The Buell Motorcycle Company is an American motorcycle manufacturer based in East Troy, Wisconsin and founded by ex Harley-Davidson engineer Erik Buell. Since 1998 it has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of Harley-Davidson. more...
The company is the only significant manufacturer of "Sporting Motorcycles" in the United States.
Buell motorcycles were first built in 1983 by a partnership between Harley-Davidson and Buell. Mr. Buell started with a stock Harley-Davidson "Sportster" engine, then highly modified it and bolted it to a frame of his own design. Buells typically employ radical frame designs and unconventional suspension systems that, along with the relatively high output Sportster engine, culminate in a nimble and atypical, however much less powerful and somewhat more expensive alternative to the Japanese sport bikes.
Most Buell motorcycles use four-stroke V-twin engines. These engines were originally built from Harley-Davidson XR1000 Sportster engines, after the 1000s were depleted Erik Buell used a basic 1200 Harley-Davidson Sportster engine.
In 1995 the engines were upgraded with Buell engineered parts and further upgraded in 1998. In 2003, Buell introduced a whole new engine--so efficient it passed emission tests well into 2006. It also incorporated, but did not invent, the inside-out front brake and "fuel in frame technology." (first for the industry).
Buell claims that what differentiates their motorcycles from their Harley-Davidson origins is the "Trilogy of Tech": mass centralization, low unsprung weight and frame rigidity. Two of the notable innovations are the use of the hollow frame as a fuel tank and the hollow rear swing-arm to hold the engine oil. The ZTL front wheel is very innovative, but some see it as more marketing fluff than actual substance. These features help create a leaner and more agile sport motorcyle compared to the previous generations.
Current production models, as of December 2005, are the Blast, Firebolt, Lightning, Lightning CityX and Ulysses XB12X. Earlier models included the RR1000, RR1200, RS1200 West wind, RSS West wind, S2 & S2T Thunderbolt, S1 Lighting, M2 Cyclone, S3 & S3T Thunderbolt and the X1 Lighting. The Blast is the only model to use a 492 cc, 34 hp single-cylinder engine. The highest performance bike is the Firebolt XB12R and Lighting XB12S with an 1203cc engine that develops a claimed 103 horsepower (77 KW).
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