It feels weird being back at the Church desk after some time away. John did such a masterful job reviving stories and bikes from the past. This particular Church feature is especially weird on several fronts. First is the fact that it’s a Buell. But it’s not just any Buell, it’s an 1125R. And not just any 1125R – it’s an 1125R race bike that campaigned in the Daytona Sportbike series, otherwise known as the Supersport category when DMG was running “professional” motorcycle racing in America before MotoAmerica took over. This particular bike, seen here piloted by former E-i-C Kevin Duke, was piloted by Michael Barnes. Its sister bike, in the hands of Danny Eslick, would go on to win the championship that year.
The Buell Motorcycle Co.’s comeback is ready to begin, with the revived brand announcing production of the new 2022 Hammerhead 1190 superbike set to begin on Nov. 1. Based on the EBR 1190RX, the Hammerhead will be produced in Grand Rapids, Mich., and offered through an online reservation and delivery system called “Buellvana”, which the company will detail further on Oct. 21.
Has it really been 20 years since the world didn’t seize up at the stroke of midnight, as we feared it might? Yes. Every time I walk out into the garage, my 2000 R1 sitting dormant on its stand (the last year of the first-gen R1) reminds me of what a long time ago that was. Next to all the new bikes it sees come and go, the old girl is positively archaic. In a good, Ann-Margret way, but still. While we’re still quarantining seems like a good time to look back upon what bikes have moved the game forward the most since the millennium.
Right, it’s that time of year again when all the new bikes are out, and we ask ourselves, which one must I have? Followed by a look at the price tag, and an immediate switching of the Train of Thought onto the Used Bike siding, particularly all the ones that have slipped below the $5,000 threshold ($5k is usually my cut-off point when it comes to buying automobiles – I have my eye on a 2004 Jaguar XJR right now – but in the spirit of the Trump Economic Miracle, let’s pretend like I’d spend that much on a motorcycle).
Sheesh, two motorcycle manufacturers shutting their doors in less than a month. First it was Victory, and now it’s Buel… errr, EBR. Coincidentally, Buell got his time in the spotlight in last week’s Church feature, and while we don’t normally post consecutive Church features from the same manufacturer, with the unfortunate news of Erik Buell winding down yet again we feel it’s the right thing to do. So to celebrate Buell, this week’s we’re going all the way back to 1998 and the test between the Buell S3T Thunderbolt and Ducati ST2 Sport Turismo. As a special treat, joining the old MO staff of Mark Hammond and Billy Bartels is none other than Chuck Graves – yeah, that Chuck Graves. What do they think of this Italian/American mashup? Read on to find out. And for more pictures of the duet, be sure to visit the photo gallery.
Whenever he gets a chance, John Burns likes to ramble on about how much he likes Buell motorcycles. The old ones, the new ones, it doesn’t matter. He’s a fan of Erik Buell’s vision and its execution. Case in point? JB’s review below of the 2004 Buell XB12S. A self-proclaimed lover of the XB9S, riding a bigger, better version of the XB-S around Road America left a big smile on his face. Hell, he still speaks fondly of it today. Check out what he has to say about it below, and for more pictures of the bike be sure to click on the photo gallery.
Mr. Burns’ diary entry of the Top 10 sportbikes of the 1990s gave me a great idea for this week’s Church entry. If you want a taste of what old MO was all about, then the 1997 Open Bikini Shootout is a perfect example. Silly, irreverent, and filled with fast riding and fast riders, this test between the Buell S1 White Lightning, the Triumph T509 Speed Triple and Ducati’s M900 Monster, has it all: three cult classic motorcycles, one Shawn Higbee – an AMA Pro racer and former Buell test rider – and even a bikini model! Because, you know, a Bikini Shootout wouldn’t be complete without one of those. Check out the story (and the model), and don’t forget to click on the photo gallery for more pics.
With EBR’s recent trademark filing for the name Black Lightning, we’re waiting in anticipation to see what Erik Buell will bring to us next. However, while we await the Black Lightning, let’s go back in time and visit one of Buell’s earlier cult hits, and possibly the grandfather to the Black Lightning: the S1 Lightning. The MO staff dubbed the bike “ Buell’s Monster” and even called it “The most radical motorcycle yet from the Buell Motor Company.” With its hopped up Sportster 1200 engine housed inside a sporting package far removed from the cruiser the 1200 V-Twin was originally intended for, the S1 was a radical bike then and remains a cult classic today. Read on to see what the early MOron crew thought of the bike.
In today’s Ask MO Anything, Seamus O’Connor from San Jose, CA inquired about purchasing an EBR bike. John Burns, MO’s in-house sage, responded with an affirmative purchasing decision. No one’s questioning Burnsie’s advice, but we’d like to know what our readership thinks about EBR, and if purchasing one is an iffy proposition or a sound investment. The EBR 1190SX gave our 2014 MOTY, KTM’s Super Duke R, a run for its money ( Brutish V-Twin Streetfighter Comparo), and now the MSRP of the SX has been reduced $4k ($12,995). Sounds like a bargain, or does it?
Here in ‘Murica, where MO’s editorial staff is based, tomorrow is Memorial Day, where we pay our respects to those who gave their life in the armed forces protecting this country. So for this week’s Church feature we’re going all-American and paying our respects to Buell Motorcycles, the motorcycle company parent company Harley-Davidson killed once the recession was at its height. Specifically, we’re featuring the 2007 Buell model lineup press launch. Fortunately for us, company founder Erik Buell has resurrected himself with EBR, though many still hold the Harley-powered Buells in high regard. Penning the words for this story is none other than Gabe Ets-Hokin, a quirky human perfect for writing about quirky motorcycles. To see more pics, check out the photo gallery.