Erik Buell’s New 2017 Black Lightning Naked Bike

EBR rises from the ashes yet again, this time with an “urban friendly” naked bike.

Eric Buell unveils the 2017 Black Lightning at IMS
Eric Buell himself pulled the cover off of the 2017 Black Lightning at the recent Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach. With a lower seat height and a claimed weight of 415 pounds, Buell says this SX variant is easy and fun to ride around town. His personal Black Lightning is outfitted with panniers for the daily commute.Photo: Brian Hatano

EBR Motorcycles, formerly known as Erik Buell Racing, is set to reveal a new model at the International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, CA, this coming weekend.

The Black Lighting is based largely on the 1190RX superbike and 1190SX naked bike that was introduced in late 2013 and produced through early 2015. The Black Lighting will have the same 1,190cc V-twin as EBR's previous offerings, which cranks out a claimed 185 hp.

EBR Black Lightning logo
The 2017 Black Lighting has a higher handlebar than the previous SX naked bike plus a lower seat and lower footpegs.Photo: EBR

According to comments made by Erik Buell and posted on EBR Motorcycles’ Facebook page, the new Black Lighting is “a little more urban friendly overall… there’s just a lot of things to make it more of an all-around bike.”

To that end, the Black Lighting has a higher handlebar than the previous SX naked bike plus a lower seat and lower footpegs. That should make for a fairly relaxed riding position, which is quite the opposite of what one gets aboard the RX superbike or even the SX naked bike. Final-drive gearing is also lower than on the other bikes, to help the Lighting accelerate even harder.

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Erik Buell and his motorcycle endeavors have had a rocky history that includes getting discontinued (by parent company Harley-Davidson in 2009), going into business with the Indian company Hero, entering receivership in April 2015, and finally being purchased by an American-owned liquidation company in January 2016. The company has evidently received a fresh injection of cash, as the EBR Motorcycles website is up and running and the company is taking deposits on 2017 models. That includes the 1190RX superbike, the 1190SX naked bike, and this new Black Lighting model.

The Black Lighting will sell for $13,995—$1,000 more than the 1190SX—and is supposed to be available starting in March 2017.

EBR Black Lightning burnout
Final-drive gearing is also lower than on the other bikes, to help the Black Lighting accelerate even harder.Photo: EBR
2017 EBR Black Lightning
The Black Lightning gets its name from the Vincent Black Lightning, a motorcycle renowned for its speed and performance. This new Black Lighting should pack the same speed and performance as its EBR 1190SX sibling, but with a higher handlebar, lower seat, and lower footpegs, it’s designed to be more “urban friendly.”Photo: EBR