BUELL’S RETURN: THE FUELL
Erik Buell was an engineer at Harley-Davidson who started Buell Motorcycles in 1983 with a desire to bring the H-D motor into the world of performance sport bikes. The bikes were known for their very unique look and innovative spec that included aluminum frames that housed the gas, belt drives and perimeter disc brakes.
Looking to expand their customer base beyond the heavy highway haulers they were most famous for, in 1993 H-D bought a controlling interest in the company, selling the Milwaukee V-twin-powered sport bikes under the Buell name. However, in 2009 Harley ceased production of those bikes entirely in 2009.
Although Buell is best known for his eponymous motorcycles, a little-known fact is that back in the mid-’90s he designed a downhill bicycle using an under chassis pull-shock design similar to that used on his motorcycles for another American two-wheeled icon; Schwinn.
Ever the creative and passionate two-wheeled enthusiast Buell is now about to launch a collection of electric bicycles and motorcycles, having teamed up with Frédéric Vasseur, the owner of the company that makes the chassis for Formula E race bikes. These are the two people you want to team up to make an e-bike!
The bicycles, called Fluid, are both dual-battery bikes; one a Class 1 and one a Class 3, with a claimed range of 125 miles, and—get this—a recharge time of 30 minutes on a standard charger! They’re carbon belt-driven and should be pretty quiet. They’ll start at a reasonable $3295 and should be available late this year.
The motorcycle, called the Flow, has a very modern design. There will be two versions of it; one with an 11-kW (15 horsepower) motor and one with a 35-kW (47 horsepower) motor. Like most e-motorcycles, there’s no gearbox. Unlike most e-motos, there’s no chain or belt, either. They’ve gone with a rear hub motor, cutting out the need for a normal drivetrain, likely offering even less maintenance than a regular electric motorcycle. There is 50 liters of internal storage, nice for commuters who want to ride to work and carry all their stuff. The bike will start at an affordable $10,995, about 1/3 of what the Harley-Davidson Livewire will cost. According to their website, they’re offering financing options that favor usage over ownership. It is expected to start shipping in early 2021.
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