Buell motorcycles sold for metal

MotorBikeWriter rides the Buell 1125R Erik Buell

The future of Erik Buell Racing is under a cloud after its remaining assets were sold at a court-ordered auction for $US2.25 million to a rare metals scrap merchant.

Atlantic Metals Group LLC bought the assets, including all the factory machinery, tooling, motorcycle inventory, parts inventory, accounts receivable and intangible assets. The company is expected to make an announcement soon about what they intend to do with the purchase.

EBR closed down and went into administration in April and last week Indian motorcycle company Hero entered a settlement agreement with the court-appointed receiver to buy $2.8 million worth of the American muscle sports bike company’s “consulting assets”. EBR is already 49% owned by Hero, formerly known as Hero Honda.

Erik Buell
Erik Buell

The sale of “consulting assets” to Hero provides hope that the innovative motorcycle maker may continue to be involved and make more radical out-of-the-box motorcycles.

However, the sale of the remaining assets to a metal company will have motorcycle enthusiasts and Buell fans concerned.

The company’s website says they deal in “pure elements, alloys and compounds” like a high-grade scrap-metal merchant.

But a promising post on the EBR Facebook page says: “Atlantic Metals division of BGI is a manufacturer of fabricated metal equipment in the architectural, electrical and lighting businesses. We are not in the scrap metal business. We make things. We make them here in Jersey, in the USA, with American engineers, American ingenuity, and American skilled labor. Been at it for over 30 years. We know how. EBR is intact and in good hands. Thanks for keeping the faith! More to come. Time to get to work.”

EBR has been imported in Australia by Urban Moto Imports and we are waiting for comments on warranty, service and parts from Urban Moto Imports.

The last we heard from them was this statement in April: “Whilst there are speculative news reports on EBR’s current situation, we cannot report to you any official notifications of any changes. So until such time it is business as usual for EBR in Australia & New Zealand. We will update you immediately once we have news from EBR head office in the USA.”

Erik Buell and MotorBikeWriter
Erik Buell and MotorBikeWriter

I met Erik Buell in 2008 when he came to Australia for the launch of his radical Buell 1125R with a peripheral disc front brake, oil in the swingarm and fuel in the frame.

Erik signed my helmet and told me he was confident in the future of sportsbikes so long as builders kept innovating.

Within a year, the GFC hit and Harley-Davidson, which had bought out its former employee’s Buell company, decided to shelve Buell and sell MV Agusta. In retrospect a very wise move, although sad for Erik.

He was a passionate racer and has been an inventive designer who pushed the boundaries and created some amazing bikes.

Erik was so passionate, he invested his own money from the Harley payout to develop the esoteric EBR sportsbike company and go racing.

Erik Buell racing
EBR 1190 RX in the World Superbikes at Sepang

The company did well in American road racing, but struggled in the market at a time when sportsbike sales are declining due to hefty speeding fines and the proliferation of speed cameras.

EBR was 49% owned by the Indian Hero MotoCorp, but needed funding to continue. When funding fell through recently, the writing was on the wall.

But with accumulated debts of more than $20 million, Erik ceased production and south protection under American law from bankruptcy, hoping for a benevolent buyer.

One thought on “Buell motorcycles sold for metal

  1. “radical Buell 1125R with a peripheral disc front brake, oil in the swingarm and fuel in the frame.”

    While the 1125R had all these features, I don’t think you can really call it a radical design as the XB9R and XB9S (Firebolt and Lightning respectively) had all of these features well before the 1125R, at least 6 years prior in fact. The 1125R was more an evolution of XB9 and XB12 series. Probably the most radical thing about the 1125 was that it didn’t use a HD motor. From memory, Buell wanted to use the engine from the V-Rod but HD said no so he had to source a replacement and ended up using a Rotax motor, which was probably the first indicator that HD were likely to wind up the operation rather than support it, which I agree, was a sad ending to a very promising relationship.

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