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Erik Buell's latest bike: The EBR 1190SX streetfighter


July 6, 2014

No compromises - the EBR 1190SX is the definition of a streetfighter: a superbike with its pants off.

No compromises - the EBR 1190SX is the definition of a streetfighter: a superbike with its pants off.

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Full specifications, pricing and photos have arrived for Erik Buell's newest streetbike – the EBR 1190SX streetfighter. And if, like many people, you're sick of hearing the phrase "detuned for more midrange," you'll be happy to know that the 1190SX is basically the full 185-horsepower 1190RX superbike experience, with the plastics off and a higher handlebar. Boy, will this thing be a handful.

Hot on the heels of the 1190RX superbike, the pants-off naked 1190SX is about as close to a factory streetfighter as you can get. Besides the flattish handlebar, headlight/dash unit and side mounted radiator shrouds, it's more or less the RX with the plastics off.

The 1190cc v-twin engine retains its full 185 horsepower, and 137.8 Nm of torque – there's no detuning for extra midrange going on here. According to EBR founder and Chief Technical Officer Erik Buell, to do so would be disrespectful to the very nature of the streetfighter class.

"The streetfighter classification, which was so revolutionary when we first came to market, is now being used by marketing people for all sorts of motorcycles, including some thinly-disguised standard bikes that have de-tuned or obsolete powertrains," said Buell. "So, perhaps the appropriate new name for a bike like the 1190SX is, "'Superfighter.'"

In fact, due to a 2 kg weight saving, the SX will have a very slight power-to-weight edge on its RX superbike brother.

Like the RX, the SX retains EBR's unique rim-mounted single front brake disc, a huge 386 mm disc that mounts to the outer rim instead of the hub. It's grabbed by an inside-out 8-piston caliper. This saves quite a bit of weight over the traditional twin hub-mounted disc setup, which both allows the suspension to operate more efficiently, and reduces gyroscopic mass to quicken up the steering.

We've been riding the 1190RX lately (a full review is on the way) and we can tell you that this lightweight single disc delivers absolutely staggering stopping power with excellent feel. It'll be interesting to see if brake fade becomes more of an issue without the RX's bizarre-looking disc cooling apparatus on the front.

Left: 1190RX with cooling intakes. Right: 1190SX without.

The 1190SX street "superfighter" is so close to its race-ready brother that we've got to ask: Is it too racy?

The RX superbike is a no-compromises race machine, so you can forgive the fact that it's a pain in the butt to ride around town. Due to its massively torquey engine, the clutch is super heavy. Due to its racetrack aspirations, the gearing is super high. These facts combine to give you a bike that's very cranky below about 40 km/h (25 mph), and that is really only happy shifting up to 2nd gear once you hit 60 km/h (37 mph). Fifth gear is sort of usable at 100 km/h (62 mph), although 4th feels better, and I'm not sure how fast you'd need to be going before 6th made any sense.

I was kind of hoping we'd see revised gear ratios on the nakedbike, but nope. The 1190SX will give you the full RX experience around town, but with less weight on your wrists.

This puts the RX in the same category as bikes like the older Aprilia Tuonos – crazily high-spec v-twin sports nakeds that make almost as little sense on the road as their superbike cousins. But there's plenty of riders out there that enjoy the experience of riding bikes like this – something like putting a saddle on a scrambling bulldog that's constantly trying to break free and tear up the road and hump the postman's leg.

Of course, when you hit the track and let it have its head, the experience will be extraordinary.

So if you like streetbikes with "character" this may well be a good one to take for a test ride. At US$16,995, it's an expensive toy. For that money you're talking KTM Super Duke R territory and it's a couple of thousand dollars more expensive than the V4 Aprilia Tuono and BMW S1000R, which are both similarly exotic bikes, and in the Beemer's case, a lot more road friendly.

About the Author
Loz Blain Loz has been one of Gizmag's most versatile contributors since 2007. Joining the team as a motorcycle specialist, he has since covered everything from medical and military technology to aeronautics, music gear and historical artefacts. Since 2010 he's branched out into photography, video and audio production, and he remains the only Gizmag contributor willing to put his name to a sex toy review. A singer by night, he's often on the road with his a cappella band Suade. All articles by Loz Blain

Talk about out of touch with reality. No wonder the Buell brand has been in and out of business at least twice now. This is the answer to the question nobody's asking. I'm sure he'll sell three or four units, but if Erik were to take a closer look at the streets or maybe pay a visit to his local multi-line dealer I'm sure he'd notice that no one is riding or buying GSX-R1000s, YZf-R1s or CBR1000RRs anymore. The day of the killer litre bike is done.

John Campbell

I agree. As a long time Buell owner, I am a little disappointed with this latest effort. What's with the dinky tail-light set-up ? Where's the mass centralised underslung muffler ? At lest the rear shock works in the correct sense.... And Loz, you need to understand that big twins don't like to run at low revs, especially in first gear and top gear. It is all to do with the firing pulses and lack of flywheel effect. Little to do with gearing. As for teh gearing being super high for 'race track' applications, it usually works the other way round. More likey it is geared high to pass ADR's/EPA regs....

Martin Hone

I had similar thoughts to JC - what is the use of trying to sell a bike few people can ride - or at least think they can ride - with rader etc ever-present you only really can use it on the track. OK, I'll give you a few highways, but you still have to ride it in slow street traffic to get there. A (sorry) detuned and better geared 'street usable' bike would sell a lot more units. More of an ego-trip than a serious attempt to sell the people a good bike.

The Skud

@John what do you mean by "The day of the killer litre bike is done."

I guess where I live the shops generally sell lots of 600's and very few 1000's in part because the 600's already make more power than most people need on public roads but I don't remember a time when literbikes were ever very popular.

I can also say there are some times where I broke the tire loose on my GSX-R 600 where I was glad it was only a 600.


I realize this isn't a bike website or forum, but this Buell is amazing! I've went from a 100hp xb12r firebolt to a 146hp 1125r. I race mine and drive it on the street. They are truly remarkable bikes with tons of personality. I would love to have a bike with this level of performance...

...and the best thing is that it is made in Wisconsin by people who just love bikes!

Mitch Rapp

::shrugs:: perhaps I live in a bubble, but here in the states, all you see are liter bikes being sold. Pull up to the bike meet in a 600 or 750 and you will be laughed at. I just purchased a 2006 CBR 750 frame for pennies because the owner felt it did not have enough power.

Michael Wilson
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