A High-Tech Take On The Buell 1125R
WORDS Iron & Air Staff IMAGES Gregory George Moore & Courtesy Magpul
“Ronin” is a Japanese word for a samurai without a master, a wanderer without a mission. In late 2009 after Harley-Davidson discontinued its performance-focused brand, Buell, Mike Mayberry and Richard Fitzpatrick of firearm accessory manufacturer, Magpul Industries Corp., bought two, 146-horsepower Buell 1125R sport bikes to give them new lives, new missions, as Ronin.
Great design means making something simple and intuitive. It is this philosophy which Mayberry and Fitzpatrick painstakingly administer to all Magpul products, and thus applied to the mechanical and cosmetic overhaul of these bikes. They explored working their way around its Rotax engine and fuel-in-frame chassis. Less than a year later, they unveiled the dramatic Magpul Ronin.
All the things Mayberry and Fitzpatrick loved about the 1125R— its frame, swingarm, and engine—remained untouched as they tossed out trim and plastics, designed a new exhaust, and replaced the side radiators with a bigger, bolder, more efficient radiator mounted on the bike’s nose. The Ronin features a custom mono-shock linkage suspension, a unitized handlebar assembly, and a cast aluminum tail section, and perhaps its most striking feature is its forks; full-size, 3D-printed wax patterns allowed Mayberry and Fitzpatrick to work two stacked headlights on the right fork and a coolant overflow system on the left.
Enthusiasts loved the Ronin and opened their wallets, so Mayberry and Fitzpatrick decided to do a limited production run. They created a “pop-up” manufacturing company, Ronin Motor Works, in Denver, Colorado, not far from Magpul Industries Corp.’s former headquarters. Drawing inspiration from the Japanese folklore story, The 47 Ronin, Ronin Motor Works produced a total 47 of bikes, each named after the warriors in the legend. The Ronins were built and released in batches with various colorways and design schemes; the final five “art bikes” were released in early 2017.
The Ronin project has been a successful venture in honoring the Buell marque and showcasing the talents and pedigree of its founders.
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