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That is an interesting comp. Very hard to go past the Senna colours (saw a Senna MV Agusta up Mt Glorious the other week!! Actually being riddedn where and how God and the Italians indended), but man, it would be hard to say no to those rim-mounted brakes. They just have cool written all over them.
 

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Amazing, I almost dread reading reports on the XB9R for fear of throwing caution to the wind and buying one. The bike looks incredible and sure sounds interesting to ride but will it be reliable? If so I'm sure I can find some extra space in the garage
 

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This is the second review/comparo MO has published with the Buell pulling away from all others. Will you tell us what happens when the Buell is following? I always find it easier to stay in front or pull away on public roads, just to hazardous to pass with sketchy surface conditions and possible oncoming vehicles. So whats the answer, did the Buell keep up with the R1?
 

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Must..fight..the...urge...

Oh crap, I'm starting to like it more and more. I already am fortunate enough to own a bunch of great bikes but nothing recently has made me want to buy another sport bike. The one I have is plenty fast enough, handles well enough with the Ohlins to scrape pegs at any speed and yet I now find it almost boring unless I'm doing that. Which is of course a very bad thing to often do on public roads. But a sport bike that feels fun at any speed? One that doesn't need it's valves adjusted, with no chain to lube every 200 miles? Oh crap....
 

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What JB wants

John, I do admire your writing skills and personality. However, it seems that you are inclined to like this bike for one reason or another; and not entirely on its performance characteristics. Which is fine, I suppose... as long as we all know that YOU like the bike, but that doesn't mean that it's matter-of-fact better.

I'd like to see an SV up against a Buell and R1 on a really tight rode. Most experienced riders know that the smaller/weaker the bike is the harder/faster you can ride it.
 

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No Triumph Speed Four in the mix? Why? Was this "War of the Air Cooled Twins" or what?



I'd be cross shopping the Buell with the Triumph. Quirky-cool looking, light, not too powerful, street oriented and good handling bikes. Even pricewise the Triumph is closer to the Buell than the Ducati is.



So what's the news on the Sp4?

 

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I rode one at the HD demo rides down in Myrtle beach a couple weeks ago. I really liked the way the thing felt. Handling reminded me of a buddies 748, at least at the sub 75mph speeds of the demo ride. Short shifting at 6-6.5k produced tons of enjoyable torque.

My only problems are wondering how long

the sporty motor will last being thrashed on,

and the serious case of cramped legs that

would definitely result from longer rides.

But then, I'm 6'2" and 250 lbs...and somebody

will make lower pegs, right? Somebody kick

me before I buy one of these stupid things....

Oh yeah, rode the V-Rod too, what a &?$#@

motor!!! That engine needs to be in something

that handles!
 

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I have an '02 M2. I have put 5500 miles on it since November with no problems (the idle speed was not adjusted properly when I bought it, but the remote adjuster made this a stop light fix). I think (hope) Buell repair demons are in the past.



However, the best reliability comparison is probably the Blast. No, it is not a hard-edged bike like the XB, but it suffers more in some ways in that it is usually flogged by beginners. It seems to be holding up reasonably well.



The other great thing about the Sporty mill is that you don't have to wind it up and thrash it to enjoy it. I split my miles evenly between the interstate and local roads where I average 55-70 MPH with pretty much no straights. 3-4000 RPM with occasional forays into higher bands is all it needs to have a great time.



Have to agree on the VROD. Did you see the picture in Cycle World. I can only hope... I test road the XB and desperately want it even though it is not half the all around bike my M2 is. Hell, I almost bought a Kawi ZR7S over the M2. But the XB just made me want to keep riding...
 

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Where's the Beemer?

Very much enjoyed reading this comaparo. JB's tone reminds me of his glowing review of the R1150R. So I have to wonder: how would the Beemer have fared?

JB, himself, said of the Beemer:

This bike is Unclassifiable."Power cruise," ride "naked," be a "hooligan," embarrass "sportbikes," go "sport-touring"; this motorcycle does it all, and while it's doing whatever it is, it's aesthetically as well as functionally a beautifully lashed-together piece of tackle. Yo, is $9,999 a misprint or what? Has the mark collapsed? Bargain with a capital "B."

1130cc flat twin ... producing a claimed 85 horsies... Torque is claimed to be 71 foot-pounds, with 66 of them available between 3000 and 6500 rpm.

[A]s a matter of fact the R will give all-out sport bikes fits under a capable pilot.
Considering the similar price, power/weight ratio and review, I think the R1150R would have been very interesting in this comparo.

I'm not disappointed that the Beemer was left out, just wondering "what if..."

On the other hand, JB said MO would post a dyno chart for the R1150R. That no dyno chart was ever posted is a disappointment.
 

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I was going to say, from looking at that Dyno plot....is it me or could the Buell use about another 1000 rpms of rev room? That HP plot was totally shorted! If they can refine it for the next gen and raise the redline a little, it should be even better in comparison to the Yammy and co.



Great job guys! I agree with the previous poster who said you should have grabbed a Triumph, if possible!



 

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Hey Eric,



I bought the '00 ZR-7 after owning a '99 Sporty! The Buell M2 and X1 are sweet looking rides with a great sound.



The Ducati 900SS or ST4s sure are nice looking too...Now if I could just win the Lotto!



Philip

'00 ZR-7
 

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XB9R vs. SV650 vs. Mille R

I thought I would post this comment here since several people asked about a comparison to a modded Suzuki SV650. I mention it in the last paragraph. Just my opinion of a personal experience with the bike - after reading this recent review, maybe I was riding it wrong?

I Test Rode a XB9R - BIG DISAPPOINTMENT (Score: 1)

by jng1226 on Tuesday, May 21 @ 13:57:09 PDT

I test rode one a couple of weeks ago, after much anticipation. Though I have never ridden one, I have really wanted to like a Buell for some time, I do like the design philosophy and branding. Oh well, it's not going to be the Firebolt however...

I went with my riding buddy, who rode it first. I followed on my 2000 Aprilia Mille R to see what it looked and sounded like moving down the road. I do love the styling and the innovations with the frame and weight-saving strategies. It started out well enough when just down the road my friend pulled a great second gear power wheelie. After he set it down he looked back at me and I could see his eyes wrinkling from the big grin he was wearing. Alas, it was pretty much all downhill from there on.

We rode about 30 minutes each on some twisty backroads to get a good feel for the bike. When I was following him, I kept waiting for him to really get on it, and take off. I was short-shifting (at around 6500-7000, redline 10,500), not braking going into corners and thought he was getting acclimated to the bikes handling. Next thing I know, we're headed back to the dealership so I can take a turn. It turns out he was winding the bike out and hitting the rev-limiter most of the time! What a weak little bike!

When it was my time for the bike, I did like the seating position, which has fairly high pegs but also much higher bars than my Mille. The disappointment began literally when the engine started. As I mentioned, I have never ridden a Buell, and perhaps I had too high expectations from this one (too good a PR machine Harley?).

I don't know who doesn't think this bike shakes at idle, because it is disconcerting to me to see the mirrors and bars visibly shuddering. I thought my Rotax twin was a little rough!? Blipping the throttle results in revs rising not too quickly and taking seemingly forever to fall back to idle, at least it smoothed out once past idle. I have never experienced a motor with these characteristcs.

We pulled out from the dealership and the bike felt actually pretty good. I like the general compactness of the bike, and short shifting into traffic it felt as if there were good things to come from the motor. As we headed out to the twisty backroads only minutes from the dealer, I started to weave the bike back and forth to get a feeling for the steering. It felt like it weight 500 pounds compared to my Mille! Seriously folks, it steered MUCH slower than I anticipated it would, especially for something SHORTER than an R6. I owned a Triumph Daytona 955i before my Mille and you can seriously compare how quickly that heavy bike turns compared to the Firebolt. The Firebolt is faster, but not much. I think this could be similar to what Hackfu describes in his article as reluctance to turn and standing up on the brakes or off. I particularly didn't notice the bike standing up under trail-braking, but then again I was trying to get the bike to go fast enough to require trail-braking.

The bike does feel stable once you get it cranked over into a turn, but then the motor fails you again by running out of revs before you exit a corner. Watch the MO videos, and you can even see what I mean. It goes like this: Finally get up to a (near) triple digit speed, brake for the corner (It has OK braking feel, I didn't notice only one rotor or how trick it is from the lever), downshift once or twice to get into the meaty part of the power band, trail throttle/brake on corner entry and then smoothly power out of the apex... that's the idea anyway UNTIL the bike hits the rev-limiter just after the apex and causes you to bobble as you shift up mid-corner to keep momentum (this is where you need to get used to the zero-lash drivetrain, it can be jerky because you're not used to it being so direct). This is what happened to my friend when I was behind him and it really keeps you from going fast IMHO. The motor only seems to have a 2,000 rpm powerband and right when it starts to get fun it's over abruptly.

On the ride back to the dealership, we ran into a couple of traffic lights and in no time at all the Firebolt's noisy fan came on and would stay on. The seat got pretty hot also. Ambient temperature was around the mid-80's.

I guess the biggest disappointment to me was that I bought the marketing hype about it being the "Best Handling" sportbike. Understand that my Mille R is set up for me, with the forks dropped so that 4 lines are showing above the triple clamps. With Pirelli Dragon Evo Corsas (120/65-180/55) I have NO DOUBT in my mind that if I could clone myself and put one of me on a Firebolt and the other on the Mille, I would run RINGS around the Firebolt AT WILL, street or track.

Now I know it's not fair to compare a $17,000 Italian race replica with a $10,000 Buell, so understand that during my time on the bike, my friend rode his SUZUKI SV650 to pace me and was ALL OVER ME. In the course of full disclosure, I will say that he has a full Vance and Hines S4 exhaust, redone jetting, Penske race shock and Traxxion Dynamics re-worked front forks. After pacing me through the twisties, he had no doubt that he could stuff me in almost any corner AT WILL. Oh yeah, with no motor-work his SV makes about the same HP as the Firebolt at the rear wheel while weighing about 40 pounds less soaking wet. One more thing, he bought it second hand for $4000 and even with $2,000 of goodies it's a whopping $4000 cheaper than the "Amazing" Firebolt. That'll keep you in premium rubber for a few years, which is all you'll need...

Suffice it to say that as much as I wanted to be in love with the Firebolt, I came away understanding what all the jokes and jibes at Buell have been. If this is the best Buell ever, I guess I'll check back in with them in another five years.

Jeffrey
 

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I think you already know the answer to that question, don't you? The long term "feel good" qualities of a Ducati cannot be measured by a simple road test; they continue to impress the longer one owns the bike. To me, the Duc photographed next to the Buell in the article looks like a work of art compared to a toy. I don't even see a comparison in the two bikes--the Buell is a boy among men in my view.
 

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Re: XB9R vs. SV650 vs. Mille R

Thanks for your excellent assessment of the Buell; I think it is well written, honest, and obviously comes from a person of some real- world riding experience and objectivity. Your response was FAR more valuable to me than the constant sameness of the drivel from the mainstream press. I think the attraction from some of the press to this new Buell is mainly rooted in their total amazement that a Buell actually performs or works at all. However, I can visualize the look of horror on a new Buell owner's face as he looks closely at his engine at 5,000 miles, and fully realizes the consequences of turing a 4000RPM sump pump engine at 7500RPM--not to mention what the rest of the bike will look like. Resale--forget it? Like you, many of us want to like a sport bike built in this country, and seem willing to overlook even the most outrageous features and performance goofs to try and do so. Maybe I'm missing something here, but it seems to me that if Eric Buell worked for any other sport bike company in the world, he would have been relegated to the trash heap 25 years ago. Why are some people so enamored by someone whose only claim to fame is building bikes that don't work? I don't get it, and as you say, I'll stick to my Ducati, as you will stick to your Mille until somebody else builds a bike that even comes close to their appeal and levels of ownership satisfaction.
 

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Hey jng1226 The reason Burns thinks it's so great and everyone else thinks it sucks is simple. Look at all the Buell advertising on this web site. If they bashed that bike they would lose 2/3 of their revenue. Maybe we should come up with a code like if a paragraph is total bulls h i t they can put a number at the front of it so that the readers will know that it's just an advertisement. Then at the end of the article after they have spent the whole time sucking up to advertisers they can put another number that states the real review of the bike. That way MO gets their advertising money and we get their honest opinion of the bikes.
 

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I was wondering if anyone else noticed that. Makes you wonder how much longer minime is going to be allowed to test advertisers bikes. Then again, I'm sure Eric Buell never expected any of his bikes to be liked by everyone.

I saw a XB9 on the street the other day, I have to say that Eric gets a thumbs up on building a sexy/brutish looking bike.
 

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You Sucker

"As I can only say this: the more I ride the XB9R, the more it confuses me. It's the fastest slow bike I've ever ridden. It's the best-handling, ill-handling bike I've ever ridden. It's uncomfortable yet I ride it nearly every day. It seems that I ride the Ducati only to prove to myself that I don't really like the Buell. And it seems I keep failing."

Sounds like you are addicted but don't want anyone to know. Go ahead and give in Mini. It's ok... I still would like to see a sv650 in the mix, but it was a great comparo anyhow.
 
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