Q&A With EBR 1190RX Designer Ryan Hahn

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EBR-1190RX-Designer

Shortly after the bike’s AIMExpo unveiling, we spent a few minutes talking to EBR 1190RX designer Ryan Hahn. Here’s what he had to say about America’s new superbike.

RideApart: Where were you before EBR?
Ryan Hahn: “I worked for Buell before,” says Hahn. “When the company shut down I designed road bicycles for Trek. That was a great experience — two wheels still — but a different approach.”

RA: What did you work on at Buell?
RH: “I came into Buell right after the 1125CR [the company’s last major product before it was closed], so the Barracuda 2 [a similar project to the 1190RX which was under development when Harley killed the company] was a pretty awesome product to work on.

RA: So the design for the 1190RX was basically already done?
RH: Kinda, yeah. We had the approach; we had the direction with the RS. So, looking at the tech bits that we needed to develop, the headlight was a huge one, the instrument cluster was big — that’s what customers really want. [The TFT screen] was on our wish list when we first started, then we went through the development and it was like, ‘Is this really going to happen?’ And it did! We started the communication with the suppliers and things just kept rolling. It was a little more added cost, but we made the decision in order to make the product a home run. I think it’s an awesome package. “

RA: What parts of the 1190RX are you most proud of?
RH: “I think the whole rider interface is incredible. The upper triple is gorgeous, the damper is great, the front fairing bracket is really, really cool. It’s stamped and formed aluminum, welded together.”

RA: Can you describe what you were going for with the look?
RH: “I think the Japanese really have their image. Same with the European offerings. We pretty much had to look at it and do something to set ourselves apart. We don’t want to be alien, but we want it to be gorgeous and really say something. Hopefully, someday this will viewed as the American sportbike look. It’s subtle, it’s confident, there’s not a lot of unnecessary details. We do have incredible proportions in the way the tank interacts with the front and the tail. As well as the visual mass over the front wheel.”

RA: What’s it like to work at EBR?
RH: “We have a great team in East Troy, a bunch of people that really are are at the top of their game and they bring amazing things to the table. Every day I’m lucky to work with them. We also have a great group of suppliers and partners that execute and deliver, no matter the condition or timeline. The only way we are able to make a product like the 1190RX as good as what it is, is with everyone working hard and pouring all of their passion and talent into it.”

RA: Tell us about the LED headlights. Which Cree model are they?
RH: “It’s a light engine that they sell for headlights with multiple LED dies mounted on a ceramic substrate, it’s something they do specifically for headlights. So, in terms of which LED they’re using, they don’t tell us.”

“Actually, something interesting on that is we had a lot of good reception on the RS’s stacked round headlights — they’re functional — so originally when we started with this, we thought we’d try and go with that look. We were working with a great supplier on it, but it felt a bit forced. We were getting good light output from the round design, but what the technology really needed was this rectangle reflector that we got. It’s really well-dispersed, it’s bright, the low beam is wild, the high beam is even better. I think when you ride one you’ll be impressed.”

  • MichaelEhrgott

    I am so incredibly impressed with the power specs on this bike. The torque curve is ridiculously straight and linear. Waaay more consistent than the 1199. I really hope people buy it and EBR can start making smaller and cheaper bikes for us everyday folks. I’d rather have this than a 1199 in a heartbeat….just not in yellow :)

  • Stephen Mears

    I do like the design language, especially regarding the headlights over the B2 which were sort of a mini 1125R but came off 1098. The overall look is clean and functional. Like a fighter jet.

    • Moto Tommy

      The design of this bike reminds me of Playboy model versus a Ducati 1199, which reminds me of a Victoria Secret supermodel. It has all the right parts without the right proportions. The “unnecessary details” he mentions are what help make a design unique and create a design language. MV Agustas have many details that help to create a beautiful overall package without being some visually efficient slab sided bore. Would you rather have Pamela Anderson or an appropriately aged Sophia Loren?

  • roma258

    If the graphics were more modern/cohesive, I think it’d be a good looking bike. As it is, there are some nice lines, but the overall look feels a bit dated and disjointed. Not a terrible effort for a first mass production bike though.

  • PDXGSXR

    I think this thing is going to sell. The market for high end sportsbikes is there – the S1000 HP4 and the Panigale S/R, while not volume monsters, are not languishing unsold in dealerships.

    When you spend that much on a bike that is marginally different performance wise from a ZX1R which costs 60% as much you’re doing it to treat yourself and to stand out.

    If the performance is there this will over a margin of exclusivity and curiosity above a Duc or Beemer and then there’s the made in the USA angle to boot.

    If it goes on to make a respectable or better showing in WSBK then I think that’ll almost guarantee it.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      How is it not head and shoulder faster than a ZX10-R? That bike peaks somewhere around the mid 170 bhp range in North American trim and develops nothing like the EBR’s torque. The Kawasaki peaks at 82 lb-ft, a figure the EBR betters from 4,000 rpm all the way to the redline, peaking at 102 lb-ft. That’s an enormous advantage.

      • PDXGSXR

        In theory? For sure it’s faster, but I meant in practice or actual extractable performance per dollar if you will. I’d wager that less than a quarter of the guys buying a Panigale R or one of these could actually lap meaningfully faster than they could on a ZX10-R. You’re talking about the fraction of guys that go to the track and have at least basic track skills, the percentage of those guys that are fast by track standards, and then the percentage of those guys willing to flog a $20k bike at that pace.

        Yes those guys exist. But I think that on average in this market, it comes down more to cachet and bragging rights than the fact that in the hands of an A group rider, the bike could lap a few seconds faster than a bike costing 50% as much.

        Nothing wrong with that, I’d love a Panigale for street and occasional track duty. But frankly if I was club racing I’d buy a wrecked R6 and spend the money on K-Tech suspension and a tune.

      • Rob

        And yet, even though on paper it seems the numbers should solve it, things like the CBR1000RR keep giving what should be superior bikes bloody noses. Numbers aren’t everything as many comparison reviews will show.

      • runnermatt

        On displacement and power shouldn’t it compare closer to a ZX14-R or Hayabusa, etc. I imagine it trumps them on weight, but the EBR and Panigale both have about 200cc more than the liter bikes. The BMW S1000RR (195 hp?) is the only liter bike that compete on power right? I’ll admit I don’t have a clue what the power figures are for most of those bikes.

        • pdad13

          Two very different kinds of bikes. The ZX-14 and Hayabusa are hypersports–comparitively big, heavy bikes with lots of power, but not real racetrack handling. The Panigale, ZX-10R and the RX are superbikes, which are the basis for production-based roadracers. They’re much lighter, sharper handling and have better power to weight ratios.

          You also can’t compare bikes on engine displacement alone. The EBR and Duc are twin cylinder bikes. The ZX-10R and most other superbikes are four cylinder bikes, which can rev higher and make more power per displacement than twins. So, a 1200cc twin is considered roughly equal to a 1000cc four. Each has strengths and weaknesses and represent different engineering approaches to building the “best” superbike.

          • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

            Despite the marketing, the ZX-14 and Hayabusa are sport tourers. Performance is compromised in the name of comfort and practicality.

            Bikes like the EBR 1190RX are superbikes, they maximize performance at the expense of all other parameters.

      • Ryan Deckard

        It is way faster than a ZX10-R, smoked 2 zx10s, an r1 and a gsx1000 last week on my 1190RX

  • John

    I sincerly hope they come out with more variety. I’d love to support them, but I can’t afford car prices for a motorcycle. Nor do I want a sport bike.

    • Piglet2010

      They may well come out with a less expensive line of bikes, but they will also likely be built by Hero in India. Of course, EBR is planning on selling some Hero models in the US.

  • kentaro

    MOAR EBR ARTICLES. YES!

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      I’d write nothing but EBR articles if I could, believe me.

      • Piglet2010

        I’ve heard from people that live in East Troy that he is a nice guy.

        • Ryan Deckard

          Erik is a great guy. We rode up from Indy to Chicago to the Craftsman Experience a couple years ago in 40 degree rain to check out the first public showing of the 1190RS. After the show, Erik stood around and talked to us about EBR, the 1190RS, buells, etc, and then he went out in the cold rain to sign our bikes.

          Pretty epic individual. His spirit is contageous.

  • http://garrett-nelson.tumblr.com/ Garrett Nelson

    The great Euro v. Japanese v. American sport bike debate continues on. Yes Japanese bikes “perform really well” and “are reasonable priced.” The more expensive European and now American bikes aren’t that much “faster” and “cost more.”

    In my opinion they cost more because they give a better rider experience. Better controls and levers, better components, less compromises on the sport riding experience. The Japanese bikes are way more conservative and are compromised in their rider experience by that. The Euro bikes, and I imagine the new EBR 1190RX will be more dedicated to their sport riding design brief. To me it’s worth spending extra money on a less compromised motorcycle.

  • James Battaglia

    Not to nit pick (since I’m super impressed with Erik’s bikes) but I would have asked about the toy-like decals and very odd radiator fan placement. It’s like a perfectly formed boob with a decade-behind sticker and large mole on the side.

  • BigRooster69

    So impressed with this bike and very excited for the next bike to come out. If the pending SX ends up being anything close to a revival of the old Lightning or CR (only way better), and comes in under $20K; I’ll be in line with the cash!

  • Michael

    when do you guys get to test one? Any other details on accessories like a race kit, full track version, etc?

  • MeatyBeard

    Wait, this bike had a designer? Well, it almost looks ok.