Unique XBRR blends racing pedigree with the pursuit of speed.
From wreck to rocket, this rare Buell XBRR got a special makeover by accident. Thieves, not a heroic track day wipe out, just about destroyed the bike. Making the best of the situation, Ole Nystedt, a Norwegian Buell enthusiast and owner, saw an opportunity to rebuild his XBRR as something unique that embodied racing pedigree and the pursuit of speed.
Photos courtesy of Ulf Engborg.
The race-only Buell XBRR made its debut in 2006 at the 65th running of the Daytona 200. A subsidiary of Harley-Davidson at the time, the Buell Motorcycle Company then released a limited run of the potent XBRR. It was aimed at the supersport market and exclusively designed for closed-course competition. Nystedt’s Buell XBRR is number thirty-one of only fifty track-ready bikes ever built.
The decision to rebuild his XBRR as a John Player Special draws together layers of racing pedigree uniquely and nostalgically. Getting the bike back to spec began as a collaborative effort with Northern Classic, Custom & Race (NCCR), located near the small town of Delsbo, about three hours north of Stockholm, the Swedish capital.
Northern Classic, Custom & Race was the only logical choice for Nystedt. As the former European division of Erik Buell Racing (EBR), NCCR has had a long-standing history with Buell. Business owners Jens and Birgit Krüper both have successful race records, and the family-owned operation is dedicated to innovating products for the only sportsbike built in America
The kicker for Nystedt was that his insurance company would not cover the cost of restoration because the XBRR had been stored at his business. Jens Krüper elaborated on the rebuild process in a company-released video. He stated that after much back and forth with Nystedt, a deal was struck to rebuild the XBRR, but with a few alterations.
Checking for damage, NCCR first combed through the XBRR’s modified XB Thunderstorm V-Twin motor. At 1,339cc, the engine produces 150 horsepower, fed by a dual-downdraft 62mm throttle-body electronic fuel-injection system and a ram-air intake system integrated into a carbon-fiber intake. While the damage to the lightweight aluminum frame was repairable, the carbon fiber body was beyond salvaging.
Nystedt and Krüper soon discovered their mutual interest in Formula One racing, especially Colin Chapman’s 1985 John Player Special Lotus 97T in black and gold livery. Better suited for the high banks of Daytona, the XBRR’s massive tail was replaced with a custom-built road racing unit. It houses the bike’s battery and the remote reservoir for the Öhlins rear shock.
Two-wheel enthusiasts will fondly remember the 1974 Norton Commando John Player Special. The limited edition twin was based on the 1973 Norton JPS ‘Mono’ race bike, a genius design by Peter Williams. If one squints, the Buell XBRR mimics the aerodynamic Mono, with its twin aluminum spar frame housing the oil and gas. Still bearing a few crash scars, Nystedt’s machine really has come full circle.
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