THE RONIN 47: IF BATMAN RODE A BUELL 1125
If you felt cheated when the Buell 1125 went out of production in 2010, you’re in luck. You can now buy a factory-fresh superbike based on the 1125—and it looks like a machine straight out of The Dark Knight.
The Buell 1125 cost $11,695 a few years ago and the Ronin 47 costs $38,000, but you do get a little more for your money with the new version. And because the ‘47’ moniker refers to the number of Ronins being made, you’re unlikely to run into another one on the road.
The project is bankrolled by Colorado-based Magpul Industries, makers of composite high-tech firearms. They know a little bit about explosives, so they’ve turned their attention first to the Rotax engine. It’s renowned for generating a lot of heat: “enough to boil the fuel in the frame,” we’re told.
So there’s now a high-flow, single-core radiator right up front, connected to an overflow tank hidden inside the left fork leg. Alongside are stacked low and high beam headlights.
The other weak points of the Buell 1125 have been addressed with the ruthless precision you’d expect from a gun maker. The Showa forks are gone, replaced by a cast aluminum alloy linkage fork that gives the bike its distinctive, hunched-forward look.
Trail is up by 13 mm over the stock geometry, to sharpen the steering. And at the heart of the linkage fork is a Penske monoshock, which allows fine adjustment for rider weight and road conditions.
The controls are industrial design at its finest. That means custom hydraulic radial master cylinders and adjustable levers for the brake and clutch. The fluid reservoirs sit on top of the cylinders and the levers have quick-adjust knobs for reach and leverage ratio.
The clutch lever housing includes a 4-way switch that controls the displays on the instruments, which have been slotted into a cast aluminum nacelle. The bike starts up via an RFID chip, which activates a receiver under the custom airbox cover. There’s also a trick wiring loom and a specially wound, high-efficiency stator to eliminate any further chance of overheating.
The Rotax-designed motor—similar to one used by Aprilia—has been tuned to run cooler than the stock bike, and remapped to suit the Ronin’s free-flow intake and exhaust system.
We’re guessing that power is slightly up on the claimed 146 hp of the original. And with around 50 pounds less weight to haul around, the bike should be significantly quicker.
For a high-concept bike, the details are unusually well thought out. The belly-mounted muffler is ceramic-coated to protect it from debris, and a single cast aluminum unit integrates the pegs, the battery box and an adjustable idler pulley. The unit is mounted to the engine and blends in seamlessly.
The rear subframe is CNC-machined and TIG welded, and mated to a cast aluminum tail section and air intake housing. Just ahead of the brake light is the master ECU, and there’s a quick release knob to open everything up.
The technical details are beyond reproach, and the styling is out of this world—literally. Only one question remains: Is the Ronin 47 worth $38,000? That’s twenty large more than Buell’s current range-topper, the EBR 1190RX.
But it’s also the same money you’d pay for the heavyweight Harley CVO Limited tourer.