Riding a race winner

Next to the stock Buell streetbikes lining Road America’s pit wall in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, the GEICO-sponsored AMA Pro Daytona SportBike 1125R racer sounds like a howitzer among BB guns. The booming exhaust note emanating from the race pipe could be construed as ominous, but once on board and underway, the AMA racer’s hospitality is readily apparent.

The clip-on handlebars are slightly lower than the stock unit, but the footpegs are in the same place. The area behind the enlarged windscreen is a vacationland from wind buffeting at high speeds. The reduction in weight is felt when transitioning through corners and under acceleration. The tuned suspension performs better the faster you travel, and rolling the twist grip to the stop reveals a power curve not unlike the street-legal 1125R.

In fact, the only area requiring concentration outside the scope of its street-legal counterpart is the one-up, five-down race configuration of the shift linkage.

The stock 1125R is already a minimalist bike. To modify it for racing duty, the subframe is chopped down to support the weight of only a rider, the stock wheels are swapped for magnesium ones, radiator fans are removed and the course of air flow rerouted, and then there are the minor details. The upper fairing bracket, already made of magnesium, is analyzed and any unnecessary mounts and gusseting are machined away, along with a few other grams of metal here and there for weight-saving measures. There’s more to the process, but the end result is a race machine with genteel mannerisms.

The good news is that Buell has available for purchase the same parts to transform any 1125R into a race-winning machine. By completing a Buell race parts pre-authorization purchase agreement found on the Buell website, you too can have a factory racer.


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