Here’s one we didn’t see coming: Buell Motorcycles is returning to business, and the company says it currently has motorcycles in production. And, Erik Buell isn’t actually involved with the company anymore. And, Buell Motorcycles says it’s planning to build an adventure bike, soon.
It’s probably the most unexpected moto-news we’ve heard in a very long time, based on the long, drawn-out demise of the last company bearing the Buell name. But, given the brand’s amazing resilience, maybe this news shouldn’t be surprising at all. It’s not the first comeback for Buell.
Who/What is Buell?
Most experienced riders are familiar with the Buell name and brand; if you just got here, we’ll do a quick rundown of the company history. Skip to the next section, otherwise, for the real news.
Once upon a time there was a man named Erik Buell, who worked for Harley-Davidson in the 1980s, particularly on the company’s racing projects. He also tinkered with his own design ideas and company, and during the 1990s, Buell Motorcycles became a subsidiary of Harley-Davidson. The idea was that Buell would build performance-oriented machines using a combination of innovative engineering techniques (Buell’s designs focused on mass centralization, in particular), as well as Harley-Davidson technology.
Opinions on the results were mixed. Some of the resulting machines became cult bikes. The Buell Ulysses kinda-sorta ADV tourer was particularly well-loved by its owners. The XB-series naked bikes weren’t as light or powerful as their Japanese/Euro equivalents, but they brought a certain bare-knuckle flair to the streetfighter scene that has sadly long vanished.
Buell Motorcycles’ main problem was that it used Harley-Davidson engine tech, mostly re-worked Sportster designs. They had lots of torque, but low horsepower, and they were…