Erick Buell Racing 1190RS | First Look

Back In Black! - Erik Buell Racing Unleashes the Ultimate American-Made Superbike

For a long time we wondered what Erik Buell could do without Harley-Davidson’s corporate goons second-guessing his every move. Now we know. Less than 16 months after Harley shuttered Buell Motorcycles for good, Erik Buell Racing is up and running and ready to begin delivery of its radical 1190RS. Gorgeous, technologically advanced and unquestionably exotic, this is everything we dreamed an American sportbike could be.

This is not a re-skinned 1125R. “Nearly every component, from the front axle to the rear wheel bearings, is new or heavily modified,” Erik Buell says. “A stupid amount of work went into this bike.” Fuel is still carried in the frame, but that frame casting is all-new and narrower, with cutouts to clear clip-on handlebars and an airbox that’s twice as big as before. Wheels, suspension, brakes, bodywork, structural components and controls are likewise new and unique. Rotax-built 1125cc motors are converted to 1190cc at EBR’s East Troy, Wisconsin, production facility with oversized, 106mm forged pistons, titanium valves, race cams, forged and machined connecting rods and much more. Expect power output similar to Ducati’s 1198R and an even lighter weight—Buell says he’ll need to add ballast to meet the AMA’s 380-lb. minimum for Superbikes.

EBR has assembled a staff of 20 employees—many re-hired from the old company—and hopes to deliver the first of 100 street-legal customer bikes as soon as June. Base price is $39,995; the Carbon Edition seen here will cost slightly more. EPA testing was finished at press time, and racing homologation was still in progress. Ironically, the Superbike homologation special might be less exotic, as AMA rules don’t allow carbon-fiber bodywork, fairing mounts or airboxes, which are all standard on the 1190RS. Buell hoped to have the machine cleared for Geoff May to debut it at the Miller Motorsports Park round in late May.

Front 3/4 view shows just how radically different the 1190RS is from the 1125RR. Side pods have been replaced with a conventional radiator/oil cooler array that makes the new bike 6 inches narrower. Vertically stacked projector-beam headlamps—the upper housed behind the windscreen—slim the fairing.
The single, rim-mounted Zero Torsional Load front brake remains, though the components are all-new for increased durability and a carbonfiber snorkel cools the eight-piston caliper. Öhlins suspension replaces the 1125RR’s Showa components and a new cast-magnesium front wheel, painstakingly computer-analyzed to shave every gram, weighs less than 7 lbs.
Cast-magnesium rear wheel is one of the trickest components. Though difficult to see here, it’s essentially a hubless design with the three-spoke blades on either side separated by a minimalist machined-aluminum spacer. The cush drive is incorporated into the transmission, keeping wheel weight below 10 lbs.
A steering damper is something we’ve never seen on production Buell motorcycles, and underscores the sporting focus of the 1190RS. AiM Sports digital dash is likewise race-ready, with full data-logging functionality. Structural carbonfiber fairing bracket is one of many parts that will likely be downgraded to achieve AMA Superbike homologation