Breaking News. Erik Buell Racing To Shut Down Again

Sad news again, this one from Erik Buell Racing (EBR) The company announced that it is winding down its operations. The decision was taken due to the company’s difficulty at finding new dealers in a very soft US motorcycle market. Without distribution, 2016 sales were very weak and year 2017 was presenting an even greater challenge.

The announcement of Victory Motorcycles closing and of other brands slowing down their production magnified the problems that a small manufacturer like EBR was facing to survive. EBR will continue to honor warranties and provide parts to their current dealers and owners of their motorcycles.

In January 13, 2016 in a court ordered auction, Liquid Asset Partners located in Grand Rapids, Michigan bought all the assets (intangible and manufacturing assets) of Erik Buell Racing for about 2 million. At that time I interviewed CEO of Liquid Asset Partners Bill Melvin who told me “I believe Erik Buell Racing has established themselves as one of the premier motorcycle manufacturers in the world and has strong potential as a viable business”

It is clear that Liquid Asset Partners has pulled the plug and doesn’t wish to continue to financially support EBR in a market with so many headwinds. Today, Erik Buell states that he will continue to review strategic alternatives with interested investors regarding production operations.

33 Responses to “Breaking News. Erik Buell Racing To Shut Down Again”

  1. 1 Tony Presley Jan 26th, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    RIP again. For the 4th time?

  2. 2 C. Brook Jan 26th, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    I guess Erik Buell is paid with investors money, then kaput. How many times can he does this?

  3. 3 Donnie Jan 26th, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    No surprise. Next Confederate?

  4. 4 Boomer Jan 26th, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    Reading between the lines both here and with the recent Victory closing news it seems our sport and maybe even our lifestyle for those who make motorcycles their life; is waning.

    I wish I could say I was surprised but with the digital world taking over the physical world in many ways people, both young and older, are gravitating toward a different way of getting their thrills in life.

    Not long ago I read a blurb about how our life expectancy is now actually getting shorter. Well, since the general public is now sitting in some chair with a game controller instead of being out in the garage working on stuff and then running the twisties on a bike or maybe a car, I guess it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Sigh.

  5. 5 Patrick Foster Jan 26th, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Bad news are contagious… Who’s next Cyril?

  6. 6 Mike Jan 26th, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    What else is new. His dreams have cost people a lot of money. And yes, the so called recovery under the past administration is a total farce.

  7. 7 CW Jan 26th, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    “The decision was taken due to the company’s difficulty at finding new dealers in a very soft US motorcycle market.”

    Hard to buy that line after this many go arounds.

  8. 8 Roscoe Jan 26th, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    Who didn’t see this coming?

  9. 9 James just another crazy kiwi Jan 26th, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    HD sales are up in Australia and New Zealand , not sure about Europe but it is not all doom and gloom.
    Those 500cc HD’s are selling well over here, I would never of thought that. Personaly I think they are as ugly as the Scout but maybe I am the odd one out lol.
    Sports bikes struggle to sell, ask Ducati whose biggest seller is the scrambler.
    So looking at the market, some of the smaller bikes are starting to sell. Is that to coffin dodgers who cannot hold up Fat motorcycles any more or to young hipsters ? Or Women ?
    It is a shifting market and the manufacturers who adapt will do the best and survive.

  10. 10 Marc Beaulieu Jan 26th, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    Motorcycle manufacturing…once an opportunity possible for dreamers…no more. The times, they are a changin’.

  11. 11 sbashir Jan 26th, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    Motorcycle sales for U.S. manufacturers may be waning but European manufacturers such as Triumph, BMW, Ducati and KTM are having record sales. If you build what people like to buy, you will not have any trouble selling it.

  12. 12 Dave Jan 27th, 2017 at 12:01 am

    Take me once, shame on you.
    Take me twice, shame on me.
    Take me three times, I must be the guy PT Barnum was talking about !

  13. 13 RUB Jan 27th, 2017 at 12:46 am

    American chopper is in reruns for those that would like to visit the hay day of bike building ………..

    RIP folks

  14. 14 NoH2oh Jan 27th, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Erik Buell will be the last American to have his name on a production motorcycle.
    He will be the last to have won an AMA professional road race championship on an American bike and the last to score points in WSBK. And that is f’n sad.

    Love him or hate him he made some cool ass bikes.

    Thanks for my XB9R Mr. Buell. Loved that bike.

  15. 15 rebel Jan 27th, 2017 at 8:14 am

    what could have possibly gone wrong?

  16. 16 Rodney Best Jan 27th, 2017 at 8:43 am

    There is an lot to be learned in failure if your Ego will let you.

    Wonder where he will reappear next.


  17. 17 WTBIKER Jan 27th, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Maybe it will be the last time he runs out of everyone else’s money.

  18. 18 Guy Jan 27th, 2017 at 9:41 am

    Sad that America only seems to be interested in buying lardy Baggers or customs. A great shame, Mr Buell’s tallents wasted again.

  19. 19 beentheredonethat Jan 27th, 2017 at 9:51 am

    No Advertising
    No Local Dealers
    No Business
    and the name had no sizzle
    An EBR? snore snore
    They just needed to pump $$ into good gorilla marketing
    and less R&D
    oh well

  20. 20 Badams Jan 27th, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Sad given saw them at the international show in Long Beach and they were BAMF’rs

  21. 21 Greybeard1 Jan 27th, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Can’t say they didn’t try.
    The world is changing yet again.
    Ringling Bros. is coming off the road for in-house in the West Wing so, once Putin makes nice-nice and BS’s Bozo to get sanctions lifted it’ll be Dnepr’s all round!

  22. 22 Davis Jan 27th, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Less riders out there! The one thing everyone on here has that they do not have yet is it is already in your blood. Being without a motorcycle is like being in between girlfriends, yes you will live but you know something is missing. Nothing gets your attention more than the sound of a motorcycle engine off in the distance.

    We don’t need less cycles on the road, we need more. 10 times the cycles, 10 times the safety. People will be used to our presence. Not to mention the environment, should be some tax breaks in there somewhere.

    Maybe motorcycles would produce the testosterone boost needed in today’s youth.

  23. 23 Gym Jan 27th, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Waiting for America to be great again. So much for better days while companies of all kinds are shutting their doors.

  24. 24 Chris Jan 27th, 2017 at 11:44 am

    I always liked the Buells and thought they were nice bikes. I haven’t been on one in years so perhaps some things have changed.

    Looking at rider communities in general, riders of similar styles of bikes like to ride together. Bagger dudes ride with bagger dudes, sport bike dudes ride with sport bike dudes.

    The Buells were too sporty, quick, nimble, and fast for their owners to want to ride in a parade of baggers going 70 on the freeway or 55 through the twisties (c’mon, you know your slammed bagger with a 30″ front wheel and an extra 100 pounds of trinkets bolted to it can’t keep with a Buell with a competent rider!).

    The Buells were too slow for their owners to ride with dudes on GSXRs (again, many years since I’ve ridden one, so maybe things have changed).

    That leaves Buell riders to ride with owners of Ducati Diavels?

    A pretty good proportion of riders participate because of the camaraderie and joy of a shared experience with folks pursuing similar passions. When the experiences don’t align, sometimes the “shared” portion of the experience is lost.

  25. 25 Zundap Jan 27th, 2017 at 11:49 am

    The virtual motorcycle is the bike of the future. Ride it in your home no injuries or maintenance. This is what the kids want, and a lot of adults too.

  26. 26 Mark Moses Jan 27th, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Every day I stare at the sign on my wall, “Never, Never, Never Give Up”. From that mantra, I admire Mr. Buell determination, spirit and never-quit attitude. As far as him spending other folks dollars; there was not a-one of them that did not know the risk or did not believed in the mission, concept or business plan. This was not tax payer money, this was well-healed investors making a calculated decision to jump on board. Have no pity for these rare folks, as they are usually successful in their journey and failure is valuable above all.

    Our hobby/business is changing and everyone (big and small) are either going to learn a new way or perish. This is not my first rodeo and I sure as hell don’t have it figured out, but, I absolutely have the heart of a student and say a prayer everyday that I know enough to survive. I also know that I have challenges never faced before, with out-of-control overhead and having to compete head to head with my own brand retailers, instead of focusing on selling the ‘best value’ of my brand and all that means.

    Making a reasonable profit seems to be a sin and the fastest growing population demographic are the ‘haters’ or ‘best deal’ shoppers. Hell, read the posts in here.

    I for one, admire every single persons that busts their ass everyday, take risks and are passionate about what they do. Sometimes I feel all alone. I LOVE what I do, but God help us all make it through another year…

  27. 27 Mike Jan 27th, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Buell is like the Bernie Madoff of the motorcycle world. He keeps getting paid with other people’s investment money, then its “So sorry it didn’t work out.” Cannot wait until the next EBR company to sprout up and last a year or so at best. Time to retire dude. You are doing way more harm than good.

  28. 28 SameEB -DifferentDay Jan 27th, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Sad ( for both the employees and investors ) albeit entirely expected as well as predicted . Suffice it to say business never has been and obviously never will be within Eric’s skill set . Designer ? Definitely . Engineer ? Among the best . But businessman large or small . Not in his future .

    Now if he’d only accept where his talents truly lie and then apply those talents to someone else’s organization able to succeed within the confines and challenges of the business world be it large or small .

  29. 29 ferris bueller Jan 27th, 2017 at 6:02 pm


  30. 30 Jeremiah McKenna Jan 28th, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    I agre with SameEB -DifferentDay, that Eric is not a businessman at all, but is a great designer and engineer. HD set that fact straight when they brought him into the fold thinking that he would make a great track bike. Which he did. Then they needed to justify his existence so told him to make a street legal bike at a lower price point that could possibly bring buyers into the HD family by starting on a Buell, and then moving up to a HD. But when taksed with running the business end, Eric Buell was not up to the task. He was not able to produce the bikes, nor sell enough so HD cut the purse strings. HD seems to be doing a better job of bringing in new and young riders with their street line.

    Now we see the same thing happening all over again. Someone believes in his dream and pumps money into his venture, but he is not able to overcome many hurtles. There was absolutely zero advertising other than to those on the track, and even then it was really low. He stuck his head in the garage portion of the business, and did not attend to the ‘selling’ portion.

    Maybe Victory should hire him to assist with new designs and revive that brand, or bring him into the Indian section and allow him to design a line of bikes.

    As for one response regarding Confederate Motors being the next company to go under, you are gravely mistaken. There are some great business minds behind that company along with several intelligent designers and engineers. However, those guys know their role within the company and they are actually thriving. Thriving so much so that they are expanding. However, the bikes they build and sell are for a completely different part of the market. Most of their bikes are sold before they are built, and being a limited production run sell out.

    As far as Gym’s comment about “better days”, you have to give the new administration a chance to get settled in Office before things will change. However, seeing as how the stock market has been climbing since he was elected, and the stock market works on futures, things are looking up and soon will be trickling down to the rest of the people. Soon enough, more people will be back to work and able to buy a new motorcycle.

  31. 31 Tom Ryan Jan 28th, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Being a racer I always thought that Eric could’ve created some nice café racer style of bikes based on the new Triumph motors much like Dunstall did with the Norton’s back in the day.

  32. 32 Don Smith II Jan 29th, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    I was really hoping for another Ulysses – In many respects, the best all round bike I’ve owned – Practical well styled bikes sell – Look at the scrambler market – The ADV bikes do well despite their ghastly styling – But the market was ruined by the 0708 recession – Looking forward to building my own electric ADV Scrambler …

  33. 33 BuellerBueller? Jan 31st, 2017 at 11:58 am

    People who judge have never walked in that person’s shoes!

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Cyril Huze