Remember the Magpul Ronin, the modified Buell 1125R we showed you back in January? Magpul was pleased with the response from readers and they’ve further refined their prototype with the intention of exploring limited production. Grady Barfoot of Magpul, sent over some new photos and they look better than the bike we saw earlier. The Magpul designed girder front suspension, a Magpul linkage fork with Penske coil-over monoshock, and front mounted radiator dramatically change the appearance of the Buell and according to Magpul, improves the steering, as well. I think the design changes look right, if it works as well as the appearance leads you to believe, this could be an interesting special. Your response here will have an influence on whether they go ahead so be sure to add your thoughts.
Press release follows:
The Magpul Ronin is an experimental motorcycle project based on the Buell 1125R sport bike. The project itself represents the first iteration of a design exercise inspired by interests, hobbies, and passions shared by many within Magpul. Taken from the Japanese word for a samurai who lost his master, the name “Ronin” was chosen after the Buell Motorcycle Company ceased production and closed its doors in 2009. The model 1125R was selected due to its high level of performance and aesthetic potential that were never fully realized by Buell as a subsidiary of Harley Davidson.
Drawing inspiration from both modern and classic motorcycle design, the Ronin is a balance of form and function that maintains an aggressive, yet purposeful aesthetic. Using a combination of factory Buell parts and custom Magpul-designed components, the 1125R is transformed into a road-going sport bike that pays homage to classics like the Vincent Black Shadow, and to the café racer and streetfighter cultures that so heavily influenced the Ronin design. In order to ensure a seamless blend of style and performance, the stock Buell was rebuilt from the ground up with this vision in mind.
The Ronin’s most obvious and controversial feature is its custom linkage fork and front-mounted radiator. Engineered to mimic the axle path of the stock Buell fork, this contemporary iteration of the venerable girder fork uses sealed bearings and modern hydraulics to provide performance on par with conventional telescopic forks. In addition to improvements in rigidity and tunability, a slight change in trail eliminates the heavy steering of the stock 1125R in turns, and yields a lighter and more responsive feel up front.
The dual side factory radiators have been replaced by a single custom unit, and repositioned
forward to allow direct airflow to and from the radiator. Unlike the stock Buell configuration
which forces hot air into the engine bay and onto the rider’s legs, the smaller, lighter Magpul
radiator vents openly, thereby increasing rider comfort and lowering both engine and fuel
temperatures. Utilizing lightweight materials and minimalist design, the complete Ronin front
end is comparable in weight to the factory 1125R, allowing the steering to remain light and fluid.
Aesthetically, the linkage fork helps balance the visual mass of the fuel frame and swingarm,
while the front-mounted radiator is reminiscent of a vintage hot rod grill. From a rider’s
perspective, the vertical articulation between the machined aluminum linkage and the cast
aluminum fork creates a visual experience that was lost with the advent of the modern
Mounted atop the fork is a new cast aluminum handlebar and steering yoke, including a small
integral Motogadget multifunction gauge to replace the large factory instrument panel.
Designed to position the rider in a more comfortable, upright posture, the Ronin handlebars can be easily replaced with an aftermarket tapered bar via 1 1/8” handlebar clamp. Despite this extensive modification, the Ronin retains the factory ignition and steering lock, using the same factory key.
Supported above the engine by a minimal steel subframe is a cast aluminum tail section and air intake manifold, which form the foundation for the redesigned bodywork, air box, carbon fiber cover, and hand-stitched seat. Relocated from its original position in front of the engine, the factory intake has been replaced by two ram-air intakes now located atop the fuel frame. designed with increased cross sectional area, the new intakes are positioned just behind and
below the handlebars for improved airflow. Together, this combination of custom components
is largely responsible for the Ronin’s 50lb total weight reduction over the stock 1125R.
The addition of negative space beneath the rider serves to enhance the bike’s aggressive forward-leaning stance, while showcasing the machine aesthetic of the Rotax engine that is hidden in the stock configuration. Relocated from its original position, the factory seat lock is concealed inside the cast aluminum tail section, just in front of the custom LED taillight. Designed to compliment the lines of the factory fuel frame and swing arm, the tail section, seat, air box cover, and intakes form a unified body that sits naturally atop the frame of the 1125R to complete the Ronin’s distinct profile.
At the time of publishing (22 March 2010), the Ronin remains an ongoing developmental project, and all information regarding features, specifications, and availability is subject to change. A series of design revisions and additional modifications are in process, and more information will be released at www.magpulronin.com as updates become available.
UPDATE: The photo shows the Magpul Ronin on the track for the benefit of Mule who was asking about the bike.