ERIK Buell Racing, the East Troy, Wisconsin based motorcycle manufacturing business that Erik Buell established after Harley closed Buell Motorcycles is 2009, has itself "ceased operations" according to reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Those reports say that the company has more than $20 million in outstanding liabilities and that it has placed itself in receivership with a state court ultimately to decide the outcome of a filing process that will see bids made for the remaining assets of the business.
Erik Buell Racing (EBR) closes leaving 126 employees out of work, and a big question mark over what, if anything, Erik Buell will be able to do next.
In addition to Buell's own money, EBR had received $25 million in 2013 in exchange for a 49.2 percent ownership stake from India's Hero MotoCorp, the world's largest motorcycle/PTW manufacturer in unit terms.
The news has industry observers questioning the viability of Hero MotoCorp as what was described at the time as a "strategic partner" for such an ambitious project.
|Unveiled in 2014, the 1190SX 'Superfighter' as EBR were terming it demonstrated the flexibility of the 1190 platform and the direction that EBR wanted to take|
Following the launch of its 1190RS race bike in 2011, Buell used the Hero investment to fund development of the 1190RX production model, unveiled in 2013, and the 1190SX streetfighter styled 'Superfighter' that was unveiled last year.
Recent reports suggest that the company was also working on another new model, believed to be an adventure tourer designated 1190AX, but production at the East Troy EBR factory was, in theory, only part of the equation.
Buell and the impressive line up of engineers that he had hired were contributing to development of new Hero models including the HX250R that is expected to be among the initial offers if Hero MotoCorp follows through on its November 2014 Milan show announcement to and start selling in selected European markets later this year.
EBR's ambitions have also included the creation of its own race team, the establishment of its own European subsidiary, based in the Netherlands, and pursuit of a number of other future-facing projects including a 400hp gas-electric motorcycle engine that Buell is reported as having patented recently.
In a statement cited by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Buell is quoted as saying "the turn we recently took, after we thought we were moving forward, was unexpected. We thought we had secured funding, but in the end, we were not able to get the funding in place.
"To say this setback is a disappointment does not begin to express what I feel right now. I am personally grateful for the support of our outstanding workers, customers and vendors. While this is a sad ending, I personally hope for a new and better beginning."