The year that EBR came to be was 2009, but Erik was designing motorcycles long before that. In fact, you could say he was dreaming up bike designs the day he started racing them in his late teens.
After finishing high school he studied an engineering degree at night, raced weekends and worked as a motorcycle mechanic during the day. Motorcycles were his passion and he carved a career in the industry so that by the age of 32 he had already designed his first race bike.
Erik first began to hone his design skills working for Harley Davidson in 1979, straight out of University. The indelible experience of being part of the design process for radical concepts and mainstream series was the connection he needed to transcend further in his own projects.
By 1982 he had already developed a keen interest to make something out of his racing career, with an acquired redesigned Barton bike he could call his own, the RW750. The confidence to fulfill his dream of building his own motorcycle for racing continued and he formed the Buell Motor Company in 1984 with a public release of the RW750 to his racing peers acclaim.
It was a year later that a shift in race formula classification put his RW750 out of racing contention and perhaps nearly out of business. This did not deter him and Erik pushed on to release the RR1100 in 1987 to the sports bike market, which in turn started the flow of subsequent superbike models through the 90’s using newly sourced Harley Davidson engines.
Harley Davidson took more of interest in their old friend and invested in the Buell Motor Company in the 1990s and eventually bought it outright in 2003, with Erik remaining in charge of engineering and design. Now Buell motorcycles were being sold in Harley Davidson dealership showrooms across the USA.
Whilst Erik was excelling in bringing new innovations to his motorcycles, America’s economic woes increased during the GFC period. The uncertainty of the market brought further strain on Harley Davidson and Buell operations were ceased near the end of 2009.
Great partnerships are a rarity, but for Erik Buell Racing or EBR, an opportunity for the perfect partnership came soon from the other side of the world. The Indian motorcycle giant HERO, recently listed as the largest two wheel manufacturer in the world, just went through a messy divorce with Honda and their CEO Pawan Munjal happened to catch up with Erik trackside at Daytona to talk bikes. HERO were looking for a new development partner, Erik was looking for a new investor, HERO wanted their bikes recognised on the world stage and Erik wanted his motorcycles raced on the worlds stage. It couldn’t be more simple.
Soon EBR and HERO embarked on a partnership that quickly saw the Wisconsin Buell factory once more filled with staff developing new race motorcycles. HERO revealed their new EBR engineered Leap hybrid scooter and the 600cc Hastur, and EBR debuted in 2014 World Superbikes with team HERO on the 1190RX.
Today EBR is taking orders for the 1190RX in different markets across the globe. Fortunately for us, one of those markets is Australia and New Zealand, due to Urban Moto Imports and EBR forging a strong relationship from the outset.
EBR now has a solid future and home, thriving on a partnership and a shared vision to build new exciting motorcycles for the world. For Erik it’s a new chapter in building an American superbike icon – the 1190RX.