In an interview with Alan Cathcart, Erik Buell talks to the famed motorcycle journalist about his departure from Harley-Davidson, and what the future holds for Erik Buell and Erik Buell Racing. Perhaps one of the most interesting things to come out of the pair’s conversation (read a translated version at Motonline) is the fact that in late-2006/early-2007 Harley-Davidson killed off a project to build a 450cc Buell off-road machine. Still believing that there is a market for a Buell-branded dirt bike, Buell confessed to Cathcart that EBR is taking up the 450cc project again, which uses a special single-cylinder Rotax motor as its power plant.
While Harley-Davidson reportedly used millions of dollars to develop the 450cc dirt bike idea, EBR is developing the motorcycle for obviously significantly less money. Centered around a gas and oil in-frame design, Buell says the bike will be very light with its aluminum frame, although maybe not the lightest bike on the market. With a focus on reliability and ease-of-start, it’ll be interesting to see how EBR takes its track oriented brand, and applies it to the off-road world.
We imagine funding is the biggest issue right now in getting the EBR off-roader off the ground and into the dirt, as our sources tell us Buell has actively been looking for financial backing since his departure from Harley-Davidson. We have yet to hear of a major investor stepping in to help the innovative company, but rumors of a Bombardier acquisition have been heating up (who knows if this has anything to do with that).