EBR 1190RS: America, fuck yeah

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These are the first images of the EBR 1190RS, snapped in East Troy this morning just after the bike was finished and just before it was loaded on a truck bound for the Indy Dealer Expo. We’ll be updating this story continuously, Erik’s sending us specs and better photos as we speak.

Update: more and larger photos for a total of 16.

Update 2: with a race exhaust, the RS will weigh in at less than the AMA Pro Superbike minimum weight limit — 380lbs.

Photos: Steve Anderson for Erik Buell Racing

This new 1190RS is based on the EBR 1190RR race bike you can see here. The RR develops 185bhp at its rear wheel, a figure that’s likely to drop 10 to 15 percent or so due to the EPA-certified exhaust and gentler tuning. The 1190cc engine is a larger version of the Rotax mill used in the Buell 1125R, this new EBR also shares its fuel-in-frame chassis with the old Buell.

When we interviewed Erik back in October he explained that the 1190RS would be very small volume and come with a very high price tag. He floated the $39,995 Ducati 1198 R as being in the price ballpark and suggested the RS will come with a similarly high specification.

“It’s going to be low volume production,” Erik told us. “I mean tiny. I just don’t have the money to buy anything. But we can get the [1125] engines from Rotax, we’re going to have to convert them into an 1190 ourselves.”

It actually takes quite a few parts because it’s a different crankshaft. It has to be re-valved, the connecting rods are different, the cylinders are different, the pistons are different, the head has to be slightly changed to match the bore. Titanium valves, actually a ton of stuff. But none of it really affects the fundamentals of the base motor. You know, is the oil pump good? Are the crank bearings good? Is the rod size good? Does the cooling system work? You know, those things. So all the stuff we’re doing is sort of hot rod style. Titanium valves, different cam drive, different pistons and rods because it can spin up to 12,000 so I need really, really good rods. The motor was originally an 11,000rpm motor, but is spinning up to 12,500, so those sorts of things. But they’re all bolt in.”

“We’re using very high-end things like Del West valves. The first street bikes will be built to that race level. That’s partly because I want to be able to take the street bike and convert it into a race bike economically. In short, a guy could buy one, put a race pipe and a race chip on it and go pretty fast. It’ll be as good as what Harald [Kitsch] is riding and better than what Geoff [May] is riding. That’s pretty good.”

“When you’re doing small volume anyhow and the price is kinda high, you should give a guy premium stuff. Will most owners run them that hard, at the limit? No. But it means that if they run them hard and do a lot of trackdays, it’ll just hold up forever basically.”

“It’ll be much like if you get a 1098R or a bike like that, it comes with a lot of good stuff. It’ll have Ohlins suspension, it’ll be very light with some carbon fiber, it’ll be a nice bike. They’re going to be hand built”

While he was still at Harley, it was actually Erik’s plan to release the 1190RS before the 1125R as a halo bike for the brand and an effective Superbike racer. “If we had raced the 1125RR as an 1190 superbke first and then come out with the 1125R, with the higher higher handlebars and the bigger fairing and the saddlebags — which is really what that bike was, a sports touring model, but things got mixed around by management — would it have sold better? No freaking doubt,” said Erik in October. “I will go to my grave believing that we made a mistake.”

EBR plans to produce 100 units of the 1190RS in 2011, with the first delivery scheduled some time around March.

Make sure you check out the interview we did with Erik Buell last October.

  • noone1569

    Holy crap I love it. I’m sure it will go through some refinement, but its glorious. Congrats, Erik

  • Anthony Wayne

    yeah, I think it looks pretty badass.

  • IronLeg

    Time to play the “who steals from HFL” game!

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      These were published first on Cycle World, but it’s my understanding EBR snapped them for press use. I think Erik’s a bit flustered that they got out like this. He’s going to send me some more material here in a bit.

      • noone1569

        No doubt. But all this will do is drum up interest for him tomorrow. Probably for the best. I’m stoked.

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

        Yeah, these are official EBR images.

        • tomwito

          MCN out of England has these same photos posted.

          • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

            Yeah, and a nice link too, which is the whole idea.

            • http://rohorn.blogspot.com rohorn

              The list of who got the pictures & spoke with EBR – and who didn’t – says an awful lot.

              Not a coincidence: The sources of EBR info “haves” run subscriptions I gladly pay for.

  • JRl

    Looks gooooood.

  • seanslides

    That thing is beautiful. It almost looks like an endurance racer. The only thing I’m not a super huge fan of is the old school CBR-like intake above the radiator, but it’s really not a big deal and I’m sure there’s a reason for it. Oh, and the mirrors, but that’s just preference. I like bar end mirrors on everything.

  • Glenngineer

    Hell yes.

  • Pat

    I wasn’t so bummed about missing Indy this year……UNTIL NOW!!!

  • Nick

    love it

  • Ducky

    I love it. The front headlight treatment is awesome too.

  • carter

    Beautiful — as so few sportbikes are. Can America finally have a world-class sportbike?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Yes it can.

    • lucky jim

      Harley never thought Buell could compete and made them tame their bikes for the street. This is the biggest middle finger to HD and their bullshit… and I love it.

  • ontheroad

    Hell yes. Looks stunning, vaguely Bimota DB7ish (http://www.bimotaamerica.com/galleries/bikes_db7_gal.html), not a bad thing, but definitely a Buell.

    I want some detailed photos & a rundown of the features. For example: what’s up with the apparent drive-chain tensioning system? Must. See. More.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      That’s a torque compensator. More details when we have more info.

  • Skank NYCF

    Get one for a street/torture test.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Ha, we’ll try.

  • Liquidogged


    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      You know, that’s a much better headline.

      • dux

        Good call on the title!

  • noone1569

    Let’s see, if I sell the XB12R, sell the WRX, cash in one of my investments, I might be able to clear the fourty grand haha. Think I could mount a set of knobbies for the winter?

    On a related note, who wants to buy a kidney?

    • Scott-jay

      Buell used this pattern with XB: hot-rod an existing engine, add quality light-weight chassis and, moto-magic.
      XB’s have this bike’s genes and are under-valued in the market-place.

    • Ben

      But if you sell the WRX we don’t get to share space on a certain forum I know you from. Ooh now you get to try and guess who I am…

  • JonB

    OMG I never thought I would say this but I love it. I can’t afford it—but I love it.

    • Alex

      Ditto. YGunz.

  • smoke4ndmears

    looks better than i thought it would. beautiful in the way a fighter jet is.

    looking forward to a victory in AMA this year!!!

  • Ken D

    I think that what it looks like in photos is not what this bike is about. Details aside, it looks pretty much like the category. But if it makes BMW and Aprilia even just a little less pleased with themselves, then I say well done and congratulations Erik Buell. I’m a bit tired of hearing about American exceptionalism, I’d rather be seeing it in the flesh. This is really promising.

  • lucky jim

    Beautiful machine. But really the whole point of it and what I’m curious about the most… will the 1190RR be eligible for AMA Superbike this year? Or will we have to wait another season? It’s kind of painful to watch May sometimes. Catches bikes in the corners and then doesn’t have the straight-line speed to keep up.

    Also, maybe it’s just me, but Update 2 is worded in a way that you made it sound like the AMA Superbike minimum race weight is 380 lbs, not the weight of the bike itself. According to their site, the minimum race weight is 390 lbs.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Erik plans to race the 1190RS in AMA Pro Superbike beginning in May at the Infineon round.

  • Terry

    My God… It’s full of stars.

    “Hotttttt”, as Ms. Paris says.

  • http://www.desmoworks.com desmoworks

    Good stuff. Put the RR exhaust on it and then you’ve got a nice looking bike for sure.

  • Miles Prower

    I’ve always disliked the look of HD-era Buells, but this EBR looks absolutely stunning. I especially love the contrast between the massive fuel-carrying frame members and the CNC-cut subframe. And the vertical projector lights integrated with the “glass” of the windshield look wonderful — much better than vertical arrangements on other bikes.

    Although, I’d rather see a belly-only exhaust.

    • Steve

      I was assuming the subframe was cast, investment or fixed mold, but you are probably right about the CNC. If it is CNC, somebody did a yoeman’s job blending those fillets and rounds. Hand finished for the show maybe?

      • Miles Prower

        I was making an assumption too. I didn’t zoom in enough on my iPad iPood to look closely, but I figured at EBR’s planned manufacturing numbers, CNC would be the way to go.

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

    Congrats Mr. Buell. This is truly an amazing bike, the American Spirit at 210 mph.

    I hope one day, we can have a full compliment of American sports bikes. Until then, my daily CL and ebay searches for 1125s continues!

  • muckluck

    Thanks Eric for never giving up!

  • Mr.Paynter

    That thing is gorgeous, even more so knowing where it’s coming from!

    Go underdog-genius-guy Go!

  • Cajun58

    Can someone explain to me again why The Motor Co cut Mr Buell lose? Anybody??

    • http://www.lgdm.fr stempere

      Because his bikes go waaaay to fast.
      HD is like people around the 1860′s who though people coundn’t handle trains going faster that 18mph…
      Sweet bike, to bad i won’t be seeing one in the flesh around here.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Because they are assholes.

      • http://www.smartcycleshopper.com/author/doug-dalsing/ DougD

        I think I’ve read on this site before something along the lines of ‘We don’t understand why H-D doesn’t like us …’


  • http://theprojectbeta.com/ andehans

    Respect to Buell for making this in a time of big corporations, endless market research and Ducati baby socks. Viva la independencia!

  • http://www.pedalgents.com holdingfast

    wow. amazing looking bike and i m sure in person it s even more stunning, though I do think from these images that the exhaust looks odd, but clearly its there for reasons of ultimate performance and not looks, so i ll just shut up now.

  • Isaac


    Sav’n the muthafuckin day!

    Good job Eric I love it and I would buy it if I had 40k. I’m truly taken back!

  • jason

    GO GO EBR!!! What H-D was the last nail in the coffin for those idiots and their two wheeled toilet seats. I would love to see him come back and humiliate stupid willie d.

  • Phillip

    The truly great ones always come back with a force of vengeance! I’ve been an enthusiast for 40 years and I think were witnessing not only one of the greatest triumphs in American motorcycling, but a killer page in American history. Way to go Erik!!

  • Steve

    Best detail? Rear subframe. Pure structural porn. How can EBR put out a beautiful, high investment component like that while nearly all mass produced bikes use bent and welded tube?

  • Todd

    Wow, that really is QUITE stunning. First time I’ve ever said that about a Buell. Terrific bodywork/lines. Wheels remind me of the modular rims from the ’86 Honda VF1000R I used to have. Seat sure doesn’t look terribly comfortable.

    Best of luck to him. I hope this bike succeeds so he can grow the operation and eventually produce some derivative bikes that mere mortals can afford.

  • tomwito

    That bike is making my mouth water, seriously.

  • Jeff

    Holy porn hotness! Stunning bike, my hat is off to Erik Buell and his guys. I would buy this in a heartbeat if I could.

  • Charlie

    Wes, did you see that at least MCN duly noted your contribution?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Yep, I’m impressed!

  • Dan

    That bike is beautiful!

    The exhaust is designed to meet EPA requirements and the secondary piece is bolted on… Also of note are the cylinder base gaskets. Changing to race spec (thinner) results in mucho power for cheap.

    Erik’s past can hint at his future. With that in mind, as he shows us this bike, he is putting the finishing touches on the next one.
    Stay tuned!

    The 2011 race season is going to be the best ever!

  • MotoRandom

    Where is Malcom Forbes when you need him? He would have been the perfect mentor for Eric. Billions of dollars and a mad love for American motorcycles. I truly hope there is someone out there to fill this role so Eric can focus on what he does best, build some of the most awesome motorcycles on the planet, of which this is one of his best to date. I am really hoping this leads to a full line of affordable sportbikes and streetfighters. I love my XB12sTT and plan on keeping it forever. I will say what has been said over and over again about Buells. It is the most fun motorcycle I have ever ridden.

    • Steve

      I’ve wondered about that myself. Can EB not find an outside investor, or is he just sick of the strings that come attached when you play with other peoples money?

  • Liquidogged

    Thanks for adding to the headline, Wes – you made my day.

  • hdtogt

    Any word on traction control or race abs?

  • http://www.urbanrider.co.uk UrbanRider

    Hot bike. End of.

  • http://www.smartcycleshopper.com/author/doug-dalsing/ DougD

    So this is the type of bike EB wanted to make all along, right? A fully faired American sportbike.

    How did H-D let a few square feet of flared-out plastic/carbon-fiber (or whatever the cowling is made of) get in the way of challenging the Japanese?

    BTW, I think it winked at me in the fourth-from-top photo. That headlight is hot.

    Go Erik!

    • http://www.smartcycleshopper.com/author/doug-dalsing/ DougD

      BTW, are you going to Indy Wes?

      • noone1569

        Na they’re out in CA playing with nice bikes. I was wishing they’d send me as their proxy ;) I am just like two hundred feet from the EXPO. lol.

  • Steve

    A detail:

    The subframe is die-cast magnesium, weighs about 2 1/2 pounds. It was runner-up for magnesium die-casting of the year as the company making it submitted it for that award. There have been few parts with more computer analysis time than this, and most of them are used on NASA projects or F22s.

    • http://rohorn.blogspot.com rohorn

      When is KC’s article on this getting published?

  • je

    This bike is everything I was expecting from EBR. I wish more effort would have been put into making the exhaust flow with the bike more but after seeing the patent for the swing arm exhaust I will cut it some slack. I can be content with 99% of what I was dreaming of.

    My new dream is to work for/with Erik. Thats at EBR not as a roadie, im not hip on the music stuff :D. I was thinking about selling my XB9 for a 1125 so I could do the tyhon mod but out of sheer respect I will keep it. I will find another way to get the 1125 Typhon.

    Props HFL for keeping us so informed on this. As a buell fanboy its good to know theres others out there like me.

  • Coreyvwc

    I really hope they can ditch those nasty mirrors from the 1125r scrap bin. Come on Erik, a little more carbon wouldn’t kill you… haha

  • DoctorNine

    Erik, this is a home run… The engineering answers questions I didn’t even know to ask. Boy, to be young and still racing. Do want. Very much.

  • Steve

    Just to clarify: those are my photos, owned by me. Erik asked to send them to a couple of publications beyond Cycle World. I agreed, as his operation is beyond lean, and it took a lot of cooperation to get these photos.. They were snapped in the 25 minute interval between finishing the 1190RS and loading it in the truck for Indy. The bike looks better in person — it makes a Bimota look cobby. And besides, as Geoff May indicated on the WERA forum, a lot of the parts on this bike were originated by people who used to work for Buell. It’s fantastic to see these parts finished and used in such a beautiful whole. And even more thrilling to know that Geoff expects to use this machine to do to the competition what Team America did to Paris. America, fuck yeah!