UPDATE 3: April Fools.
UPDATE 2: Avril Foujour of BRP has made a statement to Asphalt & Rubber confirming the press leak.
A day ahead of its scheduled release, it would appear that someone inside Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) has leaked an announcement that Erik Buell Racing and BRP will form a new motorcycle company called Bomber Motorcycles. The press release, which was posted on the Buell enthusiasts forum Bad Weather Bikers has now been taken down, perhaps by request of Erik Buell Racing or Bombardier. But it appears to have come from someone at Bombarider, and was thankfully forwarded to us by a quick spotting member. This would seem to confirm earlier chatter we heard last week in the Buell camps about a Bombardier connection that we dismissed as fallout from the Alan Cathcart article in DealerNews.
The surprise announcement couldn’t come on a worse day, although it looks like it was actually scheduled to occur tomorrow to avoid April Fools confusion. Never-the-less the press release outlines the creation of a joint-venture between the two companies, with a 1190cc sportbike slated for arrival late in 2010. Dubbed the Stratofortress, the bike features what sounds like a new Rotax powerplant that has 1190cc’s on board, and uses a 60 v-twin configuration. According to the release, the Bomber Stratofortress certainly sounds the part, making 160hp and weighing an alleged 365lbs dry. More after the jump.
Explaining the basis for the joint-venture and Canadian production facility, Bombardier Recreational Prodcuts PR Correspondent Avril Foujour explained to Asphalt & Rubber that, “after BRP’s offer to buy Buell Motorcycles was rejected by Harley-Davidson, BRP began exploring creative alternative possibilities with Erik Buell himself. While Harley-Davidson refused to sell the Buell brand and infrastructure, we realized the core essence of the Buell legacy was the man behind the machine, Erik Buell himself.”
Unfortunately for BRP, part of Erik Buell’s severance from Harley-Davidson included a non-compete clause that barred Buell from making motorcycles. “Erik’s hands are tied by Harley-Davidson and their lawyers, as such Buell cannot create street-oriented motorcycles by law,” Foujour explains. “However the contract provision is unenforceable under Canadian law, and in particular here in the French-Canadian provence of Quebec. Both jurisdictions have much more favorable provisions regarding non-compete clauses, which have allowed us to achieve the announcement we were planning on releasing tomorrow.”
Foujour continued telling us that “by having Erik Buell Racing move across the northern border of the United States and into Quebec, both companies effectively sidestep this road block put in place by Harley-Davidson. Additionally since this is joint-venture by BRP and Erik Buell Racing, Buell himself is not necessarily making any motorcycles, as BRP will be undertaking a large portion of the engineering and production for Bomber Motorcycles, an important technicality based on the wording set out in Buell’s contract with Harley-Davidson”
BRP would not confirm the rumor, but there is some belief that Harley-Davidson specifically added the non-compete clause to Buell’s severance contract in order to block him from colluding with BRP. Despite their alleged efforts, to us this sounds like some crafty lawyering by both Erik Buell and BRP. Erik Buell’s non-compete clause is rumored to expire in just under 18 months, which could see the newly formed Bomber Motorcycles land back on American soil, once again reviving the dream for an American sport bike. In the meantime, we’ll just have to wait for the spy shots of the Stratofortress to come zooming down from the heavens. More as we get it.
Leaked Press Release from Bombardier Recreational Products:
Bombardier Recreational Products and Erik Buell Racing Announce Bomber Motorcycles Joint-Venture
Valcourt, Quebec, Friday, April 2, 2010 – Bombarider Recreational Products Inc. (BRP) is pleased to announce, in conjunction with Erik Buell Racing, LLC, the formation of Bomber Motorcycles Ltd., a joint-venture between Erik Buell Racing and BRP. Bomber Motorcycles® will produce performance orientated street motorcycles out of Quebec, Canada that will be tailored to meet the needs of North American sport bike enthusiasts. These motorcycles will showcase unparalleled performance characteristics, and benefit from cutting edge technology seen nowhere else in the motorcycle industry. Featuring BRP made Rotax® engines, Bomber Motorcycles will revolutionize motorcycling with its unique chassis designs and styling.
Bomber Motorcycles expects its first motorcycle to be available in the fourth quarter for 2010 with the the 2010 Bomber Stratofortress® being the first motorcycle to come from the new company, and will feature the very best elements of both companies involved in the joint-venture. The Stratofortress® will utilize the new Rotax 1199, a 1199cc liquid cooled 60°v-twin power plant that produces 160 peak horsepower. The street version of the Stratofortress® is expected to weigh 365lbs without fluids, making it a class leader not only in North America, but also abroad.
Along with the announcement of the 2010 Bomber Stratofortress®, BRP and Erik Buell Racing are also pleased to announce Bomber Motorcycles’ plans to enter several AMA Pro Racing events during the 2010 season with the Stratofortress® platform (pending AMA Pro Racing homologation requirements), and will rely heavily upon the knowledge brought by the Erik Buell Racing team to Bomber Motorcycles.
As a part of the joint-venture agreement, Erik Buell Racing will be moving its headquarters to Quebec, Canada, but will not become a owned subsidiary of BRP. This will allow Erik Buell Racing to be closer to the production facility for Bomber Motorcycles, and to more easily integrate its business processes with BRP as the two firms establish Bomber Motorcycles.
BRP, a privately-held company, is a world leader in the design, development, manufacturing, distribution and marketing of motorised recreational vehicles. Its portfolio of brands and products includes: Ski-Doo® and Lynx™ snowmobiles, Sea-Doo® watercraft and sport boats, Johnson® and Evinrude® outboard engines, direct injection technologies such as Evinrude E-TEC™, Bombardier* ATV all-terrain vehicles, Rotax® engines and karts.
Erik Buell Racing, based out of East Troy, Wisconsin is a race and performance parts manufacturer for the Buell line of motorcycles. Its services include not only tuning and producing performance parts, but also providing a limited number of race prepared motorcycles for various racing classes around the world. It currently offers the track-only 1125R, 1125RR, and 1190RR motorcycles to cup racers and track day enthusiasts.
Source: Bad Weather Bikers