A plethora of Indian Financial publications are reporting that Hero MotoCorp has bought a 49.2% stake in Erik Buell Racing for $25 million. Hero MotoCorp is India’s largest two-wheel manufacturer, and for a year now has partnered with Erik Buell Racing for technical development, as well as sponsoring the American company’s AMA Pro Road Racing team for the past two seasons.

Today’s news confirms numerous rumors we have heard about the Hero investing in EBR. Acquiring only 49.2% of Erik Buell Racing, Hero has only a minority stake in EBR, and while we cannot confirm the information, we would imagine that the odd 49.2% ownership was done to keep Erik Buell as the majority shareholder in his company.

“The equity partnership with EBR is reflective of our long-term vision of transforming Hero MotoCorp to a truly global two-wheeler major with footprints spread across continents, offering a wide range of technologically-advanced two-wheelers,” said Hero MotoCorp CEO Pawan Munjal while talking to the Economic times.

As we go on spreading our footprint in new international markets, we will look at having extended centres of our own R&D at multiple locations around the world, developing two-wheelers for our global customers. Our fully-owned new overseas subsidiaries such as the one in the US and in Netherlands will play important roles in our future overseas acquisitions and investments,” added Munjal.

Making the transaction through its wholey-owned American subsidiary HMCL, Hero MotoCorp picks up two seats on Erik Buell Racing’s Board of Directors, along with one observer position. Despite those board changes, Erik Buell will remain the company’s Chairman and CEO.

According to reports from India, Hero has paid $15 million up-front, and will invest $10 million within the next nine months. The investment reportedly is to help Hero continue its R&D efforts, helping fill the void left behind from Hero and Honda’s break-up, as Hero plans to be free of Honda’s technology (and licensing fees) by 2014.

Hero must have liked what they have seen so far from its short partnership with Erik Buell Racing to make the investment, and value the company at just over $50 million. Though now the real question for Buelltisti is how do they feel about their “American sport bike brand” being largely owned by an Indian company?

Source: Reuters, Economic Times, & Business Standard; Photo: © 2011 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

  • Doctor Jelly

    If it keeps Buell in the game, gives him funding for his ideas, and means I may be able to put another ‘mere mortal’ priced Buell next to my 1125R one day, then I’m ok with it!

  • Logan

    This day and age one had to go where the money is. I hope this helps Erik get bikes solidly on the ground instead of temporarily.

  • alexssss

    this would all be so much more awesome were it not for the fact that hero motorcycles are something you’d find at walmart

  • Logan

    Hero is a HUGE company even if they only sell in “walmart”. This needs to be looked at with the bigger picture in mind. This deal will help both Erik and Hero expand.

  • motobell

    Good news for Buell long term – I grew up india and have lived last 20 years in the US – so I may be biased. But I also follow our sport and industry very closely to know that – Buell just cannot survive with a american market – even if they make the transition back to decent volume play.

    @Logan is right. India is a very nascent market and will be bigger in $$ in the near future. The investment makes a lot of sense for Hero – brand “America” is very strong in India – even stronger than here in the US. Even if they they sell this premium product to only the local market – they could win.

    Very happy for Erk and team – had the opportunity to chat with him at sonoma – such a cool passionate guy. Gotta love it. hero should take a page out of other similar infian moves like Tat has done with Land Rover and Jaguar – both have fierce independent design that makes german look like idiots (yes I drive german cars).

    Here is another datapoint of power of india market coming – Moto3 this weekend saw Mahindra a indian brand take pole(i know the bike is not built by them but who cares) and KTM owned by India’s Bajaj domainate the series. WSBK & WSS were won by Team Mahi India Kawasaki.

    yes on the question of a indian owned american brand – i dont think most consumers would care as long as the brand is authentic and products are good. I think the average american consumers is more intelligent than that.

  • Stacius

    This is good news!

    Hero did nothing to design or engineer the bikes. So they’re still “American”.

    Hero could help sell EBR’s worldwide, making the bikes cheaper for everyone!

  • alexssss

    People have a deluded sense of reality – Buell wasn’t cheated he built bikes that looked and felt cheap and not enough people bough them for HD to continue warranting their time and money when they had already corned the market on General Motorcycles.

    I’d love to see an American manufacturer make Honda quality street motorcycles, but it’s not going to be EBR – no matter how much you innovate if it looks like a blue light special there is going to be no interest.

    It’s sad that Apples success based on design and engineering is so lost on most other American companies.

  • mxs

    Good news, but let’s not overplay this ….. Mahindra in Moto3 has nothing “made in India” …. chassis is Suter and engine KTM, certainly not made or designed in India.

    KTM is in India, because that’s where you can sell huge amount of small cc bikes and manufacture them inexpensively, still with a good amount of quality if managed right (certainly kTM is a proof that it is possible)

    But let’s not overestimate their contribution to the motorcycle wisdom or design so to speak.

  • irksome

    Okay with less than 50% Indian ownership?

    Well golly, that whole ‘merican partnership worked out SO WELL, dinnit!?!

  • TexusTim

    whatever…E.B. is either stupid or smart like a fox..but his bikes will never get anywere farther than were they are now…maybe he will sell the rest off after selling a few more 50 grand superbikes and india will end up making a simplifed street version with the ebr name and it will finally get somewere….or it will go along the same route as hd and end up with almost as much warranty cost as sales…either way I see erik suffering from the same problem as ducatti…..
    “they cant let go of some illfounded trademark enginering and cant get out of there own way to a proper line of development” so cost is high and development slow to prove it’s worth and even slower to let it go when it fails.

  • Gonzo


    I’ll start paying attention to EBR when he makes bikes that are not WAAAAAYYYYYYYY overpriced. If BMW can make bikes that perform just as good, if not better than, an EBR, for less than $20K, why can’t that dipshit? Even with finance charges figured in, I’m very happy with what I got from BMW for $17K in the form of my S1000RR.

  • patrickracer

    A $50M valuation? It looks like EB took some lessons from the great Claudio Castiglioni.
    A deserved payday after the 20 year railing that HD gave him.

  • Logan

    People that call names have no place in a discussion. HD held Erik back significantly. He now has a chance to design something worth a look. Low capital means higher costs. He isn’t set up to offer cheaper. And comparing Erik with bmw is silly. Multibillion dollars vs what? A million, maybe? Come on…

  • paulus

    Good luck to buell/Hero… another brand in the market is good for all of us motorcyclists.
    more choice, more competition.

  • jet

    I must say you got your heart in the right place PAULUS : “Good for all of us” but it’s only good to a few who really can afford to buy this some what cool bike made w/ some carbon bits w/ an engine not quite proven.$ 13 to maybe 16 would be more realistic.I think maybe this guy still thinks he working for harley….

  • Nobody Important


    If you predict business success as well as you spell……………Wate, u nead too youse spel chek before peeple taek the thangs u says seriussly.

    Dude, that is just embarrassing to read.

    I see that I am among those who hate Buell (EBR). I will show myself out.


  • Norm G.

    re: “If BMW can make bikes that perform just as good, if not better than, an EBR, for less than $20K, why can’t that dipshit? Even with finance charges figured in, I’m very happy with what I got from BMW for $17K in the form of my S1000RR.”

    wow, i’m almost ashamed to be associated with BMW. this is some of the most ignorant thoughts ever typed and uploaded to the interweb…!?

  • Norm G.

    re: “I’d love to see an American manufacturer make Honda quality street motorcycles, but it’s not going to be EBR”

    and will never be as long as Americans short-sidedly “EAT THEIR YOUNG”. you’d never see this in a million years in Europe. ie. Germany, Italy, Sweden, India, etc. it’s a “foreign” concept (pun intended).

  • smiler

    Better that an Indian company buys in than the frankly cynical Chinese.

    Will we see a Royal Enfield with belt drive and underslung tank.

    Great news. Erik Buell deserves to be in business and making more great bikes. About the only innovative bike maker in the US.

  • Chaz Michael Michaels

    I’ve owned a Buell and thought it was a great (if not bizarre) bike.

    I love what Eric Buell has done. The man is one of the last great inovators in the industry.

    It was somewhat of a tragedy that he was abused in that unholy marriage with HD. But all things considered it was probably the only path he had at the time to bring some of his ideas to market.

    With Hero I see something entirely different. I see deep pockets bankrolling Eric’s ideas with little constraint.

    I want to know where this deal with Hero will lead. Will there be affordable Buell sportbikes in American showrooms again?…bikes without out all the Harley bs., just Eric Buell’s vision. God, I hope so.

  • Chaz Michael Michaels

    Sorry, spelled his first name wrong Erik (I know it’s a pet peeve with a lot of people).

    Anyway–Good luck Erik Buell

  • Scott

    I hope this DOESN’T mean the Hero Blast II is in our future……?

  • Faust

    An affordable v twin Sportbike would be nice. I was really looking forward to the Barracuda until HD pulled the plug on Buell. The EBR 1190RS is cool, but out of reach. Even if I had that kind of money to spend on a bike, I’d just buy an 1199R and save a bunch. On a side note, I can’t help but shake my head at the people who say the EBRs engine is unproven. It’s a modified Rotax Helicon…. How are Rotax twins unproven?