Erik Buell quits Harley, founds new company

Dailies -

By

Looks like the Free Erik Buell t-shirts worked, he’s quitting Harley to setup a new company, Erik Buell Racing. “It will mean a lot to me personally to see Buell racers competing for wins and championships in the 2010 season and beyond,” says Erik. His new company will supply race-use-only Buell motorcycle parts, prepare bikes for competition and will build and sell Buell 1125R racebikes under license from Harley. The company will be based in East Troy, Wisconsin and many current Buell employees will be offered jobs. Hooray! We wonder what this means for the SBK-ready Buell Baracuda II. Official statement below.

Update: Don’t get your hopes up that this news will mean the return of Buell street bikes, at least in the near term. Since the 1125R has already been homologated by AMA Pro Racing, it can continue to compete. The rule book states: “Once a motorcycle has been approved, it may be used until such time that the homologated motorcycle no longer complies with the technical rules.”

Update 2: You can now find Erik’s video statement above. Compare how happy he looks here to his video announcement that Harley killed Buell.>

Milwaukee,
Wis. (November 20, 2009) – Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE:HOG) announced
today that following the company’s recent decision to discontinue the
Buell motorcycle product line, Erik Buell, Chairman and Chief Technical
Officer of Buell Motorcycle Company, will leave the company to
establish Erik Buell Racing, an independent motorcycle race shop.

Erik
Buell Racing will specialize in the supply of race-use-only Buell
motorcycle parts and race preparation services for engines and
motorcycles, and the building and sale of Buell® 1125R-based
race-use-only motorcycles under license from Harley-Davidson, as well
as providing technical support to racers of Buell motorcycles.

“I’m
looking forward to helping Buell racers keep their bikes flying,” said
Erik Buell. “We’ve got some exciting race development projects in the
works and it will mean a lot to me personally to see Buell racers
competing for wins and championships in the 2010 season and beyond.”

“I’m
pleased that Harley-Davidson is assisting Erik in establishing this
business to continue supporting the racing efforts he has had so much
passion for over the years,” said Buell President and COO Jon
Flickinger. “Harley-Davidson and the Buell Motorcycle Company will
always be proud of their affiliation with Erik, and we wish him well in
this new endeavor to support Buell racers.”

Erik Buell Racing will be based in East Troy, Wisconsin and will be staffed by Erik Buell and a veteran team of personnel.

Erik Buell Racing

  • PJ

    In cooperation and support from Harley Davidson….I’m keeping my tinfoil hat on, I’m sure the MoCo is hatching an evil plot to destroy this venture as well.

    where da haterz at?

    • DovtorNine

      “..where da haterz at?..”

      Mostly in your mind. Criticisms on how things were done, and bitterness about it, aren’t EXACTLY the same thing as HATE. The rest of ‘The Haterz’ as you call them, were working on lighting a fire… that appears to have eventually helped get a talented guy back out working on bikes. Which I personally have to count as a good thing, no matter how you dress it up.

      One opinionated guy’s assessment, anyway.

  • Sean Smith

    So everything is going to be ok? I mean, it seems like Buell street bikes are no more, at least for now, but if Eric can keep racing, and if he doesn’t have to share an office with The Motor Company, then this is really good news.

  • Isaac

    Sounded like a good idea until I seen Harley’s name attached to it.

  • PJ

    Any so called “barracuda” has it’s future already written, HD and Buell most likely already have plans. Could see the light of day as a racebike and/or production bike. If and when, finances and the economy will dictate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vasily.omelchenko Vasily_ru

    Good news! :)

  • smokin88lx

    He is going to have to come out with a street bike sooner or later. I am hoping he is not stuck with selling the bikes through HD dealerships. I own a Buell and the worst part about it is having to go into Harley dealerships for parts. Like I tell people – I have never been in a Buell dealership, only Harley dealerships that sell Buells.

  • Rovingardener

    There is a god, rest assured not living in Milwaukee. Wish the man well indeed.

  • Papasan

    Why should we buy up the scraps when he won’t support street riders?
    Let HD rot with the Buell inventory!

  • CafeRacer1200

    I can’t help but wish for Erik Buell to be more successful on his own than he ever would have been with HD. Sure, these are only going to be race bikes for now and hopefully street bikes later. As an analogy, isn’t that how Enzo Ferrari got his start? Colin Chapman? Erik, I love your bikes and I’m in your corner.

  • Hiwatt Scott

    I see an analogy with, of all things, guitars. Way back in the day,Leo Fender inventor of the Telecaster, Stratocaster, etc., was diagnosed as dying, so he decided to sell off his namesake Fender musical instrument company. Lo and behold (cue Monty Python voice), he got better. He went on to found G and L Musical Instruments, which took his old designs and continually improved them, both technically and qualitywise, but without the Fender name. G and L remains a small company compared to Fender, but it’s succesful and it’s products in general are considered superior to Fender’s. Hopefully Erik can pull a similar rabbit out of his hat.

  • http://www.xborgforum.de/forum/portal.php Eric H.

    Project Buell Mk. II

    Step one:

    Tell ATK-Davidsung to take this job and shove it…

    COMPLETE

    Step two:

    Start over making wink-wink “race bikes” taking care to not arouse any suspicions of developing an independent new street model for 2012…

    IN PROCESS

    All the best of luck, Erik – we’re behind you…

    Best Regards,

    Eric H.

  • Scott

    DMG/BUELL RACING

    LOL

  • Andy

    Completely so much kick ass.

  • MTbeer

    So HD killed all the Buell’s with HD motors and now are supporting the one model without. That’s hilarious.

    • PJ

      “So HD killed all the Buell’s with HD motors and now are supporting the one model without. That’s hilarious.”

      Or you can think of it as Harley killed all the ugly bikes with Harley motors in them. Put the Thunderstorm in XR’s and Sportsers where it belonged anyway.

  • generic1776

    Good job Erik,

    Best of luck with the new venture.

    Do yourself a favor and head over to the guys at Victory and get involved with a forward thinking crowd.

    Oh, and scrap the 1125cheater bike and build something that competes under the same restrictions as Ducati… You don’t want to appear as if you get to play with a handicap.

    -g 1776

  • Rider

    Erik should break all contact with HD. His first mistake was selling his bikes thru harley dealers. They were not interested in selling Buell’s. I know this first hand because I was almost asked to leave a harley dealership this spring because I was asking about a Buell. The owner approached me and asked me to come back at another time as all his salesmen were busy waiting on harley customers. Of course I do not have a pony tail, tattoos and I wasn’t dressed up like a clown so they did not recognize me as a biker. By the way that dealer (located in eastern Iowa) went tits up and the bank foreclosed on him.

  • Oscar

    Translation (in Ahnuld voice); “I’ll be back”.

  • Isaac

    Erik to H-D “Come with me if you want to live!”

  • rallyRays

    Thank you Erik Buell… It was your XB design that inspired me to get into bikes… and now I own an XB9 and and 1125CR. I love both bikes and I look forward to supporting your future endeavors.

    Sure, jap bikes are more refined, but there is nothing like hammering the throttle on a tuned XB and find yourself in an instanly wheelie, or pulling up to a traffic light on the CR and everyone stares at the CR’s innovative design.

  • carlos

    does this mean HFL can get some uncensored interview material from Erik now? I mean, he quit harley. Does he still have to keep his mouth quiet? I would love to hear his side of this whole experience…

    • DoctorNine

      Even after you quit a corporation, most people who were deep into planning and research still are bound by nondisclosure agreements for a period of time. Don’t expect anything from Erik soon. I would wager that he has some fairly restrictive covenants which surrounded HD’s agreement to allow him to exit and still race. FWIW.

  • LADucSP

    Don’t let the man keep you down, Erik!

  • geonerd

    I was thinking that too. Considering how far up Harley’s ass Mr. Buell is, I’d be willing to bet good money that he’s signed a non-compete agreement, which is probably one reason among many for the “race only” part of this deal. Add to that the fact that Harley seems to have rights to the 1125, I’d say they probably also own the Baracuda designs.

    I hope Erik comes up with something great for the street, but I’m not holding my breath.

  • Edu Di Lascio

    I’m pretty sure that HD only let Erick Buell loose, after some agreement about not producing a Buell street motorcycle ever again.
    I dont know if its just me, but I think that sounds weird on this video, as someone is watching what he says.

    • http://www.xborgforum.de Eric H.

      “I’m pretty sure that HD only let Erick Buell loose, after some agreement about not producing a Buell street motorcycle ever again”

      Even if this was true to any degree whatsoever, there are so many ways around this that it would be hopeless to enforce…

      For example in a much-simplified version, nothing could stop Erik from re-naming the Barracuda “Swordfish”, making a few design changes here and there and then giving the blueprints to oh, let’s say his neighbour Mr. Llueb, who then by either partnership with a bankroller or independantly with own capital, “designs” assembles and releases the 2012 Llueb Swordfish as the flagship of a new independant motorcycle brand…

      Scroll back and see Hiwatt Scott’s Fender/G&L guitar analogy… :-)

      Best regards,

      Eric H.

      • BobG

        For example in a much-simplified version, nothing could stop Erik from re-naming the Barracuda “Swordfish”, making a few design changes here and there and then giving the blueprints to oh, let’s say his neighbour Mr. Llueb, who then by either partnership with a bankroller or independantly with own capital, “designs” assembles and releases the 2012 Llueb Swordfish as the flagship of a new independant motorcycle brand…

        Scroll back and see Hiwatt Scott’s Fender/G&L guitar analogy… :-)

        I agree Eric. How many times have we seen great tech come from racing. I hope he develops a bona fide American race bike that’ll shut up his critics. If production follows after then lucky for us.

  • bobx

    seems like he’s holding back laughing at times…

    odd.

    i still say this is all in the moco’s master plan…

  • primitive

    Anybody else think Csyz, Dreer, and Buell should team up?

  • http://www.xborgforum.de Eric H.

    Dammit, “L l e u b”, not “Llueb”… ;-)

    F**king typos…

  • Ralphie

    I read somewhere that he has a one year non-compete as part of his Harley contract, so all he has to do is go racing for a year and then find new production backing. I think the Victory Cycles idea is awesome. They’re American but more progressive than Harley (they gotta be, right?), and could definitely benefit from extending their line into sportbikes.

  • Hooter

    Can you imagine HD racing that crap they produce? Wow would that be funny to watch. Some guy dressed up like a pirate racing a sportster with ape hangers in the AMA Superbike races. They would have to give HD an exemption on helmets so there riders could wear the offical HD do-rag. Just think – The Screaming Eagle HD Racing Team. Then they could add a whole new line of clothes in there dealerships. That would be less R&D money spent on the 2011 clothing line. HD could put that money into redesigning there HD wall clocks and ash trays and most of all the new 2011 HD belt buckle line.

  • http://www.speedymoto.com christian

    I think I’m starting to understand why i feel ill when I hear Erik Buell talk. He is still mentally and emotionally attached to HD. Why else would he thank HD for killing off his name sake, why is he still trying to race Buell’s next year, is it to stroke his own ego? Is Erik delusional, what the hell is he talking about “the dream of racing at the highest level of racing…in American road racing!?”

    I own a Buell and I would love to see an American bike compete but how can I feel justified rooting for our home team when the home team (Buell) has such a huge displacement advantage.

    I think he is to close to the trees to see the forest.

  • Rider

    I can’t understand why Eric Buell is so married to that HD crap. Good God that is about the worst motor in the industry. That motor is good for getting a motorcycle from one bar to another bar and that’s about it. If I was going to start a racing team and told my sponsors that I was going to use a HD engine – well need I say more.

    • woodcutter

      what motor are you talking about? The Helicon? or the Thunderbolt?

  • M.P.

    Just build proper motor for your bikes this time! Using that outdated POS air compressor AKA the Harley V-twin, THAT was the BIGGEST mistake ever! EVER!

  • Skipper

    Thunderbolt? HD comes up with the wildest names for there out of date crap. How about Screaming Eagle for a good laugh.

  • Richie

    Is it just me or does this entire situation sound ENTIRELY too familiar…

  • chris

    Good luck Eric, here starts proper racing. I worked for HD UK sales, This is good news.

  • JT

    PJ – “Or you can think of it as Harley killed all the ugly bikes with Harley motors in them. Put the Thunderstorm in XR’s and Sportsers where it belonged anyway.”

    Yeah that is a good idea – Except the dated technology that goes into the thing that us newcomers call “handling” is not up to the task.
    The power the engine produces in conjunction with the rubber band suspension and the varible flex technology that is engineered into the XR and Sportster frames would indeed make it “exciting” to say the least. Harley should stick to what it knows best – making bikes that LOOK the part but do not actually go around corners well. They have made their decision about what the want in a bike – so let them live with it. Thank God I do not have to.

  • http://fastcatracing.net jw everitt

    long before buell motorcycles erik was designing great stuff for harley. he was responsible for harleys only real motorcycle the
    fxr and the the softtail that draged harley from near death to an american icon. god bless erik buell a real motorcycle genius. i just bought an 1125r for my collection because it’s a work of art,
    and i love to ride bikes that have that beautiful raw power. i have 30 or so bikes and operate a destination motorcycle resort. i love em’ all just a different tool for each job. the world of motorcycling is a better place because of erik and his designs. i wish him continued success and as for harley, they have lost their way…..
    so for my two cents F==K THE MOCO