fatallightning
fatallightning Reader
3/18/21 6:46 a.m.

I've always had a soft spot for Buells, even though almost every motorcycle riding buddy of mine has told that they're awful, with terrible reliability, poor build quality and idiosyncratic handling.  Personally, I've always admired the desire to strike against some of the engineering norms on the bike. Super aggressive geometry, fuel in frame, oil in swingarm, low center mount exhaust before anyone else, the ZTL rim mounted (as opposed to hub) inside out front brake.  This is an 09, last year of the XBs. Blacked out frame, engine and suspension. Newest gen EFI, best oil pump and crank for reliability. Hard to tell in the pic, but it's the one with the translucent tank and fairing. One owner! 3800 miles, bought new, rode a year, and put it away. Last reg sticker was from 2010. So definitely fluids, tires, basic maintenance. Rode her an hour home though anyway. Have an exhaust and ECU tuner on the way, open airbox and filter, tail tidy.

I've had a Yamaha Bolt as my main rider for about a season and half now. The Bolt was justtt sporty enough that I found myself overriding it beyond the design intent. It's the C-Spec with clip ons and midmount pegs, sort of a pseudo cafe. But I'd constantly be grinding pegs into oblivion, brakes are underwhelming, suspension wallows and she's just a big girl. Would sometimes headshake when you hustled her side to side, etc. Sounded and looked good though!

I was also tempted by a new Indian FTR or Husqvarna Svartpilen 701, but this was definitely a bucket list bike, and the prices are still low on Buells. I've had "better" bikes, like a VFR 800 Interceptor, but sometimes you want what you want. I know the 1125 and 1190 are also pragmatically better bikes, but man I just can't get over the looks, the radiator shrouds specifically. I was looking for a "long" frame version, specifically a 1200 Lightning Long or STT since I plan on doing some 2 up riding, but eh, send it!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
3/18/21 7:13 a.m.

Nice!  I like these, and apart from charging system stuff my 1125CR has been reliable so hopefully this is a similarly excellent bike for you.

Good or bad, nothing feels quite like the fuel-in-frame Buells.  The translucent red might be the coolest color they offered, too.

FSP_ZX2
FSP_ZX2 SuperDork
3/18/21 7:17 a.m.

I miss my XB12STT.  I am on the look for an 09 Uly.  They are great real-world bikes.

fatallightning
fatallightning Reader
3/18/21 8:22 a.m.

Yep, they seem to have had most of the issues shaken out by end of prodution. I got the Buelltooth wireless interface and ECMdroid so I should be able to load maps and diagnose things should it come up. Community seems very helpful. I've been lurking them for 4-5 years at this point. 

The 09 SX came with a lower seat than previous years. After a couple longer rides, especially with the lady, may have to buy one of the taller Skyline seats.

wawazat
wawazat Dork
3/18/21 8:49 a.m.

I've always liked the XB's.  I can clearly recall going to HD dealers to walk around and sitting on them new though I never did a test ride.  Congrats on the new to you machine!  

iansane
iansane Reader
3/18/21 9:02 a.m.

My old room mate had one for awhile and definitely had a love/hate relationship with it but he got a pretty early version. I always thought they were very cool. Obviously less power than other marquees counterparts but so weirdly niche. They do need a very well designed exhaust otherwise they sound like ass.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/18/21 9:37 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

You should post a link to your valve adjustment thread. wink

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
3/18/21 9:42 a.m.

In reply to Ian F (Forum Supporter) :

This one has a Harley motor- half the RPMs, but none of the valve adjustments!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
3/18/21 9:59 a.m.

You know, rumor has it that the original XB concept was supposed to come turbocharged from the factory.  I always thought it would be cool to make that a reality.

Median
Median New Reader
3/18/21 11:15 a.m.

Nice! I had one long ago. Fun bikes.

fatallightning
fatallightning Reader
3/18/21 12:31 p.m.
iansane said:

My old room mate had one for awhile and definitely had a love/hate relationship with it but he got a pretty early version. I always thought they were very cool. Obviously less power than other marquees counterparts but so weirdly niche. They do need a very well designed exhaust otherwise they sound like ass.

I bought this from Rev-Mo, ex Buelltooth. They do a Supertrapp style also, but I'm more into this style.

FMB42
FMB42 Reader
3/18/21 1:41 p.m.

That bike is near or at being a collector's machine. Not sure about the replacement parts support, HD or other, tho. Handling is said to be good and the basic HD Sportster engine is known for being reliable.

hybridmomentspass
hybridmomentspass Reader
5/4/21 9:56 p.m.

Big Buell guy here, currently own 3 - one tuber and 2 1125R

Never had any issues, truly, great bikes. Congrats on the buy.

When EBR was liquidating I bought a car load of stuff (literally) through the auction and got to look around the shop, I saw the XB prototypes with the turbo...yeah, HD messed up. They could have had some AMAZING sportsbikes, but they neutered Erik Buell's ideas.

03Panther
03Panther UltraDork
5/5/21 2:23 a.m.

I can understand where some ov the detractors are coming from. But similar can be said about a lot of British sports cars... and folks still love em!

 Any faults a buell had could be bitched about - or looked at as opportunities to over come them. Lower on power in the straights, well, of course. But make up for it with that nimble thing that needs less shifting in the twisted!

I saw my first buell in Daytona in the 80's; Eric was still buying the engines from HD, and selling the finished bikes himself. Been a fan ever since, but never rode one. 
I've heard dealers won't even talk to ya - no support at all. But hd stealerships only care about money and image, so I would not due business with them anyway. Your a GRMer... you ride it yourself, you maintain it yourself.   Easy Peasy. 
I think you already know you love it!

Furious_E (Forum Supporter)
Furious_E (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/5/21 7:28 a.m.

That looks great in the translucent red!

I picked up an 06 XB9SX last summer and I've been smitten with the thing, just clicked with it right off the bat. So much character, more personality than any other stock vehicle I've owned, love the handling, the torque, some of the quirky and unique engineering. Almost every ride ends up going longer than I intended because I'm having too much fun to get off.

Mine has some mileage on it, 27k on the clock when I bought it and we're up to about 32.5k now. Had a couple small issues with it, mostly vibration induced. Front clamps on the muffler came loose on a ride last summer and worked their way around into the tensioner for the drive belt, which stalled that and chewed up the belt. Luckily made it home still. Had to replace the left side rider's foot peg due to what looked like a previous low speed drop. Had a turn signal stalk break. 

Here she is in commute attack mode last week.

Mezzanine
Mezzanine Dork
5/5/21 12:57 p.m.

This thread is bad for my search habits at the usual online marketplaces. I've always been intrigued by these bikes, and I'm not too scared about lack of dealer support. I really need to get some seat time on one to see if it's something I should pursue. 

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
5/5/21 3:29 p.m.

Love it.

Here's the Buell I lust after:

 

03Panther
03Panther UltraDork
5/5/21 10:00 p.m.
Mezzanine said:

This thread is bad for my search habits at the usual online marketplaces. I've always been intrigued by these bikes, and I'm not too scared about lack of dealer support. I really need to get some seat time on one to see if it's something I should pursue. 

Prices are rising slower on XB's than about anything these days. I imagine that will be changing, so, to be an enabler, I would recommend making a move. Her in S. E. I've seen a few NICE ones advertised for in the mid 3 grand range

03Panther
03Panther UltraDork
5/5/21 10:03 p.m.

In reply to wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) :

That ticks of a whole lot of boxes for me!

I like the looks of the "tuber's" better, but the XB's brought out some nice innovations.

One of each, and mix and match parts, would make a personalized custom that would do it for me.

All I lack is money and motivation. frown

fatallightning
fatallightning Reader
5/7/21 7:25 a.m.

In reply to 03Panther :

I've always LOVED the look of the White Lightning, with the blue coated header. Reminds me of the Britten V1000. The increased reliability of the XB series is what locked me in. Plus the engineering quirks. Would love to have a tuber in the fleet at some point. Already have a S3T as the comfy bike in mind. XB prices are still relatively low IMO, you'll have the occasional person with the I KNOW WHAT I GOT, FUTURE COLLECTIBLE, MERICAN HISTORY asking way too much, but I don't they actually move. I've seen some not so great looking ones in the mid 2ks, and 4-5k gives you pick of the litter. I paid 4k for mine, an 09 with low miles. They had it up originally at 7k for months before dropping it to 5k, and took my offer at 4k easily, which makes me think I probably could have gotten it cheaper. Whoopsy. I finally got new tires on mine, after everything being backordered everywhere. Gonna try and get the exhuast and intake/intake box delete squared away this weekend, and do fluids. 

motobill
motobill New Reader
5/10/21 9:49 p.m.

You did a good thing buying a Buell. Good online support. Bad Weather Bikers may be the best marque-specific forum on the internet, and I belong to quite a few of them. The parts support has me concerned recently. I bought a spare front engine mount and another spare belt...I also hoarded down pillows during the pandemic as there are just some things I cannot do without. 

The riding experience is so much more compelling than the BMWs and Truimphs I've owned. And they had character. The Buell is in a different league. Said Peter Egan: "Erik Buell’s enlightened theories on mass centralization and weight reduction can truly be felt and appreciated while you’re riding." It is riding joy mechanized. 

It is really easy to maintain, too. No valves to adjust. No chain to lube. No unnecessary complexities. It is the ultimate old school/new school machine, although EB did enhance the Sportster engine considerably.  

I bought mine for about $4k about 10 years ago. It had 30k on the clock then; 45k now. I honestly have not ridden it much in recent years, but I don't think of selling it either. They may go up in value, but I doubt it. Everything seems to have gone up in value lately, but not my Buell. It's probably worth $3500, tops. 

Here it is:

--bb

 

fatallightning
fatallightning Reader
5/11/21 9:17 a.m.

I hear you on the parts front, compared to a couple years ago, a lot of the aftermarket suppliers seemed to have disappeared. The community definitelty seems strong thoough, as seems to be typical with cultish bikes. I've got my eyes out for an XB Skyline tall saddle at the moment. Gonna end up paying more than original retail when I find a decent one. That's the way it goes.

motobill
motobill New Reader
5/12/21 1:44 p.m.
fatallightning said:

I've got my eyes out for an XB Skyline tall saddle at the moment. Gonna end up paying more than original retail when I find a decent one. That's the way it goes.

You may be able to modify the seat you have. You need some foam, some spray adhesive, an electric carving knife, and some patience or willingness to experiment with height, width, and different foam densities. Recovering it may require a visit to an upholstery shop for the right materials and to shape the cover with seams or darts or welds in the fabric. They could do some cool topstiching and provide various options on types of cloth. 

I am pretty happy with the seat on my Ulysses. It is tall and wide, however. It would be easy to modify to make it narrower for somebody with shorter legs. In that case you could still use the existing cover. To make the seat taller or wider, of course, you'll need a new cover, too, unless there is a lot of extra fabric under the seat. Worst case scenario, if you experiment with it and do not like the results, you can re-attach the existing foam and cover to your seat pan. My Ulysses cover attaches with staples.

You could also keep an eye out for a used seat pan or crappy seat and build up your own seat or get Bill Meyer's to make you something custom. Expensive, but if you're gonna be spending big bucks anyway... There is another company I have seen on ADV Rider that does fancy custom seats. 

Meanwhile, here's some more Ulysses Porn.

In front of the Evergreen Museum in McNimmville, OR (the Spruce Goose is inside the hanger):

From that same trip, I went out of my way to get a picture in this tiny OR town:

--bb

 

 

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