The new owners of Eric Buell Racing – now renamed EBR Motorcycles and officially a ‘new’ company – are to restart production of the existing 1190RX and 1190SX models but are still looking for partners
or investors to help secure the brand’s future.
The remains of EBR, which folded last April, were bought earlier this year by Liquid Asset Partners. Despite specialising in selling off the assets of defunct companies, the new owner – that coincidentally handled the dismantling and auctioning of the original Buell business back in 2009 – currently plans to get EBR up and running again.
It’s a low-key restarting of production. Exactly how fast the bikes will be built isn’t known but EBR’s workforce is now around 12, less than a tenth of its pre-closure level, suggesting that numbers will be extremely limited. The first 2016 models are due to be completed on March 17.
Just one day later, on March 18, Liquid Asset Partners will do what it knows best and begin a massive sell-off of machinery, tools and parts that aren’t needed for the current production. The auction is planned to last four to six weeks.
Bill Melvin Jr, boss of Liquid Asset Partners, said: “This would not be possible without the EBR team. All the credit goes to them for waiting out the storms during the last year. Now the clouds have cleared EBR is able to shift into gear knowing that it has financial stability, a profitable multi-year plan, and a 5-10 year vision. We feel there is still room for new partnerships or investment, but it is not critical. EBR is on solid ground and moving forward. We are turning the key and twisting the throttle!”
Ed Laben, EBR’s Director of Sourcing said, “It is so good to see the factory coming back to life! The energy, talent, and enthusiasm of this team are unparalleled, and I can’t wait for the world to see what’s coming down the road.”
Although bikes might be coming out of the factory again, EBR faces a long road to re-establish a dealer network and to get those machines into the hands of customers. It plans to release details of pricing and warranties within days as well as to announce intentions to restart its racing activities. It’s understood that since EBR Motorcycles LLC is a new company there’s no obligation to honour warranties of bikes built previously.
The new firm is headed by CEO Steve Smith, previously EBR’s chief of operations, and Erik Buell himself will remain on-board as chief technical officer. But can the story have a happier ending this time around?