You can't keep a good man down, and Erik Buell is very definitely one of the all-time good guys of the U.S. motorcycle industry. So the revelation that EBR/Erik Buell Racing, the company that he founded from the ashes of the Buell Motorcycle Company after Harley shut it down in October 2009, is playing a key role in the repositioning and restructuring of the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer - India's Hero MotoCorp, which produced no less than 6,235,205 powered two-wheelers in the 12 months leading up to April 1, versus EBR's 100 - will be as heart-warming to many as it is improbable.
But truth can sometimes be stranger than fiction, and the acclaimed Hero Leap serial hybrid scooter that debuted as a concept model at the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo this past January, was in fact entirely conceived and developed by EBR, which has now taken over much of the former Buell Motorcycles factory in East Troy, Wisconsin. There, Buell's new company originally focused on developing the EBR 1190RS, powered by an uprated version of the Rotax-designed 72-degee V-twin motor previously found in the Buell 1125R.
The rights to this engine have been acquired by EBR, which now constructs it in its Wisconsin factory - while also manufacturing the 100 examples in street-legal form of the 1190RS required to homologate it for AMA Superbike racing. But EBR has now extended its technological expertise into the very different powered two-wheeler (PTW) mass transportation sector. The Hero Leap is the first fruit of this new focus, with the battery-powered electric motor providing most of the motive power, and the gasoline combustion engine acting as a range extender - to charge the battery as well as to supply power when the battery runs low.
To read the complete interview with Erik Buell, click on the following link: