Two Wheels

Michigan-based Buell Motorcycles resumes production after 12-year hiatus

It plans to release a range of American superbikes

Buell 1190RX
  • Buell 1190RX
  • Buell 1190RX
  • Buell 1190RX
  • Buell 1190RX

Once celebrated as America's entry into the superbike segment, Michigan-based Buell Motorcycles has awakened from a 12-year slumber with plans to launch at least 10 models by 2024. It was formed in 1983, gradually became part of Harley-Davidson in the 1990s, and was unceremoniously shuttered in 2009 after weathering the recession.

In a way, the company has come home. It was purchased and resurrected by Erik Buell Racing (EBR) Motorcycles, a firm created in 2009 by Erik Buell after Harley-Davidson closed Buell Motorcycles, which he also created. Then and now, Buell's focus is on speed. It resumed production of models based on the 1190 platform in its Grand Rapids, Michigan, facility. The range includes the 1190RX, the 1190SX, and an off-road model called 1190HCR.

Shown in the gallery above, the Hammerhead 1190RX is powered by a 72-degree V-twin with a displacement of 1,190 cubic centimeters. It develops 185 horsepower at 10,600 rpm and 102 pound-feet of torque at 8,200 rpm, figures that are seriously impressive considering the bike weighs 419 pounds without fuel. With those figures in mind, an equally important part of the design is the braking system, which includes 15.2-inch front rotors gripped by eight-piston calipers. Buyers can choose a bare carbon fiber finish or a number of heritage-laced colors.

While the 1190RX is at home on the race track, the 1190SX is more of a street-oriented model, though it's powered by the same engine. An all-terrain evolution of the 1190 called Super Touring should join the line-up in 2023.

Buell pointed out it's not stuck in the superbike segment. It will expand its range of models to include dirt, dual-sport, touring, and cruiser models, and it will add medium- and small-displacement engines to its arsenal to make its bikes accessible to a wider audience. It's also open to making an electric model, though details are few and far between.

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