RIP EBR

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RIP EBR

Postby MadYZF » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:15 am

Erik Buell Racing closed shop recently. This critique on EBR's demise is quite provoking:

https://rideapart.com/articles/riding-w ... -taught-us
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Re: RIP EBR

Postby Pepperoni » Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:44 pm

MadYZF wrote:Erik Buell Racing closed shop recently. This critique on EBR's demise is quite provoking:

https://rideapart.com/articles/riding-w ... -taught-us


That article is from 2016 regarding when they were NOT quite done--the liquidation company actually kept all of the assets together while trying to find a buyer and in March 2016, EBR started manufacturing some bikes again but finally announced back in January 2017 that they really were winding down operations (apparently the liquidators got tired of financially propping up the company).

The article misses a lot of Buell history. Before he "partnered" with H-D, the Buell bikes were first just H-D powered roadrace bikes (with some success in the old AMA Battle of the Twins class). However, for almost every model produced under H-D, they were all recalled for minor to major reasons. This was not good for consumer confidence of for corporate coffers. Also, the bikes failed to equal/outperform their Japanese and European counterparts. Also, H-D NEVER truly got behind making and MARKETING sportbikes. They flubbed their V-Rod line and never found a way to get their cruiser Kool-Aid drinkers to go buy a sportbike.

When Buell and H-D parted ways (2009), he had to wait a full year before he could start manufacturing and selling motorcycles, now under the "Erik Buell Racing" (he wasn't allowed to simply call the company "Buell") With little capital and low sales, there was no true long-term future for the company. They spent big bucks a few years ago competing for a season in World Superbike with a motorcycle that was dog-slow (think old, arthritic dog...) compared to ALL of the other competitors, plus with older riders (including Aaron Yates who hadn't raced for a few years after a serious leg injury)--there was little chance of doing well. This didn't translate into a newer, better motorcycle or sales success, either.

After the 2016 bankruptcy, they operated under the name "EBR". Basically, selling a motorcycle that was several years old with no updates because they had no money.

H-D should have just told Buell to stuff his ego (back when they first partnered up) and named the bikes "Harley-Davidson." The H-D VR1000 superbike (raced in the AMA from 1994 - 2001) attracted a lot of H-D riders/fans to the racetrack but H-D didn't have a sportbike for any of them to buy. The bike was outdated by the time it hit the track and was never a championship contender. H-D just can never seem to decide whether or not it's going to make a sportbike--a real sportbike--and really market the hell out of it.

And, as for the article's "Oh, guess making motorcycles is a hard business"? Well, DUH! ANY motor vehicle manufacturing is a tough business. Look at what just happened to Polaris' Victory Motorcycles line (honestly, better performance than most of the H-D models) and those were all cruisers/baggers. The resurrected MV Agusta is constantly in financial peril (only recently (as in the last month) saved again). Cagiva failed. Ducati barely hung on for a long time. Even BMW almost got out of the motorcycle business (I think, I could be wrong about that) awhile back, they were basically only selling touring/touring-oriented bikes (plus the GS1000). Yeah, it's frickin' hard (i.e. "costs metric tons of cash").

Sadly for the American market, H-D is just this crazy marketing juggernaut that has managed to get the overwhelming majority of its riders (actual H-D motorcycle owners) to believe that they are the greatest thing on two wheels, that American bikes are better than "all that foreign crap" (they would never state that so bluntly, of course), that cruisers are the way to go, blah, blah, blah. Just look at these sales figures from 2014 for H-D:

vehicle sales: $4.39 BILLION
merchandise, apparel, etc.: $285 MILLION

And a lot of that is purchased by non-H-D owners (as in passengers, children of riders, brand fans, etc.), not to mention all of the licensed merchandise (branded items, like tool chests, tools, etc.) and UNlicensed merchandise that is sold and the zillions of people with H-D tattoos, stickers on their trucks, and so on and so forth.

If H-D had the will, Buell sportbikes (standards, and the Ulysses ADV) could have succeeded. If they had the will, they could succeed with their own line of sportbikes, etc. They are just afraid of the brand loyalists that THEY created rejecting anything other than cruisers (to wit: V-Rods and Buells).
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Re: RIP EBR

Postby MadYZF » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:52 pm

Thanks for sharing your many thoughts on this one and EBR, Pepperoni. In the end, this art is just a persuasive writing from a dark-side perspective that doesn't do much justice to Erik or EBR. I found it provocative in that it's the single writing where someone's not taken an EBR-friendly angle and preferred a more fatidic interpretation of this company's history. But, like any real story, things are always much more complicated.

I've watched a good number of videos where Erik speaks directly to buyers, distributors and anyone interested in motorcycling or his products. His enthusiasm is contagious and comes from the heart.

I remember the racing HDs. They looked retro-cool with the curvy front and half-black, half-orange(?) paint scheme. HD's incursion with the HD engine-based Buell models was a disappointment in my humble opinion. Though nimble, I always thought of these as hideously malformed interpretations of a sport bike, more like "bikes by committee" if you will. They looked as if intended to bridge cruiser- with sportbike-lovers, but it didn't do if for me at all.

As quirky as the Buell 1125R/CR look compared to pretty much anything else, the core platform and components were solid. I hold it as a solid product. EBR seemed destined for some success by disassociation from HD. Pity. The EBR 1190RX is an elegant piece of engineering and comparable to Ducatis in its MSRP range. Now that its price has dropped so low, I wonder if I should start saving up.
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Re: RIP EBR

Postby Pepperoni » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:11 am

EBR didn't have capital or an enthusiastic dealer network and that led to its final failure. Erik Buell should have gone back to making niche bikes for big bucks and not trying to make mass-produced bikes competing at Ducati/Aprilia/MV Agusta prices.

Sport Rider (http://www.sportrider.com/sportbikes/20 ... ide-review) and Cycle world (http://www.cycleworld.com/2014/06/13/du ... fications/) both liked the EBR 1190RX quite a bit (though they both seemed to comment on a very hard clutch lever pull) and, golly--like I described with virtually every model of Buell, Cycle World had a front brake rotor problem (apparently a supplier didn't finish them all correctly and it was replaced and then worked fine; not a big deal, but not something that can be easily financially handled by a small manufacture and must have caused Hero (owner of 49.2% of the company) to have a coughing fit, so to speak).

HOWEVER, every review of the EBR front brake on the sportbike models states that on the street, they're fine, but pushed hard on the track, they don't measure up to a twin rotor setup. If you're just on the street or just not pushing race-pace on the track, then it's never going to be an issue.

That said, if you can actually get one for the discount price of $9.995 (see cycletrader.com re: a dealership in Waukesha, WI), which is 1/2 the MSRP, then it's a real score. Seriously. For $10 grand? Seriously...

Except for one BIG BIG BIG issue: there is ZERO spare parts availability from what I've read. ZERO. You're on your own. If something breaks (or worse, you crash), either you'll have to get lucky (Ebay, bike salvage yards, both of which will have few parts because there were so few bikes sold), figure out who made the part (for common stuff, like maybe the fuel pump which they certainly didn't manufacture in-house), fabricate the stuff yourself, or go hungry. But finding, say a front rotor replacement? Good luck.

IMHO, it's always a shame when a manufacturer drops out of the picture (except maybe when Chinese manufacturer, Vento, stopped selling bikes in the US within one year...not a shame at all...). It's disappointing that Victory couldn't garner the attention from US cruiser riders that it deserved (really, great bikes with lots of power and (I think) excellent reliability and great styling. It's a shame that Norton didn't come back in a big way. It's a joke (to me) that Polaris has put huge bucks into resurrecting Indian (why? Sure, the bikes are getting rave reviews (like a lot of the Victory models did) but they're basically selling nostalgia vis a vis the name and the styling of the bikes--where's the originality? WTF is wrong with American motorcyclists?). Yes, they are succeeding, and I WANT them to succeed, but...It's a shame that Bimota went belly-up over the failure of the V-Due (a modern, street-legal 500cc TWO-STROKE sportbike with amazing handling that weighed about 17lbs (it was very light) but they couldn't figure out their emissions-qualifying direct fuel-injection and the bikes ran like crap and the company "shot their whole wad" on it).

Oh, well. I'll get my new, $15.49 aftermarket fuel pump installed in my YZF this week and get back to having fun actually riding...
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Re: RIP EBR

Postby MadYZF » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:30 pm

Pepperoni wrote:EBR didn't have capital or an enthusiastic dealer network and that led to its final failure. Erik Buell should have gone back to making niche bikes for big bucks and not trying to make mass-produced bikes competing at Ducati/Aprilia/MV Agusta prices.

Sport Rider (http://www.sportrider.com/sportbikes/20 ... ide-review) and Cycle world (http://www.cycleworld.com/2014/06/13/du ... fications/) both liked the EBR 1190RX quite a bit (though they both seemed to comment on a very hard clutch lever pull) and, golly--like I described with virtually every model of Buell, Cycle World had a front brake rotor problem (apparently a supplier didn't finish them all correctly and it was replaced and then worked fine; not a big deal, but not something that can be easily financially handled by a small manufacture and must have caused Hero (owner of 49.2% of the company) to have a coughing fit, so to speak).

HOWEVER, every review of the EBR front brake on the sportbike models states that on the street, they're fine, but pushed hard on the track, they don't measure up to a twin rotor setup. If you're just on the street or just not pushing race-pace on the track, then it's never going to be an issue.

That said, if you can actually get one for the discount price of $9.995 (see cycletrader.com re: a dealership in Waukesha, WI), which is 1/2 the MSRP, then it's a real score. Seriously. For $10 grand? Seriously...

Except for one BIG BIG BIG issue: there is ZERO spare parts availability from what I've read. ZERO. You're on your own. If something breaks (or worse, you crash), either you'll have to get lucky (Ebay, bike salvage yards, both of which will have few parts because there were so few bikes sold), figure out who made the part (for common stuff, like maybe the fuel pump which they certainly didn't manufacture in-house), fabricate the stuff yourself, or go hungry. But finding, say a front rotor replacement? Good luck.

IMHO, it's always a shame when a manufacturer drops out of the picture (except maybe when Chinese manufacturer, Vento, stopped selling bikes in the US within one year...not a shame at all...). It's disappointing that Victory couldn't garner the attention from US cruiser riders that it deserved (really, great bikes with lots of power and (I think) excellent reliability and great styling. It's a shame that Norton didn't come back in a big way. It's a joke (to me) that Polaris has put huge bucks into resurrecting Indian (why? Sure, the bikes are getting rave reviews (like a lot of the Victory models did) but they're basically selling nostalgia vis a vis the name and the styling of the bikes--where's the originality? WTF is wrong with American motorcyclists?). Yes, they are succeeding, and I WANT them to succeed, but...It's a shame that Bimota went belly-up over the failure of the V-Due (a modern, street-legal 500cc TWO-STROKE sportbike with amazing handling that weighed about 17lbs (it was very light) but they couldn't figure out their emissions-qualifying direct fuel-injection and the bikes ran like crap and the company "shot their whole wad" on it).

Oh, well. I'll get my new, $15.49 aftermarket fuel pump installed in my YZF this week and get back to having fun actually riding...
It's a pity such a good end product couldn't keep going. The comparos are all favorable, putting the 1190RX up there with a Panigale, for ex. The hard clutch pull issue was eventually resolved around 2014 if I remember correctly; didn't know this was common to other Buells too. The rotor issue is really inexcusable but things happen during shipment or transport. With such a large brake disk, accidents tend to happen. I wonder which brake configuration, i.e. single large disc or the typical dual disc, EBR would have selected in a racing setting.

The prices are quite low. I've seen at least one below $8K with under 1K miles. That's a steal. The lack of sufficient spare parts is a huge issue, though. The EBR site does show a good number of components. For ex., http://www.erikbuellracing.net/store/pa ... rakes.html. However, eBay is an EBR desert. Hmm.

The Pyrrhic Victory case is another sad one. Great bikes, great style, Indian-branded models included. Re: Bimota, I fell in love with sport bikes when I saw their reinventions of all sorts of production bikes. Truly an art studio. But the V Due turned to be too big of a bite for some reason: all sorts of glitches, oil leaks, etc., forcing owners to line up in the "returns" line.

As to the YZF600R, it's such a breeze to find replacement parts and a decent array of custom items that it has me spoiled. For now, at least.
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Re: RIP EBR

Postby Pepperoni » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:23 pm

The rotor issue wasn't damage during transport, it was a manufacturing issue by a supplier. So another quality control thing that resulted in another recall/warranty issue for the company. And the hard clutch pull issue *was* with the 2014s, but maybe that got fixed with the 2015s and 2016s?

But if the no-spare-parts thing doesn't scare you, I agree that an 1190RX for under 10 grand is a great deal. If you do get one, I'd recommend getting a 2016 (or 2017 if they put any together this year), just for the sake of having the latest model year and greatest likelihood of having all/the most mechanical issues removed from the picture.
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Re: RIP EBR

Postby Micah » Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:20 pm

I saw a an 1190 RX in yellow while in Pennsylvania last week. To Pepperoni's point, zero parts availability would dampen the prospect of buying remaining units, until you get the thought that they're going for ½ of MSRP... 1000cc Superbike performance for less than 600cc prices???

I thought the 1125 used a Rotax engine, sprinkled with Erik's innovations here and there.

I have got to give it to Erik though... Here's a guy who chased after his dreams several times to build a quality American sport bike.
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EBR factory auction

Postby MadYZF » Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:00 pm

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Re: RIP EBR

Postby Insulinboy » Thu Jun 08, 2017 12:26 am

for what its worth Polaris closed the doors on Victory to focus on Indian since they bought out the brand. Silly to have two competing companies under the same roof.

I like the victory's better.. but I'm willing to bet the indians attack the HD market better
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