Erik Buell's latest bike: The EBR 1190SX streetfighter
By Loz Blain
July 6, 2014
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.
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.