Not only is Buell Motorcycles back in business, but its sponsored racers are actually seeing some success, with recent wins in hillclimb and NHRA drag racing events.
When Buell Motorcycles started trumpeting its comeback in February of 2021, there were many naysayers. That’s understandable—the Buell Motorcycles/Erik Buell Racing saga is long, and filled with disappointment. First Harley-Davidson axed its Buell subsidiary. Then, when Erik Buell left to go into business on his own, changing to Rotax engines, his bikes appeared ready to take a massive leap forward … and a failed team-up with Indian manufacturer Hero combined with other business woes meant this endeavor also failed.
To add insult to injury, there were months of bickering over the company’s bones. Even though it was a “turn key operation” upon shutting down, it took multiple auctions to finally settle ownership.Since then, Erik Buell Racing’s buyers bought the Buell Motorcycle brand, merged the companies, and announced a return to serious production this past winter.
At this point, we haven’t heard any sales or financial numbers for the revived company, but Buell’s race program seems to be doing very well. Logan Cipala has two hillclimb wins this year for Buell,one in the Nitro National Pro Hillclimb series, and one in the AMA Pro Hillclimb series. He’s riding a massive racebike built on Buell’s 1190 platform, and also saw success in 2020.
Hillclimb is a bit niche, but what about drag racing? Buell’s machines are also winning here, with Matt Smith taking two wins in NHRA’s Pro Stock division in 2020.
It seems unlikely to expect Buell to attempt World Superbike or anything like that in the near future, but maybe something like the Isle of Man TT next season, or Pikes Peak (if they ever allow motorcycles to return)? That return to roadracing would be full circle for the company founded on the promise of made-in-America racebikes.