Details: Erik Buell Racing 1190RR-B

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Watching Harald Kitsch ride this bike alongside Aprilia RSV4s and BMW S1000RRs in the final race of the German Sound of Thunder/BEARS series was like watching a MotoGP bike at a public trackday. He ended up finishing the race 19 seconds ahead of the nearest competitor, but he wasn’t even trying, the championship had already been wrapped up two races ago. Here’s a close up look at the Pegasus Race Team championship-winning 185rwhp EBR 1190RR-B.

As you can see, the 1190RR is based on the Buell 1125R and 1125RR, sharing a similar fuel-in-frame design. In fact, the 1190 starts life as an 1125 at Erik Buell Racing, where it’s transformed into this race bike by hand.

The 72° DOHC, eight-valve, 1190cc v-twin puts out 185hp and 93lb/ft of torque, both measured at the rear wheel. The compression ratio is 14.25:1.

Suspension components are race-spec Showa items, including a 43mm Showa BPF USD fork and a shock that includes ride height adjustment. As you can see, the BPF forks place the rebound and compression adjusters on top, allowing Harald to make adjustments himself, while he’s still sitting on the bike. Wheels are 6-spoke magnesium items designed to accommodate Erik’s trademark Zero Torsional Load brakes, which reduce complication and transmit braking forces directly to the rim, allowing for thinner, lighter spokes and therefor reduced unsprung weight.

Perhaps the biggest visual difference is the fitment of forward-facing radiators. Race bikes need a lot of cooling.

Another big change from the 1125R road bike is the chain final drive. A belt would still be lighter, but racers require the ability to quickly and easily make gearing changes, something a belt struggles to deliver.

In these photos you can also see the handmade titanium exhaust system and the diminutive subframe that’s just enough to support the rider’s weight and nothing more.

I was hoping to ride this bike at Oschersleben, but it experienced an engine failure during Friday testing, necessitating an overnight rebuild so Harald could race it on Saturday. Pegasus was able to build rebuild the engine with outdated parts it had on hand, it should speak to the bike’s huge performance that Harald was able to dominate even with a heavier crankshaft and other performance-limiting changes.

The one part that Pegasus doesn’t have and sorely needs is a sophisticated wheelie control system. Watching Harald practice, he was getting huge and very abrupt power wheelies pulling onto Oschersleben’s pit straight out of the final corner, giving up time to the inline-fours, but that same power enabled him to re-pass the S1000RRs by the time they entered the braking zone for turn one. The 1190RR is stunningly fast.

  • pinkyracer

    interesting. Shawn Higbee was pitted next to us at Willow on Monday riding & testing something loud and black. Someone said it was a new Buell. It had 4 cylinders. I’d have found out more but he scares me.

  • RanDryRacer

    It’s scary to think what Buell could have done with the American Sportbike if Harley would have got off the cash and their old iron horse attitude. He was their vehicle to the future and they pissed it away. Make no mistake Eric Buell will make work.

    Thanks for the great feel good story Wes.

    What’s your opinion on this Man, from your stories I think he sparks your intrest. I wish him and you nothing but the best. Keep up the good work.

  • NoH2Oh

    Excellent two articles on Erik Buell and EBR. Hope he can make another run at producing American motorcycles, this time without the collar HD had around him.

  • 2ndderivative

    “sophisticated wheelie control system”

    Right hand? I jest, knowing these electronics are de rigeur now. From a spectator’s perspective though, it was fun watching occasional unintended wheelies in races.

  • seanslides

    Man, I totally have a buell boner. That thing is bad ass.