Buell Motorcycles to be Discontinued and MV Agusta Sold Off as Harley Davidson Income Falls

Harley Davidson to discontinue Buell and sell MV AgustaHarley Davidson's earnings just came in and third-quarter net income dropped 84%. But this jumped out at me:

The company plans to discontinue its Buell product line and sell its MV Agusta unit, essentially exiting the sport bike market.

"The fact is we must focus both our effort and our investment on the Harley-Davidson brand, as we believe this provides an optimal path to sustained, meaningful long-term growth," CEO Keith Wandell said in the release.

Buell motorcycles will be discontinued, resulting in the loss of 180 jobs over time and MV Agusta will be sold. The troubles are substantial and the work necessary to rebuild is enormous.

I have to admit, I was not expecting that news. Wow.

I'll add more details as they become available but what are some possible directions for Buell? Harley Davidson needs to do what it must to save the company and Buell may not fit into their plans but that does not mean there is no place for Buell in the motorcycle market. Ideas?

Buell Video plus Harley Davidson press release:

Harley-Davidson announces 3rd quarter results, Unveils long-term business strategy
MILWAUKEE (October 15, 2009)
- Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE:HOG) announced decreased revenue, net income and earnings per share for the third quarter of 2009 compared to the year-ago period, while reporting a moderation in the decline of retail new Harley-Davidson motorcycle sales compared to the second quarter.

Worldwide retail sales of new Harley-Davidson® motorcycles declined 21.3 percent in the third quarter compared to last year’s third quarter, an improvement from the 30.1 percent decline in this year’s second quarter. An 84.1 percent decline in net income and an 84.5 percent decline in diluted earnings per share from the year-ago quarter reflected lower motorcycle shipments and the effects of the economy on retail and wholesale loan performance at Harley-Davidson Financial Services.

Harley-Davidson also unveiled major elements of its go-forward business strategy to drive growth through a single-minded focus of efforts and resources on the unique strengths of the Harley-Davidson brand, and to enhance productivity and profitability through continuous improvement. As approved yesterday by Harley-Davidson’s Board of Directors, the Company will discontinue its Buell product line and divest its MV Agusta unit as part of this strategy.

“While the environment remains challenging for us, we are mildly encouraged by the moderation in the decline of dealer retail Harley-Davidson motorcycle sales,” said Keith Wandell, Chief Executive Officer of Harley-Davidson, Inc. “And moving forward, our strategy is designed to strengthen Harley-Davidson for long-term growth and deliver results through increased focus.

“As our announcement regarding Buell and MV Agusta indicates, we are moving with the speed and decisiveness required to bring our business strategy to life,” said Wandell. “The fact is we must focus both our effort and our investment on the Harley-Davidson brand, as we believe this provides an optimal path to sustained, meaningful, long-term growth.”


“Delivering Results Through Focus” Strategy
A key element of the Company’s go-forward strategy is to focus on extending the Harley-Davidson brand by leveraging unique Harley-Davidson strengths. The strategy focuses company resources on Harley-Davidson products and experiences, global expansion, demographic outreach and commitment to core customers. In addition, the Company will continue to expand its initiatives to enhance profitability through continuous improvement in manufacturing, product development and business operations.

“We are refocusing our business with the expectation that we can provide growth that is both profitable and sustainable over the long term,” said Wandell. “We believe we can create a bright long-term future for our stakeholders through a single-minded focus on the Harley-Davidson brand.”


Details of Buell and MV Agusta Actions
The Company will discontinue production of Buell motorcycles. Remaining inventories of Buell motorcycles, accessories and apparel, while they last, will continue to be sold through authorized dealerships. Warranty coverage will continue as normal for Buell motorcycles and the Company will provide replacement parts and service through dealerships.

The decision will result in a reduction over time of about 80 hourly production positions and about 100 salaried positions at Buell. Employment will end for a majority of Buell employees Dec. 18, 2009.

Harley-Davidson, Inc. expects to incur approximately $125 million in one-time costs related to the discontinuation of the Buell product line. The Company expects to incur approximately $115 million of that amount this year.

Relative to MV Agusta, the Company will immediately commence efforts to sell the business, which is based in Varese, Italy.

In the third quarter, Harley-Davidson, Inc. recorded a one-time fixed-asset impairment charge of $14.2 million related to Buell and a goodwill impairment charge of $18.9 million related to MV Agusta.

“Buell and MV Agusta are great companies, with proud brands, high-quality exciting products and passionate enthusiasm for the motorcycle business. Buell has introduced many innovative advancements in motorcycle design and technology over the years and MV Agusta is known in Europe for its premium, high-performance sport motorcycles. However, our strategy to focus on the Harley-Davidson brand reflects the fact that we believe our investments in that brand are a better utilization of overall company resources,” said Wandell.


Retail Motorcycle Sales.During the third quarter, retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles decreased 21.3 percent worldwide, 24.3 percent in the U.S. and 13.1 percent in international markets, compared to the prior-year quarter. Industry-wide U.S. retail heavyweight (651cc+) motorcycle sales declined 35.9 percent during the quarter, compared to the year-ago period.

For 2009 compared to 2008 through nine months, retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles decreased 22.9 percent worldwide, 25.5 percent in the U.S. and 16.5 percent in international markets. Industry-wide U.S. retail heavyweight motorcycle sales declined 38.7 percent year to date in 2009, compared to 2008.

Harley-Davidson Financial Services
Harley-Davidson Financial Services recorded an operating loss of $31.5 million for the third quarter of 2009 compared to an operating profit of $35.6 million in the third quarter of 2008. This decrease of $67.2 million was due to a higher provision for credit losses in both the retail and wholesale portfolios as well as increased interest expense. Year to date through the third quarter, HDFS reported an operating loss of $110.8 million, compared to operating income of $107.7 million for the prior year period. The nine-month operating loss includes two non-cash charges recorded in the second quarter of 2009: a $72.7 million credit loss provision for a one-time reclassification of motorcycle loan receivables; and a one-time $28.4 million charge to write off goodwill associated with HDFS.

HDFS continues to successfully access the credit markets to fund its lending activities. On October 9, HDFS completed a $700 million term securitization transaction with a weighted average interest rate of 1.2 percent.

Update on Restructuring Activities

On a combined basis, the Company expects previously announced restructuring activities, together with the discontinuation of Buell operations, to result in one-time charges of $215 million to $245 million over 2009 and 2010, or an increase of $55 million from the estimate provided July 16, 2009. The Company estimates annual ongoing savings from restructuring of approximately $140 million to $150 million.

The Company continues to pursue its previously announced “two path” study to determine whether additional major restructuring at York, Pa. facility can make those operations competitive and sustainable long term, or alternatively, whether the Company will relocate those operations to another U.S. location. As part of the restructuring analysis, the Company has begun contract talks with the union representing employees at York and expects to make a final decision on the status of the York operations by the end of this year.

Link: Buell FAQ
Link: MarketWatch
Link: Reuters
Link: JS Online


  1. says

    I guess this is blindsiding news, though, it definitely seemed a possibility.
    MV doesn’t seem like a good fit anyway, but I do think they should stay in a sport bike company to some degree- just not ones that cost $30k+.

    On the Buell side, looks like they may finally appreciate in value possibly. Jk. A shame to see this happen.

    It is a recession and this is what needs to be done. Its been done before and the company has grown its strongest since- it can do it again.

  2. Walt says

    I heard two days ago that our local HD/Buell dealer is discontinuing Buell. Having heard previously that the HD CEO had questioned Buell’s existence when he arrived at the motor company, and seen radical discounts on the 1125, I’d have to say I’m saddened by this news, but not gobsmacked. An innovative American operator eaves the field. Too bad.

    As to MV Agusta, I wonder how the picture changed so quickly that the business case now says sell. I guess it’s survival time, not time for costly toys.

  3. John McDowell says

    So, maybe Eric can persuade Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, and Kawasaki to give him a loan, then build a 600cc sportbike here in the US?

  4. greybeard says

    Not expected at all, but the strategy of relying only on $15k to $35k+ product to pull
    them out of trouble in this market doesn’t seem all that sound to this layman either.
    Close Buell entirely?
    And MV never had a chance.

  5. Viv Collins says

    I understand the business case for selling MV but what I never understood was the business case for buying MV, HD is trapped in its own history and has done very well out of that situation but ultimately it is a fragile and inertia restricted market, maybe MV was its a way to do business in other markets but not a smart idea to try and expand in to another niche market, sadly for Buell they have to die so HDs market and dealer base is not diluted by a competing brand, better to kill Buell than sell it.

  6. Walt says

    Speaking of manufacturer strategy, anybody got a sense of how BMW is doing as a “full-line” maker with dirt bikes and a “me-too” liter bike in the lineup? I’ve never seen one of their dirt bikes, except in the showroom. It’s hard for me to believe they can match innovations with the Japanese, who seem to update products in these categories yearly.

  7. Simon says

    From the very beginning, when Buell came out with their lumpy, full-fairing model, I’ve thought Eric Buell was missing the boat, but not by very much. The idea of a full-bore sportbike built around a Harley-Davidson was never a great idea, because the engine design does not lend itself well to that sort of application. An XR-750-type standard, yes. A canyon-carver, no. Even though the engineering was innovative and interesting, the styling was never something that caught on. The Harley traditionalists like myself never cottoned to it, and the sportbike buyers found better performance and better deals elsewhere. What Buell should have done, in my opinion, was come out with a sport-oriented standard motorcycle built around a Harley, along the lines of what Mule and Storz have done; perhaps a Paul Dunstall-styled Harley, or a Norton-styled Harley. Triumph? You guys paying attention? There’s an opportunity here now that the brand is on the block. What I would love to see happen is one of the domestic, so-called “boutique brands,” like Big Dog, pick up Buell or go into partnership with them to build custom performance bikes. It would be a shame to see Buell fall by the wayside completely and go the way of Excelsior. As for MV, well, Harley was never a huge player in Europe and was not likely to become one, nor do I think they planned to sell MVs in American dealerships, so I never saw the point of that one. The disturbing news is an 84% drop in their last quarter. Yeah, it’s the economy, and it’s also market saturation. Most people who want Harleys probably already have them. (I’ve got 2 myself.) I’d like to suggest that Harley concentrate on buyers they have not yet attracted. Younger people who could use and afford smaller displacement, economical transportation that’s also cool. How about a return to the scooter/small displacement models like the Topper and the Sprint? Imagine a Harley scooter, styled more along Lambretta lines than the old boxy Topper, with tattoo paint jobs and affordable prices. Could be an interesting new direction.

  8. NDoug says

    I agree with Simon,
    Harley has been marketing to the older crowd for ever, it’s time to crack the seal on those plans to deliver what the public wants.
    And what we want is smaller displacement commuter type bikes. Standards!
    If they released an updated XR750 I’d buy two of them today!
    Or a standard similar to a Bonnie?

    Get off of the chopper kick and let the folks who want them get them the same way they always have. They build them!

  9. Bigshankhank says

    Standards? What about the 883 Iron, there’s your match to Triumph’s Bonnie. Get your checkbook out NDoug, they have been trying to get to the younger market for a while. Alas as a Sportster purist, I was sorely dissapointed that they developed the rubber mounted frame for the XL series, I had just wrecked my last 883 (a ’93XLH) and was looking into buying another one until I saw the new design. A modern XR750 would be nice, too, but it’ll never happen.
    Sad to see Buell go, I had hoped that the rotax engine would allow them to really develop a serious sportbike.

  10. pabsyboots says

    I’m stunned
    Buell went of the rails by physically crushing their own product and disenfranchising customers, using idiotic terms like ‘ruthless engineering’ (perimeter brakes and gas in the frame lol) and telling the customers that were left they were too good to wave at other bikers on the road ! (print ads)

    In hindsight the horrible ad campaign was clearly a do or die attempt to keep the brand alive

    perhaps erik will buy buell back, take it private and keep going, I would think that has a shot as there is still value in the brand despite their inadverdant attempts to kill their own brand

  11. The Ogre says

    Damn. That is really not good news.

    I wonder what Erik Buell is going to do about it? I can’t imagine him taking this well, given the history of the company. I wonder if they will let him buy it back from HD, if he wants.

    And I really wonder about the viability of MV; I’ve always liked their bikes, but I’d hate for them to go the way of Laverda, or worse, the parody that is Gilera these days.

  12. says

    NDoug and Bigshankhank, when you say a modern XR750 are you talking about a modern flat track racer? Or are you talking about ? If you’re talking flat-track bike, 99.99% of riders on this planet would have no need or interest. If you’re talking XR750-like road bike, take a look at the XR1200. Maybe a warmed over 883 would be more what you are looking for, but the 1200 is a good start.

  13. Troy Cardenas says

    Why not discontinue H-D and keep Buell. Or, put Eric Buell in charge of designing the new H-D’s.

  14. clutch says

    so, the old-man chopper market falters, and the decision is to kill Buell to save it? A bit short sighted maybe…

  15. nortley says

    Time to stir the pot again and see what sticks together this time. Buell/S&S? From carbs to engine parts to engines to complete machines? BMW/MV? A sportbike CVO shop for those for whom Beemers are insufficiently expensive.

  16. Walt says

    We have to keep in mind that HD has to please not just the riders, but all the investors (Wall Street) who own HD stock but care nothing about motorcycles, innovation or anything but earnings per share. If Buell was not profitable after all this time, end of story.

    Harley’s rich sporting heritage is just a kind of back story for its current brand position. Even the Street Rod was anchored to the showroom floor. HD sees its future in the bagger and the easy chair.

  17. hoyt says

    Short-term…very sad. Mr. Buell is great for the industry and to see him struggle with this is very difficult.
    Long-term? Great news for Erik Buell. He will continue to build great motorcycles.
    HD has not invested in Buell in a proper way for a long time…not just cash, but addressing the dealership & HD customer attitude and every other facet of bringing a motorcycle to market.

    Victory/Polaris…here’s a great opportunity.

  18. says

    @Hoyt: “Victory/Polaris…here’s a great opportunity.”
    I came in here to say just that! Polaris has “sporty” quads/snomobiles/PWCs/etc. I still can’t figure out why they went exclusively with the cruiser market.

  19. Pete says

    Very sad news indeed. I’ve worked for the MC since ’95 and the Buell line has always been my passion. I think this move is a mistake. Buell has a future and it will be bright. These are hard times and unfortunately the bean-counters are running the show. Too bad because Buell has an outstanding product. Although I do agree with pabsyboots about the recent horrible ad campaigns.

  20. jeff says

    I would imagine that HD being 98% owner of the Buell Motorcycle Company controls all of Erik’s patents over the past several years since they are assigned to “The Buell Motorcycle Company” on all the documentation with the US Patent Office. That pretty much kills hope of him taking his current patented designs elsewhere unless he can pry the patent rights away from Harley in any divorce proceedings that may take place.

  21. Paulinator says

    So what about federally imposed market access to…say…India? Why is there a tarrif on H-D and Buell? I knew a guy that would fill containers with low miliage Cadys and Jags for import to that $h!t hole.

  22. Akbar says

    Terrible news, I loved my Buell and planned on buying another some day. I would say one of the main reasons they did not sell as well as they should have is that they were stuck in HD dealerships. Had Buells been available in independent shops, where one could test ride one next to most any other sportbike, they would have gotten some converts. The HD dealerships had no idea how to sell Buells and did not seem to want to, and as a Buell owner I was treated horribly whenever I need to go into the clothing store to get parts.

  23. Gitan says

    I don’t know exactly why, but I’m not either surprised or confused.
    Since I saw Erik crushing his Buell-Blast last month, I had in mind that the end was near.
    And… In a way, as this little thumper was my favorite, I’m not sad at all.
    It’s obviously quite a bit cruel for buell owners and makers

  24. Pete says

    Good point Jeff. The bloodsucking bean counters at HD will most likely have the rights to Buell’s innovations. This just sucks.

  25. James Bowman says

    Truly sad indeed I never owned a Buel but after attempting to buy my first sportster several years ago when Harley was at their zenith I decided they already had so much money they didn’t need my buisness, that was at two seperate dealerships that they acted like I owed them a favour. I can’t imagine that they treated Buel customers very well on the whole ( No doubt some did). The motorcycle industry becomes a little less interesting and owners of 1125’s hang on they may eventually be worth a few bucks if you keep the paint off the pavement. As far as MV Agusta who really cares too much.

  26. The other Larry says

    RE: recent ads/waving…I guess we can wave now, as in “Bye-bye”.

    Too bad in any event.

  27. NED Nielson says

    Is it just me or does every other guy here only think that Harley’s cost over 30k? Most Harleys are priced within 2-4k of the jap rice burning v-twins. Not to mention that they are cheaper than the BMW of comparable size and dito on the Honda goldwing.

  28. hoyt says

    At least GM had/has the sense to invest in a sporting heritage (Corvette & some Cadillac coupes). There is a lot of validity in disdain for the “Motor” Company now.

    They just might have to sell those patents to raise capital.

  29. Oldbikesrcool says

    Howz ’bout this then…MV (the company) and Buell (as in Mr.) as a package!!! Let’s see, a forward looking stable company scoops up MV and contracts with Mr. B to sharpen a new blade…’sounds like “Victory” to me.

  30. says

    Smart move for Harley… and they should get rid of their stupid marketing people, bean counters etc.and just build good bikes that people can afford and sound like HD.
    Seems to me HD became another GM/Ford/Chrysler… corporations chasing $.
    And Walt, BMW is doing well with all their models. They know how to keep and get new customers (enthusiasts).
    I think we will see the Japanese get rid of their stupid cruisers also.

    Harley should ask Obama to create a Motorcycle Czar to help them :)

  31. Jim says

    A wee bit of a shock yes. There are exceptions, but in general HD dealers never figured out how to sell Buell and the anticipated second bike sales to the core HD buyer never developed. Now this same dealer network will be expected to sell MV Augusta??

    As far as a future for Buell, very doubtful, HD likely owns all the brands and patents and will bury them so deep that they’ll never see the light of day until they are unearthed by our great grand children.

    Regarding Eric’s future, I suspect that he has a very large golden parachute that is highly contingent on a non-compete clause and that will preclude him from starting another company or teaming with another manufacturer. Given the credit markets and the the shrinking of the motorcycle market due to aging riders in the US, getting funds to start a new brand would be impossible anyway. A brand aimed a Asia is another question.

  32. says

    I had a Buell and it was a lemon. I got no support (including phone or responding letters) until I built a website mocking Buell. I then I got lots of attention from Harley’s attorneys. As far I’m concerned, good riddance to a partnership under which Buell was crippled by being (I assume) forced to use HD engines which are inappropriate to sport bikes. They only won races when they used a different engine.

    As a corporate sub entity to HD, the company also suffered because HD mechanics didn’t want to work on the bikes and felt they were inferior. Oil leaks seemed to be something you were supposed to be used to. I’d like to be a \buy American\ kind of guy but I have two Japanese sport bikes now and they start up, they run flawlessly, handle superbly and they get good support and service from the dealers.

  33. Nicolas says

    What a shame …

    Why not rather discontinue MV Agusta and sell Buell ? That would be a smarter move, keeping the successful and future-oriented brand alive (Buell) and bury the overrated past-oriented one (MV) …

    What about all the Buell workers and their families ?

    It just shows how all the industry is driven by idiots who don’t know anything about their product and just think about finance and short term dividends …

    I really hope Erik Buell has other plans and will find a way to keep his brand and ideas alive, far from these idiots raised in the Wall Street dogmatisms…

    Disgusting … You ruin my day

  34. says

    It was with great shock and sadness that I heard the news of Harley-Davidson’s decision to pull the plug on the Buell Motor Company today.

    Erik Buell has been a hero of mine, as well as someone I have admired and respected throughout the years. I wish him all the best, and know his creative mind and relentless will to pursue the dream will serve him well.

    My thought’s also go out to the thousands of passionate Buell enthusiasts and employees that have supported and embraced what this brand stood for, and the spirit that it embodied. It is a sad day, not only for Buell enthusiasts but for all motorcycle enthusiasts.

    Buell epitomized the spirit of individualism, innovation, passion and hard work, the same spirit that lives in the soul of all motorcycle enthusiasts. The loss of Buell is a loss for all of us.

    It is with great misfortune and irony that, in these tough economic times, when the exact principles and values that Buell embodied, are the keys to our recovery and success, were not valued and were so easily discarded.

    R.I.P. Buell Motor Company, your spirit and principals will live on forever in all of us.

    Walter Roehrich

  35. Oldbikesrcool says

    (Yup, it’s me Walt)

    Hear, Hear Cycleguy (Mr. Roehrich)! Very well said indeed…

    Jim is probably correct about there being a non-compete clause in place for Mr. Buell.
    But…I still can’t help but wonder if there isn’t some creative US group with sights set about 4-6 years ahead that might find real value in both MV and Mr. B (non-compete clause delt with creatively. of course).
    Still smells of “Victory” to me…

  36. Troy Cardenas says

    Why doesn’t H-D sell out to Obama like GM and Crysler, (I know it is spelled wrong).
    I personally believe in natural selection and survival of the fittest. If the motor company believes in their product so much then they should keep Buell and let it compete in their showrooms side by side and see what happens. Their market segment is getting older and not riding as much; give props to them they have done their time in the saddle.
    I understand that H-D is an American bike but the American bike rider is changing and if they aren’t willing to change, (cough, cough, GM) then maybe it is time to sell the H-D brand to Laz-Boy and help the new kid along.

  37. fearnow says

    Akbar, you must have a newsletter and I must subscribe to it: your ‘go into the clothing store for parts’ was sublime and coated in awesome. :)

    But yeah, HD is an ATM for Wall Street, not a real bike manufacturer. Buell actually had (gasp) different models come out every once in a while, not just minor revisions and tweaks so as to not scare off their ‘core demographic’ (with HD).

    I hope Erik Buell is able to do something else. I like his bikes, if only from a conceptual stdpt.

  38. Biker says

    Harley riders like to dress up like a pirate and ride slowly around town on there 65 HP 50’s technology bikes. That is why Buell was dead in the water from the start. Harley dealers hated having to sell Buell and the Buell sales reflected that. Of course – why in the hell would Buell build a sport bike with a Harley engine in the first place?

  39. kneeslider says

    The real wealth and value in Buell does not reside in patents and brand names, it resides in the creative skills and efforts of Erik Buell and the team that started the company and built the bikes these 25 years. The knowledge, experience, attitude and know how in the minds of those individuals is what can make the company again, if they choose to do so. If Harley owns the patents and rights, so what?

    I have no idea whether Harley has a non-compete clause in place, those are very hard to enforce for employees these days but probably enforceable for company executives. But what would the motorcycle public and customers think of Harley if Buell was prevented from building a new company because HD would take legal action if he did so? Besides, since when does Buell compete with Harley? There is nothing remotely like a Buell in a Harley showroom unless it is an actual Buell. Harley wants to focus on their core brand and models, fine, let them, and let Buell operate independently as their own company. If Harley is in a financial bind, sell Buell off, take the money, why kill it? Without Harley having a no vote for any Buell decision, Buell might be able to prosper. Some other companies may be able to combine with the Buell team, as has been mentioned above in these comments, to create another viable company altogether.

    There are so many positive alternatives to closing the doors of Buell it is mind boggling to see this happen. The U.S. does not need to see another company shut down. The executives at Harley may see Buell as a drag on profitability, but that just shows they have no idea what makes the brand tick in the first place.

  40. Paul says

    Marketing and ‘lifestyle’ triumph over engineering and substance, yet again. Erik Buell was as far ahead of the curve as Harley is behind it (at least as far as technology and innovation are concerned). Has anyone compared the exhaust cans on recent sportbikes to Buells from 15 years ago? I guess Erik was right about mass centralization.

    I guess H-D needs to focus on its core products – t-shirts, dog bandanas, reality tTV shows, and $200 boots.

    Incidentally, I used to work in a former Polaris shop and Polaris is not in any shape to buy Buell, even if Harley would let that happen (they never would). PWCs were a huge fiasco, their snowmobiles have lost market share to Yamaha and Skidoo for the last several years, and Victory motorcycles don’t offer anything that Harleys don’t have, except quirky styling, inconsistent parts availability, and non history at all. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Victory go the same way as Buell.

  41. says

    After having owned 25+ bikes and ridden probably twice as many different ones, a half-hour test ride on a Buell was a revelation: All the meaty sound and low-end grunt you’d ever want, regardles of whether you were in 3rd, 4th or 5th gear, and a chassis that was way beyond my riding skills. Pure joy, and one of only two bikes ever that I felt right at home on within a block of the dealership. Loved the innovative styling too.

    I for one would really hate to see Buell go.

  42. Hank says

    Brighter days ahead.

    I don’t want my future Buell having major servicing done by HD-ilk dealerships.

    HD will suffer increased disdain, while someone like Victory can earn respect by running with Buell’s success further. They will be hailed as true enthusiasts that appreciate and manufacture all types of quality motorcycles.

  43. SteveD says

    Simple problem: Buells weren’t selling. What HD really needs is some cheaper bikes. If there was a basic Buell in $6-7K range like an SV650 they might have sold more of them.

  44. Hobo Mike says

    I think HD is stupid for killing Buell. Number one, Buell should have always been called Harley Davidson, not Buell. Number two, Buell represented the future for HD. The greatest innovations to come out of HD always came from Buell. That said, I never bought a Buell in all the years I could have. I guess that says something.

  45. Long Rider says

    Tossing back to Hoyt and a few others….If HD is gonna drop the Buell brand at least keep it stateside. Make a bid and bring it in under the Victory name. Obviously the boys at Victory can be forward thinking (look at the Vision) Eric needs to make a few calls and drop from a 105 year company to a 10 year one. If you’re with someone who’s got a lot to lose, then they will try harder to keep what they got. AKA better bikes and innovation to put them above the HD big brother.

  46. Scott says

    Very sad news, but it seems something will happen that hasn’t been specifically stated yet.

    I noticed a couple interesting statements in this article that got my attention even before the bombshell:


    \Especially in this economy, I do worry about it,\ he said. \Who knows if the brand will survive? But if the philosophy of what we have done survives, then the brand could be absorbed and called Harley-Davidson and it wouldn’t matter.\

    It also mentions in the article that Erik didn’t renew his contract, so he should be ‘free’ . . . but he seems to say in the video he will continue at Harley.

    All those bits and pieces, combined with the fact that Harley never mentioned the possibility of selling Buell lead me to think that some Buell models may be sold as Harley’s in the future.

    . . . but by shutting down Buell and building those models under Harley as Harley’s, they could limit costs and have more direct control.

    At least that’s my best guess at the moment. I can’t believe that Harley would just throw Buell away and not at least entertain the idea of getting something for it unless there are plans beyond what we’ve been told.

  47. Kenny says

    I’m with Paul on the “why didn’t they try to sell Buell”.
    It makes no sense to me. You sell off a niche market bike, assuming you could find a buyer, with an existing product line that mainly uses modified Harley engines…..oh wait maybe thats why they didn’t try to sell it.

    Anyway the MV Agusta fiasco was a bad idea from day one.
    Hell, the association of HD and MV at all has probably reduced MV’s street cred significantly

  48. Ceolwulf says

    “the association of HD and MV at all has probably reduced MV’s street cred significantly”

    It was touch and go there for a while. If any design or philosophical influence had crossed over at all, MV would have been ruined. Here’s hoping they find a sympathetic and understanding buyer.

  49. Sal says

    The attitude that Mr. Buell talked about in the video above referencing Buell owners would have been very evident in the staff of stand-alone Buell dealerships. Bikes would have sold better. No do-ragging attitude. No higher-spec bike beyond the service shops skill or attitude.

    Those experiences are very obtainable with another company. Can HD even go that route now that they done this?

  50. Matt Anderson says

    Personally, I find it hilarious. Please keep doing what you’re doing, HD. A complete lack of innovation seems to be the new American manufacturing ideal and you are truly leading the pack.

  51. Motorod says

    Sorry to see this happening. Erik Buell had a great idea in wanting to make an American Sportbike, but why he focussed on using the HD plant has always mystified me. I remember seeing an HD motor in a Spondon frame at a motorcycle show right after my first viewing of the Buell, thinking, “Here is the right way to do it,” essentially making a Ducati out of a sow’s ear. The Buell was a good road bike, lots of torque right where you needed it, but it suffered by comparison against most foreign competition. Any foreign Liter Bike smokes its rear end on price, weight and performance. As a “serious” sportbike, Buell raced against 600s in the AMA. Meh.
    HD has always sold bikes at a premium based more upon image rather than product or performance, and this is the unfortunate outcome. Harleys are good bikes, don’t get me wrong, but almost any foreign-built cruiser offers so much more for a lot less, and right now, more bang for your buck is all that matters.

  52. Pete says

    Good point Scott. Makes me curious. Hmmm… You wouldn’t happen to be a MC as well? I’m still just sickened by this news.

  53. Woodman West says

    I always felt that Buell should build all its bikes based on the 1125 style motor. Make it in several displacements and formats. Direct competition for the Ducati crowd. Except the Blast, it sold well enough. Why drop it.

    Than absorb the V rod into Buell and make it a hightech sport touring platform. This way they could compete with the BMW and FJR.

    Ducati/Apriila (even V Strom) customers don’t want Sporty motors and Sport touring shoppers do not buy Glides.

    The only reason I never consider a Buell was because of the pushrod motor.
    This also would allow them to not compete with the HD line.

  54. Seymour says

    LOL it’s fun to think of ideas for Harley to save themselves, but it’s even more fun to think of what they are most likely to do next.

    They’re strangling themselves, folks!

    I wish Victory could get their act together but so far no.

  55. Brad Jones says

    This just sucks. There are now NO US motorcycles I’m remotely interested in. I looked long and hard at the Ulysses and XB12, but couldn’t get past them having to use that dinosaur turd motor. EVERYTHING else about the Ulysses was terrific, but that motor just sucks. My 800cc honda motor (VFR) puts out more than double the horsepower of the HD 1200 motor, and it doesn’t vibrate my arms off at every red light. As long as HD continues to play to the aging boomers by selling RUBs yesteryears technology at highly inflated prices, they’re never going to attract the younger generation. True that the Japanese cruisers and the Goldwing really don’t cost that much less than the comparable HDs, but the dirty little secret is THEY ARE MUCH BETTER MOTORCYCLES. The only people who haven’t figure that out yet are the goons willing to spend an extra $2G for a nameplate.

  56. Woodman West says

    As an aside to the general state of the industry. I stop at local dealers often and they all complain that the few customers who do walk in ready to buy cannot get financed.

    I just got back from Biketoberfest, it was a little depressing. Honda and Suzuki were not even at the track with test rides. I arrived at 10 AM at it was a 6 hour wait to test ride a Star Venture. I have never waited more than 2 hours in the past. There was at least 40 people in line to sign up to ride the Kawasaki bikes so I gave up. I am planning to buy Venture or Voyager in the spring, but I got no love today.

    Very few other vendors out, everyone is cutting way back on marketing budgets.

    The Indian booth was a joke. I was reall suprised at the poor quality of the casting and such. Lots of wires zipped tied to brake lines. Also the bikes were dirty. Like they had been out in the rain for 2 days!

    Just venting, did not mean to hijack.

    Ride safe, Woodman

  57. Dick says

    Harley dealers never did embrace Buell for the most part, so it is not surprising that Harley could not sell them. There was not a marketing strategy to get buyers in to buy them and there clearly was no alignment with the Harley image. Remember the cafe Harley little Willie designed, it also did not sell. When things were tough before in the economy Harley droped the Italian bikes (think Sprint) to focus on core Harley brand and emerged from that. The difference is they had riders like me who were nostolgic and wanted the “Old Harley’s” back. The next generation will not have those same youthfull memories of Harley Davidson because Harley never connected with them. So what will they have in a decade from now? They are in a dangerous nitch and they know it. That is why they have the Trike to keep us on wheels. This recent action is not a strategy, but a reaction to the current economic boom. Let’s hope they emerge with new ideas, not more of the same. If GM does not become relevant to the new car buyer it will not make it and they know it. Does Harley know this or are they simply trying to squeeze the last dollars out of a dinasor that once ruled the land?

  58. Trey says


    I have great respect for Mr. Buell. He did something that may never be done again – he really did build an American Sport Bike, and he did it with true innovation, class, and a lot of hard work! Seeing that video made my heart sink. you can tell he on on the brink of tears. Men like him are rare, in any industry. He is a true American icon!

    My hat is off to you Mr Buell…

  59. SteveD says

    Woodman does make a point. The MC industry as a whole is doing badly. The problem is that HD has nothing to fall back on during hard times.

  60. Tin Man 2 says

    I guess you cant go back in time, But the 100million HD wasted on MV would have done wonders for Buell. Why do American corps keep investing in European High Image money pits, Ford with Jaguar, Chrysler with Lambo and Masserati, GM with Saab, and of course HD with MV? Is it all Ego? where was the bussiness plan when buying MV? The new CEO at Harley never rode a bike!!!! can a bean counter lead the Motor Company?

  61. james says

    the Harley Burp says it all– the bean counters will con-sin-trate on the Harley “name” meaning more clothes and less bikes — new clothing styles for the “wana be” feminists– leather clothes for the once a year trip to bike week -where ever- – good luck with your bad business plan Harley– your toast.

  62. Bruce Laubenheimer says

    I have a XR1200 and a Buell XB12STT. I bought the XR knowing it had Buell technology in it, and then I purchased the Buell. Finally I have Sportsters I can live with, and this makes 5 Sportsters that I have owned. I tell the guys at work that I have a Milwaukee Ducati, and I think that these are some of the finest Harleys ever made. But here is the problem, these bikes do not fit the demographics of the typical Harley rider. In the several Harley Dealerships I visit I was not impressed with the sales staff’s ability or interest in selling the product. It is not likely that the customer would come back to buy a ton of chrome or leather fringe for the bike, and add to the dealership’s bottom line. The XR suffers from the same problem and may not last much longer.

  63. Brad says

    Is this really a surprise with the failure of the 1125 series and the lack of speed to make it marketable?

  64. Dale says

    Seems like HD may of gotten a bit top heavy. Notice that with Buell they getting rid of 80 hourly and 100 salary people! That’s way top heavy. For every salaried person they should have somewhere between 4 to 6 hourly. They should of had 13 to 20 salaried instead. Like many old American Corporations they are way top heavy. It’s really sad.

  65. Pete says

    Maybe Buell bikes will survive, but be called Harley-Davidsons?? I still feel very bad for the many Buell employees who may lose employment. In the JS-online article released on September 19th (before the BIG “discontinuing” announcement) that Scott refers to Erik Buell does state, “Who knows if the brand will survive? But if the philosophy of what we have done survives, then the brand could be absorbed and called Harley-Davidson and it wouldn’t matter.” In his video he also states he will continue to work with HD on future product. Thanks for the heads up Scott, maybe the bikes will survive even though the name won’t. Hmm?

  66. Fred X1 says

    sad yes

    they should have listened to a lot of us long ago…i know i wrote saying
    they were blowing it with the xb redesign, but erik et al were caught
    up in their own engineering brilliance and racing hang-up. cool as it
    all the fuelinframeoilinswingarm blah blah blah, the trellis frame
    worked just fine, thank you…seems to work just fine for ducati.

    mass centralization was already there, perimeter brakes and f.i.
    a bolt on. the latter already on the X1 and S3

    all they needed was a to iron out production bugs…which they did,
    and help HD evolve the sportster motor…which they also did… and
    come up with a trick budget starter bike which they blew with the
    lame blast (sorry blast fans). imo 2003 was the start of the slippery
    downhill slope.

    they had a budget basic sportbike…the M2, a spiffier more powerful
    sport standard in the X1 and an elegant sport tourer in the S3 and S3T.

    all models could have easily and inexpensively evolved including trick
    bits, body work, etc. for different markets and audiences. plus even
    move to the rotax motor without what i imagine were huge investments
    they obviously put into the xb chassis.

    oh well. r.i.p. buell

  67. Bjorn says

    I can remember walking into the local multi brand dealership in Adelaide (South Australia) back in 1990 and seeing an RR 1200 Battle Twin. It was a revelation, still big and fat by sportsbike standards of the time, but it was a bike as a twenty year old, impressed by fast things that went around corners, I could relate to. I’m older now but haven’t grown up much, and the Buell is still the only Harley Davidson related bike that I would consider buying new.
    The men in grey suits that make decisions at HD obviously consider that the rebel image is worth more money than a range of bikes that are increasingly accepted as a valid alternative in the real world to Italian and Japanese sportsbike offerings. Maybe in dollar terms they are correct, but I don’t want to believe it.
    Vale Buell. May Eriks vision find a new home.

  68. Nicolas says

    Such a shame …

    I don’t own a buell, but I always wanted to. It’s only a matter of budget who kept me to have one. At the exception of one time, when I chose to buy a used dual sport over a used Lightning, just to be able to ride with my 7 years-old son on dirt roads … everything is a question of priorities. So maybe then I should shut up, and not provide any comments on it … except that I always thought that one day, I’d be able to afford a ride a buell … Now it’s over.

    This really sucks, all this creativity and passion and know-how being lost … at least they should sell the Buell cie, not just terminate it ! Sorry for the trivial comparision, but that what’s coming to my mind when I think about what HD is doing now : When you want to break up with your girlfriend, do you let her go, or do you kill her so that nobody else can enjoy her ? If you can’t feed your kids, do you drown them or do you give them away for adoption ?

    Right move, HD, focus on your core business, selling overpriced underengineered “legends on wheels” for mid-life crisis dudes, badass-wannabees, and aging boomers. (Sorry to you guys who legitimately love your HD and don’t belong to these simplified categories, nothing personal).

    If you, HD executives, can’t make money out of Buell, just sell it then ! No shame to have, you’re just like a lot of your CEO and CFO colleagues, who took the whole economy in the hole due to your incompetence, you’re not alone, you can sleep well at night ! Now what happens to the Buell engineers, workers, suppliers, and their families ?

    Disgusted, deeply disgusted …

    Mr Erik Buell, hope to see you leaving HD and come back with another great company of your own.

  69. Dethclock says

    I’d probably never buy a Harley for the reasons so well documented above but I probably wouldn’t buy an 800 pound bike with no brakes from anyone. Given their success it’s wrong to dismiss them. Part of GM’s problems is that they couldn’t decide what they wanted to be. HD’s RUB stratagy may be lame but at least they know what they are.

  70. Kurt says

    Still in shock with this. Eric and crew produced amazing bikes. Not the fastest or most elegant, but they all have soul. I wish him and his workers my sincerest thanks for a great product, and my deepest sympathies for their loss.
    The Buell experience was much more than a motorcycle; it included great factory support, home comings and fellow riders with the same passion. Buell was a family that included the folks back at the factory and everyone whoever bought one. I for one will miss them.

  71. Bruno Diacov says

    No one will buy the brand Buell?
    The Buell will simply cease to exist?
    And as the Buells that already exist?
    Will fall or rise of price?

  72. ZREXER says

    I wonder if part of the reason for Buells demise could be that HD either slowed down or has made it harder to get company backed loans for their bikes. If they cant sell the loans they have on the books to investors or the loans perform badly then there could be bigger problems ahead, maybe with a lot more of their models. I wonder how long the Custom Vehicle Operation will hold up?

  73. Benjamin says

    I never got Buell and always thought HD should just swallow them. I appreciate the engineering aspect of Buell, but the styling of the latest models is IMHO atrocious. There have only been a couple of models with good styling, the rest were awkward. If only HD could have swallowed Buell and adopted an approach to it like they did with the V-Rod, then maybe there would be a match made in HD Heaven.

    As for the comment to discontinue MV – you’re a twat. MV has a highly revered history. Their products outclass Buell’s in every aspect. It is only a succession of less than creative/capable owners that has really held back this brand, otherwise they would be at the front of SBK and we would all love a MotoGP return. Rossi on an MV… we can only dream. Maybe the owners of Piaggio and Aprilia can step in, or Ducati.

    Better still, we might actually love to see MV owned by John Bloor AKA Mr Triumph.

  74. Woodman West says

    It is not just Buell my friends and fellow riders. “Ride Now” just closed BOTH Orlando stores. These were major players. They carried Suzuki, Triumph, Victory and Ducati. The West side store carried Honda also.

    When Honda/Suzuki dealers is cities of 2 million people start folding things are bad and getting worse. Most of the Indy shops have gone under and the Yamaha/Star guys are SLOW!

    HD will always be around. Everyone else, we shall see what the future brings. Sounds like change I can live without!

  75. j says

    Just another reason I will NEVER buy a Harley. They are too polarized in their view. Their product is symbolism over substance. The propagate a lifestyle….not biking.
    When you have more management than you do hourly you are going down the road of Goldman/Sachs. I wish Buell the best. I bet Obama won’t bail out Harley if the going gets tuf.

  76. says

    The source of HD’s troubles are clear.The Honda FURY stole the market.

    Ok. Bad joke, but someone had to say it.

    my recaptcha is : outhouse. nuff said.

  77. Woodman West says

    Good, bad or ugly, the only growth right now is in cruisers. HD has a big part of that market cornered. Older dudes (like me) who have $15-20K to drop on a bike buy these bikes. Personally, I like Stars, but they ain’t selling 200k plus cruisers a year!

    Why buy a new Stratoliner Deluxe at $18k when a Streetglide will hold the value so much better?

    Once again, Buell was more of a sympton of a much bigger problem. The house of cards is getting shaky, who will fall next?

  78. Kachunk says

    Moving forward, I have my fingers crossed that somehow someway Erik Buell ends up at Motus with Brian and crew…….
    This would be a good opportunity for a great innovative American motorcycle.

  79. fireworks says

    Shutting down Buell doesn’t necessary mean the end of Buell technology. HD needs to attract a younger crowd to HD. Buell’s aren’t HD like it or not. HD really seems to be struggling with finding an approach to really tap into a younger market. I don’t think they’ve had any success with major projects. Wasn’t the V-Rod supposed to attract a ‘new’ HD crowd? I’d say that hasn’t met expectations, and now Buell. Isn’t the Sportster the best selling bike they have? That should tell you something.

    HD has legit racing heritage but they’re going to have to find it, dust it off, and add it to the marketing more strongly, coupled with products that can back it up; XR1200 is a good example. Through some Buell think into the mix and we might get some interesting HD’s in the future.

    The real elephant in the room is the nearish future with regard to engine technology. How long are they going to be able to avoid water cooling? Anyways, the main thing is that HD is trying to change but I think it’s going to take a real leap of faith to make it happen. Slow and steady may not be enough.

  80. Ofir says

    Sad day for all motorcycle enthusiasts, I was never a Buell or HD rider but man.. I feel for Eric Buell, he is a true pioneer and has a big part in shaping the sport of racing as we know it today. This is heart braking as you can see on his face.
    Eric thank you for bringing our sport to such a level, you are and always will be an inspiration to all of us. THANK YOU

    USGPRU # 55

  81. WRXr says

    Income dropped by 84%.??? Clearly an indication that there are some deeper running problems.

    I would guess that even though Harley has been doing a good job of selling in overseas markets they are still too heavily concentrated in the US. The US economy is in much worse shape than the emerging markets right now and that is where the demand is.

    Buell’s presence in Asia/South America ? Probably not nil, but close.

  82. Kazoom says

    BUELL was the best thing that happened for HD in a long time…

    Buell had a great loyalty to HD and did nothing but improve the quality of the HD product. It is only because of BUELL the out of date XL engine is making the power it is today in a streetable package.

    There is NOTHING I liked about harley davidson for a long time EXCEPT BUELL.

    Buell was the ONLY reason I even went into a HD stealership.

    WAY! TO! GO! HD!… What are you going to do now to pull the younger crowds into the dealers ships??? lol

    Is this going to be a new version of AMF for HD all over again lol.

    BUELL needs to somehow get ONLY the 1125 away from HD… drop the old pushrod stuff all together and move on AWAY frome HD and NEVER get involved with HD again. IMO getting involved deeper with Harley Davidson was the biggest mistake…

  83. Lioncoeur says

    I’m surprised that only one person in all these posts has mentioned the influence of the new CEO at the helm of HD. Keith Wandell came into the MC with no background in motorcycles. So what do we see now, a non-enthusiast at the controls who kills off a brand that continues to bring the only real innovation to a company stuck in the past just to make the shareholders happy. If this guy had some real interest and passion for the industry he’d tell them to take a flying leap for a few years, redevelop a new business plan for Buell, including marketing them thru multi-franchise dealers that might actually take interest in the brand instead of the chrome and fringe drones they have writing up sales contracts at the HD dealerships. Very sad that Erik doesn’t get to continue the development of his interesting machine just because of bean-counters. But he never really stood a chance. For all you who knock his bikes, have you ever ridden one…quite a pleasure if you are into sporty machines with low end grunt. So don’t be raining down on the bikes, it was the dealer support that stifled the sales. Buell could have been much larger and more successful years ago if HD had let them truly develop as an independent. Instead they kept it tightly noosed and now find the easy solution of killing them off instead of letting them breath a little. Wonder if HD will ever get their heads up their asses….

  84. John Findlay says

    Harley only knows how to build crap Easter egg’s that dont require any real engineering, selling off these 2 manufacturers leaves them know where to go in the future. I’m sure that the morons’s who buy bikes for the IMAGE will be happy, for the rest of us it just confirms what a lame marketing exercise Harley really is ! T shirts, belt buckels and over priced bike’s that’s the American dream !

  85. henry says

    I wanted a buell Lightning but couldnt get the cash together at the time.

    The ones I rode were fantastic street bikes in tha 40 -140 kph area we all live in most of the time. I’d totally still have one but I would buy the Sportster engined one: you’ll pretty much always be able to get motor bits at least.

    I feel really sad for Erik Buell: you can see in his eyes on the video the effect it has when someones dream dies. He is not a happy camper, and I wish him well in the future.

    HD never seemed like a great fit for a free thinker though (in spite of the rhetoric about “freedom” and “individualism” that seems to come with the territory) but I was flicking thru a magazine today and was looking at the test of and the ad for the Can Am Spyder.

    Crikey, I thought: theres a large-ish industrial concern, with a well established base of products that ensure cashflow and continued viability, made in the USA (or North America anyway, I think they might be from Canadia?). They have a tradition of thinking outside the box (“lets build a three wheeled bike thing and sell it” “hellyeah, that’d be awesome”) and they have a dealer network, and the backup (engineering, logistics, supply lines and parts warehousing etc etc) that would make it a pretty easy thing for them to just pick up Erik and the team, (or some of them) maybe all the tooling and IP, and bada boom bada bing, Buell Mk 2.

    that could work, right?

  86. says

    Sounds like somebody forgot his golden parachute. That’s what happens when you outsource your manufacturing, then the “Federal” Reserve Accounting Unit Dollar F.R.A.U.D. exchange rate collapses as the ex world reserve currency. All part fo the NWO plan to overthrow USA. Frak Eslick!

  87. Tom says

    Well, you don’t have to go any further than the dozens of comments here from folks who say they loved the Buell motorcycles…but never bought one. I’ll suggest that it’s these folks, and not HDI, who killed Buell.

  88. Tin Man 2 says

    Im afraid in the end its just bussiness. With a bean counter at the helm, Buell made no sense. All this talk of young buyers, Well the young sure did not buy buells! Harley IS attracting young buyers, The Nightster and Iron are being sold to the young every day,just not young Sport Bike buyers! When most say young buyers what they really mean is, Sport Bike buyers. Well the money is not held by young Sport buyers and there is no profit in selling these Bikes, The profit is in Cruisers. In a Bussiness sense this decision is correct, There is nothing HD can do to get the Harley Haters to buy a Harley, Until they grow up and away from the Boy Racer Life Style they embrace.

  89. stephen t says

    If I am not mistaken I believe that Kenny Dreer was working for/with Buell? If so that is one pair of very talented gentlemen, whom I think will land on their feet. Lots of intelligence and talent there. Agrred it is a sad day for Eric to see his dream/puppy crushed.
    I’m betting Mr. Buell and his team will eventually resurface and surprise us all!
    Best of luck to them!

  90. Ian says

    Crap. I have always admired Erik Buells innovation. I think HD never had the heart for supporting Buell properly. I’m sure it’s devastating to Erik. HD could have learned a thing or two from Buell. Having owned a couple of Harleys, a Sportster and an UltraClassic, I can appreciate them for what they are and aren’t. While the economy is in rough shape, Harley isn’t lowering prices and still catering to a small pool of high income part time riders. It’s sad they are cutting off their nose to spite their face. People who want HD’s can’t afford them. That “Pay MSRP or walk” mentally is a bunch of crap and will end up hurting them in the long run.

  91. Tin Man 2 says

    Ian, Have you been in a HD dealer in the last year? They have lowered the prices, The new Wide Glide is $14499, A dresser can be had for thousands less then 2 Yrs ago. I even saw a new 09 XR1200 for $9999 yesterday! The Iron883 is selling great at $7000. Selling to a “small pool of part time riders” what planet do you live on? More miles are logged by HD riders in the U.S. than all the other makes put together!

  92. Tom Brown says

    Harley has to kill Buell because The Company could never compete with an innovative American motorcycle co. Harley, now making the same mistakes Cadillac did in the 70’s and 80’s, will spend a great deal of money reviving their tattered image later on…while their core customer base erodes from old age. Shame that legendary race winning motorcycles from Harley are 50-60 years in the past, and Harley traded it’s future for short term profits.

  93. Kenny says

    Hear hear..John Findlay.
    And don’t forget HD’s attempt to trademark the sound of a V-twin engine with a common crankpin. Ancient history i know but still

  94. Sanders says

    I got a 2001 S3 Thunderbolt. I was sad to see buell go but the writing has been on the wall for a while. It started with the blast and the shift to the frame in fuel bikes. They are interesting bikes and I did a few problems that I had to iron out, but as far as everyday riding it is an outsanding bike. If anyone is thinking about a used buell get a “tuber” the best buells ever made. The new 1125’s are nice but always seemed a little to refined.

  95. Buellman says

    I actually think this is a good thing since I think it creates a significant market opportunity. Look at all of the interest in on this site for simple, moderately expensive, single or twin cylinder bikes that handle really well.

    While I’m a huge fan of Eric Buell, (and I’d like to think he’ll land on his feet). my alliance lies with his older trellis tube frame models. Does anyone want to split the cost of a frame jig with me, and we’ll produce a base model with simple adaptations for cafe, street tracker, and scrambler variations? Not sure about power, but I’m sure we could come up with something to cover the sm – 50 hp, med 75 hp, and large 100-120 hp ranges.

  96. Oldbikesrcool says

    History repeats itself:
    Lioncoeur said, “Keith Wandell came into the MC with no background in motorcycles. So what do we see now, a non-enthusiast at the controls who kills off a brand that continues to bring the only real innovation to a company stuck in the past just to make the shareholders happy.”
    Here we go again:
    A non-enthusiast at the controls. AMF Industrial chief, Tom York replaces motorcycle enthusiast and AMF Recreational chief Rodney Gott in the mid ’70s. Under enthusiast Gott, green lights were given for eventual retooling, development of the Nova project and the Evolution motor not to mention other potential fruit from the Pinehurst meetings.
    Under non-enthusiast York, red light the Nova project, ‘redirect’ revenues from the recreational side (H-D was far and away the golden goose) to prop up the industrial side and, oh ya, forget about the retooling. Huh?? What’s this? We own an Italian (Aeromacchi) motorcycle manufacturer?!?!? Dump it!
    “Alrighty then. THAT should improve things for the rest of the decade and into the ’80s”.

  97. hoyt says

    Oldbikesrcool – yeh, there are so many other ways Wandell could have gone. Although, in the end, the HD do-ragging-dealerships still would have been a MAJOR problem.

    Somehow, Buell will free himself & a lot of the free-thinkers he speaks about with a new company that Comprehensively treats their product, customers, and prospective customers with utmost respect.

    As someone mentioned above….imagine walking into a new, stand-alone Buell store where you experience the happier Erik Buell enthusiasm and passion from the staff (void of any attitude). A rock solid, yet subdued confidence would be evident. The product would be put out in front, speaking for itself as opposed to a goddamn image.

    How many dealerships whined to corporate about the higher-spec Buells having to be serviced? Were they beyond your skill? HD actually killed off a brand within just 2 short years of its first significant technological advancement!

  98. David says

    The outrage and crocodile tears for Buell from all the non-supporters (non-owners). What a laugh are you all hired mourners? Which is it? Harley the big money grubbing do anything for a buck or Harley the killer the thoughtless dorag company that has to eat the competition to its image at any cost? Buell couldn’t make it on its own thanks to all you Buell non supporters and it couldn’t make it with the money grubbing motor company propping it up. I at least own one I supported Buell with the only thing that counts MONEY! All the money grubbing boutiques would have had them front and center if they could have gotten their hands on some of your money but alas pretty daydreams about a perfect world don’t buy motorcycles. “I never owned one but thought their were great” “I personally wouldn’t buy one but how dare Harley get rid of them.” What a load of crap, by the way all the other companies are not doing to well on your daydreams either, the Japanese dealers are dropping left and right trying to keep their doors open while you wait for your perfect motorcycle and perfect world.

  99. craigj says

    When in doubt, focus on the core. That’s just smart business in the short term. In the long term H-D is in deep dark doodoo. Yes they have a substantial market share in the over 1000cc market. But like the whole industry, that market share is getting older. H-D has done nothing to attract new and younger buyers to it’s core brands. I’m 46. I should have H-D lust happening big time, but I don’t. The only reason I ever went into a H-D dealership was a) as a tourist to buy a T-shirt, b) to wait for my riding friend who needed emergency work on his V-Rod, and c) to look at a Buell Ulysses. I rode one in Daytona … what a revelation! That bike had ample day-to-day power and cornered like a cat on velcro. Big and tall just like me. I still wouldn’t rule one out, one of the local H-D dealers has one X new and one XT demo. I would only buy an XB though, just to ensure engine part supply. I’d be thinking 1125 parts might be tough to come by some day. Hmmm, used Ulysses on eBay are certainly priced right …

    It’s always a shame when someone with as many new ideas and as much passion as Erik Buell gets casually tossed aside after 25 years. I’m sure the buyout was generous, and I look forward to seeing him somewhere else doing something exciting some day. I would imagine going back to work in the H-D Engineering Dept. is going to be quite the bitter pill to swallow.

  100. Sid says

    David – The true crap is that you think no one can have a legitimate comment in this matter unless they owned a Buell, especially considering the obstacles to earning that sale at the dealership-level. Do you doubt Buell would have sold better at stand-alone shops or shops with multi-brands?

  101. Lioncoeur says

    Oldbikesrcool, you are absolutely right. Thanks for bringing up the AMF period. When are the people going that this industry for enthusiasts, by enthusiasts. Keep the bean counters and bankers, especially if they are outsiders, on the sidelines; all they care about is short term profit and they usually screw things up in the mid-term. Get rid of Wandell before he completely screws the company up. He is not the savior but the death knell of HD. Shame of them for hiring this guy; send him back to Johnson Controls.

    And David, I know a lot of people, myself included who would have bought a Buell if the dealer experience had been better. HD is 100% at fault for the lack of market share with Buell and killing them now is not right. They never belonged within the same dealership as HD and I can’t fathom why they never understood this and took measures to correct it. I can only imagine the frustration Erik had to deal with working under their umbrella, knowing he was developing incredible machines that never had the support they need to fully attract a market. HD has been dragging its heels with Buell from the very beginning just teasing Erik along and drawing out the death of his dream. His bikes would have been great alongside Japanese machines in multi-bike dealers. At least the sports riders would have had better chance to be exposed to them and I’m certain the sales teams would have been more happy to promote them, not to mention the mechanics who would have had no problem servicing them.

    Buell is dead, long live Buell. All my best to Erik if you happen to find this thread. I hope you can find a way to pry the tooling and patents away from HD and the money to relaunch Buell properly…the way HD should have done it from the begin. And in doing so, put the MC and Wandell to shame for what they have done. I’m sure I speak for many with these words.

  102. David says

    Quite the contrary so far as I know we are all, including me, entitled to our opinion unfortunately business still runs on the bottom line, demand and supply. If someone wants something they will search it out and find it. When I wanted a Bonneville I drove 330 mi to get to the dealer in 1970 are you suggesting people were beating down the doors to buy Buell but Harley wouldn’t sell them. I don’t think Harley cares where the profit comes from but the profit must come. I do not think buells would have sold better sitting next to Japanese bikes they certainly would have been in unfriendly territory there as well with all the derision paid to the powerplant by Japanese bike owners. Do you think the service departments would have any better handle on them then Harley. Mechanics by and large come from a few schools that train them on all bikes they go to work primarily for shops that sell the bikes they like most. Bike mechanics that love Honda ane no more inclined to keep up with working on Harleys than Chevy guys on Fords. Sales are the only thing that drive a product. Good products and ideas fail everyday for lack of support by the buyer. Harley invested in Buell to make money period not to hide it away at their expense I am sure they would have liked to have see some demand for Buell this year and every year that justified they’re investment. To bad we can’t tally the pro and con comments over the years made on this website about Buell. I think it would show what was really thought about Buell and why the greater motorcycling public didn’t support them through sales. I for one think it’s a great bike I also think it is disingenuous to bash Harley for discontinuing a bike so few people bought when they had the choice.

  103. Lioncoeur says

    David, You don’t think Buells would have done better selling alongside Japanese bike…I know many multi-franchise dealers that work with bikes like Triumph, Ducati, Aprillia, KTM, etc and they all sell well, so why not Buell. As far as HD wanting Buell to be successful, the no. 1 gripe has always been the dealer support, so why not fix it and open up the franchise network…easy fix to $$$. The problem was obvious, they knew what it was for years and never took any steps to correct it.

  104. Sid says

    And, it is not disingenuous to bash Harley if their dealers are the one negative that dissuade prospective buyers. Intertwined with Supply & Demand is Customer Satisfaction. When it is not there, a buyer begins to choose something else. Simple.

  105. Jeff says

    Does anyone else think that HD is positioning itself to be bought? Do the major shareholders now think that the best way to make money off the brand is to sell it? It sure seems that way to me. After first seeing the 2010 HD lineup, my thought was, “they’ve given up on product development.” There was nothing new on the VRSC front, and every other “new” product was just repackaging or paint scheme changes. Obviously, this has been going on for several years now, at least since the failure VRSC “experiment.” Now they’re getting rid of Buell and MV. I’m no financial genius and of course I don’t really know what HD is thinking, but it sure looks like they’re getting ready to sell. Do they really think that their core asset, the image of the brand, is enough to create long-term growth without solid underlying products? How can that be? Without real product development, when will people forget what the brand stood for originally? Look at the current product offering. There are some appealing bikes, but in my opinion, most of the bikes, particularly the “new” models, are basically caricatures. At some point, won’t people start to feel silly riding a caricature? Maybe not, and certainly the brand is too iconic to disappear any time soon. I just can’t help thinking, though, that the people who own the majority of the company stock have decided they can best make money by selling it. The best way to do that would be to get rid of everything that isn’t considered part of that core asset so as to become more attractive to a buyer. When I looked at the HD stock price today, it was up slightly. How is that possible after an announcement like the one they’ve made? Is the smart money thinking, here’s a company with a sound business plan and manufacturing strategy for the long term, or are they thinking they’ll be able to make some profit when the company is bought out? Make up your own mind, but I’m betting on the latter. Can you say, “Harley Davidson, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honda Motor Corporation?” It hurts me to do so, but I can.

  106. John says

    Hey findlay and brad jones guys that make comments like you open them selves up for the same thing.I avoid critizing unless provoked.I’ve always thought of VFR riders and people like findlay as effeminate,that’s why they make bold statements like ‘morons and goons” about people that ride what they want.You must have been hurt in some way in the past to carry so much inside to say those things but only when safely hidden behind your computor screen.

  107. Davidw says

    It really is disheartening to see the demise of Buell; a sad day for the sport and company. Buell for the most part billed its products as sportbikes as witnessed by their full page ads stating that. The sad fact is Buell never made a bike that could compete heads up with other bikes in its displacement category despite having a new high tech engine made by Rotax. Win on Sunday and sell on Monday truly applies to the sportbike class and Buell fell far short of doing that. The recent national championship running against 600cc bikes was a farce and everyone in the press and sport is aware of it. Maybe a little more mainstream race development and less so called innovation would have made the brand more competitive in the showroom with the type of rider targeted for sales success. Sad to see an interesting and potentially good brand die but as with any product there is a bottom line …sales.

  108. steve w says

    Other than my Triumph I have 3 V twins. One is an HD but S&S powered and the other 2 are cutoms i built using S&S engines. Now to HD. “The Motor Company” should be ashamed of that title. They seem unable and unwilling to develope an engine worthy of a sport bike. It doesn’t have to be a world beater (look at Triumph and now BMW) just sound and good. They bought Buell and stayed with the Sportster based engine far to long! They buy MV and have no idea what to do. The corperate leaders are fools if they believe they can continue forever with the lineup they have. Maybe they have a “plan” but from the look of the new models the last few years I wonder who the “plan” is for. Other companies crank out new engines like popcorn but HD can’t seem to get anything going. God help them and I hope they survive but it starts to make one wonder. Others are struggling too. Heck you can still buy new ’07 VTX 1800 Hondas but they aren’t running from the model. Maybe HD has a new Flathead ready for rerelease.

  109. David says

    Mr Buell as an ex Harley engineer certainly knew who he was partnering with and I assume he thought it was the best chance to market his dream of an American powered sport bike. He created the best bike he could within those parameters, some people truly enjoyed them. They certainly were advertised, they were rode by all the magazines and written about by all. There certainly have been dealers that did a good job with them and others that haven’t. I own 25 bikes from 10 different manufactures none of them very remarkable or special. I have not been impressed with many of their parts or service departments, does that mean none of these marques have good dealers certainly not. There are exceptional dealers for every marque find them and do business with them. I doubt many tried to find their Buell dealer if they had they would have found the bike my kids fight over the most for weekend outings.

  110. Roger says

    As hard as the Harley-Davidson Motor Company works on paint and styling, it never ceased to amaze me how homely the Buells always looked, especially the 1125R. Just one extra employee with an artistic sense may have gotten Buell through this. But belts on sport bikes? A giant disc instead of duals up front? The steadfast refusal to dress up that muffler? And when you looked at what was coming out of the KTM and Aprilia factories, it just didn’t make sense that America couldn’t make a good looking bike. Roland Sands and Jesse Rooke make cool, canyon racing roadsters all the time. The Roehr was built in a garage with a “giant, unusable” V-Rod motor and it was better looking. It also had something resembling a homegrown motor that was bulletproof to boot. Buell’s reliability was second rate. Racing an 1100 plus cc bike with the Japanese 600 cc bikes and taking great pride in winning? Come on, since when does America need such a handicap? Aprilia is running right at the top the first year out in World Superbike, we could have done it as well. A lot of strange decisions were made at the Buell factory and dealers often had to discount the hell out of the bikes at the end of the year after paying interest for ten months. It was killing the dealerships and wouldn’t have lasted 18 months on its own in separate buildings, there just wouldn’t have been enough profit to pay the bills. Everyone feels for the factory employees, but the whole company survived on the strength of the Harley-Davidson dealerships, their ability to carry a model that wasn’t profitable. When they weakened a little, Buell never had a chance; every family-owned dealership had to look at their business carefully and do what they needed to do to survive. Paying interest on bikes that had to sell at a discount wasn’t in the cards. Ignoring the beauty of the competitors: the MV, the Ducatis, the KTM’s, along with the Japanese bikes was inexcusable. I think it has been a hundred years since a company offered a product only in black (2008 1125R). I agree with the writer above, Buell could have made a cool roadster given the materials they had, something like the Kenny Dreer Norton, but never a sport bike. Race replicas are bumping 185 horsepower now, you can’t play in the game at 146, and stepping down into the junior league was embarrassing as hell. While many customers were saddened, I don’t think you’ll find many dealers losing sleep, the bleeding has stopped for them. Harley-Davidson probably did this at the request of their dealers. The new CEO warned everyone that he would cut off an arm to save the body and he did.

  111. Bob Nedoma says

    Agree with Roger, Buell bikes – ugly as only Eric could invent, except for some real neat components, such as the lightweight single front brake. As far as H-D saving the body, never before have I seen so many used Harley’s for sale at such absurd asking prices.
    Time to impose import duty on good foreign bikes to save the good ol H-D.
    I hope not.!!

  112. Earl says

    We can all look forward to some serious disruptions in the HD boardroom in the next few months.

  113. David says

    Well said Roger
    Having a item in production and selling it at a loss is why GM isn’t being traded and is now lovingly referred to as Govt. Motors its very seldom simple or obvious as some would suggest to make a profit. For everything you have going for you there is a hundred ways to fail.

  114. JCB says

    When the myth gets busted so ends the HD saga . I guess time will tell . Economically I believe things are worse than forcasted and the US is in for harder times than can be imagined there are going to be a whole lot of american icons disapearing in my opine . If anyone wanted an HD just wait awhile they will be going for pennies on the dollar when people have to feed their families instead of their egos .

  115. Diesel says

    I think HD has a plan brewing, they are going to close the York plant, so they will need to build a new one and I think they are putting all their funds into that.

  116. Tin Man 2 says

    Guys lets not go overboard, Harley still made a profit of 11.6 M in the 3Rd quarter. Thats more than many manufactures made all year. Getting rid of a division that makes no profit is a wise move, no matter how sad we are about it. Victory would be long gone if not for the other divisions proping it up, their sales are off by 56%, Star is depending on Yamaha to keep going and all the big co.s are hurting. The Large Bike market is ravaged, That Harley is still able to pick up market share in these times shows they make the right decisions.

  117. John says

    It sounds as if a lot of you want Harley to go out of business because they don’t make what you want.Well non of the Jap companys make anything I’m even remotely interested in either but I don’t post on any of thier articles lambasting them,that seems to be a trait of Harley haters.Where I live new Harleys and new to Harley riders abound and all you have to do is go to any Harley Forum and everyday look at all the posts from “Hey I’m a new Harley rider been riding other makes for years” posts.Also why is it if they are ready to fail that thier stocks have gone from $6 a share to over $27 a share in the last 8 mos.? Can the other motorcycle companys say that?

  118. says

    Roger – good points. Still want to mention…

    – the short-sided exit. HD/Buell just spent x amount in developing their first all-new motorcycle. Give it a chance.

    – I remember the V-Rod intro. Wow, what a spectacle with Willie G. on stage, etc.
    Successful corporations always proudly promote their goods/services with great enthusiasm and positive vibes (to the point of overkill). Where was this ‘hoorah!’ towards the 1125R?

    Did HD get comprehensively behind the accomplishment of the 1125R with an enthusiastic launch? Did Willie G appear with Erik B & the 1125R on stage anywhere? Point: Sales (and therefore profits) take a lot of positive promotion too. Willie G has a lot of “goodwill” & I think that would have helped the 1125R’s launch. More enthusiasm about the 1125R’s accomplishment to dealerships would have been received with prospective buyers. (i.e. “Hey, Willie G is into sport performance too…”)

    I disagree about the 146 hp being a handicap because of the torque delivery. Not only is 146 still a lot, but the torque would have been the winner.

    I do agree about the 1125R looks. I went to the IMS convention seriously considering trading a bike I love for the 1125R, but was promptly disappointed. Then I hoped the 1125R would be re-styled for 2010 or 2011. That hope is gone now. I admit it, I want a bike that runs that good to look good, too. No need for pointy, edgy sameness the way BMW has gone; but why not extend the great looks of the Firebolt onto the 1125R? It is still very original! The Kneeslider posted a topic about a Firebolt kit from the UK for the 1125R…check it out. http://thekneeslider.com/archives/2008/03/10/buell-1125r-full-fairing-kit/
    Ducati did not change the look of the 916 for a decade for good reason.

  119. OMMAG says

    My oh MY!
    But how the chickens do come home to roost!

    Did I not predict that HD would GM themselves?

    This is the very reason I never bought any stock in either company.

    As for the root cause of HDs woes ….. it’s as plain as can be that the management has never had any vision beyond selling the image of their product to nostalgia driven consumers attempting to live out fantasies.
    It was always doomed to come to a screaching halt.

    As soon as the fad ends the demand disappears…. and so do those sales.
    Economic conditions are just the drunk adolescents tipping the sleeping cow.

    Too bad HD has to take down some interseting and productive people with them.

  120. Tin Man 2 says

    Ommag, The dealers are happy to get rid of Buell, Wall Street is happy, stocks are up, Harley riders never cared for Buell. The Boy Racers are Happy because they have not outgrown their Power Ranger outfits yet. Harley made a profit last quarter, Did your Import brand gain market share? Im sure HD can learn alot from these comments, like nothing they can do will get the Haters to buy American.

  121. Kurt Blankemeyer says

    As much as I hate to see a brand get dropped, it had to happen. There are way too many players in the motorcycle field. Buell did pioneer some very good ideas. However, the Buell sportster engines were always trying to be something they weren’t.

    There has not been the consolidation in the Motorcycle industry like there has been in the auto industry. I think the next 2 years we will see brands dropped, brands dropping non-performing segments, and mergers. Expect it. Tough sledding as of late.

    This is just the start. Expect a number of other brands to drop off soon or merge to survive. When Honda’s sales are off almost 50%, you have to wonder about the health of the rest. About the only motorcycle brands you can rule out from dropping off the map…Harley, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha, BMW and Ducati. The rest are…in trouble.

  122. says

    As I have maintained in prior posts here, buying a motorcycle is (for most people) a very aesthetically driven decision. I memorize specs look at torque & HP dyno charts, rake, trail wheelbase and whatnot, guess at the ergos, and then ride it to see if it feels good. But if it I think it is ugly It will probably never end up in my garage. After all, most riders (like most people who buy athletic shoes) will never truly tap the performance potential of their purchase. But, they will look at it every day.

    Bikes these days come an a few distinct ‘flavors’ with commensurate looks. Cruisers look a lot like old American V-twins, regardless of where they are manufactured, and increasingly uniformly powered by an enormous V-twin engine (It is no accident that the outstanding Valkyrie was replaced by the inferior VTX1800, because cruisers are increasingly coterminous V-twins). Sportbikes look like whatever is being fielded in the MotoGP, and with a few exceptions are running 4 cylinders. Dualsport ‘adventure’ bikes look like a modern version of something Steve McQueen should be riding through the muck, and probably have a thumper. Classic/retro/cafe/naked bikes look more or less like Euro bikes from the 50-60s or UJMs from the 70s, and probably have a high revving twin. Etc. . . Anything outside the established categories is a special case and has an uphill battle to fight.

    Motorcycles are emotional purchases, and aesthetics are emotional. Buells are distinctive looking bikes, and not to everyone’s liking. When you are buying a new expensive bike you pretty much have to love it, and love is not the word most people would use to describe the Buell’s appearance. “Distinctive” or “Original” or “Unique,” but not “Beautiful.” I personally think that 2009 1125CR is really pretty good looking, but frankly it is the only Buell I have ever liked the looks of (probably because they put a more classic tail on the 1125CR, and I personally hate the Lightning/Blast style tail. . .)

    Buell’s unconventional looks and seemingly bizarre combination of a huge vintage style touring engine with a super modern frame and suspension had no easy niche to fit into. I think that this more than anything prevented them from succeeding. In an increasingly tight selling market, with Harley looking at sh*tty profits and falling share prices, anything outside the proven niche model and to be cut. Sure, they might regret this necessity in 20 years when boomers are shopping for coffins and cemetery plots instead of billet barges, but at least the Motor Company will (hopefully) be around to have such regrets.

    Just my 2 cents

  123. David says

    Tin man 2-
    I have never understood the hate Harley thing. I own and have owned lots of bikes and I have 5 kids who ride as well as their spouses. We ride them all and when I hear someone dismiss a bike because its not a Harley it doesn’t take long to see what posers they are. I am left to believe that when people do the same because it is a Harley, they also must fit the same description.

  124. Woodman West says

    Well, I buzzed out to Biketoberfest last night around 6pm. The local HD shop is visible from the highway. There wer throwing a huge party with about 10,000 folks singing partying and dancing in the parking lot. All night long, all free. Every HD dealer within 100 miles of Daytona is doing the same thing.

    About 80-90% of the bikes I saw in the last 4 days at BTF were HD. You buy a life style with HD, You get to “join the club”.

    I rode home a different route. Past a huge dealership the sells Suzuki, Triumph, Victory and Ducati (thier sister store also sells Honda) Surely they would be partying into the night except they went out of business last month. Both stores.

    Don’t start throwing dirt on HD yet. They are far from dead. The strong survive.

  125. Hybrid.Moments.Pass says

    I just read through 140 comments on here – WOW.

    one person mentioned the bad idea a single brake up front vs duals was – didnt seem to affect stopping power in any of the races. so whats the hold up with that?
    and the belt – make it to where a rider can just ride instead of cleaning a chain, replacing chains and sprockets etc etc

    Whatever, I am biased, I own two buells now. A tuber model with the rock solid and relilable sportster motor, and a new 1125R.
    They are both amazing.
    Fastest things ever? Not close.
    But reliable, and plenty fast for any street riding.
    But I dont just own buells, I own and have owned japanese bikes as well.

    It really saddened me to hear about this, to hear there would be no more Buell. I was in shock. Hell, the day before they resigned Eslick to another year of racing and were going to also put him on a RR model.

    I have hopes for the company though. I think there is a reason they are not selling Buell, there are probably greater plans for it in the future than just selling it off.

    Yes, 9 times out of 10 the support at the dealerships was crap for the buells. But I did find a great local dealer that had enthusiasts working there and they knew what they were talking about.
    I think the dealer problem was they had a bunch of harley people that were ‘forced’ into selling buells and yet knew zero about them.
    If they wouldve added two employees per dealer that CARED about the bikes, they wouldve gotten better sales I think. Put a sales person in it that knows about it and is passionate about it. Put a tech in there that doesnt mind working on them.

    No joke – recently I called a dealer about an oil change (grandfathers bike on our lift right now) and they said ‘well we cant do it today cause our buell tech is out and the other guy here refuses to work on them….’
    Youve got to be kidding me.

    But I’ve also had crappy experiences in other dealerships as well that sold hondas, yamahas etc. There are good and bad dealerships everywhere, not just limited to HD/Buell.

    Anyway. I do not like the choice to close buell, but I do have hopes.
    Erik Buell was a genius, a true innovator.
    I think all will turn out well in the end.
    Who knows, maybe they’ll slap the name ‘harley davidson’ on the side of them.

  126. Benjamin says

    And still there is no talk in here about MV. You’re all Buell this and Buell that. I still think we would be poorer for the loss of MV than we would for the loss of Buell.

    Captcha says: sister orifice. That’s where some people can put their HD for all I care about the brand.

  127. Hybrid.Moments.Pass says

    MV wasnt shut down, just being sold off. Buell was shut down – there is a big difference.

  128. Woodman West says

    Fred sounds like you were in charge of marketing for Buell. Bottomline is, owning and riding a Harley is fun. Too well over 220,000 buyers in 2009 it was worth the money. (and this was a decrease) Thier bikes have drop dead stunning style (have you seen the 2010 Fatboy lo), hold thier value extremely well and perpetuate rugged individaulism. Preception is reality and style is king. At least in Daytona beach!

    Personally I ride Stars as I was always a Yammie guy. But if could only ride 1 bike for the next 10 years and my choices were a new FJR or a 1978 FL I would take the the HD.

  129. Benjamin says

    @Hybrid: I appreciate the difference. Selling a company off is neither a guarantee of a purchaser, nor a guarantee of a purchaser who will honour the brand and not ride it into the ground.

    Buell disappearing is sad for sure. MV changing hands is also very sad, because the history of transfer of ownership of Italian marques is not great. I only hope it doesn’t fall into Chinese hands, but then again that hasn’t proven to be a problem for Benelli.

    Others have probably said this: Buell disappearing is probably what Erik needs, maybe if he makes a fresh start we will see something truly wonderous?

  130. Hybrid.Moments.Pass says

    benjamin – i agree about him being free, but i also see some problems with this.
    1 – a non-compete. im sure he has signed one.
    2 – patents. HD owns all of the buell ones, so he’d have to start from scratch
    3 – backing. i think there are people out there that would love to back him, but are they able to back him as much as HD?

    I wish him the best and have high hopes for these bikes, we will see

  131. PeteP says

    OK, I keep reading (here and on other sites) that HD is ignoring and alienating younger rider with their current offerings. I think that is wrong.

    The “Iron”, “Nightster”, “X-Bones”, and “Fatbob” are clearly targeted at younger riders, and very popular. They have all the youthful attention they need or want. They didn’t need Buell.

  132. Woodman West says

    The top selling bikes in Europe is the 125. Well, gas is $9/gallon and thier is no place to park. Also registration fees may be based on displacement.

    Americans buy bikes for fun, style, image and a pastime or hobby much more than basic transportation. You cannot blame HD for making a sound business decision, regardless of what you think of thier bikes.

    Erik had his shot, it did not work out. Why didn’t he go around to the dealers and educate them on how to sell and service his bikes?

    Its not show friends, its show business!

  133. Benjamin says

    Hybrid: Well I didn’t realise HD owned the patents, that is a sh!t sandwich for sure. I hope Erik can forge a new direction or finds a company that can nurture his talent. Silly thought of the day: What would a Buell/MV collaboration come out like?

  134. tim says

    “perpetuate rugged individualism”

    that made me snort coffee all over my keyboard. One assumes you are being ironic?

  135. Woodman West says

    Not in the least. When Star (basically fake Harleys) advertises “we build it, you make it your own” (by bolting on a bunch of stuff form our catalogs) they are “perpetuating rugged individualism” Be a rough, tough biker on a bike only you could build.

    I am not saying it is true (or not kind of silly), just that it works. That is the market HD has defined and sold to so well.

    Or as Jon Bon Jovi sings “…I am a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride”

    Look, Buell is dead and gone, long live Buell. Lets just move on.

  136. Richard Gozinya says

    PeteP, those aren’t marketed to the youth, they’re copies of what LA Rockers were doing to their own bikes, except those guys did it a lot better (And cheaper) than Harley. Most of those guys are in their 30’s, Gen Xers really. Gen X is definitely not the youth market, nor is it as heavily into cruisers as Harley hoped. Harley knows they’ll never appeal to the youth market, not when a high performance sportbike can be had for less than half the price. And with the growing interest in adventure bikes, that’s just more of the market that Harley can’t get a foothold in.

  137. Tin Man 2 says

    Richard G, An Iron 883 is $7000, If that is to much money for the youth market then they should stick to Scooters. The “High performance Sportbikes” is a faze the young go through, after paying Insurence and traffic Fines for a couple years, most are sold off cheaply, as the rider matures. Adventure bikes are a growth market, although 1000cc back road bikes are a little extreme, the Buell ULY will be missed. I expect it will be rebadged as a HD and released in the spring, along with a few other former Buell models. Eric still works for HD.

  138. Matt Anderson says

    @ Tin Man 2 –
    “Im sure HD can learn alot from these comments, like nothing they can do will get the Haters to buy American.”
    So…Honda, then? Sorry man, but your Harley isn’t all that American, anymore. Frame and most of the motors are, but even that is on Chinese steel.

  139. todd says

    off topic but; how much of a H-D frame and motor is made in the USA? Are all the castings made in the USA? I doubt it. Are the pistons, rods, cranks, bearings, seals, cams, gears, etc made here? Hmm, probably not. They are probably assembled here for sure, at least most of the final assembly. They probably paint the frames and weld the joints but all the brackets and castings probably arrive in big cardboard boxes.

    There is nothing wrong with this. It is not very smart business to be too vertically integrated. I doubt that Harley owns a refinery or wants to. This is why Buell seems to have had more white collar workers than blue. How many people does it take to assemble a bike from parts vs how many people does it take to develop and handle the logistics of one?

    I will miss Buell, only because they represent the failure of an American Sport Bike brand (sorry Roehr, Fisher, et all). Why does the US need to be the land of overweight, underpowered, over priced motorcycles? Why does all the Super Tech and high quality stuff have to come from everywhere else?


  140. mkd says

    @ tin man2 “An Iron 883 is $7000, If that is too much money for the youth market then they should stick to Scooters.” Being in the youth market, i can say that 7 grand is indeed too much for what the 883 is (especially when i can buy a phrat boys liter or .5 liter bike for super cheap). The mentality of price making a bike is flawed as is the idea of overpaying or going without. Seems like prices changed for Harley but their snobby mentality didnt

  141. Hybrid.Moments.Pass says

    i dont think anyone was really debating between a sportsters and a gixxer 1000… you cant really compare the two.
    besides – new 600s – more than 7000
    new 1000 – quite a bit more than 7000
    or did you mean used, cause we’re talking new prices on the sportster, so now youre really not comparing apples to apples.

    and younger people DO want harleys/cruisers. not all young people want the latest supersport replica etc

  142. Richard Gozinya says

    Hybrid, where are all these young people that want cruisers? I’ve never seen any in southern California, where I live. As for supersport replicas, there’s a lot more options than that, and they all outperform cruisers. Cruisers are just too expensive, considering what they offer. The price tag is about where BMW, or Italians are at. But with the Beemers and Italians, you get way more for the money. A real suspension system, real brakes, lighter weight, better engines, etc.

    I’m sure there are a few young people wanting or owning a Harley, there just aren’t enough of them to keep Harley around.

  143. Johnny says

    I will tell you this….I’m selling buells left and right all day long now that the price has dropped. Brand new 1125’s for $6800. MUCH better than the $12,000 tag before.

  144. B.O.A.R. Member ---------- T. Jones says

    Just to start off….Most of you need to go back to school and learn how to spell…Second I own a xb12R and it is the best bike I have ever owned, I have owned and rode many imports tunner cookie cutter bikes and they are all the same, not to mention they are on every corner. Eric Buell came out with a dream that was a little out there wanting to build a AMERICAN streetbike, and he did just that….Any idiot can twist a throttle and go 180, that not what Buell is all about….So all you with you GSXRs, R1s, R6s, CBRs, ZX6Rs, ect… have fun being just like the other guy, and, try to catch me in the corners…..

  145. Hybrid.Moments.Pass says

    richard – i have about 6 friends who are younger than me (i am 26) that ride cruisers, bobbers, choppers.

    dont think your area is what it is like everywhere

  146. Woodman West says

    T. Jones, Wow, people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Did you just tell us to learn to spell then misspell “tuner” as “tunner”?

    I will not even mention your grammer or syntax.

  147. J. Johnston says

    I have bought 4 buells since 1999 and loved every one of them. The S3 Thunderbolt is one of the best rides I have ever owned. It was a perfect machine. I guess the greed from higher ups at H D is more important than keeping and helping a one of a kind American sportbike company from going under. I feel bad for the people that will be out of a job. Times are hard everywhere but this act by Harley Davidson Motor Company is unexcusible. Sorry Erik, I hope you can survive without the Motor Company…………………..J. Johnston……………..North Carolina

  148. Donny says

    Buell motorcycles was harley davidson only connection to the young market,but Buell’s problem was it’s cost,i heard lots of guys say they would have loved a Buell lightning long XB12SS,but the cost was to high,and the sportster has no rear seat,and the ones set up with a rear seat are set up for old timers,and cost to much,and when you ask a dealer about a rear seat they say $400.00 to $500.00 dollars,and there new sportster sport bike has a rear seat that no women would ever sit on.(PS)Harley davidson needs new blood to make a cheeper line of bikes,that my not sit well with old blood.

  149. says

    I read Eric is making the 1125 RACE spec.available to verified racers.As far as HD goes,I’m waiting for a V-rod powered balls-out tour rig.It has to be G-wing inspired,but not look like a Samsonite-on-wheels.I ride a HD now,due to a knee problem.Just couldn’t bring myself to buy a knock-off cruiser clone.The XR1200 will fit fine once I get a nice new German-made knee.PS…no chrome on my FXDX.