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Erik Buell Racing, an East Troy motorcycle manufacturer previously owned by Harley-Davidson Inc., has ceased operations.
The company, with 126 employees, also is filing for court protection from creditors, Buell said Wednesday.
Erik Buell Racing is the sequel to Buell Motorcycle Co., which was owned by Harley-Davidson Inc. for more than a decade before Harley dropped the brand in 2009.
Initially, the new company produced hand-built $40,000 sport bikes for road-racing enthusiasts. More recently, it geared up to build a mass-production motorcycle that sells for about $19,000 but has a similar racing pedigree.
Company founder Erik Buell invested his own money into the new venture, followed by backing from Hero MotoCorp., the largest motorcycle manufacturer in India.
The company had been doing well on the racing circuit but struggled financially.
"The turn we recently took, after we thought we were moving forward, was unexpected. We thought we had secured funding, but in the end, we were not able to get the funding in place. Therefore we need to do the best we can under the circumstances for all parties in interest," Buell said in a statement.
The company is closed for now, Buell said, and is seeking protection under a state statute which is similar to federal bankruptcy law. Attorney Michael S. Polsky will be the court appointed receiver at the company's request. Bids will be solicited for the company as part of the Chapter 128 process, with the winning bid to be determined by the court.
"To say this setback is a disappointment does not begin to express what I feel right now. I am personally grateful for the support of our outstanding workers, customers and vendors. While this is a sad ending, I personally hope for a new and better beginning," Buell said.