A quick Q&A with Erik Buell on the EBR 1190RS wheels

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The other day, in comments under the latest EBR video, Jason McCrash said he was curious to find out more about the EBR 1190RS’s wheels. Good thinking Jason, we just had a quick chat with Erik about them, here’s what he has to say.

What’s the deal with these wheels?
“Cast in Ohio, machined in Michigan. Nice light wheels of unique EBR  design. Not sure where there are separate images.”

Why the different patterns front and rear?
“Front and rear motorcycle wheels have dramatically different loading conditions, so optimizing for these results in different designs.”

What are they made from?
“They are a made from special derivative of the AZ-91 magnesium alloy series.”

Why the staggered rear spokes?
“Optimization indicated this was the best design for strength and weight.”

Why haven’t we seen wheels like this from other companies or in the aftermarket?
“They have their own reasons, to which we are not privy. It’s great that there are different choices.”

Do they retain their strength despite the drastic weight reduction (specific weight unstated)?
“Yes, the design is optimized to pass all the street regulations. If we were making race only wheels they would be lighter.”

Is this another design you’ve had on the drawing board for decades?
“No. We have always been pursuing lighter wheel weights, but both wheels are new designs. We did not have the capability to do this type of design until now.”

“I know, we need a marketing department with all kinds of press and marketing materials, but gotta stick with priorities!”

  • Adrian

    Kind of a star and stripe USA pattern.

    • Joe

      Really, my first thought was “Star of David”

      • http://lightsoutknivesout.tumblr.com/ Scott Pargett

        or pentagram. 666

        • Joe

          That would be five pointed, not six.

  • Todd

    Don’t like. The mismatched wheels that is. The rear really reminds me of the “race homologation” wheels that were on my ’86 Honda VF1000R, which is to say it looks quite dated. I like the front though.

    The rest of the bike is all quite stunning. I wish EBR well and hope to see a largely similar mainstream version of it soon priced for the budgets of us mere mortals.

    • Gene

      But at least it’s a functional reason, as opposed to useless gewgaws on some Harley custom… and I like the front wheel as well, but the rear needs to be chunkier to handle the engine output.

      • BMW11GS

        sorry dude…its a race bike…

  • MotoRandom

    And when you asked about retrofit to the old Buells and sale of these at EBR he said…?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Erik’s just trying to get through this racing season and sell a few of these to customers. Stuff like that is all in a hypothetical future.

  • Joe

    I will work for free if Buell needs a marketing intern. Would love the oppurtunity to work with a truly innovative American company.

  • Audun

    Love the bike, hope the man has all the fortune in the world, he(they) surely needs it! I welcome a company that is as ground breaking as buell(EBR).

  • smoke4ndmears

    i love the wheels. the pictures linked with this article don’t show how truly spartan that rear wheel is -there isn’t even a hub!

    • jason McCrash

      Yeah that twas why I was asking. I’m picturing them as being individual spokes and a rim that when they bolt together the spokes make the “hub”. I’m sure when more pics come out or the guys here get their hands on one for a ride we will get better pics.

      Thanks for the props guys. A regular rag would’ve answered that question in 3-4 months, if at all. Love the internet.

      • smoke4ndmears
        • jason McCrash

          WOW! That is totally different than I pictured. Brilliant idea. I can’t imagine how they cast them or machine them. That is badass.

          • smoke4ndmears

            Yeah man. There aren’t many pictures around that really illustrate how much material they aren’t using back there!

          • http://www.cdavisdesigns.com Chris Davis

            Wondering aloud, maybe they cast them with the spokes in place on the right side then weld the set from the left side to the hoop & “hub”.

            • jason McCrash

              In the pic linked from photo bucket it does kinda look like there are welds on the “hub spokes” where halves meet, but it also kinda looks like a residual of casting. They must spin up quick as hell.
              I also see the ComStar resemblence and I think Honda designed them in the same vein.

              • Scott-jay

                Comstar wheel are multi-piece: pressed sheet metal spokes, mechanically fastened to rim & (?)hub.
                Erik Buell looks sorta like Justin Bateman, but they’re not the same. : )

  • zato1414

    Straight answers…no BS. It’s a Buell!

    • DoctorNine

      Sounds like a righteous company slogan to me…

      “No BS. It’s a Buell.”

      • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

        HFL marketing team in action.

  • je

    *Cheer* *Cheer* GOOOOOOOO! Erik Buell *Thumbs up* *Cheer*

    *Giggle* > Fan boy

  • Archer

    AZ91 is a bread-and-butter mag alloy, used in tons of consumer goods, with a considerable dose of aluminum. I do hope each and every one is checked for voids, because that’s the biggest challenge with that variety of mag- and that’s a scary-minimalist design considering the rear loading.

    (Maybe check your transcript- You sure he didn’t say cast in Michigan and machined in Ohio? I know most every company capable of doing this size casting in AZ91, most are in Michigan, the other’s in Kentucky a few miles south of the Ohio border.)

  • doublet

    Makes me think of the comstars. Not every righteous form is inherently beautiful upon first sight. Triangles FTW! Also, looks like the Star of David.

  • Jefferson

    The front wheel looks remarkably similar to the Buell Ulysses:


  • steve

    Funny… he doesn’t look Druish.

    • Joe

      May the Schwartz be with you!

  • Ozzy

    Not sure who is following who but same rear swing arm and shock design as the new ducati

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      It’s actually quite a bit different. What similarities do you see?

    • moshaholic2

      I kinda noticed the swingarm & exhaust on the new Ducati are kinda like Buell’s designs.

      The side shock thing on the new Ducati is actually like the old ATK dirtbike design…