Home » Erik Buell’s Awesome Electric Motorcycle Concept Might Become A Reality In 2024

Erik Buell’s Awesome Electric Motorcycle Concept Might Become A Reality In 2024

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If you’re looking for a quirky electric motorcycle, you might have one awesome option in 2024. The Fuell Fllow, an electric commuter motorcycle designed by famed motorcycle engineer Erik Buell, is getting primed for production. The company wants you to drop a $200 deposit to help finance its $11,995 electric motorcycle. If Fuell can pull it off, it’ll be the first new Buell design that you could buy in years.

Fuell is an e-mobility company with AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame inductee and engineer Erik Buell, Sauber F1 team principal Frédéric Vasseur, and entrepreneur François-Xavier Terny at the helm. The trio have one common goal: take EV tech and apply it to electric bicycles, then to electric motorcycles. The company name takes the founders’ names and smashes them together. You can buy a Fuell Flluid E-Bike right now, but Fuell aspires for more than to be another player in the electric bicycle market. It also wants to make the ultimate in urban commuter motorcycles. For Erik Buell, it was a wild journey getting here.

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Fuell

How Buell Got Here

The story of Erik Buell’s motorcycle ventures is one full of twists and turns. Founded in 1983, the Buell Motorcycle Company was once known for taking slow Harleys and making them faster, backed by quirky designs and forward thinking. I’ve actually written about this crazy past before, so here’s a recap:

Buell is the brainchild of Erik Buell, a motorcycle racer and engineer who started Buell Motorcycle Company after working at Harley-Davidson. Buell built his sportbikes using a mix of Harley’s engines and his own out-of-ordinary design ideas. In 1993, Buell’s company would become a division of Harley-Davidson, allowing it to build wild streetfighters, adventure bikes and a controversial beginner bike.

Unfortunately for Buell and his namesake motorcycle company, Harley’s non-motorcyclist CEO through the Great Recession, who infamously wondered why people ride sportbikes, closed Buell down in October 2009. As Roadracing World reports, Liquid Asset Partners was used to liquidate Buell’s assets.

But the founder wasn’t going to just give up, so he established Erik Buell Racing in November 2009. EBR started with the 1190RR racebike, then moved to the 1190RX, 1190RS and 1190SX street motorcycles. Hero MotoCorp, the giant Indian bike maker, helped EBR’s bottom line by contracting EBR for engineering work. But Hero didn’t pay its bills, and Erik Buell filed for receivership in 2015.

 

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Buell Motorcycles

And who picked up the scraps of EBR’s failure? Liquid Asset Partners. But this time, the company decided to keep the Erik Buell Racing name and restarted production on a small number of EBR motorcycles. Later, Erik Buell Racing would acquire the Buell Motorcycle Company marque, and the Buell Motorcycle brand was revived. Today, you can buy a brand new Buell motorcycle, though it’ll come with some caveats. Buell’s current motorcycles are old EBR models with some new plastic, and the new venture doesn’t involve Erik Buell at all.

The Fuell Fllow Motorcycle

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Fuell

Fuell has allowed Buell to pursue ideas that he’s had since the Harley-Davidson days. According to an interview in Forbes, Buell has long wanted to make an electric motorcycle, but Harley brass allegedly wasn’t interested at the time. And while Buell is known for making fast motorcycles, he says there’s more to him than that:

I’m known for sport bikes and such, but I’m also a futurist. I just believe in personal transport. It’s kind of how I see motorcycles. I think it’s a freedom and independence thing. I’m kind of obsessed with personal transportation being lean and simple. Personal transportation being a single person driving to work in a five-passenger car kind of bothers me. That’s what motivates me to do this stuff.

With Fuell, Buell’s ideas for ebikes are a reality, and now he’s angling for the electric motorcycle. For the Fuell Fllow, Buell’s idea was not to make an electric superbike, but something that every rider can use on their commutes.

Fuell is aiming to hit some high targets with this machine. The company is currently predicting a real world range of 150 miles in the city with a 10 kWh battery. Housed in back will be a hub motor generating 47 HP (a 15 HP motor will also be available). This will be good for a top speed of about 85 mph. At least in my eyes, it sounds like the performance of an old Buell Blast, but in a better package.

This motor is mounted to the wheel like a Buell motorcycle’s brakes are, and this is supposed to transfer load to the wheel rather than the hub. Buell says that this design was chosen in-part because of its simplicity. You don’t need a chain or a belt drive. And since this is a commuter, Buell feels that motor placement isn’t as important. Still, he intends on shaving down unsprung weight. Fuell says that the Fllow will be built in the States and upgradeable.

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Fuell

The good ideas don’t end there. Fuell notes that the motorcycle will have CCS fast-charging, allowing it to fill up in 30 minutes. The company also claims that the Fuell Fllow will be able to fill from 20 percent to 90 percent in under 15 minutes. Other tech comes in the form of an anti-collision warning system, blind-spot monitoring, a rear camera, regenerative braking, traction control, and more. Fuell says that the motorcycle should also come in at under 400 pounds and have 50 liters of storage.

The Road Ahead

This motorcycle was originally announced in 2019 with production expected in 2020. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and threw everything off course. The company says that its investors got cold feet, with promises put on hold while other investors ran off. Then there was the whole headache with supply chain shortages.

Last year, I interviewed the team at Fuell, and they gave me some insight on the Fllow’s development. They have a working Fllow prototype and expected to use sales of the ebikes to help bolster funding for the electric motorcycle. At the time, they weren’t able to tell me when this motorcycle would see the light of day. That has changed, and the company thinks that now is the time to bring the Fllow into production.

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Fuell

Fuell’s plan is this. It’s hoping to get 3,000 $200 pre-orders. Those who go in on the pre-order campaign get a $2,000 discount on the expected $11,995 price, plus a designer helmet. From there, the company expects to transition to a crowdfunding campaign with the goal that the motorcycle will essentially fund itself. If all goes to plan, the company expects to have Fuell Fllows in customer hands beginning in early 2024.

Of course, that’s a huge task, but crowdfunding has worked for Fuell in the past. Hopefully, the company can pull it off again. This motorcycle has stunning looks and at least on paper, also has great specs. And it seems to offer a lot of kit for its price. Perhaps with some luck, a year from now yours truly will be giving you a review of one.

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24 Responses

  1. Looks nice. Might do better on range/performance than the live wire, but who knows yet. Will it be famously be Buell overpriced and when it fails the few who bought in will have no parts support?

    1. I had my eye on the Metacycle too. I just watched a couple of reviews of it, and it doesn’t seem to be that bad – sure they didn’t quite hit the bar they set for themselves but it still seems like a decent urban commuter for a good price. I will keep a lookout to see if it improves in the next generation or with aftermarket support.

      The Fuell does look really good though, and much more capable as a full motorcycle. But I also remember that Buell quality wasn’t that great either back in the day. And there’s many a slip twixt cup and lip, so I wouldn’t expect this to live up to its own hype either.

  2. Like Mercedes, I’m a big Buell fan/owner, and I totally dig Buell’s philosophy toward motorcycling (both the pragmatic and the more ethereal like here).

    This absolutely reminds me of the motorcycles (modified Triumphs I think) that the robot police officers rode in THX 1138 as they chased Robert Duval in this stolen Lola. Sooo futuristic!

    1. That’s a license plate holder! A few years ago, a PR person told me that motorcycle manufacturers do this to have a stubby tail design while still pleasing the government. You can see a similar design going on with the LiveWire One and the Indian FTR. I’d imagine that the production version of this will incorporate some sort of mudguard.

  3. It is obvious to me that aerodynamics were a major consideration in this design. Motorcycles are extremely difficult to streamline, but the designer took advantage of the fact that it is electric and doesn’t need a chain or transmission.

    I think the 150 miles range in the city on 10 kWh is very doable for a 400 lb unenclosed vehicle. I suspect on the highway it will be right around 10 miles per kWh.

  4. I think of sharp handling when I think of Buell. That wheel-mounted motor will ensure my mind will be changed, but I guess that is why the word ‘commuter’ keeps getting mentioned. I’m glad he’s still engineering bikes. I just don’t think this will interest me any more than the Sondors Metacycle.

  5. I wish something like this would take off, but it won’t. Commuting on a bike SUCKS. An interstate crowded with half-asleep people on their phones, eating breakfast on the go is not a fun situation. I did it a couple days a week for awhile, but had too many close calls on the highway and the sketchy neighborhood where our factory was so I hung it up. My old BMW airhead stretches her legs on the weekends and around town pretty much exclusively now.

  6. I’ve followed and intermittently been a fan of Buell since the early 80s. Making Harleys fast, a fan, Early Sportster based bikes, a fan, parameter brakes not a fan, gas in frame, oil in swing arm, OMG stop! And please don’t, I understand all the reasons he did what he did, but he didn’t allow people to warm up to the idea of his bikes in general before throwing every weird idea on them. This thing? Come on, it’s way too weird..

  7. Gotta give him props for keeping up the fight. Feel like HD was just dragging him down. I had an XB12s back in the day. It had a lot of weird quirks, but overall cool bike.

  8. As a rider, it is so cool to see Erik Buell doing awesome, creative stuff like this. And I genuinely can’t wait to ride one of these when they go into production. Hopefully by then, I’ll have my finances in order

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