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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was talking the other day with a Buell Firebolt XB12R owner and the bike sounds like a blast to ride....... So with that I started reading up on these and a lot of things Erik Buell has done make good sense and seem to make for a very fun street bike to ride/own. So if anyone out there has opinions good or bad lets hear them.......... the hard part for me would be convincing the wife why I need a 3rd bike in the garage

 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Re: Opinions on Buell Firebolt XB12R (bruntr)

Nice bike, lots of cool stuff................but it still has a Harley motor
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: Opinions on Buell Firebolt XB12R (bruntr)

Crap for power/speed - may as well buy a Sportster.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Re: Opinions on Buell Firebolt XB12R (V-Twin Power)

My friends who have owned them have (mostly) all gone back to Japanese bikes. Here's the impression that I get from them: Many recalls, many trips to the dealership to order replacements for parts that have liberated themselves at speed, many afternoons spent waiting at the side of the road for a buddy with a pickup truck. And the final nail in the coffin: Most feel that the Harley dealerships that sell and service the Buells don't have any appreciation or understanding for the kind of riding that a sport rider expects to do, and further treat Buell owners as second class citizens behind the traditional Harley cruiser customers.

I'm sure that a few of my Buell riding friends would correct me if I've painted an incorrectly bleak picture... after all, what brand doesn't have its problem models/dealerships? But then again, I never met a Japanese bike owner who carried spare motor mount hardware "just in case".
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: Opinions on Buell Firebolt XB12R (banda)

Friend in Riverside is STILL trying to get his dealer to replace the front brake rotor that is hot spotted. Has been back 3 times with visible brake discoloration. Dealer tells him that they will only burnish the rotor. He does have the 5-year super-duper-pooper Harley warranty complete with loaner. I cannot even ride the bike it is so bad. I offered to take a test ride with the service manager so that he could feel what a twin is supposed to feel like when riding. We suggested that the service manager ride a new buell for comparison but he refused.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: Opinions on Buell Firebolt XB12R (rad23racer)

Well, I guess I'll jump in here; I'm ready for y'all.

I got a job managing the machine shop (rare for a HD dealer), the race program (also rare, we have both road and drag race programs) and the street performance divisions for a Maryland Harley dealer.

I ride a 1997 900ss/sp, and before that an M750 Dark. before that, a long line of Japanese bikes, including my favorite among them, a VFR750.

When I first rode a Duck, what got me was the torque. I love the F1-style technical sophistication of the inline fours, but I also love reading the EXACT same cover story EVERY YEAR in EVERY bike mag..."The new hondazukisakiha gsxrfcbrr-832...best sportbike ever?!"

And there you are w/ your pitiful '04, yesterday's news, instant loser when the '05 is .00000000001 sec quicker in the quarter mile and weighs 3.76589 grams less than last year's unsophisticated relic.

And I disdained Harleys. heavy, slow, no brakes, flex-frame chassis, and so on. But you know what? They're actually pretty cool. Quality BETTER than the big 4, impeccable fit and finish, and 100% accomplishment of all technical and esthetic design goals. Not my cup of tea, but the fact is that sometimes a plasma cutter is what you need; sometimes it's just a big damn hammer.

So, I rode my first Buell, the first of many, about 3 months ago. My two cents? It DOESN'T MATTER that it only revs to 6500 or 7000 RPM. It's making more torque a three grand than most sportbikes do at all; more even than if you spot them another five grand.

We sponsored a sportbike event last weekend, and I was riding tailgunner every third group for demo rides. I got to ride a Bonnie Thruxton, the Daytona 650, a ZX-10R, a GSXR-600, and many others (including a plain jane Duck 750 sport w/ cans).

The GSXR was a joke. The Daytona had some torque but I never got it over 8K, and that's the point. Cruising around on an inline 4 at 10K, where it makes power, really feels like litle bits of metal are gonna start flying out of the case at any moment. For sheer acceleration, exhilirating; just knowing those piston speeds and the mechanical symphony from gears, intake, exhaust, etc. makes me shiver. It's damn cool. But on the street? I dunno. The vibes from the Daytone left my hands numb.

I also rode the XB9R, an XB12R, and a CityX. I like the torque of the 12, but the 9R (with the race kit) was the most fun bike of the bunch at a moderately aggressive clip through rural Maryland back roads, and that's what I like about motorcycling in general. The Buells have an abundance of torque anywhere above 2500-3000 RPM, and it's just a twist away. gear selection? Eh...it doesn't really matter. The 12R and S will loft the front wheel at will; the 9s are relataively revvier and they're undersquare; a bore:stroke ratio I just like.

Harley motor? Yeah, kinda, but honestly they're not just Sportster motors. They weigh 30% less, to start, and there were many changes. It's still the weak link, which may be addressed for '06, but still...

The front end unsprung assembly is so light that you have to ride one to really appreciate how planted it is. Despite the radical geometry and 52" wheelbase, the bikes are way stable; you have to push them down into the turns a little but once you get a line it stays there.

They're different, with a different mission, and Eric achieved what he set out to do. I don't like to compare these things to race-replicas bacause tat's not what they're about. They're really about riding the motorcycle.

Sales pitch? Nope. I don't work that way, especially here. I just really liked the Buells better than any of the other bikes I rode that day...except mine, of course!
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Re: Opinions on Buell Firebolt XB12R (bruntr)

I rode a demo XB12 a while ago. First impression is its a tall bike, I'm about 5'11. If you've ever ridden Ducati's the Buell feels a little clunky, not that it's not liveable. There's quite a bit of vibration in the handle bars and the fueling doesn't feel as precise. And that vibration....

Once on the go the bike is amazingly flickable, transitions very smoothly and is quite a torque monster. It's pretty enjoyable zipping from light to light swimming in waves of torque. And that vibration.... The wierdest thing was when coming to a stop, the bike would rev up and shudder and settle down over and over again. It was like it was about to stall. And that vibration.....

Gearbox is pretty agricultural... The gears feel very widely spaced and I missed a few shifts now and then. And that vibration.... Brakes are just about adequate but they are nowhere near the standard Brembos on the Duc. They feel vague and rubbery and not very linear. And that vibration.... Seating is very comfy. And that vibration....

I enjoyed riding it though and it would be good commuter bike. Ducatis do feel like they are carved out of a block of steel compared to the X12. While I kinda like the streetfighter styling, the overall quality was such that I felt like I was riding a souped up plastic motorcycle from TONKA. O yeah, and that vibration...
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: Opinions on Buell Firebolt XB12R (DesmoBob)

"..."The new hondazukisakiha gsxrfcbrr-832...best sportbike ever?!""

Haha, you really mean 'The New Honyamakawazuki 10000 DoubleShadowNinjaBladeRunner RR IS the Best Sportbike Ever!"
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Re: Opinions on Buell Firebolt XB12R (hotcams)

Which why I still have my RC51, and the 90 degree v-twin sounds like music and the 45 degree sounds like junk.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Re: Opinions on Buell Firebolt XB12R (DesmoBob)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote, originally posted by DesmoBob »</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">
And I disdained Harleys. heavy, slow, no brakes, flex-frame chassis, and so on. But you know what? They're actually pretty cool. Quality BETTER than the big 4, impeccable fit and finish, and 100% accomplishment of all technical and esthetic design goals. </TD></TR></TABLE>

So what you're saying is, you actually CAN polish a turd?


But seriously, that was a great write-up, and I know that many of us tend to unfairly criticize Harley at times...

But it's fun!


Everyone needs a good whipping boy, and Harley-Davidson fits the role nicely. I imagine some day there may be a Harley I'm actually interested in (though it's hard to imagine at this point), but for now, I just can't begin to like any of their products, including the Buell spin-offs. They just don't do it for me. At all.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Re: Opinions on Buell Firebolt XB12R (AZ Scott)

I rode one about a year ago and I can tell you I was totally underwhelmed. Short and sweet was it was dog slow and wouldn't turn.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Re: Opinions on Buell Firebolt XB12R (weasel)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote, originally posted by weasel »</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">Which why I still have my RC51, and the 90 degree v-twin sounds like music and the 45 degree sounds like junk.
</TD></TR></TABLE>

Aprilia / Ducati...what's wrong with you......oh that's right I totalled mine ..looking for something different
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Re: Opinions on Buell Firebolt XB12R (throttlehead)

Didn't I read somewhere this year (I think it was roadracingworld) that somebody lost a finger trying to race a Buell????
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Re: Opinions on Buell Firebolt XB12R (DesmoBob)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote, originally posted by DesmoBob »</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">I also rode the XB9R, an XB12R, and a CityX. I like the torque of the 12, but the 9R (with the race kit) was the most fun bike of the bunch at a moderately aggressive clip through rural Maryland back roads, and that's what I like about motorcycling in general. The Buells have an abundance of torque anywhere above 2500-3000 RPM, and it's just a twist away.</TD></TR></TABLE>

Yeah, what DesmoBob said.


I have a 9R with the race kit and I love it. It's just fun to ride. It handles great and the torque is awesome. I rode a 12R without the race kit last year and I didn't like it as much; perhaps because the gearing is slightly different and perhaps because I couldn't get over the god awful gold wheels and windscreen, but I'd like to ride a 12R with the race kit.

It's not the fastest bike on the street, but on some roads I think it would be hard to enjoy any other bike more. When I get off the Buell and get on another bike like my ZX-7R, I realize that the Buell isn't that fast. But it's definitely more fun to ride. I can't wait to take it to Deals Gap.

I haven't had any mechanical problems with mine. The only thing I don't like about the bike is the five-speed gearbox. I wish it had a sixth gear, but I guess it doesn't really matter.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
"Quality better then the big four"...unless I mis understood that sentence... your way off.

And for Bruntr...if you like the bike better then the others for whatever reason, then go for it. There are positives and negatives, you need to decide whats important.

For me its ridability and durability, especially if I only have one. Torgue of a v-twin is fun, less gear changes...the big four 600, light as heck and very flickable...big four 1000's, almost as much torque as a vtwin with a major kick once you get the revs up. (Thats based on my current bikes RC51, cbr1000, & gsxr600 and it seems whatever one I am on is the one I love).

I had an opportunity to ride and maybe even race buells a few years back prepped by Innovative/Kosco HD (also prepped Mike Barnes and Eric Wood's bikes) looking at the big pic, wasnt my cup of tea. Just too used to the Japanes reliability, never needing to work on it, and when all is said and done I could put it back on street and get a few more years as a street/track day bike.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Re: (gk)

I think E. Buell has gotten himself in a bit of a jam.

His design has nowhere to grow. Instead he will have to do radical redesigns to keep his product fresh. The only thing that could make a huge market push for Buell is the V-rod motor and more radical redesign to handle an engine (that is quite good).

I'm not saying you shouldn't buy a Buell, I am saying you may find yourself bored with it very quickly.

GK has some solid advice IMO
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Re: Opinions on Buell Firebolt XB12R (bruntr)

While I agree with most of the comments all ready mention a lot of editors really like this bike (check out this months Motorcyclist). It appears the 9R is better at racing than the 12R. I road one and while it's not a Duc or a RC51 it is a fun bike. If they didn't charge as much as a Japanese Hyperbike I would probably look at one in my stable. A lot people pick up 9R's, put on the race kit which includes exhaust, new CPU, new shock and fork springs and go race (after getting a full fairing and a steering dampner from STORZ). But like everyone says it's a sportster motor from the 1950's. In the back of Roadracing world I always see a add from Hal's speed shop saying they can do a Buell motor that is bulletproof and produces 135hp. If i had the money it might be interesting.. Sure would be easy to work on!
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Re: (gk)

gk, I was specifically referring to Harley-Davidson models when I commented about quality control; you're gonna have to quantify your "way off" comment.

As to Buell being in a jam, how 'bout the same basic motor, without the pushrods? The V-Rod motor is cool, but waaaay too heavy. The Buells need to stay air-cooled and light, and a lot of younger sportbikers (the average Buell buyer is 41) just don't "get" a bike that redlines at 7K. Overhead cams would solve a lot of these "problems", and much of the development has already been done...
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Re: Opinions on Buell Firebolt XB12R (TLSer)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote, originally posted by TLSer »</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">I rode one about a year ago and I can tell you I was totally underwhelmed. Short and sweet was it was dog slow and wouldn't turn.</TD></TR></TABLE>

I'm not sure what you rode, but the XB-12R I rode turned in quicker than any bike I've ever ridden. It was a little nervous if anything. My major gripe was that it felt like it had a 50lb flywheel! It spun up like molasses.
It may have gobs of torque at 3000 rpm, but it sure took a long time to get there!
>Pluka........Pluka......Pluka....Pluka...Pluka..Pluka.PlukaPluka<
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Re: Opinions on Buell Firebolt XB12R (Rocket51)

I have ridden a XB9 firebolt and the bike handled very well. It turned lightening quick, but the engine was a real let down. I have ridden twins all my life and the motor just wasn't real exciting. If it had a Ducati or Aprilia motor then a firebolt would be in my garage.
 
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