Friday, January 22, 2010

The Aftermarket Is The Only Market For Buell (for now)

We've always thought Buell was missing out on aftermarket sales, but now that production of new Buells has ended, that's the only market.

There have always been a number of companies making aftermarket parts for Buells. American Sport Bike, for example, continues to make new aftermarket parts. Their high bar kit for the 1125R hasn't been released, but already Buell riders are lining up to buy it. And good for Al and American Sport Bike. They've supported the Buell enthusiast for many years.

A strong argument can be made for Erik Buell Racing to concentrate on designing aftermarket parts and having other companies manufacture them. Erik Buell has the engineering know-how and he's demonstrated the rare ability to divorce himself from convention. And a lot of small factories are operating below capacity and would be happy to mill short runs of specialized parts.

While his heart certainly lies in the no-nonsense world of racing, there's a lot more money to be made catering to the street bike rider with street-legal performance upgrades and appearance kits.

One of our favorite Buell mod-shops was French builder Lazareth. While the open turbocharger belt seemed an impractical invitation to injury, the profile he gave the XB12S was undeniably beautiful, and we secretly hoped some of those design cues would filter back into the production bikes.

Well, now we have a new favorite modified Buell, this one based on our favorite, the 1125R.

What you're looking at is the Magpul Ronin. If that name doesn't sound familiar, that's because they've never had anything to do with motorcycles before. Magpul makes aftermarket rifle grips, stocks, magazines, etc. We can only imagine that they had idle time and CNC machine time, and did this amazing Buell in their spare time.

I like the front fork fairings, though I'd like to see how they perform at speed. I'm not as sure how practical the naked radiator front and center would be, though it does add to the overall look of mechanical brutality. What I think is absolutely brilliant is the use of the negative space between the seat and frame. I would throw my grandmother down a flight of stairs to have someone fabricate that seat, tail assembly and airbox cover.

For those of you who've been starved for Buell eye-candy, here are a few more shots. Get the whole story at

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Is there a future for Erik Buell Racing?

I'm a Buell enthusiast. Anyone who follows this blog knows that. But I'm no drooling fan-boy, so I have to ask the question:
Is there a future for Erik Buell Racing?

What is Erik Buell Racing selling?
The remaining assets of what used to be the Buell Motorcycle Company will be auctioned off starting January 28th.

Erik Buell Racing has finally (though not completely) updated their website, listing some items for sale. But is there much difference between the two?

Right now, they're selling parts left over from inventory of the old Buell. I can't guess how much stock they have on hand, but I do wonder what the plan is beyond that. My own reading of the various Buell boards leads me to believe they're selling some $6 stickers, and very little beyond that.

Until EBR can get some sort of manufacturing started, all they're doing is liquidating assets, and prospects dim once stock on hand runs out.

Who are their customers?
With a total production run of 1125Rs of 5,836, an additional 3,099 CRs and 17,899 Firebolts (both XB9Rs and XB12Rs) that gives you a grand total of 26,834 potential racing customers. Throw in every Lightning ever made and the total climbs to 68,352 potential customers.

If each of those potential customers (assuming not a single one has been totaled) gave Erik Buell Racing a dollar, could that cover the cost of rent, power, shipping, phones, taxes, business licenses, insurance and pay for even the small staff they presently have? What if they each bought two dollars worth of parts?

Buell has a small, enthusiastic group of followers, but what I have yet to see is a compelling reason for those potential customers to pry open their wallets.

I know it's early in the process. I really do hope for good things. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, and I hope Erik Buell Racing can be more than just a boutique maker of a few bespoke bikes a year.

Have you bought anything from Erik Buell Racing? I'd like to hear about it! Let me know by leaving a comment.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Logo for Erik Buell Racing

Yesterday at about nine in the morning, an image of what was supposed to be the new logo for Erik Buell Racing was posted on a brand-new Facebook page. Being the skeptical sort, I held off mentioning it right away.

The logo was picked up and reposted on the Buell Sportbikes Facebook page and Erik Buell's personal Facebook page. Erik Buell made a few posts after that without refuting it, so I think we can safely say this actually is the new logo for Erik Buell Racing.

Here it is:

It's clearly derivative of the last Buell Motor Company logo, shown below. That logo was very favorably received when it first came out. The new logo has already had mixed reviews.

I thought the Buell Motorcycle Company logo was great. It was classic and would likely have stood the test of time. I feel the new Erik Buell Racing logo is oddly proportioned, with an oversized head and a vaguely 70's feel to it. I also question the choice of the mixed-weight font.

I do like that they've gone from a white pegasus, to a black one, much like the logo we've used for the SoCal Buell Riders Club for a while now, and I like the almost poetic symbolism that all Buells are dark horses now.

How do you feel about the new logo? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Racer Notes - Body Armor

Continuing prep for my first race day at Willow Springs. WSMC requires racers to wear a back protector. After considering a couple of options, I went with the Knox Contour Back Protector and got the Knox Chest protector to go along with that. It was more money than some of the others, but seemed to offer a bit more protection. I hope never to test that out, but perhaps it will help alleviate some of the worry at home.

I bought these items from SportBikeTrackGear.Com, so the prices reflect what I paid them today. You might find different prices elsewhere.

Total cost to race thus far:
Race bike (Buell 1125R) $6.500.00
Vortex Front Paddock Stand (incl. tax): 173.99
Knox Contour Back Protector $224.95
Knox Chest Protector $58.95
Total so Far: $6,957.69
Number of races run: 0


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Is Today The Day?

I've been itching to see what parts will be available from Erik Buell Racing.

We were supposed to hear specs and pricing for the Daytona-spec 1125R and the 1125RR's back on December 20th, and the "Euro Spec" 1190RR on December 30. So far no word, but I suspect the mountain of parts to inventory and price has proven daunting.

I know for a fact that Erik has been up past midnight several times (based on when he's answered e-mails), so it's not from a lack of hard work. They've got a small but dedicated crew there, and we're still hopeful for news soon.

Today (January 5, 2009) is when the entire parts list and pricing are supposed to be published. They just began posting updates to their twitter account @ErikBuellRacing. Be sure to follow them (and us)!