Buell 1190 Super Touring
Buell is back in the ranks, and this time the company plans to release a full line of motorcycles – not only sportbikes, but also touring and off-road models.
The new Buell company promises to release 10 new models by 2024. Three of them, according to Buell CEO Bill Melvin, will be showcased at the J&P Cycles Destination Daytona Superstore at the Daytona Bike week in March.
The company’s new website contains information on three models plus the Buell-based 1190HCR hill climb bike that Logan Sipala used to win the 2020 AMA Pro Hillclimb Championship. The more upright 1190RX Hammerhead and 1190SX sportbike will seem familiar to anyone who has seen the old Buell Erik Buell Racing bikes, with the man whose name it is named in charge. The third model is very interesting news, it is the Buell 1190 Super Touring. It will not go on sale until 2023, but it is no coincidence that its announcement took place a couple of days before the announcement of the Harley Davidson Pan America touring vehicle.
Buell 1190 Super Touring
It takes a lot from previous Buells, including an aluminum frame that doubles as a fuel tank, a perimeter front brake disc, and a liquid-cooled 72-degree V-twin. But Director Melvin said more should be expected from their venture, not just 185-horse road bikes. By the time the 10 promised models are unveiled to the public, he said, there will be four engine models in production, including one for a small-capacity off-road motorcycle. It will be the most diverse line in the history of the company under the Buell name, the director emphasized.
Recall that the company, owned by the Melvin family, bought out the assets of EBR in 2016 and continued to sell parts and motorcycles in small series. Manufacturing moved to Grand Rapids in Michigan, where the company owns a factory, and then acquired the rights to the Buell brand last year.
Details on the new Buell iteration
Some details about the brand’s new iteration were revealed in an interview with Buell CEO Bill Melvin.
US motorcycle sales have been disappointing in the past decade, and Buell has lost ground. Is it at least risky to restart production in the current situation?
We are willing to take risks. We plan to produce high-end bikes at the right price point that are unique, exciting, and filling in so far empty market segments that no other American company has yet entered. In addition, we are working on more accessible platforms. The Buell brand has many fans around the world. In the past, the international presence of the brand was limited, but now we plan to grow into a competitive manufacturer of sports, not just road bikes. In addition, we plan to go off-road. We are confident that the market not only has a place for our products, but also needs them.
No one is involved in motorcycles without a personal inclination to do so. What’s your story?
I grew up on motorcycles. I started driving when I was four. When the family was having lunch, I spent hours doing circles around the house on an off-road motorcycle, I just could not get ripped off. And I grew up in the family of a motorcycle maniac, as I like to call him – he owned, collected, rode, raced on almost all motorcycles in the world. I was fortunate enough to grow up with a myriad of motorcycles that I could ride and that I learned and understood. I was always intrigued by the 1920s, when all these motorcycle companies were implementing various innovations: you see that a certain company did something, but it didn’t work, and another company did something different – and it went off. Some companies came up with a clear plan and adhered to it carefully, and it helped them. Others’ plan failed. A successful business is a mixture of all these factors and much more. We have a lot of experience in running a successful business and making smart decisions. And we will apply all of this here at Buell.
You are obviously history-savvy. What have you learned from Buell’s history, including the years it was owned by Harley Davidson?
Sometimes some things are released to the untrained market. Sometimes you need a detached view of what really works in the market to create a successful business plan on this basis. In doing so, it is necessary not to be limited to the parent company that commands “do this, do that”… This will never happen again. It is a brand in its own right, and it will remain so.
Let’s be clear. Eric Buell has nothing to do with this iteration of Buell Motorcycles, does he?
Doesn’t have. I love Eric, he’s a great guy. I admire him, he is working on very cool things now, and I am very happy for him.
It surprised many that even such a large corporation as Harley Davidson is rather cautious trying its hand in such a difficult segment as the touring vehicle. Will it be even more difficult for a small startup to create a competitive motorcycle of this class?
The Super Touring is going to be great. We’ll equip it with a couple of absolutely amazing features that people will love. It will be a tough, tough, super-fast bike, able to go side by side with the Ducati Multistrada.
The Multistrada is a highly sophisticated motorcycle with unique features such as adaptive cruise control. Can a small startup be able to compete in an area like onboard electronic assistants?
We are working on our version of the assistants, but it will be more of a motorcycle for advanced riders. It won’t need the features vital to mid-range riders.
What do you think of the Harley Davidson Pan America we’ll see on Monday?
How many horses does he have there? Our Super Touring will have 185. Let’s wait for an opportunity to compare them – and everything will fall into place. Fast is good. Fast in Buell is even better.
What do you drive?
My favorite is the SX, with a much more comfortable fit. It is easy to ride, very fast but manageable. Our Super Touring is part of the same platform. It is controllable, but if you can and want to, you will ride it on the level of any other motorcycle. I also have an XB9, which is very cool to fire. But I also love off-roading – this will be one of the coolest motorcycles we are working on. I’ve been driving it all summer and it’s great. He is small, nimble, very mischievous – I constantly smiled at him.