It seems that its time to don the black outfits and break out the rosary beads for Buell yet again. Erik Buell Racing, the company founded after Harley axed the Buell Motorcycle Co. from its lineup, abruptly closed its doors on Wednesday citing financial issues.
Buell’s lawyer indicated that the Wisconsin-based company has outstanding liabilities in excess of over $20 Million and is “seeking court protection from creditors” aka looking to bankruptcy. All of this comes despite a healthy investment from India’s largest motorcycle manufacturer, Hero, who owns a 49% stake in Buell’s most recent venture. Erik Buell Racing had just opened a European office in the Netherlands, and the closure reportedly leaves 126 employees looking for other employment.
Erik Buell is long known for his engineering masterpieces on two wheels. He gained notoriety in the 70’s and 80’s after a mix of his own chassis, a Barton engine, and some of his own tweaks which he would go on to call the RW750 began to dominate the AMA racing series. Erik used this to launch the Buell Motorcycle Company, which would later be purchased by Harley- Davidson in 1987 to be the “performance” image of the bar and shield brand. After the economic collapse in the early 2000’s Harley axed the Buell brand leaving Erik an opportunity to re-start his brainchild back under his own ownership. Erik Buell Racing was founded one month after Harley took Erik’s brand to the woodshed.
While EBR had limited success since its return to AMA racing, we were looking forward to the launch of their first production bike, the 1190RX. Sadly, It doesnt seem like this masterpiece of machinery is ever going to see the likes of production. Its a shame, Erik is one hell of a motorcycle visionary, but maybe he should stick to the bikes, and leave the business to someone else.