After many twists, turns and the complete evolution of that initial concept over the last 25 years, Buell and company launched the Buell 1125R in 2008, a high performance super bike. For a quarter century, Erik Buell and the Buell Motorcycle Company have been devoted to the idea of building the world's best handling motorcycles.
Never one to pay much attention to convention, Buell let his engineering intuition guide him down the path of innovation with attitude. For Buell, it's always been about creating motorcycles that enhance the riding experience, because it starts from the rider down.Erik Buell worked for Harley-Davidson in various roles before in 1983, leaving to pursue his dream to design and build his first motorcycle, the RW750. This 750cc, square-four two-stroke, rotary valve racing bike was expected to compete in the AMA Formula One road racing class.
When the AMA announced the end of Formula One racing in 1985, effectively eliminating the market for the RW750, Erik dug in and went back to work on a new bike.Buell blazed its own technological trail with the design of the RR1000 motor-cycle, which was produced as the first true American sportbike under the name of Buell Motor Company in 1987-88. The RR1000 utilised a Harley-Davidson XR1000 engine mounted with Buell's patented Uniplanar Isolation system as a fully stressed member of the frame, and with the rear suspension mounted beneath the motor and a shock operating in reverse of conventional practice.
This was Buell's first application of the engineering principles later known as the Buell Trilogy of Technology: Mass Centralisation, Chassis Rigidity and Low Unsprung Weight.Erik continued to refine his motorcycles with updates to the RR, RS and RSS series from 1988 to 1993 with new transmission, chassis, inverted front forks, stainless steel braided lines and a six-piston front brake caliper. In 1993, Harley-Davidson, Inc. acquired 49 percent of what became known as the Buell Motorcycle Company.Buell introduced the S2 Thunderbolt model in 1994 with fluid design and lines, followed by the sport touring S2T model in 1995.The all new S1 Lightning motorcycle was introduced in 1996 as the original "street fighter" hooligan motorcycle with minimal body work, exposed frame, racing styled seat.
The S3 and S3T Thunderbolt models were also introduced.In 1997, Buell introduced the M2 Cyclone with a relaxed seating design. The 101hp Thunderstorm engine was introduced in 1998 on the S1W Lightning model, which also featured a carbon fibre rear fender and bold colours. Thunderbolt models also received the new engine with Thunderstorm heads. In 1998, Harley-Davidson acquired another 49 percent of Buell Motorcycle Company.Buell dedicated its 42,000-square-foot Research and Development Centre in East Troy in 1999, while also redesigning its Lightning models with new bodies, frames, suspension, colours and seats.
The 492cc air-cooled, single-cylinder Buell Blast was launched in the 2000 model year as a versatile, economical and eye-catching model. The Blast is a high quality, durable sport motorcycle that is easy to learn and practical for everyday use.In 2003, Buell launched the revolutionary Firebolt XB9R highlighting the Trilogy of Technology, with fuel in the frame, oil in the swing arm, and premium components like ZTL brakes, minimalist styling and agile handling. Other XB models followed, including the Lightning XB9S, Firebolt XB12R, Lightning XB12S and Lightning XB9SX CityX.
Harley-Davidson also acquired the final two percent of Buell Motorcycle Company.The Ulysses XB12X adventure sportbike with long travel suspension, aggressive tyres and the Thunderstorm engine, was introduced in 2005, followed by the Lightning XB12STT Super TT model in 2006.
Buell produced its 100,000th motor-cycle, a Ulysses XB12X model, at its East Troy facility in November 2006, and will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary with its riders at various events and activities in 2008.