best DD setups (though it has only gotten better with each generation and may one day become the benchmark), and vacuum slippers have been around for a long time. Those eurobikes have more sophisticated electronics packages at the moment which is what I meant by more advanced.

            The RX is priced at the upper end of its market segment. If it can deliver results appropriate to that price tag, then it is priced competitively. I agree with you that the Buell is not a boutique bike, but it is a little expensive compared to its competition. My concern is that it is a little too pricey to be a sales success, and I want it to be a success.

            That was no insult, and the comment wasn’t aimed at you, Fred. As a Buell owner, you know what a Buell-aid drinker is. Call them a loyal fan, fanatics or whatever: there are those that are going to run out and mortgage the house to buy an RX if they have to because of their passion. Buell-aid is just my word for that passion / brand loyalty, and most of us throw that term around without malice. I also own a Buell (surprise!) and have enjoyed being a part of that community.

            Hero bought a stake in EBR (not Buell – I know, I keep forgetting, too) because they have long-term vision and because Buell is a clever engineer with some strong brand equity and distribution channels in the US and European markets. I suspect the honchos at Hero are enjoying their Buell-aid just fine, thank very much. 🙂

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “Neither the Panigale nor the BMW S1000RR are as technologically advanced or innovative as the Buell 1190RX.”

            fredo, the RX (and particularly the RS) are slick bits of kit but these are by American standards. I don’t think Erik would argue this classification. best just to leave it at that. when you start to referencing benchmarks like the Duc and the BM it’s kind of reach.

            sorry I’m lying, it’s not a reach. actually when you said that, you’re credibility SWAN DIVED off Burj Khalifah.

        • fast2win says:

          Buell never engineered for engineerings sake. ZTL,underslung exhaust,fuel in frame,all have advantage’s in their designed application.If you can’t grasp this you just don’t understand physics. As far as the engine holding back on sales, you might be right. They really needed both.But I would say Harley held them back more than the engine did. As for those who complained about the power of the old air cooled motor, you got what you signed up for. 100hp.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I never said those things didn’t have advantages, but they also come with their own compromises. If you can’t grasp that, then you just don’t understand physics. Each of those approaches is more akin to a different means to an end rather than the next step in evolution. ZTLs, fuel frames and underslung exhausts do not necessarily make a better motorcycle. MotoGP bikes do without all three.

            Had the XB been originally introduced with a modern engine (not even more powerful necessarily), then I think the present would look very different.

  14. Tom Shields says:

    Congrats to EBR for keeing the dream alive.

    Does EBR still have a deal with HD for engines, or are they using another V-twin?

    • Gary says:

      Thank goodness no. They are using Rotax engines at this time.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        The engines are built in-house, though I imagine a large number of the parts are still sourced from Rotax given the DNA of the engine.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “though I imagine a large number of the parts are still sourced from Rotax”

          3 letters. B… M… W…

          any questions…?

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I agree it certainly doesn’t have to be Rotax-sourced just because it is Rotax-based. It is entirely possible that a lot of those parts boxes have “Made in India” stamped on them.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “It is entirely possible that a lot of those parts boxes have “Made in India” stamped on them.”

            oh geez, not if they know what’s good for them.

            it’s WAAAAY to early for those kind of financial shenanigans. maybe later though. for now smart money is to do what BMW does (and has been doing for 20 years) and that’s pay Rotax to do the manufacturing.

            is it costly…? sure, but it’s SUPPOSED TO BE COSTLY. the engine is only the heart of the motorcycle. it’s not something you want to cheap out on. it’s not something you can assume you can do just as good after say watching a few how to videos on FaceTube…? or a few TV shows on the DIY network…?

            in fact, I contend economic law is such that you CAN’T cheap out on it. no matter how much you try, you’ll just end up paying the same if not MORE in the long run. it’s a mathematical certainty.

            remember what I said, “no free lunch” is a reoccurring theme. history bears this out. it is literally woven into the fabric of our universe. it’s anywhere and everywhere, you just have to look for it.

  15. RJ says:

    I bought a Buell 1200 Ulysses in the hope that it would be a modern Norton Commando, and was disappointed after all the hype. No engine braking and ineffective rear brake. 200kg plus and top-heavy feel, despite petrol-in-frame, oil-in-swinging arm and ugly plastic everywhere. 90 minutes dealer-labour to change the plugs. Gearbox and starter motor went, with 3 months wrangling from HD over costs. Too-high gearing so gearchange needed to overtake at 60mph, and my Honda XR600 had better roll on speed. But then the XR600 is described all over the Net as a ‘stump-puller’ – compared to my 1956 Matchless single it’s gutless. I’m now riding… guess what? – a 1971 Norton Commando. Much better torque and balance than the bland Buell, and gobs of character. Beware the hype.

    • Provologna says:

      My Ulysses was among the worst of the 50+ bikes I owned. I much more prefered my ’71 Yamaha RD350. The Ulysses was more of a pretend motorcycle than actual finished, properly executed machine. The first time I achieved freeway velocity the OEM clear fly screen detached, hit the top of my helmet (may have died sans helmet), and flew up into the air and disappeared like the skeets at Pacific Rod and Gun Club where I once worked. The screen fastened with little plastic pins “press fit” into rubber grommets.

      Low speed motor vibration was almost to the level of criminal negligence. These H-D motors are pure trash, and that’s an insult to trash.

      That bike had almost endless engineering and production problems, a true POS if ever was any motorcycle. Sold it a month later.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “Low speed motor vibration was almost to the level of criminal negligence. These H-D motors are pure trash, and that’s an insult to trash.”

        hey, that’s what they call character. 🙂 let’s you know you’re riding something that’s ALIVE, and not hemming dresses with a sewing machine.

    • fast2win says:

      I once rode a harley flathead that will eat your matchless. LOL. My dinasaur will eat your xyz. hellcat jet any day. Nice stories though.

  16. billy says:

    I guess they figure if they put a high end price on it people will believe it’s high end product. Yeah, marketing!

  17. Lenz says:

    The real success story for EBR would be to bring down the cost of production and maintain high build quality through manufacture by his Indian business partner etc. EBR managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory a while back with the random, bulbous air intake styling of an otherwise well-spec’d, modern V twin powered bike.

    If they can get their pricing down and sell some real numbers ie establish a real ongoing market presence, then EBR will be a genuine financial success.

  18. Gronde says:

    Hope that Buell designs a bike that is more affordable for the average guy that doesn’t need 185 HP to prove he’s a man. A $10,000 price tag and a 100 HP engine would do for a lot lot of us. You can only sell so many $20,000 sport bikes and then what do you do?

    • richard says:

      $20,000 is a fair price for a high end sportbike…i would spend that to get quality and performance…you can buy a Jap sport bike for $12,000 to $15,000..maybe that would be a better choice for the average guy….thats why we have choices….Buells are high end…would like them to stay that way just like a Ducati or an MV Agusta….you get what you pay for !

    • Austin ZZR 1200 says:

      I think what his strategy is similar to that of Elon Musk and Tesla: raise private equity by launching a high-end model that eventually finances the rest of the line. If I was in the right income bracket, I would buy one just on principle alone. Go EBR!!!!!!

      • sl says:

        You are spot on. The other option is to come in inexpensive and get a reputation for reliability, Hyosun. Buell is going to stick with trickle down. I also agree with the guy saying a nice 100 horse ride would be cool, but I would ask for 125-130 at the wheel with gobs of torque.

    • allworld says:

      Eric Buell is working closely with models produced by Hero, the other half of EBR. It’s almost certain that some of the those bikes will find their way into the USA. Hero can and does turnout millions of bikes per year, not thousands. Having Eric engineer some smaller displacement, high quality bikes for the USA and Europe, maybe Hero’s plan all along.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “You can only sell so many $20,000 sport bikes and then what do you do?”

      redesign it so all the same people who came off the dime originally think their old bike isn’t cool any more.

      • sl says:

        In tough economic times it is smart to play to wealthy. They have disposable income.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “In tough economic times it is smart to play to wealthy.”

          and there it is.

          tough economic times, middle economic times, fantastic economic times… stay up market and you’re home free.

          re: “They have disposable income.”

          when infamous bank robber Willie Sutton was asked, Why did you rob the banks…? he replied…

          ‘Cause that’s where the money is.

  19. Bankinrider says:

    I had the privilege of meeting Erik in 2011 at NJ Motorsports Park at the AMA Race. I caught up with him outside EBR’s tent after the race and he talked to us for about an hour about his new RS, his career, racing, his years at Harley and the new company. His passion for motorcycles is awesome. If his publicist did not pull him away, I think we would still be out there talking. LOL He is such a down to earth guy. I wish him and his company all the best. I’m a fan!!

  20. Les says:

    I wonder if anyone in the USA would care about this bike if it was a Honda. Exactly the same for the same price. I think it would be a shit storm of whines instead of ‘go usa!’ that we have now.

    • richard says:

      wouldnt pay $20,000 for a Honda…thats the difference

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        I don’t think many people are going to pay $20,000 for a Buell either, but I hope I am wrong.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “I don’t think many people are going to pay $20,000 for a Buell either”

          that’s too bad, ’cause unbeknownst, EBR has the burden of rehomologating the $40,000 RS. unfortunately, neither it nor the RX are ready to cross swords. Norm G’s suggestion…?

          BFP, “Build For Parabolica”.

        • powermad says:

          In all this thread i haven’t seen one person say they have one on order so I don’t think many will pay it either.
          Since companies only survive on sales it doesn’t seem like a good omen.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “In all this thread i haven’t seen one person say they have one on order”

            yeah, I was going to mention at the top, there’s seems to be a conspicuous amount of cheerleading going on…? which isn’t bad, ‘cept I’m pretty sure I recall previous Erik Buell threads being filled with nothing but the usual (and uniquely American) practice of throwing their own under the bus…?

            who knows, maybe the people coming out of the woodwork to post are different in this thread, but I have half a mind to go back and scan the old threads for names.

    • MGNorge says:

      I grew up on Hondas and as intertwined as they have been with the sport I do consider them american. I don’t look at them as “Jap” bikes.

  21. Jdilpkle says:

    I’ve owned three Buells (two XB9’s and a 12) and my third is the XB9SX and currently my every day bike. Been riding since 1973 and have had over 20 bikes throughout the years. When set up correctly, in the twisties, the XB makes my friend’s GSXR and his Aprila Factory feel like I’m trying to turn the Titanic. Granted, the XB is super super sensitive to the tires it wears and suspension set up, but once set up, it doesn’t standup, situp, or jump up in the corners. The truth is, those who complain about quirky handling just haven’t ridden one set up correctly. With its ultra steep rake and short wheelbase it seems to steer simply by thought alone. Yeah, they others are faster than me in a straight line, but thats where the radar guns live. There are a billion Ducs here in SoCal – and my lowly clunky transmissioned, Fred Flintstone motored Buell has to back off to keep from running into the backs of those $20,000 pasta posers. Viva La Buell – ha ha. Erik – all the best to you and EBR.

  22. John Bryan says:

    Sportster engined Buells I took on test rides where absolute hoots to ride – felt like big dirt bikes for the street. Hopefully the next step after developing the other 1190-derived models is a line of middle-weight bikes – something 750-850ish would be about right. And if the Hero connection gives EBR dealers access to some light-weight bikes and scooters that would be some pretty tasty toppings to the new Buell sundae!

  23. allworld says:

    Selling MV Agusta and end their ties with Eric Buell are the greatest contributions Harley Davidson has ever done for the motorcycle industry.
    EBR making Americans Prod.

  24. Craig says:

    yeah, I didn’t like the Harley Buell’s as they really handled funny… At least the one I had did not car for trail braking into the corners at all… It would stand up and try to run off the road… You had to respect it. 🙂

    All said, this new beast while looking somewhat the same is completely different in terms of ALOT of stuff and those issues likely gone. A twin with 185 hp and lots of torque… YUM!

    I’m glad to see them doing well and I think they will sell a good amount of these bikes IMHO… the deal on the front is a vent that forces air into the brake’s to cool them. With one caliper, it works pretty hard and at least on the track with a very good rider there were a few issues. This piece was developed on track and worked… so why not on your performance bike?

    GO BUELL!!! Keep developing and all the best to you in WSB… I’m pulling for you… Tell Yates to get in shape and no laying on the track. 🙂

  25. Chris says:

    Way to go E.B.R. I am very proud to see an American company not afraid to start a business here ,Now we can see what Erik and company can do now that they are out from under the constraint’s of the (so called motor company) Harley Davidson who doesn’t get it when it comes to any thing other than it’s out dated let’s celebrate the past junk styling that they make . I own a 2009 XB 12R Fire bolt among many other bikes I own and it is a great handling reliable bike I can’t wait to try the new 1190RX.

    • richard says:

      when the economy dived in 2009…Harley made the right choice to dump MV and Buell…they needed to concentrate on preserving they’re own brand 1st considering the tough times ahead…i can understand that….its called damage control….the low numbers in sales for MV and Buell werent high enough to make them viable in the Harley world…thats just business. Erik Buell is in a better position…good for him.

      • goose says:

        Ah, the economy took a dive in 2006, not 2009. Harley was back in the black by then. The reason given for getting rid of Buell and MV was to “concentrate on our core products”, the kind of short sighted action you would expect from a current American CEO. Harley lost something like $60,000,000 on MV, a lot more than that on Buell.


        • Hair says:

          I am sure that it had nothing to do with the fact that Buell had just outsourced it’s first motor. With the writting on the wall, Buell had outgrown the air coold Sporster V twin air cooled powerplant. Which seems to be something that H-D is moving away from too. Maybe Eric was your bell weather that rang out at a time when H-D was deep in denile about it’s future.

    • Little Biaggi says:

      I knew I would find you here! We have to take a trip to see one in person since its going to be your next bike!-CR

  26. Jakes Grampa says:

    Some extra bits by the front brake. Anti dive?

    • stinkywheels says:

      Considering the heat problems on their racebikes, I’m guessing air scoops. I’m sure ABS is in the works but you shouldn’t be able to see it.

    • stinkywheels says:

      Sorry, shootin my keyboard off without thinking. I don’t think anti dive will be solved with telescopics, even by Erik. I bet he’s got some ideas but they’re probably a little too complex and heavy to apply to racing. I still think its cooling ducts.

  27. Jakes Grampa says:

    I heard once that Can Am tried to aquire Buell from Harley when they announced they were going to shut it down but Harley refused. Is this true?

    • M_Schrank says:


    • Fred M. says:

      After HD announced they were shutting down Buell, Bombardier, parent company of Can Am, offered to buy the Buell brand, with two different offers, keeping the factory open in Wisconsin. Rather than take millions of dollars for it, HD decided they would rather put 200 Americans out of work in the middle of a recession at Christmas time. So f**k Harley and their fake patriotism; having Chinese workers sewing eagles onto Harley clothes doesn’t make HD patriotic.

      The closing of Buell was more a personal vendetta against Erik Buell from the boardroom than it was a business decision.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Yes, that was a very curious business decision, if it can even be called that. What did it cost HD? $130 million in closing costs, not to mention goodwill costs? That typically isn’t something shareholders stomach well. I suppose they felt that was cheaper than the shareholder displeasure that might arise from wathcing Can Am making some waves by properly marketing and distributing the 1125 series as Can Am motorcycles.

  28. Jeremy in TX says:

    I want to see EBR succeed, so I hope the bike lives up to its price tag. There is some very serious machinery offered up in this sub-segment. From a business growth perspective, I think the Hinkley Triumph approach would have been the better business decision (motorcycles for mortals as the first step), but Buell has always been the kind of guy to build what he wants. He built it, now everyone just needs to come… with their check books.

  29. Hair says:

    This is great news. We need American built sport and Adventure bikes. I wish Eric the best. And I can’t wait to see his OWN designs on the road and to read some really great reviews.

  30. Trent says:

    Interesting to see some Harley dealers on the EBR Racing dealer list. And there’s a pic of Erik smiling! Who da thought. I hope he sells a lot of them.

  31. Gary says:

    I hope Harley is feeling pretty sh*tty now. Eric’s bikes will be much better with something beside the heavy old Hardly engines. Even Hardly couldn’t be competitive in road racing. It took Eric to put one in the winners circle, and that wasn’t with a heavy weight Harley engine. Even MV is doing much better apparently than when they were under Harley ownership. Harley, is this telling you something- it should be.

  32. red says:

    Best of luck EBR! Nice looking bike, that thick frame sure looks familiar, where have I seen that before?

    (still would like to have an XB.. XB9SX or XB12X.)

  33. TomH says:

    The US needs more people like Erik!

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      And the US needs more (foreign?) investors like Hero that have long-term vision rather than a short-term, cash-out exit strategy.

      • stinkywheels says:

        Yes we could use more Eriks and investors. Good call guys. We’ve blamed a lot of our problems on foreigners and government, when it’s time to get it done we need ideas and investment for the long term instead of selling them our for short term profit.

  34. Tommy D says:

    I still have my 04 Buell XB12R Firebolt. It has a little over 20k miles and it will hopefully always be in my garage. It’s a hoot to ride on the street. I enjoy its unique power delivery that seems to broadcast speed to the rider that really isn’t there. Perfect for the street. This is the opposite of a modern sport bike that seems to tell its rider how slow they are.

    I am happy to see EBR making forward progress. Will I buy one? Probably not. But I confess that I am tempted. I see there is a dealership not too far from me….

  35. EZ Mark says:

    I wish him the best even though I’ll never be a customer.
    Glad to see he’s using the Rotax engine instead of the junk Harley engines he used originally.

    • TomH says:

      My guess is you never rode one with the “junk” Harley engine.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        They are junk.

      • powermad says:

        Why let logic or reason enter into it?

        • Gronde says:

          Buell did the best he could with the Sportster engine and many owners liked what he created. I put over 60,000 miles on a “junk” Sportster 1200 engine with no overheating, smoking or breaking down. That is better than a my old Honda Sabre 750.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            You should buy a lottery ticket. 🙂

          • Neil says:

            If you treat them right, hard ’em hard but not Inline 4 hard, they will last a good long time. I’ve got 80K miles on my motor, only replaced one belt, a couple of batteries, tires, oil(60Wt in summer)and fuel…

      • richard says:

        yeh probably…

        • richard says:

          see Harleys with 180,000 klms on the gauge….still going strong…rarely see that on a Japanese cruiser

          • mickey says:

            Really? i’ve seen scads of Goldwings and ST 1100 and 1300 Hondas with 2 and 3 times that mileage.

    • Bill says:

      The news is even better than you think Mark. Buell and Rotax worked together to design the 1125 motor for Buell, but this motor was further redesigned by EBR, and appears to be substantially made here in the US.

      The XB motors, particularly the XB9, were actually pretty remarkable for what they were. Take a brilliant but very dated Harley Sportster motor (brilliant by 1969 standards), and let some Buell engineers have at it, and suddenly you have an air cooled twin making borderling NASCAR HP to displacement ratios, that doesn’t grenade on it’s way out the driveway. Not perfect for sure, but pretty cool just in terms of the “no way, that’s awesome!” factor. If Buell had been free from HD, the XB would have been water cooled from the start (like the XB prototypes were that Erik and his engineers were building before Harley caught them and “helped”.)

      EBR is free now though. You know this isn’t a ROTAX motor anymore because we have plenty of examples of that same ROTAX footprint… and they sure as heck don’t make 185 HP and get 50 MPG. This is an EBR motor, and I couldn’t be prouder having it represent the USA on a world stage.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “and appears to be substantially made here in the US.”


        the substantial part was in the casting vats of molten aluminium, grinding camshaft blanks, and precision cutting and heat treating of gears done by other.

        re: “You know this isn’t a ROTAX motor anymore”

        I wouldn’t be so quick to say it isn’t. this association will be critical come warranty fulfilment. and you know you guys are all about free lunch. there’s nothing we know better.

    • stinkywheels says:

      I’ve got 2 with the junk motors and a rotax Buell. The Rotax sure is spending a lot of time in the shop compared to the junk ones. The 96 S1 finally broke a belt and developed a leak 40k.

  36. JR says:

    For those of us who owned the American Buell XB12S Lightning, like my 2004.. it was pure fun to ride and own. With it’s unique proven features, like it’s fixed rear axle and belt idler.. let alone light weight, fuel in the frame and oil in the swing arm. And you never had to over spin the air cooled engine to get good usable power out of it with it’s high torque motor. It made sense as a daily ride for American streets. Again, light weight, power and easy to maintain. So it’s obvious Harley doesn’t plan on doing anything with the Buell XB’s engineering, so they should relinquish it back to Erik Buell so he can pick up where he left off in 2009 and expand his current line. Then Harley can even make money also by selling Erik air cooled V twin engines again, that Buell would then sell as complete new XB’s in his own American dealer network. Sure sounds good to me.

    • Asphaltsurfer says:

      I owned one in around 99. Agreed it was a cool bike and Eric made it a lot better than you could ever imagine a Sportster could be (I had one of those too). Too bad HD retained patents after the long relationship of EB working for them engineering things like reverse headstock steering in their touring models. But there wasn’t a big enough market of us that liked quirky air cooled hammer almost sport bikes and corporations make business decisions not personal ones. Too bad Polaris didn’t invest in EBR. A difficult business model that i hope succeeds.

    • sl says:

      If Harley would play nice maybe Buell could make the turbo fireball/lightning he originally planned on. My understanding is it was around 150 horse. I would love to own that.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I’d rather he develop his own air-cooled engine if air-cooling is a route he wants to go (I doubt it) instead of using that silly HD-based engine. Didn’t sell well the first time, and I wouldn’t expect it to sell well now.

    • Selecter says:

      I can’t speak for Mr. Buell himself, obviously, but if I were in his place, I’d have a hole in my head before using the Sportster-based boat-anchor again.

      I loved the XB. The XB9SX is still one of the most fun bikes I’ve ever ridden… However, they really were pretty gutless, especially below 3500rpm. The 12s improved that somewhat, but I still never noticed the “OMG TORK!” that the V-Twin guys run on about all the time. To make any real HP, you lost a bit of low-end on that platform. It was a compromise. A pretty decent one given the circumstances, but a compromise nonetheless.

      Handling on the SX was exemplary, though. Which, by all indications, should carry on to the new models. I just couldn’t think of a good reason why they would want an air-cooled engine in the EBR line. They seem to want to make an actual impact in motorsports and on street bikes – an American bike that actually performs. The engine is key to this – and the XB never performed at a world-class level.

      • pistoldave says:

        **”However, they really were pretty gutless, especially below 3500rpm. The 12s improved that somewhat, but I still never noticed the “OMG TORK!” ***

        I had a chance to ride an XB12R and that was exactly my impression, “where is all this MONSTER torque everyone is talking about?” I could have been jaded as I was riding a Suzuki B-King at the time, but still, the XB12 felt anemic and pig slow to me. Handled pretty good though. And it looks cool, so theres that i suppose.

      • Gronde says:

        Air-cooling is too retro for Buell, as he wants to make horsepower and not just wax nostalgic. Air-cooling has it’s place, but performance is always better with water cooling. Be nice to see a 750cc bike from Buell that doesnt cost $20,000.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “he wants to make horsepower…”

          …race WSBK, and comply with ever tightening emissions. that’s a WIN-WIN-WIN. a lotta wins.

  37. tom says:


  38. adaleb says:

    Go Buell, go.

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