It's been nearly a year since the fine folks at Harley-Davidson abruptly closed the doors on Buell Motorcycles, leaving nearly 200 people jobless in a tight economy, and stranding thousands of current Buell owners, myself included, with White Elephant motorcycles.
This is a video posted by Erik Buell the day of the announcement"
He looks like a beaten man, one whose lifelong dream to produce a great American Superbike, a bike he was on the cusp of producing, had ended.
That moment quickly passed, and Erik left HD, founding Erik Buell Racing to provide support for existing racers of Buell motorcycles, and campaign the already homologated 1125RR in American Superbike with a shoestring budget and a relatively unknown privateer named Geoff May, ostensibly pursuing what HD head Keith Wandell derisively referred to as "Erik's racing hobby".
If HD thought Erik Buell would go gently into retirement, they greatly underestimated him. Here's an interview with Geoff May, AMA Superbike rider for the Erik Buell Racing team discussing the current season, and more importantly next season, when the 1190 race bike, based on the 1190RS street bike, debuts. Yep - street bike. Less than a year after HD shut down his company, Erik Buell is announcing production of a street-legal motorcycle.
No word on pricing or number of units planned, but if I were a betting man I'd predict the first number is steep due to economies of scale, and the second one minuscule, just enough to satisfy homologation requirements for AMA Superbike.
But I would also bet on this being just a baby step, walk before you run interlude between the HD owned Buell Motorcycles and the next generation of full production street bikes from Erik Buell. I don't know who is on board, although rumors swirl about BRP getting involved. I don't possess any insider knowledge, I just have a gut feeling that a guy who once died and came back after a crash isn't going to let a poor decision by HD stop him from pursuing his dream.