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Erik Buell gearing up new bikes - Meet him at Daytona Bike Week on March 11

by Richard Backus

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Erik Buell Racing 1190RS 
American sport bike builder Erik Buell is back in the street game with the just-announced 1190RS 

Legendary American sport bike builder Erik Buell, who put himself on the motorcycle map with Harley-Davidson powered sport bikes, is getting back into the sport bike business a little over a year after Buell Motorcycles was shuttered by parent company Harley-Davidson in December 2009. Buell showed off a new Erik Buell Racing 1190RS at last week’s Indianapolis Dealer Expo, and will be the guest of honor at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum’s annual Breakfast at Daytona fund raiser.

Hall of Famer Buell will host the breakfast March 11, 2011, at the Daytona Club in the infield of Daytona International Speedway, and you can bet the major topic of conversation will be his re-emergence into the sport bike scene with the new EBR 1190RS. Developed from Buell’s 1190RR race bike, which was developed from the 1125 series Buell launched just before Harley shut it down, the 1190RS is a street version of the 1190RR that EBR raced in the 2010 Superbike season.

For a brief time at least, it looked like Harley’s closure of the Buell division would put an end to any dreams Erik Buell might have had to continue building an American sport bike. Importantly, when Harley killed the line, its contract with Buell restricted him from building street bikes. Buell could still build race bikes, however, and in short order he set up Erik Buell Racing and launched into building the 1190RR. Now that his agreements with Harley have ended, Buell’s free to market a street bike, and the new 1190RS is the result.

The 1190RS makes extensive use of exotic materials, including a cast-aluminum frame and special magnesium alloy wheels using a new casting method that makes them far less damage prone than standard magnesium racing wheels. Power comes from an 1,190cc version of the Rotax-built 72-degree V-twin used in the 1125. The race version produces 185 rear-wheel horsepower. None of this will come cheap, of course. Base models start at $39,995 and can hit $50,000 fully optioned. Exclusivity is further guaranteed by the fact that only 100 will be built. – Richard Backus 


3/10/2011 7:23:40 PM

I can't find words for how glad I am to see Buell back up on the horse and building bikes. Between screwing over MV Augusta and Buell, Harley can kiss my ass. I admire Erik for his desire to bring an American product to market and make no excuses. It can be done here as well or better than anywhere in the world. I mean, who taught the Japanese quality control, the name Deming ring a bell ? All that being said, Erik, if your listening that deep groaning sound isn't the bike, its our collective sigh of disappointment and disgust at being left out of the party. After you sell bikes to all the bailed out bankers with their Obama bonus checks, none of the rest of us are going to be able to afford the price of admission. Racers are great to show off whats over the horizon for the everyday bike, just don't forget to add one or two to your model line up. 40K ? Get real !

2/27/2011 8:43:41 AM

Well,there is always a backstory to everything.......HD dumping Buell bike production,building of HD factories all over the world now.But the bottom line Im sure is about shareholders and money.Buell knows there is no money in racing and unfourtunetly,I doubt his bikes will be competitive and end up on the podium. How about bikes the general public can afford to purchace and ride?

bob hadden
2/24/2011 3:30:40 PM

I for one am glad to see Erik back to building street(ok niche) bikes. I'm still somewhat miffed that Harley pulled the rug out from under neath Buell and his employees last year when they were actually winning races and their street bikes were starting to show a profit. I've logged somewhere around 150,000 miles on my Harleys over the years, but I certainly don't like the way they've been conducting business the last decade or so. MV Augusta is a perfect example of short sighted execs and the screwing of Buell and his staff shows a certain flair for "loyalty". Will I ever be in the market for a $40,000 sport bike? Probably not, but at least Erik is keeping on keeping on!

2/24/2011 1:37:51 PM

Hold on. . . give me a minute. . . I'm still wiping up the coffee I just spit out! $40-50K for a sport bike? Maybe this is why Harley couldn't see how it would make money with Buell. If that's what it costs for them to turn a profit, I'm predicting their sales will be somewhere around - um - 100 units. Take some of those profits and deliver a revised Ulysses. An American-made Tiger, Tenere, GS competitor would be fun!

steve chancey
2/24/2011 7:43:07 AM

Kudos to Mr.Buell!However,here is just another example of "an answer to an unasked question".I am very proud to be an american and am blessed to live in this country.I buy American made goods whenever I can and would love to buy and ride American motorcycles.But,I like performance!While I appreciate the vision,engineering and dedication that folks like Erik put into producing these great machines,they mean nothing to me.I'd might as well be admiring the Hope diamond.When is someone going to step up and build a real sport bike in this country that the "average Joe" can buy(and still afford to eat)?We might have finally been headed in the right direction with Buell's last offering,the 1125,but as one would expect from a company making it's money from non-performing new antiques,"The Motor Company put a stop to that.Oh well,guess I'll keep buying foreign bikes.Shame!

2/24/2011 7:30:36 AM

It's great to see that Buell is still in the game building cutting edge bikes. Unfortunatly this newest bike looks like every other super bike on the market. The early Buell's had a distintive look that was more than just a big V twin in a small frame.