Erik Buell Racing Kicks the Bucket. Again.

It's a sad day for the American motorcycle industry and the 126 workers formerly employed by Erik Buell Racing, but the company has just announced it ceases operations. EBR sought court protection from the creditors, with liabilities of around $20 million (€18,3 mil). Special administration will seek for bidders on the bankrupt company or auction off the assets if none are to be found.
Erik Buell Racing Kicks the Bucket 1 photo
Photo: EBR
"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," Erik Buell tells Journal Sentinel.

Hero MotoCorp's position still needs some clarifications

Indian manufacturer Hero MotoCorp bought a minority stake in EBR mid-year in 2013, securing 49.2% of the American company for $25 million. Apparently the rest of the money EBR needed to make a successful comeback came from Erik Buell himself and some other sources.

The declarations elegantly avoid mentioning what really happened that prevented "getting the funding in place." Rumors are that EBR failed to attract further investments, and Hero pulled out of the deal, but we definitely need more than rumors be for passing judgement.

The expensive American sportsbike is not the best recipe to kickstart a new business

Even in the absence of official data, one thing seems to be clear. Trying to kick-start a new business selling niche sport bikes addressing the needs of a small group of customers is not exactly the best idea. Surely, EBR's new bikes were offered for less than half the price of its racer machine which came with a $40,000 (€37,600) price tag, but it looks like making inroads in the European market needed a different approach.

Even the domestic market would have been more easily penetrated if EBR shifted at least partially its efforts to expand the customer pool with smaller, more affordable bikes manufactured in collaboration with Hero. They would have drawn a younger demographic and kept the money flowing.

Likewise, the yet-to-be-proven reliability and build quality of the new EBR bikes seems to have played a role in the whole deal. And the questionable availability of spares didn't help too much, either.

It will be interesting to see if someone steps in to try and take off from where EBR left off.
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