The closing of Buell Motorcycle Company by parent company Harley-Davidson was a major blow to the company’s namesake, Erik Buell. Many lesser men would have accepted defeat and moved on with their lives. Buell is not like most people. Instead, he had a different idea.
Buell, who has been building and designing motorcycles his entire life, learned a lot from the experience with Harley-Davidson. Rather than a focus on nostalgia and the classic bike, Buell wanted to focus on high-tech, high performance and innovation. He has since grown Erik Buell Racing from virtually one employee in 2010 to 150 employees today.
Buell, now president and chief executive officer of Erik Buell Racing in East Troy, knew there was a market for his motorcycles. “At the time Harley shut us down, we were still growing,” Buell said. “We were just a very small part of their business. The decision they had to make, made perfect sense for their business.”
“I really believe in what we’re doing,” Buell said. “I believe in American engineering and I believe that the Wisconsin workforce is smart and hardworking and if you give them a high work content they can rise to that level and far exceed expectations.”
Buell credits the company’s success to the people working with him, and the unique approach the company takes to technology, innovation and diversification of his business model with supplemental consulting work for other manufacturers. A large amount of the work Buell engineers do is consulting for India-based motorcycle manufacturer Hero MotoCorp Ltd. For his efforts, Erik Buell has been awarded the Bravo Entrepreneur Award.
“We’ve grown to become a high performance organization,” Buell said. “My job is to find and hire talented people and then make the obstacles in their way disappear.”
Note: Motorcycle.com will have a unique opportunity to test ride the new EBR 1190RX (the bike shown in the photo above) at the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway next week. Stay tuned for that ride report.