Magpul® Ronin Project
In mid 2009, with the demise of the Buell® brand by Harley-Davidson®, the founders of Ronin Motor Works, in a design exercise conducted at Magpul Industries Corp., created the Ronin Concept Motorcycle. That initial Ronin Motorcycle concept is now brought to life through the design and manufacturing efforts of Ronin Motor Works as a limited release of 47 bikes.
History –Building the Concept
The founders of Ronin Motor Works have always respected the Buell® motorcycle philosophy--challenging the Status Quo (see the “Book of Buell”)--and with the release of the 1125 series with a liquid-cooled engine, it looked like the beginning of interesting times in the motorcycle world.
In 2008, when the Buell® 1125 was first released, there were press shots of the bike showing the engine, frame and swing arm with all of the body panels removed and simplicity of the design was evident.
Unfortunately, the production 1125’s most interesting engineering aspects were hidden under plastic body panels that tried to make the bike look conventional, without succeeding very well.
In 2009 Harley-Davidson® announced the elimination of the Buell® brand and with that, Harley-Davidson® dealerships started liquidating their Buell® assets. At that time Magpul Industries Corp. acquired two Buell® 1125Rs to use in a design exercise to explore what sort of bike could be built around the revolutionary engine and frame. Eight months later, the resulting concept bike was revealed as the Magpul® Ronin at the 2010 SHOT show in Las Vegas.
Taken from the Japanese word for a Samurai who lost his master, the name "Ronin" was chosen to signify Buell® motorcycles that will continue on after the demise of the company. The Ronin concept featured a custom monoshock linkage suspension system, front-mounted radiator, unitized handlebar assembly, new ram air intake, cast aluminum tail section, and high-flow exhaust system. The features enhanced the bike’s ride while also decreasing the total weight by 54lbs from stock.
Because the bike was designed as a concept it was not a conventional design in appearance or function. People either loved it or hated it, but enough interest was generated to investigate a limited production run of the Ronin design.
Start Then Stop
Since the concept bike was hand built, building more than a handful of bikes would require infrastructure to be put in place. As the concept was named Ronin it was decided that the number of bikes should be 47 as homage to the old story of The 47 Ronin from Japanese folklore.
By this point Harley-Davidson® dealerships were liquidating Buell® motorcycles at an accelerated pace, giving the Ronin Motor Works founders only a limited amount of time to acquire 47 donor 1125 motorcycles that were needed for a production run.
Two weeks later, after contacting Harley-Davidson® dealerships across the country, the needed 47 Buell® 1125 bikes were acquired and placed into long-term storage. These motorcycles awaited their fate, and a plan to bring them to a new life was created.
Rebirth as Ronin Motorworks
In 2012, Mike Mayberry (Ronin’s lead designer and Magpul’s VP of R&D), along with Richard Fitzpatrick (Magpul’s President and founder) came up with a plan to keep the project alive by individually funding a “pop up” manufacturing company dedicated to producing a production version of the Ronin concept. Mike and Richard formed Ronin Motor Works in order to create an entity solely focused on the Ronin project, since the demands and specifics were somewhat different from Magpul’s main focus on a rapidly growing presence in its primary product markets. Ronin Motor Works secured a location in Denver and hired a small team of motorcycle design specialists. This team starting working on a 20 month long redesign of the Ronin, using the concept bike as a guide.
Seldom does a production version of something as complex as a motorcycle match the rawness of the original concept, so great care was taken to keep the bike identifiable as a Ronin, while pushing the design forward at the same time. It was not easy, but the production Ronin motorcycle is both sharper and more distinct than the original concept. When parked next to each other, the hand built concept and production bike look very much alike, until the refined details start to emerge.
On the production bike, many of the items were unitized into a single part (ie battery box and foot pegs are integrated into a single cast unit along with lights being housed within the fork legs and led indicators are seamlessly built into the handlebar ends). Several injection molds were specially made to produce less than 100 front grill housings, airboxes, indicator lights and tail lights. Standard key ignition was eliminated in lieu of a hidden RFID chip along with custom gauge and ECU.
In 2013 the production design was finalized and Magpul authorized Ronin Motor Works to use the “Magpul” trademark and logo mark on the production bikes under the name “Magpul® Ronin Project.” In 2014 production began on the first group of Ronin motorcycles. These will be released in reverse serial number order (47 -1) in various, predetermined color schemes that will be more limited as each release is announced.
The first 12 bikes released will be in the classic Black & Gray color of the original Ronin concept bike. Priced at $38,000 (USD) each, these bikes will be the most affordable of all Ronins released (and priced below the cost to produce them). The initial release of 12 will be followed by 10 all black versions at an increased price. After that, there will be a release of 8, then 6, then 4, and then 2 (all will have different color schemes and features). The remaining 5 bikes will be one-off designs from the factory and each will be unique. Each bike is named after one of the 47 Ronin warriors from Japanese legend. The name is engraved on the bike and on the bamboo toolbox that comes with every bike.
Is Ronin Motorworks a Magpul subsidiary?
A: No, Ronin Motor Works is a completely separate entity. Although the individual founders of Ronin have leading roles at Magpul Industries Corp., Ronin Motor Works is a completely separate entity with separate employees and management.
Are the Buell® 1125R or 1125CRS used as the Ronin donor bikes?
A: Both 1125R and 1125CRs are used. (Swingarms and final drive gearing are different – CRs are geared lower for city and Rs taller for highway/race use. The plan is to divide by batches – the first 12 bikes are all built from R bikes, second batch will likely have CR gearing)
Will the Buell original warranty be honored?
A: We cannot speak for Harley-Davidson as to this matter. The disassembly and reassembly of the Buells into the Ronins may have voided the warranty.
Is the Ronin street legal?
A: Each state and country has different rules and regulations as to the requirements a motorcycle must have in order for it to be “street legal”. The Ronin was designed to be a performance bike that is used off road or as a show and display motorcycle. If the purchaser wishes to register the motorcycle to ride on public roads or highways it is important that the purchaser first determine whether the bike is legal in the jurisdictions in which is to be driven. Because the Ronin is built upon a Buell® 1125 frame and engine it keeps the original VIN number and title, allowing it to be registered and driven on US roads.
Can I purchase a Ronin build directly through Ronin?
A: No. At this time all purchases of the Ronin motorcycles will be made through a dealer licensed to sell motorcycles in the state of Colorado. Ronin Motor Works will help coordinate prospective purchasers with the authorized dealer.
Can I place a deposit and reserve a Ronin build for purchase?
A: A potential purchaser may have a Ronin held for 72 hours via the website with a refundable $1,000.00* deposit. Full payment will be required to purchase the bike. The payment will be coordinated through the dealer.
* This does not include dealer fees
My favorite color is green and favorite number is 6. Can I buy Ronin #6 in green?
A: No. Due to the way the bikes are being released, customer options such as colors or numbers cannot be ordered from the factory. Bikes can be purchased in order of release and will be posted on the inventory page of the website when available for sale.
Can you ship a Ronin to me overseas?
A: All bikes are sold FOB from the US based warehouse in Denver. All shipping, export/import paperwork and taxes, duties and fees shall be the responsibility of the buyer. Exporting the bike for the US and importing it into the buyer’s destination country is solely the buyer’s responsibility. Ronin will not participate in the shipment of any product to a destination that is forbidden under US law.
Can I buy Ronin specific parts with the Ronin bike?
A: Yes. For a limited time some spares will be produced and inventoried as replacement-only parts for Ronin owners. The replacement parts are limited in quantity so inquire at time of purchase. Parts that were not designed and/or manufactured by Ronin will not be kept in inventory and will not be available through Ronin Motor Works.
Does the Ronin come with a warranty?
A: Each The Ronin Motorcycle has a limited warranty. Such limited warranty has limitations on what is covered and should be read and understood in its entirety before purchasing any Ronin Motorcycle. This answer is qualified in its entirety by the Limited Warranty to be provided by Ronin Motor Works, which will be provided to each purchaser prior to the purchase of each Ronin Motorcycle.
Are there any manufacturer warranties included with the Ronin motorcycle?
A: Ronin Motor Works cannot advise whether the original warranties on the Buell motorcycle or the non-Ronin specific parts will be honored by their respective manufacturers. Ronin Motor Works intends to deliver with each bike the warranty information it has for the Buell motorcycles and the non-Ronin specific parts.
Are there more than 47 Ronin Motorcycles?
A: The Ronin Project is a limited run of bikes. 47 bikes will be built with the numbers 1-47 and with the names of the samurai warriors from the legend. In addition to the 47 production bikes there are the 4 pre-production test bikes and the original 2009 Magpul® Ronin Concept.
I have an 1125... will you offer conversion kits for my bike?
A: No. Ronin specific components are produced in limited quantities for production bikes and a very limited number of spare components will be kept as replacements for Ronin owners. No parts will be made available for other conversions.