Buell Barracuda 2: what could have been

Dailies -


Buell_Barracuda.jpgMaking 11bhp more and weighing a full 20 pounds less, this fully-faired superbike was intended to replace the Buell 1125R for the 2011 model year. Other advantages? Chain drive, Showa BPF forks and forward-facing, side-mounted radiators that draw air through the front fairing opening before exhausting it through slats on the sides, eliminating the awkward radiator cowls and running more efficiently. Inside the 1125cc Rotax v-twin bore is down, stroke is up, valves are titanium and the compression ratio is increased to 12.8:1 resulting in identical peak torque delivered in a flatter curve.
Buell_Barracuda_2.jpgThe Buell Barracuda 2 was supposed to be the Buell that we’d finally not
have to make excuses for. Dropping the weight to 355lbs (161kg) dry
would have made it about 22lbs lighter than the Ducati 1198, making up
for the power deficit:  157bhp and 82lb-ft would have seen it down 13bhp
and 9lb/ft. The chain drive, decreased unsprung weight (.75lbs
front/3lbs rear) and high-quality suspension could have combined with
the hugely stiff frame to finally deliver the handling the Buell’s spec
sheet always promised, but the bike’s reality never delivered.

The Barracuda 2 would have been a looker too, adapting the 1125R’s
awkwardness into a purposeful angularity that better compliments the
huge mechanical elements of the fuel-filled frame and heavily braced
swingarm. Sadly, Cycle World, which grabbed an exclusive last ride,
didn’t bother publishing any photo angles aside from these two or any information aside from the above. You can
read the May issue online here.

via Bad Weather Bikers

  • contender

    This news transforms my indifference towards HD into pure disdain.

  • http://bizbreakblog.com Marshall Haas

    Erik should at least use this styling for the 1190RR, hopefully we’ll still see this.

  • http://www.motorcycleridesinfo.com Len Hanger

    This would have been a great bike to bring Buell & Harley to the front of the sport bike industry. Unbelieveable, that Harley screwed this up so badly. Have to buy this issue to read it closely.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Unfortunately there’s not much worth reading in there. Don’t mean to sound like an asshole, there’s just not. Follow the link in the story to read it online.

  • Pamberjack

    Power, torque, cooling, suspension, looks; they are all irrelevant when the bike itself is an unreliable mess of ceasing pistons, toothless cogs, and warped brake rotors. Buell is dead because they made crap bikes. HD made the right decision. Can we move on now?

    • Sean Smith

      Buell may cease to exist, but it’s highly unlikely that has anything to do with ceased pistons. Sorry buddy, but I had to seize this opportunity to point out your miss-use of the word cease.

    • Bud

      Too bad you are that narrow minded. Buells have been really solid bikes. Look up the facts and stop bad mouthing something you are ignorant of.

    • rog

      I have had a buell firebolt and sir you are completely wrong. I had the bike for 6 years and never once had a problem with it, put 13,000 miles on it and really loved it. If it wasn’t for my back surgery i would have it today

    • https://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1#inbox/12a227ac8f5c199b notsofast

      no matter if it be car, bike, or tractor……it is sad to see any compnay get it’s plug pulled. I am no harley or buell fan, but crap…….I will miss Buell and every dream idea or reality they had. And when Harley revived itself in the early 80s…….I was so damn proud.

      Maybe bee’in in the business over 30 years, I see it different, but I love to see them ALL out there. it is a VERY FRAGILE business on the best of days.
      The AMF Harley days were dark, but bravo for the owners and the passion to make the very best with what they had to work with.

      I agree with the comment about Erik bonding with Victory. Go for it with someone elses cash=o=la

  • johnny

    1st gen 916 meets current gen fireblade!

  • http://socalbuellriders.com SoCal Buell Riders

    Sad for us all that this bike never saw production. We’re still hopeful that American sport bikes will again be something available to all of us, not just those of us who can afford track-only custom-ordered machines.

  • http://psrey.com/wp @Reyzie

    Just salt in the wound! :-( Thanks again Harley!

  • Mears

    the only reason i’m glad this didn’t come out is that I would have happily gone upside-down on my ’08 1125r (which i do so love) to have it.

    screw you HD.
    screw you haters.

    the buell story is far from over.

  • Noone1569

    Sigh. Not sure what else to comment on for the death of Buell by Harley.

    This bike though, would have certainly brought Buell to the forefront of sportbikes, much like the S1000RR is doing for BMW.

  • Tony

    This is the bike I’ve been waiting 30 years for. I’m holding out for the outside hope that somebody will still buy the rights. If not, I’ll just have to wait until Erik gets back up and running with a new design.

    If it comes to the latter, I’ll never be able to watch another Harley ad or see a Harley on the street without being reminded of the enormous dickishness of their management.

    • Tom

      Honestly, Harley has a long reputation for being the ultimate American quitter. They want respect but not having to do any of the requisite work that would garner respect.

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D.


    Well, here’s hoping Bombardier ends up buying Buell. That’s an absolutely stunning bike!

  • Random

    Before blaming Buell you should at least read the magazine. It seems every bad choice in Buell management and design came right from HD.

    Buell wanted to sell bikes and parts directly to the consumer. HD made him sell bikes in HD shops.

    Buell asked Porsche to design a performance V-Twin. HD added a bunch of crap to equip V-Rods with that engine, making Buell quit on using the overweight lump.

    Buell and Blaustein wanted to make an affordable beginner’s bike, the Blast. Harley’s decisions made it a costly machine making Buell company lose money on every one sold.

    Buell wanted different versions on the XB, including a turbocharged, 150hp, short stroke engine (there’s a picture or a nice proof of concept one, which had already passed engine durability tests). HD stole the engine development to equip its new bikes with the 1200, making it a long-stroke, pricey hardware.

    Buell long wished a water-cooled engine equipped his machines. When it was finally given the green light, two requirements were made: the project should be run with minimal cash (less than 20% of the V-Rod project) and the resultand bike should have no full fairing (which kind of explains 1125 awkward desing).

    Finally, HD could have sold Buell operations to Bombardier (which owns CanAm, Rotax and Polaris – with Victory as a subdivision – and makes even planes!!), the giant group made at least two different offers. It would also quit HD’s debts to Rotax for no longer using the engine. HD instead preffered to lose a lot of money completely killing Buell corp.

    I’m really sorry about HD’s poor management. Led into financial doom for bad credit decisions, and with a current CEO who sees racing as a hobby instead of a technological investment and testbed of new designs, it seems to have no long-term plan on how to survive.

    In less than a year Erik will be free from the non-compete agreement and will probably happily work under a new group. Looking at the interest Bombardier had on his designs, he will probably be making motorcycles again soon enough.

    • Bud

      The non-compete contract Erik has would be for WI. It is unenforceable and I learned a few years ago. Go for Erik. We want the Barracuda, and I WILL ONLY BUY AMERICAN! My neighbors depend on it as do you!

  • Useless

    Harley Davidson is run by a bunch of idiots. The Harley dealers did not want to sell Buells. The typical dealer makes most of there money selling all the Harley aftermarket bullshit. A Buell rider does not buy a Harley t-shirt, do-rag, crotchless chaps, and all the rest of the junk. The floor area of a HD dealership has on 20 to 25% devoted to the crap cycles they sell. The rest is the pirate clothes and chrome parts and other useless junk. A Buell just did not fit in a Harley dealership. Harley riders do not care about performance. They will buy a overpriced Harley and add chrome and loud pipes and dress up like the Village People and just ride around town showing off. Ride to Pretend – Pretend to Ride.

  • geonerd

    hopefully whenever erik starts making production bikes again he’ll hire someone else to do the styling on the front end. i’m all for function driving form, but the face of the 1125r and this thing have that horribly bulbous, disproportionate look that reminds me of a shaved cat.

  • Casey

    Does anybody else seem to notice the lack of front brakes?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      It’s a rim-mounted ZTL brake that’s on the wheels right side, just like the 1125R.

  • 4Cammer

    HD is too busy mixing up yet another shade of flat black to care what you all think about Buell…

    Pamberjack, HD would not know a right decision if it bit them on the ass. How is that MV sale doing?

  • Skipper

    4Cammer has made a good point. I am really impressed with the new 4 million dollar Harley Davidson “Sound Lab”. It is a room that HD invites the public into to listen to engine “sounds” and then vote on the best sound. This is a true example of HD engineering. HD only cares how there bikes “sound” and there new line of clothes and aftermarket parts. I just read a comparison between the Harley Street Glide and the Victory Cross Country. Of course the Victory won the test and it is a beautiful bike, if you like cruisers. It really made the Harley look old.


    It’s so depressing. HD’s high-and-mighty execs wouldn’t even consider saving all those jobs and millions of dollars by selling Buell off to the several financially-stronger companies that wanted to keep it alive and kicking. They gave no good reason. “Buell was too closely tied to HD operations.” BULLSH*T. Details like that get worked out in big-business purchase agreements all the time. HD could have saved Buell and all of those jobs, and actually MADE millions of dollars in the process. Instead, they kill Buell, erase all of those jobs, AND lose over $100 million in wrap-up costs. Sounds like a General Motors line of thinking. Nice going, HD execs! (you a-holes)

    Could someone just please find the proper legal argument and just sue the hell out of them? Please? Just get every HD exec responsible for that decision fired. Please….

  • Max

    Erik, please go to work at Victory Motorcycles, and help them take over Harley’s spot as the top American motorcycle producer. Please make this happen within the next decade, and when you succeed, put an ad out with you wiping your ass with a Harley do-rag.

  • Fred

    Rumor has it that KKR is working on a leveraged buyout of Harley Davidson. Maybe they will buy HD and fire all the exec’s who made the stupid ass decision to kill Buell. Or – maybe KKR is looking to get into the clothing business. Clothes is Harleys main business anyway. Buy a Harley and they will sell you a complete up to date pirate outfit and loud pipes to annoy everyone with and look like a moron at the same time.

  • Random

    Hey guys did you check the latest news in Asphalt & Rubber? It seems Erik Buell Racing and Bombardier are really getting together to produce street bikes.


    Hope it’s not an april’s fools, but if it is, it really caught me, with a website, facebook and twitter addresses.

  • akatsuki

    The styling looks like a 916 Ducati- already out of date

  • D-man

    (Quote) The bike itself is an unreliable mess of ceasing pistons, toothless cogs, and warped brake rotors. Buell is dead because they made crap bikes (unquote). With every Buell article there is always some tard that comes up with a similar comment. Why is that?

    I have noticed over the last year that most Buell haters haven’t yet realized the last generation Buell’s were liquid cooled and that the power plant is Rotax , one of the more respected companies in the powers ports industry.

    That being said, my Bro has a Ducati 1198 and I have A Buell 1125R. We often trade bikes for day rides. The Duc is a more refined bike, but aside from the glamour and overall refinement, the Buell was almost nearing the respect of what most would consider a serious competitor with the other exotics. Sure I like the Duc better, but performance wise we don’t see much of a difference, and I paid a lot less.

    The Buell Barracuda would have been the Holy Grail that Buell needed. Some great post here, true to be that it’s all Harleys fault for their demise. Sorry Eric, you almost had it.

    Owner of 1125 R and the CR that I picked up for New for $5700.

  • Alec

    Last May I bought a 2004 XB12s. LOVE IT!! My roommate had a Triumph TT 600. He loves my lil bike as much as I do, and shows it off more then me. H-D Crushed a great American Motorcycle company, sure the late 90′s were ruff for them but they had it all straitened out. Just look at the 2010 Buell Blast AD’s! I have no doubt Eric will be back, and we will be waiting!!!

  • http://Mark Mark

    Harley really screwed up. Buell was their way forward. The current Harley demographic is over 50
    and a lot of them are reaching an age that they can’t ride anymore. With the current economy it’s going to be a long time before people start dropping the type of cash it takes to buy a Harley. The new 1125 would have put Buell in the running in the sport bike market. I don’t want to see another U.S. manufacturer go away, but with Harley’s current management and their low sales it’s unlikely that they will survive. I hope that Erik can find or start another company when he is able. I love my Buell and I would really like to get an even better one.

  • Brian

    It is strange that HD and BWM face the same aging demographic problems. However, they chose different routes to counteract this. HD kills off Buell, which was their only outreach to a younger, sportbike buyer and BWM creates this technowonder S1000RR specifically for the 30′s buyer. Time will tell who made the better decision, but I doubt it was HD. All the guys that trash Buell really need to read the Cycle World article on the demise of Buell. Buell did some amazing things with little to no budget while HD screwed Buell every chance they got.

    As a two time Buell owner I can tell you that every other Buell owner I have met not only knows the details of the bikes they ride, but they also know about Buell, the company. Minus the old sportster engines the bikes are engineering marvels. Even with the old engines, Buell tuned them to accomplish what they were supposed to do. With the new Rotax engines, Buell finally was in the running on horsepower. Never one to quit, I believe the separation from HD could be the best thing to happen to Buell.

    On the two Buells that I have owned I will say that they have been very reliable over 25,000 miles.

  • 1FNGR

    I have a 2000 M2 Cyclone. Many times people look at it and say, “Is that a Harley?” I tell ‘em, “No, I ride a Buell, not a Harley.” Waiting for Erik’s next American Sport Bike.

  • http://www.startsave.com Thomas Bartow

    Nice stuff on, i’ll be visiting more often