Buell Motorcycle HistoryBuell Motorcycle Company, a subsidiary of Harley-Davidson, Inc., produces sport motorcycles, motorcycle parts, accessories and apparel. Started by former roadracer Erik Buell, the bikes bearing his name are powered by air-cooled engines based upon Harley-Davidson designs but tweaked for greater performance.
Erik Buell leaves an R&D job at Harley-Davidson to build his own race bike.
Buell completes the RW750 (Road Warrior), designed to compete in the AMA Formula 1 road racing championship and to provide an alternative to the venerable Yamaha TZ750. Buell’s motor is a square-Four two-stroke that was designed in Britain. He sells his first machine only to realize that the AMA has, with the stroke of a pen, eliminated the class.
Buell releases the RR1000 (Battle Twin), featuring a Harley-Davidson XR1000 engine. The bike had a dry weight of just 395 pounds and half of that was engine.
Buell releases the RR1200 (Battle Twin).
Buell release the RS1200 (West Wind). The RS1200S follows one year later and the RSS1200 a year after that.
Harley-Davidson buys minority interest in Buell Motorcycles Company.
Buell introduces the S2 Thunderbolt. The S2T Thunderbolt follows the next year.
Buell introduces the S1 Lightning streetfighter.
Buell introduces the S3 Thunderbolt and the S3T Thunderbolt. That same year the M2 Cyclone is released.
Harley-Davidson purchases an additional 49% interest in Buell Motorcycle Company to become the majority owner.
That same year Buell introduces the S1W White Lightning.
Buell introduces the X1 Lightning.
Buell introduces the newbie-friendly Blast, which featured a single-cylinder engine.
Buell introduces the XB9R Firebolt. This is the first Buell with a modern aluminum beam frame. As usual, though, Erik Buell’s iconoclasm is evident in the way the alloy beams double as the fuel tank. It also features a perimeter brake rotor mounted to the rim of the front wheel, not the hub.
Buell introduces the Lightning XB9S naked bike.
Buell introduces the Ulysses, dubbing it “the world’s first adventure sportbike.”
The limited-production XBRR racer is built to the very edges (competitors say, beyond the edges) of the AMA Formula Xtreme rules. It’s to no avail. Despite bringing in ex-MotoGP star Jeremy McWilliams to ride the bike in the Daytona 200, the XBRR will not make an impact all season.
With the release of the 1125R, Buell breaks free of Harley-Davidson air-cooled engine technology. The new V-Twin motor is designed by Rotax and features all the modern conveniences: liquid cooling, DOHC, fuel injection, etc.
Danny Eslick takes the 1125R to his — and Buell’s — first championship in the AMA Daytona Sportbike class. Much controversy surrounded the 1125R’s eligibility in the class, which was comprised of mostly 600cc inline-four cylinders, though no other 1125R rider was able to even remotely match Eslick’s results.
As a reward for Buell’s championship, parent company Harley-Davidson decides to shut down Buell in the midst of the economic downturn. Unfortunately, since Buell isn’t accounted for separately in Harley-Davidson’s books, Buell couldn’t simply be sold off. Erik Buell is down, but definitely not out...
After satisfying his no-compete clause, Erik Buell announces his new venture, Erik Buell Racing. EBR focuses on its founder’s first love: road racing, providing 1125R, 1125RR, and 1190RS machines for competition.