Thursday, July 16, 2009

Buell 1125RR to Race in AMA/DMG Superbike Class

Buell Press Release:

"(July 15) Buell Motorcycle Company today introduced the 1125RR, a race-use only motorcycle intended for competition in the AMA Pro Racing American Superbike class.

"The 1125RR is designed to give privateer racers a turn-key machine to compete in the American Superbike class in AMA Pro Racing. We want to build on our program that has proven so successful for privateers in the Daytona SportBike class," said Erik Buell, Chairman and Chief Technical Officer, Buell Motorcycle Company.

The Buell 1125RR features a modified Helicon 1125cc (103mm bore x 67.5mm stroke) liquid-cooled 72-degree V-Twin engine. Power increases come from components including a larger airbox and intake manifold, revised valves and camshafts, a higher compression ratio, titanium exhaust system and other weight-reduced components.

The 1125RR chassis is the standard 1125R design with fuel-in-the-frame, plus a billet axle adjustment system and chain-drive to allow gearing changes. Suspension travel is managed by fully adjustable units, with a Showa 43mm front fork and a remote-reservoir rear shock. A ZTL2 (Zero Torsional Load) eight-piston front caliper is mated with a modified front rotor."


The presence of Buell and the role DMG sees Buell playing in their series can't be disputed. I have Buell coming out of my ears, even as someone who is disinterested in the AMA (hence the general lack of published AMA results on this blog). From the Sportbike class controversy to the new Buell "pacebike", to this, Buell is not going away any time soon.

Is the 1125rr a bad thing? It's almost definitely a hypocritical thing: It was only months ago that Mat Mladin was 'busted' for an illegal crankshaft; a part required to be within AMA homogenization specifications. The Buell 1125rr will come out-of-the-box with "custom" parts which would normally be subject to similar homogenization, such as the camshaft.

Yet, is it bad for the sport? It depends. Would the podium ability of the "rr" mean the gradual end of the presence of the "stock" 1125r in the Sportbike class?

Even the most casual motorcycle racing fan knows what cubic centimeters and pistons are. It's been asked for a long time why a modern, liquid-cooled v-twin machine pushing a dozen hundred cc is racing 600cc inline-fours half its size rather than Ducati 1098 Superbikes. The valves, camshaft, and other hypocritical details on the "rr" will not be nearly as blatant an unfair advantage to the spectators. That may be a step in the right direction.

For that I say: Let Buell sidestep homogenization requirements for the remainder of this season. It's a small price to pay if we can divert Buell's invasion of US roadracing from the Sportbike class into the Superbike class, where sadly I doubt cams, valves, and other tidbits will give a bike which previously raced 600s the extra 400-600 cubes of power to compete with the bikes of Mladin, Pegram, and co., not to mention the chassis.

To Buell: It's great that you're supporting roadracing to a dramatically increased degree, but how about next time around you just design a quality, purpose-built sportbike from the get-go? I doubt Ducati would maintain the amount of racing prestige it currently enjoys by racing bikes with 3000cc engines. Sure, the racing could be close: That 3000cc bike may have the worst handling on the market and match up perfectly with the laptimes of an R1 at Monza, but does anyone care?


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killroy134 said...

Well it looks like the 1190 certainly can compete with the Aprilias and Ducatis. Can't wait to see if Erik is able to get into WSB very soon. I have no doubt he will have some major announcements very soon. I wish him the best. Funny thing is that the 1125 was a bike designed almost 20 years ago that Harley would not let him release. If you want to see what Harley thinks is a sport bike, look at the XR1200. That is what they wanted Buell to build.

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