150kg, 150 horsepower: Hillbilly’s Chronos celebrates 25 years of Buell innovation

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Erik Buell built his first bike 25 years ago, a racebike for the AMA Formula One championship. Through his relationship with Harley-Davidson, he mass-produced the first true American sportsbike, and his machines have become known for their imaginative and inventive use of technology.

In a market that has become highly conservative under the dominance of the Japanese manufacturers, Buell’s use of the frame as the fuel tank and the swingarm as the oil reservoir, his rim-mounted front disc brakes, underslung exhausts and incredibly sharp handling mass-centralised bikes make this company stand out as a breath of fresh air, even if until recently the bikes have relied on vastly outdated Harley engines in order to maintain their apple-pie American angle.

Scandinavia’s Hillbilly motors built this custom racebike, the XBRR Chronos, as a tribute to Buell’s 25 years of innovation. No stranger to custom racing Buells (check out his outrageous Hellbender), Hillbilly’s owner Jens Krüper has pulled a 150kg, 150 horsepower rabbit out of his hat with the Chronos - a power to weight ratio the equal of the latest japanese litrebikes, and featuring some stunning innovations of his own in his quest for performance and pinpoint handling…

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For starters, the Chronos runs a traction control system, which requires a sensor mounted on the rear wheel. In order to fit this, Krüper removed the standard disc and caliper, and fitted a 2-piston brake caliper to the rear drive sprocket on the other side. Next, in order to allow more effective cooling of the hotted-up XBRR engine, he went for a horizontally mounted Showa reverse rear shock with no linkage. It actually operates backwards in comparison to an ordinary shock - extending as the rear wheel rises, and compressing when it drops.

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The front brake maintains Buell’s “Zero Torsional Load” rim-mounted oversize disc, but it’s now gripped by a trick 8-piston Nissin caliper, and the carbon fibre front fender includes a large air scoop to channel cool air past the caliper and disc. The aluminium frame has also been modified to include an air scoop to feed the engine, about which Krüper is keeping his mouth shut.

Final drive is by chain, belt drive being unsuitable both for sprocket braking and high-power racing applications, and the Chronos features a single spring, hydraulically actuated “anti-hop” dry clutch.

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The Chronos is certainly eye-catching, its short, sharp tail unit giving the bike a dragster look despite the short wheelbase Buells are known for. You’d certainly want to be hanging onn when you crack the throttle, there’s not a lot holding you in the seat! Even with a “no paint finish,” it looks the business, and given Hillbilly’s extensive involvement in BEARS racing, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Chronos doing some serious track time, if not racing.

Plenty more pics of this beauty in the gallery.

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