Finished it, part two, the Buell/EBR bit
After our unforgettable ice fishing experience on the Sunday afternoon, Jens took us to the NCCR workshops and offices. We’d been really looking forwards to this.
As mentioned previously we’ve met Jens and his wife Birgit at various Buell/EBR events in Germany and the Netherlands. Jens and Birgit founded the Hillbilly-Motors Buell Race Team in 2002 and at the end of 2008 it was renamed as the Pegasus Race Team. From 2009 till 2011 the team competed with Buell and EBR bikes owned by Thomas Wanner, who also covered many of the expenses.
It was a very successful period for the team. In 2011 their EBR 1190RR rider, Harald Kitsch, won the BEARS and Superbike Open Championship. In September 2011, Jane and I went to the Pegasus Buell Experience event at Oschersleben Motor Sport Arena in Germany. That was a brilliant weekend and they made us very welcome. Our Ulysses was the only British registered Buell at the event.
We’ve very fond memories of seeing (and hearing!) Harald storming around Oschersleben on the 1190RR. In Harald’s hands the 1190RR was a very formidable weapon.
During our tour of the NCCR workshops Jens gave us a potted history of how he became involved with Buells and how he first met Erik Buell in 2002. Today NCCR are involved with many projects, including developing special parts for the custom and café racer scene. They have full engineering facilities and a Dyno room. NCCR design and build their own frames using the latest CNC tube bending technology. It’s an impressive setup. Their site in Delsbo is currently undergoing expansion and when the worst of the winter weather has dissipated building work will recommence. Buell and EBR motorcycles still form a small but important part of their business. During our visit an XB engine was setup on a jig awaiting a newly developed tube-frame. In the office area was Jens own Buell, a 1991 RSS 1200 Westwind, which has a turbo fitted.
NCCR’s contract to provide EBR support for Europe runs until 2018. Despite the recent news about Liquid Asset Partners winding down new EBR motorcycle manufacturing operations in East Troy, Jens doesn’t foresee a change in being able to supply parts and upgrades to European EBR owners.
One of the more interesting stories Jens told us was about his visit to the Daytona 200 races in March 2006 for the debut of the 1340cc Buell XBRR race bike. Harley Davidson flew him over to the USA to be part of the official HD/Buell race team. Jens was involved with some of the XBRR developments and worked with Henry Duga and Erik Buell at the track.
Four Buell dealership teams were involved at the 2006 Daytona 200; including London's Warr's Harley-Davidson/Buell with former 250 GP and Moto GP star Jeremy McWilliams riding for them.
The ‘JPS’ Buell in the pictures is a very rare 2006 XBRR, number 31. It belongs to a Norwegian Buell collector called Ole. We’re told it’s the only Buell XBRR in Europe that is regularly used for parade laps etc. at various meetings.
This machine has an interesting history. Apparently, the bike was stolen out of storage and badly damaged when the thieves managed to get the bike started and attempted a burn out. The police found it in a ditch in very poor condition with a scratched frame and smashed bodywork. The state of the engine was unknown.
In the aftermath of the theft, Ole asked Jens and the team at NCCR to carry out the restoration work. They stripped the bike down to its frame, repaired the carbon fibre body work, ensured the engine was up to correct specification; and synchronized the twin independent throttle bodies.
NCCR had always wanted to do a John Player Special tribute. When the work began, it was right around the 20th anniversary of Ayrton Senna's death at Imola. Ole liked the idea and saw a rare opportunity to make something special out of one of Buell's rarest bikes. A lot of work went into the design to closely match the colour scheme of the original Lotus 97T. Colin Chapman gave NCCR permission to use the black and gold design with sponsors logo’s. They went through dozens of different shades of gold and endlessly tweaked the position and size of the graphics before settling on a final layout. NCCR then coated the bodywork in gold, masked the graphics, and painted over in black and added multiple layers of clear coat.
The original (and massive) XBRR Daytona tail section was replaced with a custom aluminum frame plus new bodywork hiding the battery and the Öhlins remote reservoir. The 1340cc engine still puts out around 150 HP; and they opted to keep the stock magnesium wheels and 43mm inverted forks. Jens also added a new mudguard with integral scoop feeding air towards the front brake.
The result is a work of art. It looks simply stunning, with or without bodywork. Lake photos: Ulf Engborg.
At the end of our visit we were presented with a signed, third and final edition of the ‘Buell Book’ which Jens co-authored. It’s a fascinating book and comprehensively charts the history of Buell and EBR motorcycles right up to October 2016 when Bill Melvin of Liquid Asset Partners bought the company.
The ‘Buell Book’ is published by Huber Verlag GmbH and is only available in German. There’s plenty of pictures and if you have a limited understanding of the German language you can follow the text. It can be ordered online from: here
Book review in German: here