For those readers that haven’t been following the story, in late 2009 the venerable HOG(NYSE) AKA Harley shut down Buell. Faced with declining sales as their customers, most of whom were in their declining years, moved their declining income to long term care insurance and prepaid funerals, HOG(NYSE) chose to put on the blinders, ignore the passage of time and the world around them, and plunge into the darkness in an orgy of chrome, leather, and the occasional sale of brand new antique motorcycles. Sort of like the guy who comes home from the cardiac specialist, settles into an easy chair in front of the TV, and eats and drinks his way to oblivion.

Fortunately Mr. Buell and his crew, know as the “elves”, don’t give up easily. Erik rented a warehouse space in the same complex as the Buell HQ & factory that HOG(NYSE) was expensively moving out of and set up shop. Erik could still build racing bikes, but HOG(NYSE) owned everything else- tooling, patents, even his last name. But withing a few months, Erik was racing again with a 2.0 version of the Rotax powered Buell, a 400 pound bike with going on 200 horsepower. Erik’s racing team has been quite successful, proving their bike and team competitive with the best that BMW, Ducati, and the Japanese manufacturers could muster. And Erik Buell Racing beat them with a total budget that would be a rounding error at Honda.

Meanwhile, back at HOG(NYSE) the misery continues. Rather than produce a 21st century product, HOG(NYSE)’s path to profit, or at least survival, has been to lay off loyal workers and cut wages. Sales have improved marginally, but nothing like the double digit annual increases like more progressive makers Polaris, BMW, etc. have seen.

With no prospects for a remarriage to Harley, Mr. Buell may have been looking for a new partner. And he found one that makes HOG(NYSE) look like  bad date- Hero MotoCorp of India. You can check them out at – They’ve been building small motorcycles and scooters under license from Honda for years, cranking out a mere five million a year. That’s over twenty times HOG(NYSE)’s current production. And unlike HOG(NYSE), Hero is future focused- there website is literally blooming with social media connections.

Erik Buell Racing gives Hero the innovation Honda never could- why partner with stodgy middle aged Honda when you can work with little upstart Erik Buell Racing that is beating Honda on the racetracks. For Erik Buell Racing, this is the deal they should have had with HOG(NYSE)- freedom to do what they do best- engineering advanced 21st century motorcycles without being tied to a strangling corporate bureaucracy like HOG(NYSE). Potentially this will led to Erik Buell Racing becoming the motorcycle worlds equavilent of Porsche, a company that often earns as much income doing consulting engineering work for other manufacturers as it makes building Porsches.