Orphaned Buells Adapted
This Buell 1125R could seriously be the poster child for things that look better naked. When Harley pulled the Buell plug, the boys in the back room at Magpul Industries jumped, buying up about 30 of the poor orphaned Twins.
Magpul (www.magpulronin.com) mostly makes things that enhance the pleasure and efficiency of military and law-enforcement types, things like 45-round magazines for M-16s and all sorts of shooting accessories. But guns and internal combustion are close relatives for a lot of people, and Magpul has quite a few such enthusiasts at its Erie, Colorado, HQ, including owners of everything from Vincent Black Shadows to GSX-Rs.
“We’ve always been fans of Buell’s work,” says Magpul’s Mike Mayberry. “He’s a guy who’s never been bogged down in convention. We try to think that way, too.” Part of not bogging down consists of moving quickly, and Mayberry— who’s an industrial designer with experience building mountain bikes—penned the girder fork and had it ready to ride on the prototype machine in just two months. Computer modeling and finite element analysis allowed him to design the parts, then have them produced in aluminum using a high-tech version of lost-wax casting by another Midwestern company. Even with the coolant radiator mounted to it, the Penske-shock-controlled fork weighs about the same as the conventional fork it replaces, Mayberry says, but it gives the Buell even better handling and suspension action thanks to rising-rate linkage and a bit more trail.
Rapid-prototyping technology also allowed Mayberry to knock out the bike’s one-off seat/taillight unit in record time. A minimalist steel subframe supports a cast aluminum tailsection and air-intake manifold, which form the foundation for the redesigned bodywork, airbox, carbon-fiber cover and hand-stitched seat. The stock tailsection/subframe, Mayberry says, was way too substantial, as was the now-departed radiator mounting hardware on both sides of the bike. The Buell exhaust system was also far from lightweight. Replacing it with a modified Italian-built system brought the total weight loss down to around 50 pounds—to a claimed 413 pounds with a full fuel load.
As of late March, the Ronin’s still an ongoing development project, with all specs and components subject to change. As to whether the Ronin might actually be produced, Mayberry and Magpul are open to the idea and curious to gauge public reaction. Producing 47 Ronin would be a fitting tribute, says Mayberry, to Erik Buell and to the bikes’ Ronin namesake. And you can Wiki why if you wanna.