The race-engineered Buell hardtail

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How do you turn a profit operating a tiny European race team that runs bikes from a tiny American manufacturer? If you’re Pegasus, you leverage your experience and expertise racing Buells into designing parts for the hundreds of thousands of brand loyalists who suddenly find themselves hung out to dry by Harley. First, they unveiled the EBR 1190RR Typhon and plan to sell conversion parts for the 1125R and CR, now they’ve designed this Cerberus hardtail to accommodate any air-cooled XB or tube frame motor.  The idea here is to combine race performance with chopper looks at an affordable price.

Pegasus operates the largest Erik Buell Racing race team in the world, but it’s an all-volunteer operation. Despite that, they took an EBR 1190RR to victory in the European Sound of Thunder championship and routinely beat bikes like the BMW S1000RR and Ducati 1198 on the track.

“We are pushing forward with projects like the Typhon and developing additional parts, but we’re also looking backwards to the XB and old tube frame Buells. There are nearly 140,000 bikes sold and somebody needs to take care of them,” say Jens Krüper, the team’s manager and CEO of the newly-minted VTC Sweden AB, which will be handling sales of spinoff products like Cerberus.

The Cerberus is the team’s first foray into offering complete chassis kits for Buell models and comes in response to consumer demand for a conversion kit. “We looked at what’s on the marked, but found all of it was too heavy and wouldn’t go around corners. So, we started development in 2009, but then Harley shut down Buell and we put all our power into racing the EBR superbike in 2010. We won the title with Harald Kitsch, so that mission’s been completed. No we can go back to work on products,” continues Jens.

Since Pegasus is a race team, Cerberus isn’t just another hardtail Chopper. Not only does it accept Buell XB wheels, forks and engine, but it comes with enough clearance for real cornering.  52 degrees of lean is possible on both sides, according to static measurements. Like the Typhon, the entire Cerberus project was executed in CAD, which makes it possible to CNC all the parts.

“Our prototypes were made in the usual steel tubes, but the plan is to use TIG welded 631 Reynolds tubing, which should really bring the weight down,” describes Jens. “The goal for the Cerberus weight is 180kg ready-to-run. We are, at the moment, about 8kg over that, but we have a steel tank and other heavy stuff on the showbike that won’t carry over to production.”

The engine in this bike is a 1,200cc XB unit with 42mm Mikuni flat-slide carbs and a Dyna 2000i ignition that’s good for 100bhp. Further work has gone into the BKG triple clamp which carries adjustable clip-ons with a “dogbone” design that allows for variations in height. The oil tank is finned and mounted on the front of the engine for effective cooling.

“On the first chassis, the oil tank was too high to bring the heavy battery as low as possible. But, we found a Lithium Ion batter from BF which weighs less than 900 grams, so we could move it up and bring the oil tank lower.”

The self-supporting tail was made by PRT and doesn’t include any metal support structure at all. The ZTL brake is a combination of an EBR disc with an ISR caliper. Wheels are tubeless spoked items from Alpina Raggi and the big analog speedo and shift light were made by Motogadget. The forward controls look like superbike rearsets and were made by LSL.

“It feels like a moped when you grab the handlebars, it’s so light,” says Jens. “And what weight there is is very low.”

“You can bore the XB12 engine with the stock stroke to 1,430cc, but that 100bhp should do the trick,” says Jens. “We geared the bike with our own sprockets so that it maxes out at 112mph. The acceleration in comination with the traction of that long chassis should be very competitive. For the ‘Busas, you push the NOS button.”

A wet NOS system was designed by Wizards of NOS to delivery an extra 25bhp at the push of a button.

The frame has already passed Swedish road-worthiness regulations and Pegasus is evaluating whether or not to submit it for EU type approval. It can accomodate all XB and Sportster motors. As a neat feature, the frame doesn’t require the XB’s swingarm pivots, which often break off in a crash. That means you’ll be able to build a Cerberus from a crashed XB for under €10,000.

“It’s light, powerful and simple,” says Thomas Wanner, the owner of Pegasus Race Team. “We’ve been thinking about a suspension version, maybe in kind of a roadster frame. We just need to do our homework on the market.”

The Cerberus took first place in the Bike Builder’s Trophy at the Stockholm Motorcycle Show last weekend.

Pegasus Race Team and

  • Andreas

    I don’t know what to think…

    …maybe I’m actually bicurious?

  • Nick

    That is the narrowest rear tire I’ve ever seen on a bike like that. It looks really cool, but I’ll keep my XB stock until they come out with the jet pack conversion kit. Well, that or get an 1125 because the Typhon is one of the coolest looking bikes out there.

  • Glenngineer

    Hardtails are stupid, but I always wanted Buell to build a sport cruiser. Buell handling, Buell quirky looks and engineering, light weight, and with a real lean angle.

    This is certainly cooler than my buddies FXR based hardtail. Who the fuck turns an FXR into a hardtail? The guy who sold my buddy his shit bike.

    Also, I hate it when people tout their CAD designed parts. Really? 3D data is standard across all but the oldest industries and most basic fab operations. Everything is CAD designed.

  • Johndo

    Ugly but I can give them credit for trying something different.

  • ike6116

    I love the XB12X and just for shits and giggles I decided to take a look for one at some local dealership websites, think They have an 08 for $8000 is that fair for a used bike by a company that doesn’t exist anymore? Low miles (<2000) but again Buell doesnt even exist anymore. I dunno.

  • bluegrass

    So this is the European version of a Redneck Engineering Mutant.

  • michael uhlarik

    I like the headlight…but I would say that.

    • HENRY

      I feel like there are more mt-03 headlights than mt-03′s. Did you have anything to do with mt-01?

      • Glenngineer

        That headlight is second only to the basic bucket in numbers produced, I think, and if you’re not using it your copying it.

        That is a fucking accomplishment, even if shitheads like me think its ugly.

      • michael uhlarik

        I did not. The MT-01 was an original Jun Tamura design, a man who would be a famous and celebrated designer if his name was Italian. His pantheon of bikes includes two generations of R1, the R7, MT-01 concept model (Tokyo 1999), the MT-01 production model, the Warrior, and a dozen others.

        • Glenngineer

          The Warrior is a hot bike, forward controls and all.

        • HENRY

          Thanks Michael. I will check him out. hadn’t looked at the MT-03 in a while. What a fantastic looking motorcycle and ahead of its time. Wish we had that and the MT-01 stateside, along with the suzuki gs1200ss and the cb1300 super4 and the zrx400 and the derbi mulhacen and and and…

  • Alex

    A couple things-
    NOS is a brand, Nitrous is a power adder.

    Just nit picking. The bike looks like a blast! (pun intended)

    • Nick

      The bottle does say NOS on it but before we get technical I need to google it and get a Kleenex and some tums.

  • Ducky

    The side air filter and the entire stance reminds me of a Diavel x V-Max. I actually have to say I like the way it looks, but I’m really not sure what to think of it… there’s just so many things wrong and right with this bike

  • Emmet

    What the hell? A Buell chopper? I’ll have to bite my tongue on this one…

  • rohorn

    Track day chopper? Needs more umbrella girls.

    • Wes Siler

      Jens isn’t pretty enough for you?

      • rohorn


        This is the first chopper I’ve seen that looks like it doesn’t belong on the cover of Easyriders or Back Street Choppers with some tart draped over it (not. that. I. look. at. those. sorts. of. magazines…).

        Can’t wait to see the track time video of it – with or without the brolly dolls.

  • MotoRandom

    My XB REALLY wants those wire lace wheels but damned if I can find them for sale anywhere. I know they’re made by Aplina Raggi in Italy but I am zero luck on finding a retailer. Hopefully their new Buell parts site will carry them. I’m guessing 2 to 2 and half grand, like I have that kind of money. But hey, I might think about about a part time job if I could get them on my bike. Why do I have to go to Europe to find all of the awesome stuff for my motorcycle that was made 350 miles away from me in Wisconsin?

  • paul

    I think the beauty is in the details with this bike. I would love to get a chance to ride it.

  • miles_prower

    Beautiful design. The lines, curves, and shapes all seem very intentional and balanced. I’m not a chopper guy (nor am I a sport bike guy), but I’d buy this!

  • je

    Do not like….

    Will buy typhoon conversion for 1125

  • mugget

    Hells yes!!

    That is just what I need for my commute to work – awesome! I have always just loved bobbers, maybe it would need some springs below that seat (if it doesn’t already?) but that amount of cornering clearance makes it awesome.

  • Mike

    All I want to know is what class of racing is this “race” bike intended for?
    The race to the next bar does not count.

    I look forward to a decade of Craigslist ads for some idiot’s beat-up Sportster that has one of these parts zip-tied to it: instant race-bike!

    • Ian

      Nice. Imagine the first Diavel on CL.

  • Trev

    Not my cup of tea, but I would like to test ride it.

  • Thomas

    Guys, as there are a lot of crashed Buells around and the supplies of spares are – I can only speak for Europe! – very slow and limited, riders asked us about a conversion-kit where they can use wheels, forks and engines of their bikes to continue riding – and this is the first trial! Next step is a suspension frame… But first we continue with the Typhon – testing the components in March in Spain on the racetrack – and then you’ll get these conversion parts available….

    • MotoRandom

      Thomas- As I mentioned above, I would love to get a set of those laced wheels. Is this something you guys will be selling? Awesome chopper by the way. Thanks for giving the old Buells a future life. They really are awesome bikes.

    • je

      Do you plan on having a stateside distributor for the typhoon kit (IE: EBR)? Also will there be a HFL discount :D

  • Devin

    I don’t care for this style of bike, but for what it is, it looks great, and a great way to make use of a crashed Buell aparently. Yay for recycling.

    BTW I wouldn’t hook up the nitrous bottle if you aren’t going to use it; as a joke I put my cousins Nitrous bottle into the back hatch of my Dad’s Citroen 2CV and ran the wire under the carpet at a car show, and all people did all day was talk my face off about Nos and how badass they are at racing.

  • seanslides

    Would that BT-003 really stick at 52 degrees of lean? I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t be opposed to finding out.

    • Thomas

      ..the BT003 is sticking at 52° – as we also use it on our racing XBR ;-)

      • mugget

        Good to know! My next track day I will put 003′s on my Gixxer – now I just gotta try and reach 52 degrees lean. :O

        • seanslides

          They’ll work great on your gsxr; I’ve run them on track before and they stick amazingly well for a street tire. I’m just not sure how well the rear works when it’s doubling as shock and spring ;)

  • BeastIncarnate

    Not a cruiser fan, but I like it and appreciate the hell out of the idea.

  • moby grape

    I’m confused…We hate the Diavel, But we love this thing? Please tell me what to think…I really want to be cool.

    • mugget

      We? I dunno… speak for yourself.

      I like the looks of the Diavel, nice and meaty looking. But I can’t really speak of anything further than that until I ride it or read some fairly in-depth test/reports.

      This however, is on a totally different level. I have always loved bobbers, and something like that which goes fast and corners like a bike should – this beats the Diavel hands down for me. But again, I’d love to read a ride report/test – but I’d bet money that I wouldn’t be disappointed in this. (Not so sure about the Diavel.)

  • gofaster

    How much for the frame? Make a good pushrod LSR bike. Though doubt it’s cheaper than a redneck engineering bobber frame?

    • Jens

      Nice idea to build a LSR bike based on that. The frame in Reynolds 631 will be 2900 US$ plus shipping.