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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yeah, first post! (I haven't been getting out enough lately.)



Actually, I considered an XB, too. I had heard all sorts of horror stories about older Buells, but I hear the new ones are pretty reliable.



Of course, I don't own one (just thought the price was too high), but I did a substantial amount of asking around and reading. Obviously an owner would be a much better source, but hope this helps.



Note: Short wheelbase, good torque, high bars and a small woman could be a painful combination. If she gets one, tell her to go easy at first. I've heard of brave, brawny men looping those things when they got a little too excited. Especially the XB12.
 

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If she likes the V-Twin configuration, she probably wouldn't have to look much further than a Yamaha Warrier to make a considerable upgrade in power and handling, while maintaining a low seat height. She will find the Buell will feel considerably "cruder" than her present ride, and H-D reliability is certainly a valid concern by comparison. Certainly more maintenance intensive if nothing else. That's not to say it's a "bad" bike by any means, it's just probably not going to be as bullet proof as any Asian bike (since the driveline is a last generation Sportster derivative for the most part, albeit substantially upgraded in the power department). The actual riding position is going to be another big change. If she hasn't spent any time in the seat of a sport bike, she may find it horribly uncomfortable after a half hour or so. The H-D V-Rod is actually a better "sport bike" than the Buell (apart from the obvious ground clearance issue with the foot forward location of the pegs). It handles and stops great otherwise, and the engine is miles better in terms of refinement. With liquid cooling, anticipated longevity will be far better too. I've ridden both and would choose the V-Rod hands down for almost any ride (if I needed a true sport bike, there are far better ones out there than a Buell -- and often at a lower price). Another excellent option may be the largely overlooked Triumph Thunderbird Sport. Less expensive, with great "real world" power, comfort, and handling. Not to mention that you don't see many. High "cool factor". Down side is obviously fewer dealers if you do have trouble.
 

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"The H-D V-Rod is actually a better "sport bike" than the Buell (apart from the obvious ground clearance issue with the foot forward location of the pegs). "



You are obviously quite stupid. I don't have any personal experience with the newer Buell's reliability (the focus of this man's question), but I could tell you that a V-Rod is NOT a sportbike. A strong motor alone does not mean a bike is classified as a sport model.



Ignore billhawley's advice and you should do fine.
 

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I own a 2001 M2L Cyclone. And My Girlfriend owned a Blast. Reliability has been quite a problem. I believe that the new ones may be better, but the biggest issue is that dealers rarely stock parts for these bikes. And few of their Mechanics know how to work on them. In Miami, Peterson's Harley, has one, Rick, whom is quite good - I hope He never leaves! I brought My M2L Cyclone into the dealer December 4th, with a broken motor-mount, I got it back Dec. 28th... I had a Nail in a rear tire Febuary, and it took them 5 working days to get a new tire, of which they only order Dunlop D-207's or 8's... and so on. If You do buy one, GET THE EXTENDED WARRANTY!!! It is worth every penny! My Clutch was gone after 10,000 miles, and I really do not ride it that hard! It would have been $600 or so, if I would have had to pay for it! I have had Oil Leaks in the head, and electrical problems, and the Blast had it's share of problems too. Also, better make sure that there is a Buell Dealer near You, as Harley Dealers do not Service these bikes. Good Luck, if You do decide to buy a Buell. I bought one, because I do not have long-legs, and anything over a 30" Seat Height, is a problem for me also. The Warrior previously mentioned, is a Wonderful Bike, but quite Hefty, when compared to the new Buells... I do not believe that 'Regular' Harley's have as many problems, and Peterson's does try to make it right. But all of My Friends with Honda's, seem to run forever without problems, and My Buell is in the shop every two or three months, with one 'inconvenience' or another. I will not purchase another Buell, even though I like their Performance and Handling, a lot.
 

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"where there's smoke there's fire" as grandma used to say - have her look at a suzuki sv 650, lower it, if you have to - if you prefer a euro, how about the guzzi breva 750? both have v-2 power
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I concur with Bill. From what I know, definitely a cruder engine. It will shake a lot. The chassis is good, although some have claimed some handling quirks. It will in no way feel like her current bike. Even though the Lightning has a more "standard" riding position than the Firebolt, it's going to be completely different than her Virago.



However, they are certainly different (which caught my attention originally) and that counts for something. I like the looks of the new Buells, too. Some don't. (But I think we can all argee that the old ones, for the most part, were butt ugly.)



The V-Rod is a really nice bike but I'm not sure if you want to pony up that much cash. Plus it's a big, powerful motor.



You might also consider a Suzuki SV650 (the "S"--half faired version--is much better looking than the naked version but has a more sportbike-type riding position.) The Speed Four is a great value if you can find one and get one for list or below. But it too is really more of a pure sportbike with sportbike ergos (it's really just a TT600 with no fairing). A Yamaha FZ6 is another option (although not totally naked with a half fairing and I heard the seat height is kinda high--you'd have to check that one out.)
 

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I liked the look of the new Buells as well, so I did a test ride during Bike Week in Daytona. While I was waiting to ride, more than one of the new demo bikes came back with problems, including one Lightning that was leaking oil on the gentleman's boot. I noticed more than one being taken off into the back for work. I noticed no such, or even similar actions at the other manufacture's setups. And oh yeah, I hope she likes to shake, ...a whole lot, because the Buell does.
 

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Lower seat height

If you want a cruiser that sportster 1200 from the recent MO article seems like an ok choice. If she wants a sportier v-twin bike the SV 650 would be a much better choice. I had a friend who had a Buell (X1 I think) and it had constant problems and it shook like crazy. He cursed the damned thing till the day he sold it. Another thing to think about is that you can lower almost any sport bike somewhat.

See this link: http://www.sportrider.com/tech/146_0210_lower/

Good luck

Jed
 

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I'm thinking that it would be a good choice if you're the type that likes to work on bikes. The newer ones have an ok reputation so far, but who knows? They're relatively low-tech, though, and I hear that Harley's are easy to wrench on. It's been oft repeated on MO that an HD motor will go forever, if you go through the trouble to overhaul it.



I personally think Buells are effin' cool, but I lack the tools or inclination to work on them.



I only have personal experience with a Honda, but for what it's worth, my buddy's Harley is pretty reliable, with just a tendancy to rattle chromy parts off.
 

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The qaulity record being amassed by the new Buells is better than MANY asian imports. The 2004 models even have a two year warranty. I think that speaks for itself. Don't listen to the naysayers above. Let your lady take one for a test ride, find a good Buell enthusiastic dealership and take it from there.



As far as maintenance, nothing more than adjusting the primary chain tensioner and changine fluids/filters and spark plugs. No nasty exposed drive chain to clean/lube/adjust/change, no multiple throttle bodies to synchronize, no valve adjustments...



In honest answer to your question, the quality of the new Buells is first rate.
 

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Sounds like a Buell Dealer/Owner ect. Save the advertising for you newspaper ads. 2 Year warranty? To paraphrase an old movie "I could sh*t in a box and stamp it guaranteed but all you would have is a guaranteed piece of sh*t"
 

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RonXX is right. Besides the XB is a nimble little bike. If you can accept the Sporty motor (worse things have happened) I see no problem with it. Oh wait, you asked about reliability, have not a clue. Just read about it and sat on it. No rides.
 

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Take one for a ride. After 12k miles my 1999 X-1 has been bullet proof. It's ridden hard, with no more care than any of my other bikes. It handles well, sounds and feels awesome and is the most enjoyable bike I have ever ridden on the tight twisties here in the northeast. I've heard horror stories about every bike made, including Buells. Any motorcycle purchase should depend heavely on the quality off service available at a nearby dealer in the event you need them. Most horror problems with any motorcycle begin with " then I had to wait 3 months for a new valve cap" , If your dealer can't help you then he's the problem. Buells are definitely rougher around the edges than some other japanese brands, but that is exactly the Buell's appeal.I ride a 996 as well and it is far more refined, smooth, powerfull and faster. Better? Not allways. The Buell has it's own personality. quick, agile, playfull, inthe right hands you can taunt others on more "refined" machinery. Don't let the naysayers sway you, test ride one yourself and create your own opinion.

Time to ride.
 

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As a current owner of 4 Buells, a ZX7RR, a

GSXR 750LTD, a Moto Guzzi Sport 1100, a VFR750, a HD VR1000, an XN85 Turbo, and a few other bikes, I can say that i have been very happy with all of my bikes.



I have a 95 & 96 Thunderbolt, a 96 lightning, and a 99 S-3 Thunderbolt, and have put about 3,000 miles on a XB9R.



The older Buells (pre 99) did have some maintenance issues related to vibration. From 99 on, I feel that they were pretty well sorted out. My 99 T-bolt has about 17,000 miles on it, and has been a joy to ride. I have made several 2,000 mile trips on it, with no problems. My 95 T-bolt has been trouble free mechanically, but I did have several exhaust headers replaced (26,000 miles) that would crack around the front header mount.



You can find very good deals on the XB9R used. I would recommend one higly. I have not seen service as an issue on them, and I have used Dennys HD/Buell in Springfield, MO, Earl Smalls in Atlanta/Marietta, and Ozark HD/BUell in lebanon, MO. I think that by now all the HD dealers are pretty well up to speed on them.



Good luck and Enjoy.
 

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Yeah but you've just owned and ridden them. The other "advice" is from people who have "heard" things about them.



Which is more important?



And when are you gonna drag that VR1000 down to MO for a dyno run and a test ride?



Sean, get on this guy!
 

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Triumph Legend has about the lowest seat height of any non cruiser motorcycle. There are a couple for sale on eBay now. Decent handling compared to a Virago at least and the Legend is kind of a bargain basement Triumph model so you can pick them up for cheap.
 

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IMHO, stay away from Buells. Maybe the new XB's are better, but I would not take the chance when we are talking about spending about $10,000. She will be much better off with a number of other bikes.



In another lifetime I owned a 99 X1 Lightning and had nothing but trouble with it. My dealer, Cowboy Harley in Beaumont, Texas, was no help either.



Just my .02 cents.



 
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