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Vanguard Motorcycles head towards being an e-mobility company with Erik Buell

Vanguard Motorcycles head towards being an e-mobility company with Erik Buell

Called the VanguardSparks, they aim to make value-for-money urban electric two-wheelers

Vanguard is a brand new name in the motorcycle world that has vowed to celebrate utilitarianism. The brand is touted to be an entirely new and distinct for premium motorcycles that are decisive on re-shaping the rule books.

Now, the American company has joined hands with 3 partners to attack the onset of electric motorcycles under a new banner: “VanguardSpark”. It will be an e-mobility company created to bring to market innovative, distinctive and great value-for-money urban electric two-wheelers.

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Erik Buell Officially Sold To Atlantic Metals Group

Erik Buell Officially Sold To Atlantic Metals Group

The long drawn-out saga to find a new owner for Erik Buell Racing has mercifully come to a close.

A Walworth County Circuit Court judge approved the sale of the East Troy company to Atlantic Metals Group to the tune of $2.2 million. Two separate deals were actually finalized shortly after the auction ended. In addition to its deal with Atlantic Metals Group, the judge also finalized Hero Motorcycles’ previously reported acquisition of EBR’s consulting branch amounting to $2.8 million.

As part of its bid, Atlantic Metals Group will take full ownership of EBR’s tangible and intangible assets. These include machines, tools, and parts used in development of motorcycles and trademarks, patents, and databases the company has acquired in the past. Per the terms of the auction, Atlantic Metals will acquire all these assets with no contingencies.

All in all, EBR managed to raise a little over $5 million from the auction. It’s still a long ways from the $20.4 million in liabilities the company is on the hook for so EBR still has to find a way to make up the difference in order to pay off its creditors. But this is how receiverships work. Sometimes, an auction can wipe out the entire debt of a company while other times, well, it doesn’t.

Atlantic Metals Group has yet to make an announcement on its plans for EBR. As relieved as everybody is that the auction is finally over, the question on what Atlantic plans to do with its acquisition is now in everybody’s mind. The company, which apparently specializes in mining metals, has no background in motorcycle production.

A lot of people are hoping that Atlantic Metals can re-open EBR and allow it to operate independently under the leadership of people who are familiar with the bike business. You know, somebody like Erik Buell, perhaps?

That’d be a good way for Buell to build EBR back up again without having to worry about the financial implications of keeping the lights on.

Continue reading to read more about Atlantic Metal Groups’ acquisition of Erik Buell Racing.

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EBR Auction Scheduled For August 5, 2015

EBR Auction Scheduled For August 5, 2015

The fate of Erik Buell Racing remains in limbo despite having already agreed with Hero Motorcycles to sell of its consulting projects with the Indian motorcycle company for $2.8 million. That represents only a small part of EBR’s overall business so a majority of the company remains without an owner. That will likely change after a new auction date has been set to finally determine the fate of EBR.

The auction for the remaining assets of EBR has been set for August 5, 2015. If the past auction was any indication, the hope is that a buyer will finally buy the entirety of Erik Buell Racing and not break it up piece by piece. The latter scenario occurred when Hero Motorcycles’ bought out its existing tech and development projects with EBR. But what everyone’s waiting for is for the whole EBR pie to be sold so everyone can finally know what’s going to happen to the American motorcycle manufacturer.

There’s no telling what company will step up to the plate to buy Erik Buell Racing. There have been rumors circulating that Polaris Industries, which has a history of quick-trigger acquisitions in the bike industry, will add to its growing list of purchases by buying Erik Buell Racing.

Given how much shopping Polaris has been in over the past few years, it’s not unreasonable to think that the company will make a run for Erik Buell Racing and set it up as its horse in the ever-competitive American sports bike market. Polaris already counts Indian Motorcycles and Brammo as its latest acquisitions. It would definitely make sense for the company to use Indian Motorcycles as its cruiser and tourer platform to complement what it can do with Erik Buell Racing should it win the auction on August 5, 2015.

Nothing will be set in stone until the end of the auction so until then, all we can do is wait and see what will happen once the hammer is slammed.

Continue reading to read more about the new auction date for Erik Buell Racing.

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Hero MotoCorp Acquires Consulting Assets From Erik Buell Racing

Hero MotoCorp Acquires Consulting Assets From Erik Buell Racing

After all the speculation surrounding Hero MotoCorp’s reported buy-out of Erik Buell Racing, the two companies have finally announced that a deal has in fact been agreed upon. The only caveat is that it’s not the full-blown acquisition that was initially reported.

Hero MotoCorp, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries HMCL NA Inc. and HMCL Americas Inc., announced in a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange that it had entered into a settlement agreement with Erik Buell Racing to purchase “certain tangible and intangible assets of EBR Entities” for a sum of $2.8 million.

So, what does that mean? The most important thing to remember is that Hero isn’t buying EBR outright. Instead, it will only buy a certain part of EBR’s overall business, leaving other aspects of EBR’s business still up for grabs through its Chapter 128 receivership.

Part of the acquisition allows Hero to retain research and development assets that EBR has been developing for the company. This particular wrinkle in the two company’s business dynamics came about when EBR signed a consulting deal with Hero to provide R&D services for the Indian motorcycle brand. As part of this most recent acquisition, Hero gets to keep all the technology EBR was developing on its behalf. That includes tech for the Hero HX250R, which would probably prove useful for Hero in the long run.

As expected, the deal between Hero and EBR has yet to be consummated because it’s still subject to approval by the Circuit Court in Wisconsin and the board of directors of Hero MotoCorp. The good news is that neither side expects to find any resistance so there’s optimism from both companies that the transaction will push through sooner than later

Continue reading to read more about Hero MotoCorp’s acquisition of consulting assets from EBR.

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Is Hero Motor Corp Buying Erik Buell Racing?

Is Hero Motor Corp Buying Erik Buell Racing?

Erik Buell Racing may have found a lifeline in the form of Hero MotoCorp, the Indian motorcycle company that’s reportedly in the final stages of securing a buyout agreement with the American bike maker. No confirmation has been made on this front, but reports coming out of Thailand indicate that Hero has already acquired the entirety of EBR’s shares, which would make it the sole owner of the beleaguered US company.

The news comes as a welcome surprise for a lot of us who were hoping to see Erik Buell Racing find a new owner after falling into bankruptcy back in April 2015. The same reports also said that Hero MotoCorp has offered Erik Buell full-time employment and continue with his role as the driving force behind the company that bears his name.

On the motorsport front, Hero’s rumored acquisition of EBR could also mean the return of Team Hero EBR World SBK after the racing team was forced to abandon all of its competitive initiatives as a result of EBR’s bankruptcy. It’s worth noting that Hero MotoCorp initially said that it would continue funding Team Hero EBR shortly after news broke of EBR’s closure. But after the “recent bankruptcy of EBR and the re-prioritizing of efforts” by the company itself, it determined that cutting the cord on its involvement with the WSBK was the best course of action.

But now that Hero effectively owns EBR, there’s no stopping the company from bringing the team back to active competitive. That’s great news for fans of Team Hero EBR World SBK, but it’s even better for fans of Erik Buell Racing who have been waiting for the past three months to hear some good news about the company’s fate.

Hopefully, there’s a lot of truth behind these rumors. It would really be exciting to see the company back up and running again.

Continue reading to read more about Hero MotoCorp’s rumored acquisition of Erik Buell Racing.

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Auction For Erik Buell Racing's Assets Scheduled For July 21

Auction For Erik Buell Racing’s Assets Scheduled For July 21

The fate of Erik Buell Racing will be decided on July 21, 2015 when the shuttered company goes up for auction. According to a post on its Facebook page, the sale of the company’s assets will be done through a bidding process between a number of potential buyers. No details were given on where the bidding will take place, only that it will be done at an event “managed by the receiver.”

Once the winning bid is attained, the legal court will still have to decide on whether to approve the bid or not on July 23, 2015.

EBR also clarified that the sale will be comprised of assets in large lots. What this means is that anybody who makes a bid for the company would be bidding on a number of EBR-owned properties, including unsold motorcycles, leftover parts inventory, and intellectual property. These properties have been grouped together with the idea that it can not only meet the company’s debts to its creditors, but also open the possibility, small as it may seem, of the new owners reviving the brand altogether.

That scenario is what everybody, including myself, is hoping for. But there’s also the possibility that bidders only purchase the company’s basic assets, which would make it more difficult to see EBR return as a company. Hopefully, that scenario doesn’t happen, but we all know that these auctions can go in so many different ways.

The good thing is that we’ll know soon enough what happens to Erik Buell Racing. Cross your fingers that whoever ends up winning the bid will see that it’s worth it to bring the company back from the grave.

Continue reading to read more about the fate of Erik Buell Racing.

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Ronin Motorworks Unveils The Oishi Yoshio Bike Ahead Of Pikes Peak Hill Climb

Ronin Motorworks Unveils The Oishi Yoshio Bike Ahead Of Pikes Peak Hill Climb

Ronin Motorworks has found its name in these pages a few times, most recently in May 2015 when the Ronin 47 was featured in Jay Leno’s Garage. Today, the Colorado-based company is back in the news for a slightly different reason. And no, the words “recall” and “bankruptcy” aren’t involved here, Gods be good.

So why is Ronin in the news, you ask? Well, as it turns out, the company is planning to compete at the 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and now we can see the bike that it’s going to compete in. According to A&R, the bike is called the Ronin #1, or more specifically, Oishi Yoshio, a name derived from the leader of the 47 Ronin legend in Japanese lore.

Ronin Motorworks didn’t actually build the bike from the ground-up, instead relying on an EBR 1190RX as the platform for which it based Oishi Yoshio. It’s also a departure from the bike Ronin used - the Buell 1125R - to create the 46 other Ronin models in its lineup, including the one Leno used in the aforementioned episode of Jay Leno’s Garage.

The overall mechanical workings of the bike have yet to be revealed, but as far as aesthetics go, Oishi Yoshio looks like what you’d expect to come out from Ronin Motorworks: dramatically restyled to fit the unconventional design methods of the company.

Veteran rider Travis Newbold will be riding Oishi Yoshio in the Race to the Clouds and while there shouldn’t be high expectations of the bike being the fastest up the mountain, it still has the makings of a bike that will leave a lasting impression on fans and competitors alike.

Continue reading to read more about Ronin Motorworks’ Ronin #1, aka Oishi Yoshio.

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Hero Motorcycles Delays Launch Of HX250R To 2016

Hero Motorcycles Delays Launch Of HX250R To 2016

The fallout stemming from the closure of Erik Buell Racing continues to be felt in the motorcycle industry. Hero Motorcycles is one of the companies that have been affected by EBR’s sudden closure and now, reports indicate that the effect of EBR’s decline has affected the expected launch of the Hero HX250R. According to Autocar Pro in India, Hero Motorcycles has decided to delay the launch of the highly anticipated bike to 2016.

No official details have been revealed regarding the reason for the delay, but most believe that it has something to do with the closure of EBR, which actually had a lot of design input on the HX250R with the model considered as the first motorcycle to be fully built through a collaboration between the two companies.

But now that Erik Buell Racing has closed its doors, Hero Motorcycles has lost its design partner and is now left with finishing up the model on its own. There are also whispers that the company is looking for a new partner to help finish the design of the HX250R, a task that EBR wasn’t able to complete before it closed down.

The decision to delay the launch of the HX250R could also be tied into a belief within Hero Motorcycles that not having a distributor in place in North America would be detrimental to its plans for the model. EBR would’ve filled that role if it were still around, but now that it’s not, it didn’t make a lot of sense for Hero to launch the North America-bound HX250R without having a proper network to receive it in that market.

Whatever the company’s real intentions are, it does look like we’re going to have to wait a little longer for the Hero HX250R. It’s a shame considering all the hype and momentum the sports bike has generated in recent months. With EBR closing, that momentum has been derailed, at least until Hero can find a new partner to get it back on track.

Continue reading to read more about Hero Motorcycles’ decision to delay the launch of the HX250R.

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Video: Ronin 47 Makes Appearance At Jay Leno's Garage

Video: Ronin 47 Makes Appearance At Jay Leno’s Garage

Motorcycles have been making more frequent stops at Jay Leno’s Garage recently, and the latest to do so is the Ronin 47, a bike known in the industry for its unconventional design as it is for its exclusivity.

The bikes actually trace their lineage to the Buell 1125, although you probably wouldn’t notice any similarities given how dramatically restyled the Ronin 47s are. You only need to look at the bike to understand what I’m saying. See that radiator-like contraption on the front that’s flanked by projector beams posing as headlights? Well, that contraption’s actually a radiator of the liquid-cooled variety. Pretty interesting, to say the least.

Mike Mayberry is the co-founder of the Ronin Motorworks as well as its lead designer. So if you have any questions on the design of the bike, he’s the guy you want to talk to. Fortunately, Jay Leno did just that in the latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage.

In the episode, Leno and Mayberry talk shop about the Ronin 47, discussing the company’s history at length and the inspiration behind the creation of these motorcycles. It’s a longer-than-usual episode of Jay Leno’s Garage - almost 20 minutes - but it’s definitely worth your time for a variety of reasons.

So get to know more about Ronin Motorworks and the Ronin 47 in this episode of Jay Leno’s Garage. It’s a fascinating watch, especially if you’re wondering about what Mayberry’s plans for the company and the Ronin 47, including its decision to limit production of the Ronin 47 to, you guessed it, only 47 units.

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Team Hero EBR Withdraws From World Superbike Championship

Team Hero EBR has officially announced its withdrawal from the World Superbike Championship, putting to rest all the speculation about the team’s uncertain future after the unexpected closure of Erik Buell Racing. The team initially said that it would continue racing, but after carefully considering all of its options moving forward, the team decided it would be much better to cut the cord on its involvement with the WSBK.

Pegram Racing owner Larry Pegram issued a statement, saying that the “recent bankruptcy of EBR and the re-prioritizing of efforts by title sponsor Hero” were the biggest reasons behind its withdrawal from the racing series.

With no sponsor and no bike, the team decided that there was really no point in competing this season. Pegram did say that the team will be back sooner than later, presumably with a new title sponsor and a new bike to compete in.

The team’s withdrawal from the WSBK really isn’t surprising given the recent closure of EBR. The writing was pretty much on the wall already and Pegram Racing understood that it needed more than just hopes and dreams to participate in a racing series as expensive as the World Superbike Championship.

Hopefully, all parties can recover from this setback better than ever. That’s the least we can hope for, even though there’s no guarantee of any of that happening.

Continue reading to read more about Team Hero EBR’s closure.

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Video: Ragged Edge Documentary Preview

Video: Ragged Edge Documentary Preview

If there was such a thing as a “Bad Timing Award”, the people behind the “Ragged Edge” documentary should be considered the favorites to win it. That’s not really their fault, but you have to feel really bad for Joseph Sousa, Matt Sienkiewicz, and their camera crew for spending the past five years filming a documentary chronicling the life and times of Erik Buell Racing.

The documentary touched on the life and times of the eponymous motorcycle brand, dating back to the company’s rebirth after getting the heave-ho from Harley-Davidson back in 2009 right up until the rebranded EBR Racing came back to become a self-sustaining company and a contender in AMA racing. Erik Buell even spent a significant chunk of time talking candidly about the company’s struggles to find funding for its operations while also expressing his excitement for EBR’s future, both in the market and the racing world.

But neither Sousa nor Sienkiewicz could have prepared themselves for the sudden and unexpected closure of Erik Buell Racing in April 2015, effectively turning the documentary into a chilling foreboding of the company’s future.

Ragged Edge will still air on Wisconsin Public Television on May 8, 2015 at 10:02 pm local time. If you end up missing that schedule, you can still get to watch the documentary at Vimeo on Demand.

Best be warned, though. The events of the documentary come well before the company’s closure so when you’re watching it, try not to feel too bummed about how EBR ended up.

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Erik Buell Issues Statement Addressing Closure

Erik Buell Issues Statement Addressing Closure

Erik Buell has broken his silence on the issue of Erik Buell Racing’s closure. Buell released a statement on his Facebook page, explaining the cause behind the company’s closing and hinting at what lies ahead for the embattled motorcycle brand.

In his statement, Buell pretty much confirmed what a lot of people had suspected: the company didn’t have enough money to sustain operations. No matter what people say, money is still the engine that makes companies run and EBR just didn’t have enough of it to remain in operation.

It’s a sad turn of events that really encapsulates the tricky and extremely competitive nature of the motorcycle industry. For a while, EBR was able to ride that wave cleanly as it built a host of impressive superbikes ranging from the 1190RS, 1190RX, and 1190SX. It also achieved a great deal with its partnership with India’s Hero Motorcycles, creating what Buell described as “revolutionary work” on the HX250R, Leap, SimplEcity, iON, and RnT models.

But in the end, EBR just couldn’t sustain all the costs that came with running a pretty expensive operation. It tried to stay above water for as long as it could, but in the end, the weight of its financial problems was just too much to overcome.

So is this the last we see of Erik Buell Racing? Its founder doesn’t think so, which is the right attitude to have in times like this. Despite the problems plaguing his company, Buell reassured everybody that he was going to make “every possible effort” to help EBR’s next incarnation get into the best business and financial shape as possible.

That’s far from a guarantee at this point so the best we can all do is hope that Buell can follow through on his promise.

Continue reading to read more about Erik Buell’s statement regarding the closure of EBR.

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