Erik Buell Racing Partners with.. - Chicagoland Sportbikes
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 07-02-2013, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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Erik Buell Racing Partners with..

Hero MotoCorp., the largest motorcycle manufacturer in India, has acquired a 49.2% stake in Erik Buell Racing, of East Troy, for $25 million.

Under terms of the agreement, Hero has invested $15 million in Buell and will invest another $10 million in the next nine months, the company said Monday.

Erik Buell Racing is a small manufacturer of high-performance sport bikes. It's a spinoff of Buell Motorcycle Co., which was owned by Harley-Davidson Inc. for more than a decade before Harley dropped the brand in 2009.

Company founder Erik Buell then went on to form the racing bike firm, which now produces street-legal motorcycles, too.

Buell will remain chairman and majority owner of the firm that bears his name and, for now, Hero will be the only other owner.

"We won't be selling any more equity in the near future," Buell said.

The $25 million could give Buell's business a boost as it carves a niche market for motorcycles costing $40,000.

"We really wanted to ramp up the business, so we were looking for outside equity investment. And at the same time that we've been doing technical work for Hero, they've been sponsoring our race team," Buell said.

Most Erik Buell Racing employees are working on technical consulting projects for Hero, and the infusion of cash will result in more emphasis on Buell's motorcycles.

Buell says Hero has pledged to let him keep control of his company, and there are no plans for a co-branded Hero/Buell motorcycle.

"They are very thorough and methodical. They really want to know how the business is going to run, not how they're going to make money quickly," Buell said.

This fall, Buell plans to introduce at least one new motorcycle to his company's lineup.

"Dealers are excited about us coming out with a wider range of American-made sport bikes," he said.

In the motorcycle industry, Buell has always been an underdog. Although Harley-Davidson supported the company financially, Buell's operating budget was minuscule compared with foreign competitors Ducati, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki.

Now, Erik Buell is gradually rebuilding the company that bears his name, fueling the business from his reputation at the race track, including Hero's sponsorship of his race team.

"He has already ramped up his operation quite a bit in the last 12 months or so," said John Ulrich, the editor of and a motorcycle racer whose team has won five American Motorcycle Association Pro Road Racing titles.

Buell was a professional motorcycle racer who started his own company in a barn in Mukwonago. In the 1970s, he recorded the fastest qualifying time for a rookie in the history of the Daytona 200 while scrounging for motorcycle parts and cash to keep his dream of being a racer alive.

Buell has overcome numerous hurdles to remain in business.

"The one thing that strikes me about Erik Buell is that he has risen from the ashes like a Phoenix more times than anybody else I know," Ulrich said.

"If other people had gone through the trials he has gone through, they would have given up a long time ago," Ulrich added.

Hero was formerly known as Hero Honda, a joint venture with Honda Motor Co. that ended in 2010.

After the split, Hero shopped for a technology partner and found Buell.

Hero, based in New Delhi, has brought in designers and engineers from East Troy to work with its 300-member research-and-development team.

Over a period of decades, Buell has become known as an innovator in the sport bike industry. The company isn't big enough to have exclusive dealerships, so it's pursuing ties with existing motorcycle shops that cater to the high end of the market.

"People need to pay attention to what Erik Buell is doing," said Allan Lane, publisher of Sport Bikes Inc. magazine.

"His company will probably remain a niche, but I don't think that's a bad thing. I think Erik Buell is where he wants to be, and that he's going where he wants to go," Lane said.


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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 07-03-2013, 03:05 PM
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my bad, just strengthening their initial partnership...

Oh he can drive. He can drive beyond the limits of the tires, the engine, the car or anything else.

Last edited by mac11; 07-03-2013 at 03:12 PM.
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