Polaris Might Very Well Buy Erik Buell Racing

Fair and square, here's a not-that-wild guess: I'm ready to put some money on the fact that Polaris might buy Erik Buell Racing. It's a wild guess, and I might lose that crate of English beer, but in the end that's what guessing and gambling are about, isn't it?
The recent developments in Victory Motorcycles' position in the industry indicate that Polaris is somehow opening the throttle for this brand. Polaris bought the electric bike business from Brammo, who proved to be much better in powertrain research and development than in selling e-bikes, then announced that Victory will debut in European road racing with an electric bike at the Isle of Man TT this year.

Recently, Victory and Roland Sands unveiled Project 156, a completely new bike built from scrap and which will be used in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb event this year.

The frame is a custom creation, and the engine is a new prototype. Both differ quite a lot from what Victory got us used to all these years. Even if I lose the beer crate, one thing is certain: Victory is preparing a bold move in the business.

Some say that if they have been able to deliver a completely new bike with in-house engineering, Victory maybe doesn't need anything from EBR, a company that has recently entered receivership and is up for grabs. This claim is entirely true, as it doesn't take a specialist to understand that if the PPIHC Victory (Project 156) performs well, it may serve as a great basis for the development of at least a new roadster.

If Project 156 manages to stand tall in its class in the Pikes Peak race, this will also add instant mojo to pretty much any similar bike that will roll out the gates of the Spirit Lake facility.

Project 156 producing a truly praiseworthy result in the 2015 PPIHC means that Victory and Roland Sands are THAT good at engineering and manufacturing a roadster. And anything based on a bike that proved its worthiness in such a serious event as the PPIHC right from the start cannot be easily overlooked.

Still, Erik Buell Racing has a lot of bike engineering goodies

Well, suffice to say that for certain reasons, EBR failed to take off the way a lot of riders (including myself) hoped. With the company in receivership and up for grabs for 20 million dollars (€18 mil) or so, Polaris could benefit from all the technology patented by Erik Buell and mix it with what it already owns.

We already saw that the new engine for the Project 156 is a liquid-cooled v-twin looking pretty cool and sporty, and frankly I CAN imagine it sitting in an EBR frame with excellent street grunt.

Having a bike that will take part in an uphill mountain road race means that Victory is very confident in its capabilities. And we don't get too see too many cruisers up the PPIHC course, if you know what I mean...

Even the sound of the Project 156 reminds me of high-revving Buells and in a way helps bringing the two together. Polaris already has a good tradition of bringing cool brands back to life, and Indian Motorcycle is just one of them.

Indian was slowly drifting in seas of uncertainty prior to being acquired by Polaris. Two new engines have been developed, the air-cooled Thunder Stroke 111 that powers the reborn big-bore Indians and the liquid-cooled mill of the Scout... whose design cues kind of resemble those of the Project 156's.

I strongly believe that Polaris and Victory can do the same for EBR. The brand would retain its name and all the heritage, but its bikes will receive a new, state-of-the-art sporty engine and a bit of tweaking. Polaris' financial prowess could effortlessly sustain competitive prices for the new EBRs, helping them enter both the domestic and the international markets with fresh forces.

Polaris could help EBR turn from a name that slowly fades away and is remembered for the cool bikes from 2 decades ago into a modern manufacturer driven by well-financed growth. Speaking about the electric machine and the Project 156, Motorcycle Product Director/Leader of Polaris Electric Motorcycles Gary Gray adds that the main goal is to "prove American performance."

Gray refrained from adding anything else on what we might or should expect from Polaris or its brands in the future. Still, the whole "American performance" deal sounds exceedingly familiar. I am willing to bet that London Pride crate, how about you?
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories