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ADV NewsBuell’s 175-HP Baja DR Dune Racer Makes Public Debut

Buell’s 175-HP Baja DR Dune Racer Makes Public Debut

The American brand drops the cover on the fastest production dirt bike.

Published on 03.09.2022

Ever dream of owning the world’s fastest production dirt bike? Neither had we until we saw the 1190 Baja DR (Dune Racer) Buell Motorcycles just unveiled at Daytona Bike Week. 

Set for production in 2023, the bike looks like a beast on its stand, and there’s no doubt it will be a mile-eating monster when it’s flying across the desert. Its mill is a Rotax-derived, 72-degree, liquid-cooled V-twin said to churn out 175 hp and 101-foot pounds of torque. It’s an engine that’s already earned a reputation for powering Buell’s existing sport models, as well as the 1190 Hill Climb Racer (HCR), a bike that two-time world champ Logan Cipala piloted to win the AMA National Pro Hillclimb title in 2020.  

Buell Baja DR Dune Racer Dirt Bike

Buell’s latest parent company, Liquid Asset Partners (LAP), hasn’t released many specs for the bike, though it has said this desert racer will feature a trellis frame, 37” inch seat height, 26.75 degrees of rake and an adjustable swing arm for a 66″ to 70″ wheelbase, yes, very long for a dirt bike. Like the company’s other machines, the Dune Racer will be manufactured in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a big selling point for some consumers. 


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LAP and Buell Motorcycle Co. CEO Bill Melvin is certain this will be the bike that “really puts Buell on the map.” 

“We are on track to build the world’s fastest and solely American-built production off road bike,” he said in a press release adding, “less than 1% of the world is covered with pavement, the Buell Baja DR is designed to dominate the other 99%.”

Melvin is unabashedly obsessed with having the fastest bike in every category of the market the resurrected Buell brand enters, and while that’s fun stuff, it’s not clear how important top speed is to off-roaders. Still, gazing at the prototype Buell Baja DR on stage does cause a tingle. 

The Hill Climb Racer is clearly visible in the new dirt bike, and we’re guessing many of the components will carry over to the Baja DR’s, including the use of WP suspension. Things on the prototype that do not seem to match the bike’s purposed intention are the low-slung exhaust and smallish single rotor for the front wheel. C’mon, this thing’s got 175 horsepower! That brake might work for the hill climbing version, but that monster also needs only one gear to get its job done. 

Buell 1190 HCR Hill Climb Racer
Buell states the 1190 HRC will also be used as a platform for an upcoming adventure model.

In other interesting news, Buell has announced there is an Adventure version of the HCR 1190 on the way, and yes, it will undoubtedly be one of the world’s fastest adventure bikes, though that’s not necessarily top-of-list important for those serious about off-roading on a big bike. Hopefully, the adventure version, rumored to be called the AX, will have more comfort and convenience amenities than the barebones Dune Racer, and no word yet on technical assets, such as rider aids. 

Buell’s new dirt bike was joined in its unveiling in Daytona by a Buell SuperTouring 1190 prototype, which Melvin says will be the “world’s fastest production touring bike.” This machine will squeeze an additional 10 hp from its 1190cc V-twin, for a total of 185 ponies, with 101-foot pounds of torque. The SportTourer will mirror the company’s SX and Hammerhead sport bikes, rather than the HCR model. Production on this model is said to begin in 2022 with pre-orders open now and its estimated retail starts at $21,995. 

And while it’s easy to feel intrigued about the new dominatrix of a dirt bike unveiled in Daytona, the Buell brand has been cursed for so many years, and gone through so many reiterations, it’s harder to feel attached to a future where Buell actually becomes a mainstream brand. 

So many of us old timers had our hearts broken back when Harley-Davidson so unwisely jettisoned Erik Buell and his engineering genius in 2009. He dreamed up the Ulysses, after all, an adventure bike that was quirky, yes, but also solid and oh-so ahead of its time. 

To add insult to injury, H-D wouldn’t even let the man use his own last name when he went on to form Erik Buell Racing (EBR), a company that produced competitive racing bikes in fits and starts until it filed for bankruptcy in 2015. The company that moved in to liquidate it was – you guessed it – Liquid Asset Partners, who carried on with EBR as if nothing happened, even winning back the Buell branding license for the company’s relaunch in 2021.

The longer version of the Buell saga might be Netflix’s next #1 docudrama with all the passionate innovator vs. corporate mismanagement twists and turns it took. For Erik’s part, he seems to wish LAP luck with its plan for world domination. Besides, he’s currently immersed in his electric motorcycle and bicycle company, Fuell. About LAP recovering rights to his name he told Roadracing World: “At the end of the day, it’s just a brand name. At one time it stood for innovation, but it was parked by H-D for 12 years. Time will tell what becomes of it next.” 

Indeed. Liquid Assets Partners, which had no experience with motorcycle manufacturing before stepping into Erik’s shoes, has bitten off a lot with its promise of 10 game-changing models by 2024. But by the looks of this new mondo dirt machine, there will be many interested parties following along. 

Pricing and Pre-Orders

The price of the Buell 1190 Baja DR has been teased as starting at $19,995, with reservations open now for production slots. And get this, a place in line for the fastest dirt bike in the world? Just $25. 

Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

Author: Jamie Elvidge
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11 thoughts on “Buell’s 175-HP Baja DR Dune Racer Makes Public Debut

  1. “less than 1% of the world is covered with pavement, the Buell Baja DR is designed to dominate the other 99%.” Can’t wait to see this thing “dominate” the Pacific ocean.

    • Too true! Buell says: “the Dune Racer lacks direct rivals” Gee, I wonder why. I hope their not hanging the corporate profits hopes on sales of this thing!

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