Marsee and Brinker Buell 1125 Project

Marsee Brinker Buell 1125 Project

Marsee Brinker Buell 1125 Project

If you've been riding for a while, you've probably heard of Rex Marsee Designs. They made a wide variety of pretty popular magnetic tankbags and some motorcycle apparel, too. These days, Rex Marsee and workshop partner Larry Brinker, are building a few other projects and while looking at a Buell 1125 thought it might benefit from a little rework to reduce weight and change the appearance.

Since Larry has a pretty well equipped shop that's where the work began. They took the bike completely apart and began removing pieces and fabricating some new ones.

Rex says that along with removing a few parts, they made some new ones, too:

  • A tiny one piece assembly housing the license plate bracket, tail light, stop light and turn signals replaced the bulky production unit.
  • The passenger foot pegs were removed and handy grab rails were fabricated and installed.
  • Ram air scoops were incorporated into the air cleaner cover to not only bring in more air but to enhance the overall looks of the bike.
  • Several exhaust prototypes were created and tested until we finally had an increase of eight horsepower. The additional air intake and fuel adjustments added another four horsepower to the bike.The exhaust is tucked in completely under the bike and the header pipes were turned away from the riders right knee, reducing rider discomfort a lot.
  • MX style handlebars replaced the cafe style bars improving rider positioning and comfort and also improving rider maneuverability.
  • Up front the fairing was removed along with the huge turn signals and mirrors and to replace them are two small vertical headlamps hidden by side shrouds, mini turn signals and a left side bar end mirror drastically reduced the front end mass.

Initially we were going to mount a transverse radiator so we could eliminate the huge radiator air scoops on each side of the bike, but decided later to keep them intact as we planned to introduce the exhaust system for sale to consumers and the transverse radiator would have prevented us from using the after market pipe.

The frame, swing arm and many parts were powder coated a dark grey and the bike was reassembled. All body panels are painted a glossy black and highly polished.

The bike has been ridden quite a bit and it performs very well. Currently we are working with a motorcycle exhaust company with plans on building the exhausts and marketing them commercially.

As good as the Buell 1125 was from the factory, the styling was something that took some getting used to. Though the side radiators may have been very functional, I don't think anyone was really happy with them. The work done here lightens the bike by about 40 pounds and the stacked headlights and shroud get rid of the wide fairing and headlights to reduce the visual size on top, it looks good, but I think it might have benefited even more if they had been able to move or modify those side pods in some way, not easy to do, but the result could really pay off.

After seeing the Magpul Ronin article on The Kneeslider, Rex thought we might like to see what they had done with their Buell. He thought they accomplished much of what Magpul did for a lot less money, though no dollar figures were mentioned in the material Rex sent my way. It offers one more option for owners of the 1125 who are looking for something a little different.

Marsee Brinker Buell 1125 showing the stacked headlights and shroud

Marsee Brinker Buell 1125 showing the stacked headlights and shroud


  1. says

    Looks scary fast, but those ‘Pods’ remind me of a chipmonk with a face full of peanuts. Then again, I’m not sure what I’d do on that one. Increase fluid capacity with remote storage to decrease need for air horns. Maybe fans. Maybe just ride up North.

  2. B50 Jim says

    Hmmmm….. V-Max on steroids?
    It illustrates the problems of eliminating the considerable heat generated by a high-performance engine. As it appears their goal is to sell the exhaust system to the public, this seems like a logical solution. Still, it’s a visual rap on the skull, as if someone didn’t know where to mount the hard bags.

  3. Bigshankhank says

    To each their own, although I can imagine what losing 40 #s would do for that bike. Unfortunately they weren’t able to correct the one styling mistake Eric bestowed the factory bike with, and I’m sorry, the headlamp/shroud looks like a Spartan’s helmet.

  4. Nicolas says

    The main component that benefits the most of losing weight is most always … the rider 😉

  5. Garrett Ross says

    This thing is hideous, and would someone please tell my why anyone puts any work or effert in Beulls? It must be an American thing. Those bikes were god awful in nearly every aspect.

  6. Garrett Ross says

    They don’t have to be perfect. My problem is, this site continually give credit to remakes of buell bikes (99% of them hideous and poor performance) when there are hundreds of other motorcycle rebuilds and tech upgrades that deserve far far more praise. Buell bikes sucked when they were new and rebuilding them with ugly upgrade just makes them over priced ugly bikes. It saddens me that Buell motorcycles were the best the US had to offer in competitive motorcycles.

    • Bigshankhank says

      I don’t think anyone would argue that they were the peak of performance machines when they were new, but when someone stepped into the showroom they were an alternative to the increasingly similar (dare I say cookie-cutter) supersport bikes from the Big 4 Japanese makers. And an interesting alternative to boot, with very different geometry, brakes, engineering and its primary selling point: V-twin grunt. Alas as has been discussed at length they were hampered and ultimately set adrift by their financier, and Erik seemed to miss the mark stylistically which to me is why people keep building kits like this to finally adapt the styling to meet the engineering. Well, maybe not THIS kit although it is an effort to that effect.
      No they couldn’t compete on a racecourse, but on a racecourse is not the only place that a bike matters. Luckily that is something that is being worked out now in AMA circuits and hopefully will find its way in a new generation of EBR Brought to You by Hero (EBRBYH?)

    • Paul Crowe says

      this site continually give credit to remakes of buell bikes

      No, this site offers many builders an opportunity to show the work they have done on a wide variety of bikes. As always, if you don’t like a particular build or remake, pay no attention to it and wait for the next article on a different bike.

      It saddens me that Buell motorcycles were the best the US had to offer in competitive motorcycles.

      Whether your perspective is styling or performance, Buell, during its latter years as a business, was majority owned and controlled by Harley Davidson which had a major effect on what Erik could do. His plans were often overridden by HD management, a subject we’ve covered here in great detail. The 1125 would have been a fully faired sport bike without those radiator side pods if Erik had been able to build what he wanted. I pointed to an excellent article in Cycle World by Steve Anderson that shows how difficult it was to build a sport bike while owned by a cruiser company, highly recommended reading.

      If you’re going to gauge Erik’s abilities in the areas of design and performance, you might want to look at the current EBR models, those are in a whole different realm than when Harley kept a lid on his efforts.

      Also, as I have stated on so many occasions, if you consider someone’s hard work hideous, you are welcome to submit some examples of the work you have done and let others judge your abilities. I’d be happy to take a look.

    • William McElhaney says

      Did you ever ride a Buell? What’s so bad about them? Do you know a lot about them?

    • Dave says

      Your ignorance and willingness to demonstrate it to the world is astounding. I am the proud owner of a ’96 S2T and an ’09 1125R and love them both. I never expected them to have the same performance as a high-end Japanese or Euro sport bike but their performance on the road is more than enough for me (and most road conditions) and I would guess more than you could fully exploit. I will admit that Buell has had some issues over the years (I have been very happy with no problems with mine) but to make a blanket statement of “Buell bikes sucked… blah, blah, blah” or “99% of them hideous/poor performance” is simply ridiculous.

      Can you please enlighten us with the perfect motorcycle you ride? Of course, it will be the best looking, best handling, and fastest bike ever made, right? So what is it???

      Paul: Your challenge to him to show something he created that is not hideous will of course be met with silence. Too bad he didn’t exercise that right much earlier.


      • Dave says

        BTW, back to the original subject… I do not believe the M&B project is much of an improvement over the stock bike from a performance/useability perspective and detracts from the styling of the stock bike (already contentious enough).

      • Garrett Ross says

        I ride a decade old Ducati monster M750, which I have worked at c=shaving weight off of and done some body mods. Its not perfect by any means but it is still considered be a great many as one of the best looking naked bikes out there. Ducatis weight distribution and flickability make this bike a blast to ride at any speed. Im a firm believer in finesse over brute force. I stnd by my remarks, I honestly wish I could brag about American made sport bikes, there just arent any.

        • Sigmund Fiend says

          “I have worked at c=shaving weight off of and done some body mods”

          i.e., I am a child still playing dressup with his (?) toys.

          “Im a firm believer in finesse over brute force.”

          i.e., Buells are too fast and they scare me.

          “I honestly wish I could brag about ”

          i.e., I can’t ride my way out of a paper bag and mom won’t let me ride outside of the gated community anyway.

          • Garrett Ross says

            Sigmund really? Thats your reply?

            Buells are not the most powerful bike I have ever ridden by far. Your insults are idiotic as well as your argument. I know motorcycles, and my opinion of Buell bikes are that they are a disappointment…huge disappointment. This mod to a 1125 is ugly as hell and this site could find 100 better mods to better bikes, more deserving bikes. Look at the Ecosse, sure its over priced, but 200 hp and 210ft lbs of torque make for a hell of a ride, not to mention the bikes are feather light and a blast to ride. Sigmund Fiend, you fall back on childish jabs, learn about bikes, Japanese, European, russian, the motorcycle world has tons to offer, the US may have stopped innovating but the everyone else is hard at it.

            • Sigmund says

              Oh dear, I had NO idea I was insulting one of the great sources of motorcycle wisdom! I do oh so much want to “Know motorcycles”! Where can I “Learn about bikes”? Who makes and sells this Ecosse, of which you speak? It must win a LOT of races! I never knew there where innovative russian bikes! I can’t find them anywhere, but that’s probably because I just don’t know as much as you do!

              And that Ducati “Monster” – wow – with a name like that, both it and you must be totally fierce! is it one of those Japanese, European, russian bikes? If so, then it MUST be much faster than the Buell. Please be a dear and make it so I don’t like the wrong bikes anymore. It is so humiliating when smart, informed, and perky people like you sneer at me.

              [/whiny lisp]

  7. JanBros says

    I have to agree with Garret ! Those air-scoops are THE most ugly thing ever seen on any motorcycle ever build. They “almost” make Victory cruisers look nice…
    Redisigning a 1125 Buell but keeping these is a useless effort.

  8. 7R Pete says

    Looks like a good job behind the saddle but everything in front and below misses the mark for me. As for sitting up more upright without a decent screen, I shake my head. Even a cafe-style-leaning-on-the-wind stance gets rough after a couple of hours at 60 – 70 Mph.

    • Bob Nedoma says

      the benefit of “leaning on the wind” takes place mainly ABOVE! the 60 to 70 mph.
      When only cruising, ride a cruiser, NOT a classic bike. BTW, this Buell is fugly.

  9. Hooligan says

    The only Buell I half liked the look of was the CityX. And that was the most useless city bike you could possibly dream up. A friend bought one by mistake, well he had not test ridden it because HD did not do specific test rides here. He lasted about two months of London riding with it.

  10. Dave says

    When you’ve seen one Buell you’ve seen them all. Some are just worst then others stylewise. The scoops on this one look just like the air intakes on BAe Strikemasters. Hooligan might know I mean.

    • Hooligan says

      Or the ones on the Harrier “jump jet” Now there is a thought – how about vectored thrust on a bike? The exhausts could be turned round to induce braking or inverted to push the bike down, or just out the back as a aid for performance?

  11. rex marsee says

    I really enjoy the critics who speak of perfection and style. That is what is good about our Republic, we can say what we please.

  12. Rob says

    I think many of the earlier Buells looked fine. The air scoops just don’t do it for me or many others by the sounds of it. Performance wise there is nothing wrong with this model or the earlier HD powered versions, many people own and love their Buells for the reasons that originally inspired the bike, a large simple grunty engine in a sports frame that didn’t cost the earth. If HD had continued with the line it would have been a nice family of bikes to get into, collect, ride or work on.

  13. anders says

    I have to agree with all comments about those side scoops … woof. I know side rads are rather inefficient (VFR owner here), but surely something else could be done. Maybe some angular side ducts ala ‘transformers’ :^), or even additional fans (unless these rads already have a fan behind each …


  14. Yeti2bikes says

    Well I ride a bare naked Lightning which doesn’t have the side pods. And yes, for it’s displacement it’s not the most powerful bike by any means but it has lots of low end grunt and rolls on the power smooth. It also stops on a dime and corners like a dream.

  15. Mike says

    Wow, that is hideous, both the stacked head lights and the intake pods. To each their own I guess. Good luck.

  16. Doctor Jelly says

    I kind’ve like that airbox cover, but how do they punch those vents into the actual airbox underneath? Also, I much prefer the style of the stock front end (I LOVE the super wide look) but would it interfere with those vents they put in the airbox? Do the vents supplement the stock ‘snake’ intake or replace it?

    Even if they designed a different radiator scoop that didn’t work with that pipe, they should at least float a concept for one. I don’t care for that pipe, but I would entertain a new setup to the scoops…

  17. says

    The pods are almost tolerable and I like the new headlight/fairing.

    But I ride an 06 Ulysses, so my aesthetic opinion probably doesn’t count for much!

  18. davefla says

    Mr. Marsee, it’s a nice effort and compares favorably with the 1125CR. As for the radiator covers, I have always wished I could’ve bought a set of full racing bodywork from BMC before the shutdown and stored it until I could afford an 1125R…

    Meanwhile, my 2007 Uly with homebrew luggage isn’t a Multistrada, but neither did it cost $20k…

  19. Moosestang says

    With all due respect, the Buell 1125cr was a decent looking machine right from the factory. Factory mirrors are always ugly and most people remove them, same with passenger pegs. I’ve yet to see an after market exhaust, with the exception of a few available overseas, that looks any better than the factory can. Sure they save weight, but at the expensive of looking out of place and being loud as holy hell. I like my 1125cr just the way it is now.

  20. Cowpieapex says

    Real beauty in motorcycle design is, to me,the result of form following function. Any time an element of design is subjugated to style alone in defiance of function it becomes facile not aesthetic.
    By this standard “ugly” is appropriate for pretend air intakes or up-swept exhaust pipes. If it enhances function it is by definition elegant.
    Of course I’m biased. I have logged over 60,000 miles on my S3T and no other machine has more closely reminded me of my beloved Ducati GT750 or the HRD machines it resembled. The new Ducatis fail to elicit the same visceral experience.
    Ultimately I do recognize that the snorting trembling enchanted ditch pump my Buell uses for a motor is perhaps the ultimate concession to style over function but Storme Winter and I have moved it further in the direction of higher function.

  21. Mike says

    No they don`t. And why anyone would put out many $$ to make changes that would have minimal results compared to buying something that needs no alteration to perform as good/better, is beyond me.If your goal is to have a better looking (subjective), lighter Buell, then spend your money on these changes.