The Rise and Fall of EBR Motorcycles
Erik Buell Racing, also known as EBR, is a motorcycle sports company that produces both racing and street motorcycles that was founded by Erik Buell in 2009. Like many other companies, this business has experienced many ups and downs throughout its short history. Here is an overview of the rise and fall of EBR motorcycles. Erik Buell worked for Harley-Davidson before deciding to found a rival company in 1983. His company was called a Buell Motorcycle Company and was based in East Troy Wisconsin. Sadly, the company ran into financial difficulties and Harley-Davidson purchased a 49% stake in the business in 1993. It then became a subsidiary of Harley-Davidson in 2003. However, the Buell line of products was discontinued in 2009 by Harley Davidson.
Following the demise of the Buell Motorcycle Company, Erik Buell decided to have another go at founding his own motorcycle company and founded Erik Buell Racing (EBR) in November 2009. Just like his first company, his new motorcycle company was also based in East Troy, Wisconsin. Initially, EBR focused their efforts on manufacturing complete, race-only motorcycles. They then also began manufacturing and selling parts that were based on the Buell 1125R production model. They did this under a license with Harley-Davidson and the aim was to support privateer racers.
The Early Years
In its early years, EBR was a successful motorcycle company but then history began to repeat itself. For a second time, Erik Buell found himself with a company that was experiencing financial difficulties. Once again, he was forced into a situation where he had to sell off a large portion of his company for the business to continue running. Indian motorcycle company Hero MotoCorp acquired 49.2% of EBR on July 1, 2013, for $25 million. Following this acquisition, both companies announced that EBR would become the North American distributor of Hero motorcycles and scooters from the summer of 2014 onwards.
Although this move was intended to save the company, this unfortunately did not happen. It was reported that the company had $20 million of liabilities when they filed for receivership on April 15, 2015. One the same day, they closed all their operations and even shut down their website. There was still a small glimmer of hope that EBR could potentially make a comeback. They sold their consulting business to Hero MotoCorp for $2.8 million and also made an agreement to sell their manufacturing assets to engineer Bruce Belfer for $2.25 million. Belfer stated his intention to work alongside Erik Buell to restart the business at the earliest opportunity.
Never Received Financing
Sadly, this never happened as Belfer was unable to secure the financing needed to make the purchase. This led to the official receiver attempting to sell the assets in a new wave of bidding. An auction was held on December 10, 2015, but no bids were made for EBR’s assets. Following the unsuccessful auction, the receiver wanted to sell the assets to a liquidation company, but this move was blocked by a judge who decided they should allow more time for potential bidders to come forward. The hearing was rescheduled for January 2016.
The remnants of EBR were sold to Liquid Asset Partners in January 2016 for just over $2 million. The proceeds of the sale were distributed to creditors and the company’s former employees who had unpaid wages. Some of the creditors included Porsche Design Group and Mito Tech. Liquid Asset Partners hoped that the business could restart if they were able to find an experienced motorcycle manufacturer. Despite not yet having found a buyer who is experienced in motorcycle manufacturing, Liquid Asset Partners kept the company intact and resumed production of motorcycles on March 1, 2016.
The first motorcycle that was produced under Liquid Asset Partners was the 1190RX, which has a stars and stripes theme. The first motorcycle was completed on March 17, 2016. The bikes are produced using the EBR name. The company is continuing to produce these motorcycles under the Erik Buell Racing name. The website is once again live and information on this site reveals that EBR is currently establishing a new dealer network with which they can sell their motorcycles. Despite all the problems with the business, they have successfully competed in motorcycle racing between 2011 and 2015. They have achieved several podium finishes in the AMA Superbike and were relatively successful at the FIM World Superbike events.