• Oct 20, 2009
Could Buell be saved from the brink of disaster by officials from Walworth County in Wisconsin? It seems awfully unlikely, but stranger things have happened, right? Apparently, the Walworth County Economic Development Alliance sent a letter last Friday to Erik Buell in an attempt to put together a business plan for Buell to continue manufacturing motorcycles.

Should Erik Buell be interested in Walworth's proposal, the group will reportedly begin seeking potential investors. For its part, Harley's director of corporate communications said the motorcycle manufacturer is "discontinuing the Buell product line rather than selling the business because of how deeply integrated Buell is into our business systems and distribution network."

Indeed, every Buell made uses running gear from parent company Harley-Davidson, and the offbeat sportbikes are only available in select Harley dealerships. It would be awfully difficult to extract the Buell operation at this point, let alone securing funding for the venture. That said, automakers have sold intricately entwined brands before using agreements that ensure parts are produced by the original owner until the new owner can source its own. In any case, we'll keep our eyes and ears open for more.

[Source: JSOnline.com]


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  • 17 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I really don't see why they are shutting down Buell..If they do use the exact same parts as HD then why not just keep the brand alive and just build them in low low numbers or at least made to order??It's not like the dealerships where they are sold are gonna be shut down and the staff to fix those bikes are the same with HD bikes... Bike components are a lot easier to manage...

      I think H-D is gonna start producing their own versions of Buell but branded HD instead and be sporty like Victory bikes and the new comers on the scene...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Because it costs money to market, advertise, distribute and otherwise carry the name. They can save money and put it towards more HDs.
        • 5 Years Ago
        hasn't anybody seen the new sport-bike looking sportster? that's why they are dumping buell. not to mention there's a recession and a motorcycle isn't exactly a "necessity"... unless of course you are like me.
      • 5 Years Ago
      as far as i am concerned, good luck to buell. i hope they can become a seperate functioning company who employes more americans. but as far as Harley Davidson is concerned, it's good riddens to bad rubish. Harley Davidson does not need to even be associated with the likes of the second-class crotch-rocket. Harleys are Harleys.
      Sean
      • 5 Years Ago
      La,

      Perhaps you are unaware of the obvious contradictions in your post. I'm dumbfounded as to why you would buy a bike that you felt was ugly. I know that I speak for a vast amount of people when I speak to Erik Buell's inovative and cutting-edge designs. You probably traded it in for a bike from Japan, a bike that does not roar to life or hold a candle to the soul of a Buell. I'm trying to understand your yearning for a cookie-cutter, whiny, boring motorcycle; but I suppose you, like me, are entitled to your own opinion.

      I have put 30,000 miles on my xb-12ss and have done nothing to it but put on tires and change the oil; I suppose that that qualifies as being "horrible to service".

      I love my "ugly" bike.

      RIP Buell.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have a Buell XB and it's the best bike I've ever owned (in 32 years). You have to ride one to understand them. Most of us were hooked only after a ride.

      The best analogy is that they are street bikes first, but designed by a racer. The handling is very, very good and as twins, they all have gobs of torque.

      They really don't compete against the japanese stuff - more against KTM, BMW and Duc (all of which are slower and more enjoyable to ride and own than the japanese bikes, but no one complains about that).

      It took awhile to like the looks - most new bikes are too 'plastic' or too stickered up for me, but it's simplicity and function-over-form design has grown on me a lot. Everything is in it's place for a reason. Oddly, the new 1125R is ugly in pictures, but very attractive in person - at 350lbs/146hp, it is incredibly light and powerful.

      Its a real loss to America with Erik not making bikes for us.
      • 5 Years Ago
      hello to all.

      this is interesting news indeed. when i first heard that buell was going to be shut down, i felt that mr. buell should try to get a group of investors to buy out harley-davidson. and buy mv agusta as well.

      ever since harley has had 49 percent of buell and increased their share to 99 percent, that has been a major problem for erik buell. yes, he is a brilliant engineer. but he got caught up in harley's myopic vision.

      if i were erik buell, i would let the county do its search for investors to buy harley out. this may be a good thing for everyone involved. especially erik buell.

      boxer fanatic, i agree with your post in general. however i would like to see if walworth county in se wisconsin can be the liason to free up buell. if aston martin, land rover and jaguar can be freed from ford, why not buell be free from harley-davidson?

      walworth county, i live next door in racine county. and i wish you godspeed in this endeavor.

      with warm regards,
      vrmchris
      • 5 Years Ago
      Even if Buell made thoroughly desirable motorcycles, they still wouldn't have sold worth crap. Perhaps the saddest chapter in Buell's history was the thorough bungling of the sales channel. The bikes were relegated to the back corner of the occasional H-D dealership, represented by "buyer assistants" with zero product knowledge. It didn't help that the commission stucture for Buells, vs. H-D, was totally different, and the ingrained habit of selling at MSRP+ made the process of buying one quite difficult. Inexplicably, the bikes were never accepted by the Faithful, who viewed them as essentially the same as rice rockets. Too many hurdles for even a competent bike, which it eventually was, to overcome.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Rumors are going about Yamaha being interested in Buell.
      • 5 Years Ago
      One word solution to the engine problem: Rotax
        • 5 Years Ago
        Agree 100% They need to dump those crappy Harley motors. The 1125 already has the Rotax mill.
      • 5 Years Ago
      My impression from the press release was that Harley was going to scavenge anything of worth from Buell and re-brand it as harley.

      The unsuccessful models will be given the old yeller treatment.

      Harley doesn't seem to have much interest in keeping the company alive - and they own in - so there probably isn't much reason to attempt to bring back the company.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I’d like to see Victory build some form of sport bike. They could do one of two things with the engine:

      1. Build a 1000cc Inline-4. Design the architecture so that the same basic design can be used in a Polaris snowmobile.
      2. Build a 1000cc V-Twin. Design the architecture so that the same basic design can be used in an entry level Victory cruiser.

      The chassis should be pretty flexible so it can accommodate three different models, a super sport, a naked, and a sport tourer.
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