And if that's the case, Erik Buell can probably fly.

A legend in the motorcycling world - Initially a motorcross and later road racer - Erik earned himself an engineering degree and then went to work for Harley. While there, he came across the Barton engine, which he purchased for his racing. Though poorly made, he re-engineered most it before acquiring the entire company. Harley showed little interest in backing this venture and so he left. This initial foray came to nothing as the AMA changed the class rules before he'd sold a single competitively raced machine.

While many would have given up at this point, Erik doubled down and purchased some HD XR1000 racing engines from his old employer. The engines, along with a myriad innovations (such as a very light, stiff stressed member frame and uniplanar engine mounts, six caliper radial brakes, massively aerodynamic fairing) became the RR1000 in 1987 and while just fifty were created (due to the limited supply of engines), it was clear something was going right (if not the actual aesthetic design)

Erik then switched his focus to the new HD XR1200 engine and produced the RR1200, which continued production (in a few models) through to 1993 and became the basis for the many models that followed, such as the much more conventional Thunderbolt

Erik's bikes were typified by his innovations - Fuel in the frame, oil in the swing-arm, rim mounted brake rotors - as he has constantly striven to reduce weight and improve rideability.

While Harley did buy control of his Buell Motorcycle Company back in 2003, it was closed for good in 2009. Most people would have concluded they'd done enough at this point, but not Erik. Instead, he returned to racing with Eric Buell Racing and once again made some wonderful machines.

And that perseverance has paid off. While in the past, Erik has been able to sell his bikes through Harley Dealers his new venture has seen GE Capital invest in his vision to create a Buell Dealer network. (http://roadracingworld.com/news/article/?article=50448) and that one day, hopefully soon, we will see another genuinely competitive American sportsbike.

And the best thing about Erik is, there's always more to come...

Erik Buell Racing to unveil the

Erik Buell Racing to unveil the "baddest American Sportbike ever made"

Erik Buell Racing (EBR) announced last week that they're ready to unveil the 1190RX - a new street-legal, high performance, American sport bike - at AIMExpo in Orlando on October 16, 2013. Will E ...
Buell is Back!: The 2014 EBR 1190RX

Buell is Back!: The 2014 EBR 1190RX

Since his business related near-death experience under Harley Davidson HD ownership, American motorcycle engineering legend Erik Buell has been busy. Today, Erik Buell Racing (EBR) presented his l ...
3 Comments
You must Log In to submit a comment

True enough Alex... But my V twin Ducati Monster 800Ie's redline was at 9000 or 9500 rpm... They did screw Buell, though... What a brilliant man..

 
  • alex
  • 2014-03-12T12:07:25-04:00

@canuckpaul - 6000rpm redline - the very problem with building the bike around a v-twin. If only HD had given Erik more time (and money) to play with the formula

 

I had a 2001 Thunderbolt... Sounded awesome... I knew there was a great idea in there somewhere... But that frame... That frame!!! And the 6000RPM redline in a sporty looking bike... What a bummer...