Erik was an engineer at HD in the late 70's and early 80's.
Among his many contributions to HD was the FLT/FXR rubber mount system. This design is still in use today on the touring bikes. If you ever look closely at the frame & rubber mount design of these bikes, you'll see that they're remarkable designs. From the steering stem, down under the motor, all the way back and up to the shock mount is one continuous tube. There's a triangle (the strongest shape) right there on each side with the corners connecting the shock mount, the motor mount, and the frame backbone. The motor floats in the frame and the swingarm is attached to the tranny (which is attached to the motor). You'll find that FXR owners (I'm one of them) tend to be pretty passionate about their bikes. It's considered the best chassis HD ever made. They dropped it for the middleweight big twins in favor of the cheaper to produce Dyna chassis, but it's still used on thebig bikes because it's so strong.
Anyway, Erik started a performance parts business (Pittsburgh Performance Parts if I remember my history correctly, he hails from PA) out of his home and along about 82 or so he left HD to go off and start his own race bike company, which he called "Buell Motor Company". He did this out of his garage. He bought the tooling and rights to a motor from a company called "Barton" out of England, and built a prototype AMA F1 race bike around it. The Barton was a square 4 750cc two stroke. There were a lot of teething pains and he ended up reworking the motor design quite a bit, but he eventually built a pretty fast race bike.
Only two RW750's were ever built before AMA dropped the class and rendered them obsolete, dealing a huge blow to Erik's fledgling company:
This is the first one, now in the hands of Buell Motorcycle Company. It was owned and campaigned by the Machinist's Union team.
This is the other one, which is owned by Erik himself. It was rebuilt from scratch from a pile of parts scattered around Erik's barn by a group of folks at Buell, who then gave it to him as a surprise.
After the AMA made these bikes obsolete, Erik went off and designed a new bike for Battle of the Twins. He struck a deal with Harley to buy their remaining inventory of the old XR1000 motors, and designed a new chassis around it. He took the highly developed XRTT bodywork and expanded on it as well, making it even more aerodynamic than it was. He called the bike the RR1000 Battletwin. The first prototype was painted Blue and white with red pinstriping:
This picture was given to me by the current owner of the bike, but it's my understanding that this is the original owner of the bike taking delivery. Also, I've been told that this bike has no VIN.
This is the bike being prepped for delivery, at Erik's house. That's Erik in the green sweater.
The second RR1000 made was owned by H.O.G. and campaigned in BOT by Don Tilley, with Gene Church (shown) riding. This is the infamous "Lucifer's Hammer II", which followed the legendary Lucifer's Hammer XR1000 based racebike. Gene had a bad crash on the bike though and some other people ended up riding the bike as well, notably Scott Zampach. I love this picture because it shows the race bike without the bodywork. Lots of mods done on that motor by Mr. Tilley.
The first Buell factory. Note the gas tank sitting in front of the car.
This is the first production RR1000, which I understand carries VIN 1. The original owner, Devin Battley (owner of Battley Cycles Gaithersburg MD) still owns the bike.
I was told that this is VIN 14, being delivered out of Erik's garage. You can see that Buell Motor Company was still a low-buck operation at this time. That's Erik in the picture.
This is RR1000 #50, the last one made, with some clown posing with it. Erik had to make 50 of them to homolgate the bike for BOT. Apparently, all had to be the same model year, too, and it took him more than a year to make 50, because even though this bike was finished in April of '88, it's titled as an 87 like VIN 1.
There's a lot of really cool stuff on these bikes ... for example, Dymag magnesium wheels, brake calipers that Erik cast himself, Marazocchi M1R forks with active anti-dive, and so on. There were a lot of running changes to the bikes over the course of the model years, too. Whenever I look at another I see lots of little detail differences with mine.
This bike sat on the showroom of a dealership in State College, PA, for a number of years before finding it's way to Colorado and my garage back in '00. It had 224 miles on the clock then.
Not knowing what the hell else to do with it, we took it salt flats racing
It's first time to the salt, it set 6 records in 3 days, a record for setting records. We only raced it one other time, where it set 3 more records. Best speed it achieved was 184mph. Remember, that's 1000cc. Shown with the bike is the guy I had riding it for me at the time. I still use that set of bodywork (not the original set) on my current race bike. The RR1000 has been returned to all stock and sits under a cover in my barn. It's in perfect condition.
With the supply of XR1000 motors drying up, and the introduction of the 1200cc Evolution Sportster motor, Erik next adapted his chassis and created the RR1200.
Here's a rare glimpse inside of Erik's garage, er, I mean, the Buell Motor Company World Headquarters and Manufacturing Facility, where an RR1200 was being assembled on the state-of-the-art production line.
Don McCaw bought RR1200 number 4 and took it land speed racing. This bike still holds a couple of records at Bonneville. Don't ask me how he steered it, I have no idea.
More to come ...