Updated: May 15
Dear Buell Super Fans,
My name is Jacob Stark, and I'm an Engineering Specialist here at the Rival/New/Former EBR/Buell Motorcycle Co. Welcome to my blog.
I come from the world of the Rider, the Mechanic, and the Enthusiast. I consider myself one of you, with the added benefit of being a liaison between the company/brand/bikes and yourselves.
I’m here to show off what we have been working on over here at the factory. I’ll be talking about our current/future models and digging into the latest of what Buell has been up to.
With that said, I’d like to RE-introduce our current models:
Both models started life in 2014 as the EBR 1190 SX & RX. At that time, they were considered competitive with Ducati’s Pingale, running in AMA Superbike and World Superbike. The 2022 and newer versions are essentially the same models as the EBR 1190 resurrected, with improvements. This is a real revival, this is a real restart; this is taking a good product and expanding upon it to create a great product, harkening to the phoenix of folklore: From the ashes of EBR, back into BUELL!
We return to a second year of production after officially starting back up in November of 2021, taking things slowly and very seriously. The Buell focus is honed in on improving the current SX and Hammerhead, with quality as a first and fundamental priority. That means starting with a major issue the models previously suffered from brittle body work, aka, “plastics”.
The early versions of the SX/RX (starting in 2014-2018) featured body panels made from a very thin, 2-3mm ABS substrate that was too brittle and would fracture in many areas under regular use... or even just looking at it. Understandably, using these parts did not fit the direction the company wanted to go when bringing our best product back to market; instead, Carbon Fiber was chosen for Buell body components.
A handful of new RX bikes received the Carbon Fiber Body, but the RX needed more than a facelift. An opportunity was birthed - not only to change materials, but to give the RX new, edgy styling.
Buell CEO Bill Melvin made initial sketches featuring aggressive lines and edges, turned them over to Industrial Designer Ryan Hahn and the Buell Hammerhead was born!
Improvements would continue beyond cosmetics, which is how I ended up with the Buell Team. Having formerly specialized in repairing, building, racing, restoring, and developing products for Buell and EBR Motorcycles, my task was to see how the bikes performed in the field and on the track, troubleshooting and creating solutions for different conditions of the machines, which included (but were not limited to):
Taking care of the little things first/quality control on the production line
Verifying that the critical fasteners in the engine (such as rod bolts, crankshaft nuts, clutch nuts, cam-timing, and valve clearances) all had the necessary special attention
Updating chassis components to prevent potential future issues
A small example of the latter:
The earlier SX wiring harness had a rub point, so for 2023 we redesigned the upper headlight bracket to alleviate wear that would have caused an eventual electrical short outside of warranty.
We also moved to a new version of the coolant overflow reservoir. These on the early SX/RXs were known to crack at the mount and slowly leak coolant. The new design no longer uses glue for the mounts; an aluminium-supported bracket holds everything in place.
I think one of the most significant improvements to the new versions of the bikes, though, is the front exhaust header - a unique design with a hard, almost 90-degree turn out from the port in a long oval, rounding as it enters the primary muffler. The old front header was prone to cracking along its seams (or even into multiple pieces). Not only was this a quality control issue, but a design issue. The front header now features a cast flange at the port, and back-purged for better-quality welds along seams. This part is also now backward compatible and available on our website for EBR brand 1190s. Enjoy!
Buell is constantly working on improving the current products. Some items take a lot of time and resources, and we always look for new or potential items to work on. Part of this journey is a strong push for backward compatibility; in other words, as we progress from old to new technologies, owners of EBR products can update with us.
A strong driver for these improvements is the development of new platforms.
Buell Motorcycles’ first big step towards a new model is the SuperTouring variant of the fuel-in-frame models, which shares many of the parts/characteristics of the SX (albeit with priority given to a more relaxed position and options added for storage/better wind protection).
Though not a huge leap away from the SX, the SuperTouring is more in the direction of the daily street rider - at least, compared to the Hammerhead, which is more tailored to the Racer or track enthusiasts.
Last but not least (and by far a fan favorite): The Super Cruiser.
When I heard we were working in collaboration with Roland Sands Designs and saw the drawings for the concept, a Cruiser fan I became. Superbike performance in a cruiser - not just the designation of a new Buell model, but a whole new category for the industry itself. I can’t wait to share all the cool features and details!
I look forward to sharing more details with the Buell customer/fan base. We plan to continue with updates at least once a month, where we air out future models such as the SuperTouring and Super Cruiser, updates to the present SX/Hammerhead, tech-talk about the bikes, some technical videos explaining process like basic services, events and promotions… things you haven’t heard, and a little extra, just to tie everything in.
Check back on the Buell website and social media platform for more news, sneak peeks, product updates, etc.
I look forward to staying in touch.
- Jacob Stark, Engineering Specialist, and general Misfit