Dear MOby,

I commute and tour on a Yamaha FJR1300, cruise occasionally on a Dyna Glide, and think I may need an EBR 1190SX to reduce the residual Ducati pangs I sometimes feel as a result of 1098 withdrawal a few years ago. Will I like the EBR? Will I be disappointed? The price seems suddenly right…

Seamus O’Connor
San Jose, CA


Before EBR’s most recent financial, ahhhhh, setback, this bike was selling for $4 less than our 2014 Motorcycle of the Year KTM Super Duke R – $16,995 – and it was worth every penny. Now you can get one for $4,000 off. Or less. Who knows? Why not make Erik Buell’s pain your gain like every other heartless money-grubbing capitalist in the world?

In a head-to-head comparison with the KTM, the EBR lost but not by much. If you wanted a comfortable bike you could ride every day, the KTM is the more polished marble. The EBR, on the other hand, is a more raucous, rough-edged 156-horsepower beast ideally suited to the discriminating moto connoisseur who has other bikes to ride for quotidian tasks, and wants a bike he can flog mercilessly on road and track as needed when the sap is rising and really doesn’t care if its around-town fueling isn’t exactly perfect as delivered.

“Yes but will I be able to get parts if EBR fails for good,” sensible types will be asking? F*#k that! It’s the same question guys asked before not buying a Crocker in 19-whenever-that-was. What’s a Crocker worth now? $200,000 and up. If EBR does go boobs up, they’ll be liquidating all their parts inventory and you can stock up on oil filters and brake levers then. In the modern world where there’s now a thing called the www, your human parts are going to wear out long before the Buell parts cache runs out. So just stop whining before you start, Dick Ruble.

MO Survey: Would You Buy An EBR Motorcycle?

Erik Buell can never quite be the Preston Tucker of motorcycles, since Buell has sold well over 100,000 motorcycles over the last few decades. But if the 1190s (RX and SX) do represent the high-water mark for Buell, these are definitely going to appreciate over the years – and might very well prove to be a great investment in addition to being one of the most exhilarating motorcycles you’re allowed to ride on public roads. Either way, it’s hard to see how you could lose at $12,995. Pick one up here.

Cue motojournalism stock phrase #543: Make mine red!


Send your questions to AskMOAnything@motorcycle.com, and we’ll make up more answers.

  • Shlomi

    JB, if this the case, how many EBR in your garage?

    • Starmag

      None. He’s said he’s waiting for the right deal on a NC750DCT or H-D Street 750!

      But really why should he? He gets to ride almost every new thing that comes out.

      Why is he telling us “heartless money-grubbing capitalists” to buy one? Maybe Marx (or Erik) whispered in his ear?

      • john burns

        Ohhh Starmag… sigh…

        • Starmag

          Inferring your readers are/act like “heartless money-grubbing capitalists”? That makes two of us who where disappointed.. sigh…

          • DickRuble

            Buy a sense of humor..

          • Starmag

            I should take advice on humor from a man who thought it would be funny to post a picture of python birth? Uh, no.

          • DickRuble

            Python birth? You better check that picture again… That was a male python..

          • Starmag

            The fact that you’re proud about knowing more about that than me says everything. Nice obsession. Your name makes more sense now.

          • Farmer Channing Kraemer

            You really are an idiot.

    • john burns

      there would be a red one if somebody gave me $13k and said buy a motorcycle.

      • Shlomi

        In other words if money is not an issue, or if someone gave you $13k you would buy EBR, for every one else stick to the logical choice I.e. KTM, BMW, Aprilia, etc.

        • john burns

          your logic completely escapes me.

    • Farmer Channing Kraemer

      Don’t listen to stupidity John. He’s just a hater. We have an EBR here and we wouldn’t think of ditching for some lame KTM.

      • Shlomi

        Are you EBR employee by any chance?

  • John B.

    This dealer has two Buells in stock, seems willing to entertain offers, and delivers anywhere in the U.S. http://tinyurl.com/Buell-Sale

  • Born to Ride

    Aww Dick Ruble got a call out in an actual article. I feel strangely jealous.

  • Jordan Marcelo

    I owned a Buell XB12R and the 1125R. I had the 1125R for 5 years AFTER H-D shut down the brand. Even then I was able to get maintenance parts from a couple of willing dealerships and aftermarket. Now that EBR is back in production, it shouldn’t be an issue to get parts again.
    One thing though, I did my own maintenance, and that included the valve adjustments on my 1125R. No way I was going to trust a dealership, especially a H-D dealership to work on my Buell. I did that a couple of times and they screwed it up so never again! The good thing was these bikes were easy to maintain. Finger follower valve actuation means no need to remove/replace camshaft to replace shims, and that is the same for the EBR1190 since these engines are based on the 1125R.
    Unfortunately, the Buells had typical H-D failure rate. That means, they failed much more often than a Honda! Little annoying parts would fail. Things like tail lights, turn signals, and a low fuel sensor. Also, fit and finish wasn’t as good as a Honda either. Fasteners would quickly fade and so did metal finishes. I would rank Buell reliability alongside that of KTM/Ducati/H-D.
    Would I recommend an EBR? I would with one condition: It’s best if you do your own maintenance to make sure it’s done right. The EBR motors were designed by Austrians. The bikes are uniquely Buell. They do NOT fit the common pattern of H-D nor Japanese so mechanics schooled on either of these will not immediately know the minor yet notable quirks of working on these bikes.
    As for their performance, listen to Cycle World staffers. Most everyone agree the EBR’s are very high performance bikes right up there with KTM and Ducati.

    • Old MOron

      I was with you until you said, “Listen to Cycle World staffers.”

      Those morons?

    • http://about.me/PaulMEdwards Paul M Edwards

      You don’t have your 1125R any more? How sad… I was so excited to see you on yours in Borrego Springs a while back. I’m looking forward to getting mine back on the road after far too long in the shop. Best bike I’ve ever ridden.

  • TheMarvelous1310

    HAAAAAA HE NAME CHECKED DICK RUBLE! That just made my day.

  • Flubbly

    EBR’s public profile has been surprisingly low since the re-launch in March. Anything new to report? Bikes on sale? Actual customers? Dealer network? World export plans (I live outside US)?

    • john burns
      • Flubbly

        Thanks JB – but not quite not what I’m looking for. The AU distributor of old EBR bikes is still advertising them with no mention of the current state of manufacturer support. Listed at full old RRP as well! There’s an information vacuum. I think this is where the motorcycle press can actually play their part in informing potential customers, rather than relying on press releases.

        • john burns

          Why not send that link to your AU distributor and ask him what the deal is?

  • DickRuble

    Here’s where John B gets things wrong. Dick Ruble never whines about unavailable parts. Why? Because Dick’s daily ride is as common in the US as the EBR 1190RS, and possibly even less common.

    So here’s Dick’s take on this (probably bogus question): If the EBR fits you, and $11K-12K is what you have to spend, get it. You’ll find, in five, six years another one to buy for a couple thousands to use as spare parts. Lack of spare parts won’t be your problem. But if you have $17K to blow.. you know what to get. Unlike the 1190RS, which may, just may, attain collectible status, the SX and RX will not appreciate in value, but it sounds like a fun bike if you’re into BDSM.

  • Vrooom

    I think Mr. Burns (eeeeexcelent) nailed this. If you want a bike you’re going to put serious miles on look elsewhere. If you want an occasional back road/track bike that is unique and fast, you probably won’t find a cheaper option. Of course my Buell experience pre-dates Harley’s involvement.

  • Shlomi

    Vendors on my black list:
    MV went bankruptcy too many times
    EBR same as MV
    Bimota same as MV, and EBR + everyone know how to make motorcycle frames nowadays without charging you a full mortgage for it.
    KTM for considering US as second tier market (all the cool models are available much earlier over Europe, and some are not even imported to the US
    Ducati for replacing expanding gas tanks with the same gas tanks (which will expand in year time)

    • DickRuble

      Bimota is not available in the US, otherwise this baby would already have a place in my living room, in lieu of entertainment system. You were saying? Anyone knows how to build these?

      http://www.bimotaaustralia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/TESI-3D-600.png

      • Old MOron

        Hmm, how much does that Tesi cost? You must have a kick-ass home entertainment system :-)

        • DickRuble

          Nope, but was looking for a reason to upgrade.

          • Shlomi

            That Bimota is more of an art than motorcycle. Overkill, and overrated front suspension which solve problem that does not exist. BTW it has the Monster air cooled engine with all of its 80 RBHP! Back to that moto if money is not an issue …,

          • Born to Ride

            You can get over 100 HP out of those motors without resorting to race fuel for a couple grand, and they only want for power on a racetrack straightaway. Sounds to me like you have never ridden one.

          • Shlomi

            No I have not ridden Bimota Tesi but I did own the Monster.
            There is a reason why Bimota went under several times. Nowadays when Ducati, and HRC releases race replicas every other year, I just can’t justify buying Bimota. Again if money is not a problem….there is a room for every exotic manufacture.

    • Farmer Channing Kraemer

      EBR went bankrupt once because Hero didn’t pay up. If you actually rode one you’d think differently. Handles like it is on rails and nothing but a wheelie machine.

  • mackja

    I bought a KTM RC8, traded it in for the EBR. While the KTM is a nice bike the EBR out performs it in all categories. Before I bought my 1190sx my local KTM dealer let me do a long term test ride on the duke, I bought the EBR. I have had no problems with either of my EBR’s and parts have not been an issue. Great motorcycles especially at the current price.

    • DickRuble

      Kudo’s to you. You must’ve taken a big loss on the RC8, trading it in for the EBR. In terms of ownership, you’re a crowd of one. I haven’t heard of any other EBR owner.

      • mackja

        Actually I did not, bought the KTM for $14,600.00 and got $12,500.00 for trade. Now I was one of the first to purchase the 1190rx, I paid full sticker, no bother though, I love the bike. Their are plenty of EBR owners, we have our own EBR forum which has members from all over the world, USA, Russia, Germany, England, Australia, etc.. Our 1190 owners group on facebook has alot of participation. Few of use have commented on Motorcycle.com.

  • ADB

    My son bought one brand new – (a leftover for $10 grand). Superb bike. Does what it is supposed to do, and then some. The lightoff alone when he pushes the start button is worth the price of admission. Fantastic cackle as that high compression motor fires up. Reminds me of a Pro Stock car. Rrrrip……

  • krishan adhikari

    let your heart decide if you want to buy the EBR 1190SX. if there is any hesitation in your mind don’t buy it. I guess I am really confused :)

  • mog

    The 2016 EBR 1190SX with more dealerships coming on line, weight lighter than the KTM, 3 inch shorter wheelbase, $12,995 price and better fueling…. might be a really good idea to keep the KTM away from track day demos against the new EBR 1190SX.
    So get your Motorcycle.com test riders out to a track day to see if the KTM ergonomics keep you from getting your knee pucks blown off by an EBR loafing by on the inside of turn 1.