Erik Buell Racing has quietly been “tipping” sites off to the fact that Buell’s record label, Rat Pak Records, is selling t-shirts for a Erik Buell Racing 1190RS motorcycle. What is the 1190RS you ask? “The 1190RS will be the new street bike from Erik Buell Racing! The design is currently in the pre-production / testing stage and is not yet available for public sale,” says the website (Asphalt & Rubber brought you the first teaser of the 1190RS way back in July). However, a video of the pre-pre-production 1190RS will be up on September 14th, officially making this a teasing of a teaser video (are you still with us?).
Before you Buell fans start getting all in a tizzy, we have to break the news that the hype being generated about the EBR 1190RS is more about raising money for Erik Buell Racing, than announcing an upcoming motorcycle. Erik Buell & Co. have been making the rounds to investors looking for capital to build-out its production line, reportedly with little success. With a company built around a “never say die” attitude, Erik Buell hasn’t given up looking for cash (buy more t-shirts people!), and the 1190RS announcement is a way for EBR to show that there is a market demand for its motorcycles. Once the market is proven to exist, EBR is hoping investors will then open up their wallets.
This isn’t exactly a new trick for struggling motorcycle companies, and there is at least one other motorcycle manufacturer pulling-off this stratagem as we speak (or is it as I type?). However there’s a thin line being walked here as well, since Erik Buell has a non-compete with Harley-Davidson that prohibits him from making street bikes (February 2011 is the expect expiration date on that contract). While having someone tip-off websites, and promoting the new bike on a record label’s website sounds like a great way to get around the non-compete agreement, the legal reality is that it would take short work to link it all back to Buell, and run the company into legal trouble.
All the boring business and legal stuff aside, the Erik Buell Racing 1190RS, if it ever makes it to production, will be a welcomed alternative to the inline-four hegemony currently found in the motorcycle industry. Expect the 1190RS to be based off the 1190RR race bike, except with lights, horns, and shiny reflective devices. We’ll post the video on the 14th…or sooner if our Bothan Spies complete their mission with success.