American Superbike, Euro Motor
At a press conference, Erik Buell brushed aside questions about the use of non-Harley powerplants in Buell motorcycles. He pointed to the marketing advantage of the Harley-Davidson motor, and, of course, Buell (the brand, not the man) is owned by the Motor Company.
However, before the year is out, Buell has revealed something many thought would never happen after the H-D acquisition—a Buell superbike with a foreign motor. The new Buell 1125R, which we will review in our next issue, gets its push from a liquid-cooled DOHC V-twin built in Austria by Rotax. Rather than a bored-out Aprilia motor, the new Helicon engine was designed in a collaborative effort between Buell and Rotax. It is claimed to produce 146 hp at the crankshaft, with a redline of 10,500 rpm. The 6-speed transmission is mated to a new Hydraulic Vacuum Assist Slipper Action clutch.
To complement the new motor, the 1125R gets a new Buell Intuitive Response Chassis that utilizes many of the features that are associated with the marque, including a twin-spar aluminum frame that doubles as a fuel tank. A new 8-piston Buell ZTL2 front brake is based on the system developed for the Buell XBRR roadracer.