Custom: Bott XR-1

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Looks kinda like a Harley XR1200, right? It’s not. That bike makes 85bhp and weighs 573lbs. This bike makes 100bhp and weighs 374lbs. That’s because it’s a Buell motor, wheels, brakes and suspension housed in a custom steel spine chassis. The Bott XR-1 is going to rip.

The XR-1 is the product of Spain’s Bottpower, maker of that impressively intricate steel trellis-framed Moto2 racer and previously a girder front end CBR954RR. The project’s been in the works since last year, when a customer commissioned the firm to build him a Buell street tracker.

“Tt took a lot of time to make it, mainly because we did it thinking in building several units, not just one bike,” Bott’s David Sanchez tells us. “We plan to start selling the kit soon, and we are working on some more special parts and options for this bike.”

The chassis is impressively simple. Simply a steel tube connecting the swingarm pivot to the head stock. Unlike standard Buell’s, the fuel is housed in a traditional tank.

Since the stock swingarm is retained, so is the standard Buell shock position and belt drive. Basically, this thing could quite easily rolled out of the old Buell factory.

“The front fork and 8 pistons brake caliper are from a Buell 1125,” explains David. “Front master cylinder and clutch lever are from ISR (including the push buttons). The bike aslo has a Motogadget display, and an Easton handlebar. Rear shock is an Öhlins from the Buell 1125 race kit.”

The oil cooler is tucked away behind slats in the carbon number board, next to the dinky projector lamps.

A tidy carbon seat/tail/number board completes the incredibly clean package. It appears to be supported by a small aluminum subframe.

  • rohorn

    Form AND function? Brutally cool and effective!!!!!!!

  • Daniel Silverman


  • disqus_vMyjB7O0Tb

    Surprisingly like the Honda Hornet 900… except this one is only firing on two cylinders.

    • Robotribe

      And significantly lighter than said Hornet.

  • Mitchel Durnell

    Not even in my wheelhouse but I like it. The splash of red from the plug wires is my favorite detail. They could have used a slightly more real seat and not lost anything aesthetically, though.

  • Campisi

    Man, that engine is hard to visually package.

  • JB

    short wheelbase, upright seating position, light and powerful. This bike looks crazy fun.

    • sean macdonald

      that seat looks crazy painful

  • Jordan Jones

    If Harley Davidson built this, I would ride a Harley Davidson.

  • Jonathan Berndt

    just dont see the point. you still have an ancient engine, weights a ton, and its not pretty, not to me anyway. its just not a high performance motor, but people keep putting them in bikes and raving about them! there are so many high performance upright bikes you can buy today that do the job better (Superduke, Ducati street fighter, Hyper motard, Tuono…).

    • Jonathan Berndt

      great, im repling to my own comment! i just looked at it again. man that primary belt cover alone has to weigh a ton, which made me think you still have an agricultural long throw tractor transmission to deal with right?

      • Tommy Zipprian

        The tranny argumet is the only one you have. As the owner of an XB12 it is its tragic downfall.

        • Scott Sweeney

          Yea, it really does suck that the trans is so clunky. You can’t speed shift those things you have to go at the pace the trans will let you. Otherwise the air cooled Buells are a friggen blast!

        • Jonathan Berndt

          ah no, i can still argue excessive weight to power ratio, and ancient design.

      • Peter Middleton

        trans is the worst part

    • Wes Siler

      Big air-cooled twins are full of character and are just fun to ride. People put a ton of value in that and uniqueness.

    • JB

      You omitted the Speed Triple from your list of awesome upright bikes. How dare you!

    • rohorn

      374 lbs “weighs a ton”? That’s 36 lbs less (and has 3 MORE hp) than the Superduke.
      What’s your point?

      • Jonathan Berndt

        the motor dude, the motor. so much has been learned since the 40′s!
        my Superduke would walk all over that thing im afraid.

        • rohorn

          Your Superduke makes less power and weighs more – please explain the “walking all over” thing.

          • Wagner Battistel

            How much more horsepower than Superduke? Did you mean Duke 690?

            • rohorn

              The Superduke isn’t on the KTM USA site, so I went here – 97hp:

              Yet it says 123hp on the technical details page. Great – my recently sold 14 year old ZX9R can “walk all over” it for about 20% of the price and is nowhere near as ugly as the Superduke. What’s the point of the Superduke?
              Disclaimer – a Superduke is at the top of my “If I ever get another new street bike” list. But when it comes to comparing performance, a decade old supersport 600 will do a lot more than “walk all over” it – and leave enough money left over for a trailer, leathers, a year of race entry fees, tires, etc… Which is why I don’t buy new street bikes anymore.

              • Jonathan Berndt

                its easier to compare a pair of lightweight, upright v-twins together (as i did) then said v-twin with a 14yr old 900cc inline supersport (which you just did!), isnt it??? i mean im sure a 30 yr old F16 would walk all over it too!

                • rohorn

                  Oh I agree – but I see the the KTM being somewhere between the other two – best of both worlds? As far as 4s vs 2s, well, even though my ZX9R was worlds faster than my M2, the twin got more miles in a good week than the four got all year.

              • Jake Herman

                My 07 Superduke makes 112 HP at the wheel (with slipons). I do love this Bott XR though and would happily trade (as long as I could ditch the silly number plate for a nice round headlight)

                • Jonathan Berndt

                  mine is an 07 as well.
                  i have a full system, PC, and a Motobox.

          • Jonathan Berndt

            my SD puts out 119 at the rear wheel, dynoed. the point, my good man, is the way the engine delivers that 119, it just rips right up the the red line. ive ridden Buells and they are different animals.

            • rohorn

              Good info – thanks.

    • Nathan Wiley

      Have you ever ridden a Buell? The big, slow revving, torquey nature of the thing just works. Same reason big air cooled singles are a riot to ride. Motorcycles would be pretty damn boring if they all had the same engine huh?

      • Jonathan Berndt

        sue have, and it was fun but id never own one.

    • Ricardo Gozinya

      Don’t you just wish people would stop liking stuff that you don’t like?

    • Peter Middleton

      Last I checked the desmo’s are pretty ancient as well

      • Jonathan Berndt

        maybe the architecture, but ride a 750 desmo back to back with a 1199 and tell me they havent advanced.
        then ride a 1930s era Harley back to back with a contemporary one.
        the above bike is like taking a Ford Model T engine and bolting it up to a Miata because you like the character of the engine, sure it can be done….

    • Jesse Oakes

      You’d have to ride one to understand.

      • Scott Jameson

        Perfect ‘hot-rod’ motorcycle example.

  • Chris Davis

    Thoroughly amazing. They fully exploited the great narrowness of the engine. The oil cooler and lights are so beautifully constructed I see no reason to hide them behind the cheesy carbon fiber number plate. The tail could use more attention; that’s the only thing making it a solid triple and not a home run. A minor point, but the gray clutch lever and grip/black brake lever and grip is kinda strange.

  • Scott Sweeney

    Looks awesome, but I’m sure it’s going to be hard to keep that front wheel on the ground.

  • akaaccount

    So what’s the advantage over an actual XB12? They are also light and handle like madness. The only reason I see to build one of these is if somebody put a better engine (transmission) in an XB and you find the engine at the dump.

  • tbowdre

    Check list for BUELL trilogy of technology: low unsprung weight (ZTL brake system)? Check. Mass centralization (underslung exhaust) ? Check. Chassis rigidity? opps!! This this will handle like a pig compared to an XB or 1125!

    Looks pretty cool though and it’s definitely interesting that they kept the stock exhaust. Seems to me most custom bikes would be so loud they cant really even be ridden.

    • Scott Jameson

      XB chassis rigidity, in spite of swing-arm attached-to engine/tran attached-to frame via rubber-cushion links.
      Std XB fuel capacity = minor annoyance; BOTT version changes that, too.

  • travellin

    Wow. Imagine if Erik built something like this around his 1190. Sign me up!

    • rashomon_one

      This isn’t significantly lighter than a Buell. McWilliams’s factory air-cooled XBRR weighed about 362 pounds with big bodywork, a big oil cooler, and had about 150 horsepower. It’s possible to build a single-seat XB12 that comes in at about 385 pounds, but it takes some work, as the standard engine is very heavy. The current EBR 1190RS weighs a very real 378 pounds wet minus fuel with the optional race muffler, and a street-fighter version with light headlights could be 10 pounds lighter yet without resorting to any exotic materials. However, this chassis design trades a view of the engine for vibration control, and if you’ve ever ridden a high revving, high-horsepower Sportster (pre-current-rubber-mount generation), you’d know the experience can simply be unpleasant.

      And whoever said the XB engine primary drive is heavy was right; there’s enough metal in there to just about build a 125cc race engine. And the Bott XR-1 couldn’t quite easily be rolled out of the old Buell factory, which is now occupied by Erik Buell Racing — the engine is no longer available to EBR, and the EBR assembly lines are to be devoted to much, much more exciting machines in the near future.

  • sharkguy

    Been following this build for awhile on one of the popular Buell forums. This thing is awesome! You can’t really understand a Buell unless you ride one. It doesn’t really compare to anything else out there. Let’s just say it works, it’s ability to deliver a visceral riding experience while still utilizing cutting edge engineering technology is amazing.

  • Eric

    It is just that dinosaur of an engine surrounded by the technical means to make it move well on the street .

    The shapes of suspension, frame, exhaust, oil cooler speak for themselves and there is a contrast between the primitive looking engine and the performance of the rest of the elements. Like an effective chopper, which i dont think they really exist.

    I dont get the square front number plate or deflector, i feel it needs some changing, bike looks better without it

  • Ross Elliott

    Beautiful and apparently capable to boot! Naked bikes just look better with air-cooled motors.

  • Emmet

    I’ve been looking forever for those girder front end pics. thanks!

  • Kerry Swartz

    My xb12s is the bike I’ve had the most fun riding in over ten years. I totally dig this except for the carbon fiber front and the idiot air filter.

  • Street Kore

    I’ve been following this progress over the last 6 months. It so brilliantly simple. Why can’t HD’s design team and engineers wrap their heads around this stuff from the onset? Regardless, Bottpower did an awesome job with this bike. I’m glad to hear they are going to work out a kit. Cause I was going to steal their idea anyway and build this frame around a wrecked Buell, LOL!

  • karlInSanDiego

    Ok, I know it started with a Moto2 builder, so he understands a lot more about frame rigidity than I do, but I finally end up with thinking the customer didn’t care about that at all (flattracker with no cushion on seat isn’t meant to ride much). Isn’t a frame supposed to triangulate the headstock? This looks like a poor handling bike because of that overly simplistic frame that is designed to twist. Or is it the tube’s diameter that stops that?

  • Blixa

    Looks like Johnny 5.

  • Dimitri Hettinga

    I think lots of people were in high anticipation when this bike got finished. It looks like Bottpower rushed the last details a bit. Especially the floating seat and the projector headlights. Never liked those. Beautiful bike though for a one off. Do not understand the fuss about the engine. The one and only thing Harley’s have going for them is the engine. The way it looks and sounds.

  • Jens

    Sign me for the sceptic list. Looks really cool indeed, but don’t see it going fast. But Good luck for the project.

    • Wes Siler

      What do you see as the problems? I see an XB12 with upgraded components and less weight, but possibly a little flexiness in the frame….

      • Jens

        The flex was my first thought too, Wes. Its more or less a steeringhead boltet to an XB engine. Loads of vibrations will make riding it difficult, at least uncomfortable. True a very nice custombike with an aircooled Buell engine, but not sure if the weight is correct, because there is also some stuff added like the second fueltank in relation to an stock XB. Anyhow I hope we get soon a riding report. Time for you to go to Europe, mate (-: