Buell Back in Business with 1190RS

September 15, 2010
Steve Atlas
Steve Atlas
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Professional-grade speed and an attitude to match, Steve Atlas is the new blood at MotoUSA. Atlas has AMA racing creds that are even more extensive than his driving record.

Erik Buell tucks in on his latest sportbike  the EBR 1190RR. A production version is slated for next year  to be called the EBR 1190RS.
EBR founder Erik Buell tucks in and shows off is 1190RR race machine. An EBR 1190RS street-legal version is in the works for 2011.

While details are extremely sparse at best, Erik Buell Racing has officially stated that they will begin production of a street-legal sportbike in 2011, called the EBR 1190RS. This new American-made machine is the evolution of the Buell 1125RR, a bike which was developed and produced while the former Buell Motor Company was in business under the ownership of Harley-Davidson.

In a surprise move at the end of last year, American cruiser manufacturer Harley announced it would be shutting down Buell. The sportbike company was originally purchased from founder Erik Buell, which he then continued to run, growing it into America’s largest and most successful sportbike motorcycle manufacturer. But with the economy turning the motorcycle industry upside down, Harley decided to focus on its bread and butter, cutting all endeavors non-H-D, including Buell.

In the works right up until the very end was what Buell was calling its Barracuda 2. The replacement for the flagship 1125RR, the Barracuda 2 was slated for release this year and so far along in development that running pre-production versions had been logging their final street miles and a formal press introduction was in the works. Unfortunately, this never happened, leaving loyal Buell followers extremely disappointed and sportbike enthusiasts in general quite confused.

EBR 1190RR
An evolution of the original Buell 1125RR, the 1190 features sleeker bodywork and a much more appealing image overall. No photos of the street version have been released, but this is the basic machine it is based off of.

Never one to give up, instead of taking the cushy position inside Harley-Davidson they offered him, founder Buell went off on his own, self-funding an AMA race team and continuing the development of his latest sportbike. No longer call the Barracuda 2 and featuring a number of changes, Erik Buell Racing will begin production of its new EBR 1190RS street machine for next year. 

The only images of the machine that we have seen are in full race form, called the EBR 1190RR. These show an evolution of the 1125, though far better looking in our opinion, with sleeker bodywork and a much smaller frontal area. The 1125’s Rotax V-Twin engine gets bored out to 1190cc but is still sitting inside the fuel-holding, aluminum  twin-spar frame. Many of the other innovations accredited to Buell also remain, including the large, single-disk perimeter front brake and linkage-less rear shock. The original photos of the 1190RR racebike also show the under-engine-mounted exhaust he first introduced over a decade ago, though surprisingly in a video teaser for the new bike a side-mount shotgun-style system is seen briefly on what is obviously a very early-production machine.

No other details were announced, other than the following statement from Buell about the new bike and the team’s AMA racing efforts, which were supported in part by fan donations: “”There was no question that we had to start work on a new street motorcycle design for 2011, but we also knew we had to go racing at the highest level in 2010. The solution came from suggestions on our social media sites, where race fans told us they would support us directly if we would just set up a site. We could not have made the last four rounds of the series without these contributions, as we simply needed to invest our money into the new motorcycle.”

The release also stated that the team with rider Geoff May will finish out the AMA season at Barber Motorsports Park September 24-25 and more information about the racing efforts can be seen at www.erikbuellracing.com. You can also see the first of the YouTube video teasers below and we will continue to bring you the rest as they are released, as well as any other news regarding America’s newest sportbike.