Motorcycle Forums banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

· Registered
512 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
One Year / 12,831 Miles on a 2004 Buell XB12s

Posted on Monday, September 13 2004 @ 11:41:14 PDT

By staff

gbrummett writes "One year ago today, I bought a new 2004 Buell XB12s with race kit. What follows is my story of how this bike actually held up after a year of commuting to work and canyon playtime in and around the Phoenix Arizona area. Plus, interactions with the dealer, modifications to the bike, problems and comments from other riders and non-riders, my thoughts, ideas etc. At the end is list of my pro’s and con’s and actual service intervals.

Sweet! Here's a BLOG style, real world review from a fellow MOron. Just be sure to rest your eyes from time to time. - MO

09/13/03 – 0915/03 – 01 – 209 Miles

I commute about 50 miles everyday by motorcycle to work and back so reliable transportation is important to me. I wanted a bike that was very rare, fun to ride, very reliable, cheap to buy, own and maintain ($8,995 at Chandler Arizona H-D Buell and 45+ mpg). Also, one that would fake out cars in to racing me at stoplights and one without a chain to clean and lube all the time. With that in mind I traded in my 2001 M2 Cyclone for this new 2004 XB12S Buell with race kit, that I named Little Red Pit Bull, see link for photo.

The new Buells are supposed to be reliable so hopefully they will be. Before the 2001 Buell I owned a 1999 250 Ninja and a 1986 900 Ninja. I have since ordered an additional bike for my wife to ride on the back of, a Honda Gold Wing.

Anyway, you wouldn’t think the old 2001 Cyclone and new XB12S were even made by the same manufacturer! The quality and reliability features are a leap beyond the old Buells. They even have a fork air flow bug protector to keep the fork seals from going bad!!

Ops! Gotta watch that kick stand deployment, it is WAY too easy to put the bike into first gear when you just meant to put down the kick stand! How embarrassing, you pull up to the mall on your brand new steed, and in front of a whole line of people walking out slam the bike into gear just as you try to put the kick stand down.

The handling is very good. This bike is not only flickable, you trust going right to the edge right away with this bike, it’s that incredible in handling. It makes my old 900 Ninja feel like a truck. The strange thing though is the bike is so short that it feels like the front wheel is right under you and almost connected to the back wheel. Very short, very small.

Can’t wait to get past the 500 mile break in, it really sucks keeping the bike at 3,000 rpm or less and accelerating slowly!

Put my good mirrors from on this bike, as the stock mirrors are way too small. The mirrors are Bikemaster Supersport for bar mount application and the part number and pricing is Right Side Product Number 360-1123 Price: $9.99 Name Bikemaster Supersport Left Mirror Product Number 360-1122 Price: $9.99. The price was RIGHT. Their toll free number is 1-800-841-2960.

09/13/03 - 09/16/03 – 209 – 600 Miles

Ok, finally hit 500 miles and hammered it! Here’s what I found out, 4,000 to 7,000 RPM is much stronger then my old M2 Cyclone.

I swear this bike has the sweetest sounding roll off from upper RPM pop pops (with the race kit installed) I have ever heard. I look for tunnels and under passes just so I can run it up and then roll off to hear that sweet pop pop sound! Those of you who did not buy the race kit, I pity you as it totally transforms this bike. My friends XB12R is so quiet you hear all the bad sounds, like the fuel pump etc. and not that sweet exhaust note.

This morning 9/22/03 on I-10 at 6:00 AM temp 78°F I found the following:

60-80 mph top gear roll-on 4 seconds

60-80 mph 4th gear roll-on 3 seconds

60-80 mph 3 third gear roll-on 2 seconds YE HAH!

Downshift twice to 3rd at 60 mph then hammer it and this bike takes off like a demon out of hell! I was shocked how much faster it was then my old M2. My old M2 Cyclone didn’t make any difference what gear I was in 3rd, 4th, or 5th it was about 60-80 in 4 seconds on a cool morning. I can really use the new bikes 3rd 60-80 in 2 seconds.

Plus in the after noon on the 202 between Country Club and Gilbert I accelerated to 120 MPH from 80. My old bike would quickly run out of steam around 110 and then pull slowly to 120. This bike went by 110 like it was nothing and was pulling strongly through 120 when I came up on slower traffic and had to shut it down. If only I had a 6th gear!

This bike is a dream out at Canyon lake, Arizona Route 88 from Apache Junction to Tortilla Flats!

09/24/03 - 09/25/03 – 601 – 700 Miles

The bike has this really neat feature on it when you run low on fuel. And no it doesn’t automatically refill it’s self. When the low fuel warning light illuminates, it brings up the low fuel trip gauge and it starts counting up the number of miles ridden since the low fuel light illuminated. Very very handy! I went around a sharp corner and that’s why I think it illuminated a little early. I was only down 2.6 gallons and I thought it was supposed to illuminate at 3 gallons down.

The lady from Buell Head Quarters called today after I had asked about the lack of a dyno chart on the Buell web site showing stock power ratings compared to the race kit. She read off to me what she had and is going to send out to me either in an e-mail, snail mail or post on the web. She said the peak HP for the XB12’s stock is 94 and with the race kit about 96 with peak torque the same at 72. You can see the chart at I have seen this vary a lot from different tests. I have seen the stock XB12 Buells dyno as low as 89.9 horsepower and as high as 99.9 in Sport Rider’s test. Most tests seem to show around 89 to 92 horsepower stock at the back tire.

09/25/03 - 09/26/03 – 700 - 750 Miles

Ok, got home last night and checked the oil. Much to my shock the dealer had overfilled the oil by a huge margin during the first service. No wonder the bike seemed a little down on power. It was filled almost to the top of the dip stick!! I drained over half a quart out to get it close to the full mark.

So this morning on the way in I did one of my acceleration tests and the bike is running better then ever. Roll on’s from 3rd gear on level ground at 60 mph to 80 now take just 2 1/2 seconds!

09/27/03 - 09/29/03 – 750 - 850 Miles

This bike is just too easy to wheelie, I want to use full power in 1st and 2nd but I always find myself in an unintended power wheelie. Also the back is very light and when downshifting you have to let the clutch very slowly or the back tire will break traction. With that said it’s still one really fun bike to ride around town. It’s like saying all the time "Let’s go have fun" just like our black Labrador Retriever.

Got the new Corbin seat in yesterday and it absolutely rocks! I can power wheelie with less of a problem now, as I have more control. I must have been sliding backward on the stock seat causing me to wheelie even higher and feel out of control. The new Corbin seat holds me in position tightly with the high back hump behind my butt giving total control. As a big bonus my butt doesn’t hurt after riding only 10 miles now. I feel like I could ride all day long.

It never fails, pull up to a stop light and some bozo in a new Mustang just has to race his engine, doesn’t seem to happen with Vettes (smarter drivers?). Anyway, it’s all over so quick I’ve gotten to the point where I’m starting to ignore them now. Gotta be how small the bike looks with me on it. No one in a car ever challenged me when I had the 86 900 Ninja, no one!

09/30/03 – 10/06/03 850 – 1250 Miles

Rode the bike up Hwy 60 through Globe on to Show Low. This bike was made for the Salt River gorge which is 30 miles east of Globe on 60 towards Show Low. Took the bike to the bottom and then back up to the top then turned around just like in the adds and rode up and down again. Got some curly cue heat souvenirs on the outside of the tire treads from the heat. First time I have done that on a Buell and it was only about 70°F. Was getting the curly cues on the trip back up to the top but oh was it fun!

Gas mileage, yes mileage, how about a low of 42.5 and a high of 46.5 on this trip. Not bad, that gives me a worse case scenario range of 127.5 miles and best case scenario of 139.5 before I hit the low fuel warning light and then I would have at least another 29.75 before I ran dry.

A rattle just began at idle when cold. I took it to the dealer and it was the mounting stud nut for the right side of the instrument panel came off allowing the turn signal blinker controller to fall to the bottom of the instrument pod causing a vibration noise, went to dealer for repair. A mechanic put on new nut and washer with lock-tight. Found out later that this dealer has a history of not putting this nut back on correctly when they install the race kit ECM.

BRAG "Buell Rider Adventure Group" was supposed to be having a ride in Show Low Oct the 4th. They must have been out somewhere, I never saw a sign of any of them. I was the only Buell on the road. Did see an Aprilla Mille R riding with a new Suzuki GSX-R 1000 out by the Gorge.

10/07/03 – 10/13/03 – 1250 – 1800 Miles

Ran against an old Kawasaki 750 this morning, I’m slightly faster from 0-80 when we shut down. We were both on Gilbert road heading out of the light on Southern. We ran twice and it was pretty close but I’m faster.

Rented a 2003 Gold Wing this weekend and took Tommie riding. What a huge bike, but it seems smaller once on a roll. It’s not bad at slow speeds and very good on the straight but is a handful in the corners.

My bike feels and sounds like a snarling little Pit Bull after the Gold Wing.

Looks like we will be buying one, Tommie really loves it.

10/14/03 – 10/22/03 – 1800 - 2050 Miles

If I find myself next to a 600cc or 750cc sport bike at a light and they aren’t winding the ***** out of it when the lights about to change, then they are dead meat. They fall for it every time, they don’t think I’m going to take off fast because I’m just idling, or they think hey, it’s just a Buell. What they don’t know is that this bike has more torque at 2500 rpm then they have at redline.

So the light turns green, I look both ways quickly… then hammer it. Keeping the front wheel just skimming the ground leaned over forward just as I approach redline the bike snaps up into a low power wheelie and I hit the limiter at about 55 mph, which is my signal to grab second. Then I trounce some more, but by then it’s usually all over.

Before all you big bike riders out there start getting offended let me tell you that my friend Jim has a modified 1200 Ninja which can absolutely and consistently smoke me any time, anywhere any speed. He is going to take it to the Salt Flats so he can get his 200+ MPH ball cap and paper and yes he can probably smoke your new R1 or GSX-R 1000 too. The only place I can hold him is in the very slow and tight corners. So I know the liter bikes and above have some serious speed. But I also have been on those bikes and they are heavy and have very slow steering in comparison to a Buell XB. Even the new 600 super sport bikes seem heavy and slow in steering in comparison.

10/22/03 – 10/28/03 2050 – 2222 Miles

Really loving the sound and torque of this bike. Plus not a single oil leak yet although I do have this damp area in the v of the engine around what looks like drain plug between the base of the cylinders. It gets a sheen of oil around it after a few hundred miles for a total of what must about to about 1 drop total. I wash it off and it comes back, the dealer said it was normal. Could be where all the crap collects when I wash it or it rains, Hummmm…

I looked at the photo again of the back of the XB9S that American Sport bike did with the new tailless light and license plate holder and I noticed that they had taken the back passenger foot pegs off. The bike looks much cleaner without them on there that’s for sure. When you take off the passenger pegs and you put on the tailless holder it really accents the back tire and how big it is so I think that’s what I am going to do. Need to buy some tools however as it looks like Buell decided to get stupid and use star wrench bolts all over the place.

I’m also thinking of buying the carbon fiber foot peg heel protector guides. They look much better then the bright shiny ones on the stock bike. So, I took off the back passenger foot pegs and as a really nice bonus access to the oil dip stick that’s inside the rear swing arm is now very easy.

Had a friend come up to me in the parking lot and tell me what a sweet sounding bike my bike is. He said it looks like a little bike but sounds like a big one.

10/29/03 – 10/30/00 -2222 - 2300 Miles

Riding along yesterday on the free way an R1 or R6 came up behind me and started riding behind me as wingman. Got off the I-10 at the Broadway curve and had to slow for traffic getting on the 143. When it opened up I downshifted to 3rd at about 55 mph and had no problem staying with the other bike whatever it was as we accelerated up the 143 northbound to about 100 mph. Must have been the R6. The third gear roll on for 55 or 60 to 80 is so fantastic. I have said it before will say again that 60 to 80 mph 3rd gear roll-ons only take about 2 seconds flat, FANTASTIC!!

10/31/03 – 10/31/03 – 2300 - 2375 Miles

Got the license plate relocate kit from American Sport Bike last night. Part number 9031 - XB9S License Plate Relocate, Price: $349.95.

Went over to BJ’s house last night and put it on. It was more difficult then we thought because we had to align, tap and drill holes for the turn signals. For $349.95 you would think they would at least have tapped and drilled holes for the turn signals and license plate! We also had to bend the bike turn over kill module mounting a little for the right side turn signal mount to fit inside the tail in it’s new location. See photo at

The end result though is what the bike should have looked like from the factory. Much cleaner without the pasta strainer / cheese grater rear fender. Now the bike looks really mean and the back tire really stands out.

11/01/03 – 11/12/03 – 2375 – 2750 Miles

Yesterday in the parking lot of Sam’s Club is exactly why I bought a new Buell XB12S. I rode in and parked next to a brand new Suzuki GSX-R 1000. These two guys coming out go right past the GSX-R and go "Man what kind of motorcycle is that?" I could tell they were looking at my bike and not the GSX-R which gave me great satisfaction. They laid question after question on me, "Buell? Who? What? How many CC’s, how much, do I like it, it’s so small). I loved it, not even a look at the Suzuki!

11/13/03 – 11/20/03 – 2750 – 3000 Miles

Love the cold weather startups much better then older non-fuel injected bikes. Starts right up in the colder mornings of lower 40 degrees and can be ridden right off.

Am thinking about buying the Heel Protector Kits in either Wrinkle Black p.n. 50340-02Y or in Carbon Fiber p.n. 49096-03Y. The Wrinkle black is only $36.95 and the Carbon Fiber is $104.95 so that may be the deciding factor.

11/21/03 – 01/05/04 – 3000 - 3750 Miles

Got a Safety Recall Notice for inspection of routing of the Horn wiring and replacement of the horn mounting bolt with a shorter bolt. Will take in soon.

01/06/04 – 01/12/04 – 3750 – 4050 Miles

Beautiful weekend. Went out to Tortilla Flats near Canyon lake and had a blast riding the curves. Hooked up with an interesting group and found out what it’s like against them. This very experienced group took off just in front of me riding a 2003 GSX-R-1000 Suzuki, 2003 YZF-1 Yamaha, Triumph 955i and 2003 Aprilia Mille R. I tell you I had my hands full right from the start. We took the road the other side of Tortilla Flats that has very little traffic and the pavement ends about 6 miles up the road. It starts out very twisty with 15 and 25 mph corners then opens up. I was right on their butts going into the corners but every straight as we approached the apex of the corner they would squirt ahead like I was standing still. We hit the long straight right after the creek crossing and they jumped way ahead. I had been catching them as they braked for the slower corners. Now they were out ahead and un-catchable. As we came to the second set of really slow corners they were already out of sight. By the time I got to the turn around they were already stopped with helmets off and talking. So, the moral of the story is, this bike may be a match for them in the slower corners on the street, but it’s no match when the roads have corners with speeds above 60 MPH and start having straight sections.

Back tire is getting very low on tread now. Must decide on when and what tire soon. Was told they had a good deal on Pirelli Diablo tires. I wonder how they perform.

01/13/04 – 01/16/04 – 4050 – 4200 Miles

Back Dunlop tire is worn down to the threads. Replaced with new Pirelli Diablo and I get a new front tire free with their on-line special.

One thing I am noticing right off the bat is the fact that the new Diablo Pirelli tire does not seem to lose pressure like the Dunlop 208 tire. The Dunlop would lose as much as 2 or 3 pounds a week. The Pirelli has not lost a pound yet. (I later found I was losing air by my sloppy air gauge use).

Also during cornering the tire seems less prone to wear. I heard this tire will last longer then the Dunlop, I hope so.

01/17/04 – 01/23/04 – 4200 – 4400 Miles

Loving, it riding it, will it ever warm up around here???

01/24/04 – 01/11/04 – 4400 - 5200 Miles

Continue to get stares wherever I go. The bike is running better then ever. Pirelli delivered the new free front tire as promised it was on my front porch, gotta love the web program special. These new Pirelli tires have transformed the bike!

Gotta also love the suckers who think this bike is smaller then it is, so many people challenge me and I just have to way lay them.

01/11/04 – 04/12/04 --- 5200 --- 7000 Miles

Ordered the Heel Protector Kits in Wrinkle Black p.n. 50340-02Y today, hope they look great.

Went out to the Canyon lake to Tortilla flats last couple of weekends. Running the snot out of the bike including hitting 130 MPH on 202 between Country Club and Gilbert when I don’t see any cops, running it to redline and then rolling off in different gears just to hear the pop pops. Not a problem, still no leaks, nothing wrong. Hope to run up to Globe this weekend.

04/13/04 – 04/19/04 --- 7100 --- 7660 Miles

Went to Salt River gorge (Hwy 60 between Globe and Showlow) and the new Pirelli tires are just smoking hot!! Cornering was very predictable and there were no curly cues and strips of tire coming off like the Dunlop’s would do. Went there and went to the bottom of the gorge and back up until I ran low on gas. Went to the Chevron station which is on the west side of the gorge filled up and went back down to the gorge until low on gas then went back to Globe. Ate lunch filled up and went back to Superior using Hwy 70 and then 177. Great ride, but could not believe the people riding bicycles out in the middle of nowhere. Also went by and picked up my new Heel protector kits and put them on. They look great, much better then the bright aluminum look. They almost disappear now which is what I wanted. They only thing was the bolts were really tight. Ended up getting a ½ inch ratchet and using a cheater bar. Bent two of my wrenches.

130 MPH seems to be this bikes top speed on level ground no wind, at least at an altitude of 6,000 feet at 70°F. Found open road twice and the bike will accelerate rapidly to 120 mph then slowly on to 130. I was crouching down as low as possible and had one hand as lose as possible holding the throttle wide open. Maybe these bigger mirrors hold it back or maybe my bike just won’t go any faster because it’s against the rev limiter. It’s right on the yellow line at 130 mph of 6500 rpm

Did find a situation where I wanted more power and was constantly hitting the throttle stop. A big cold front came in this afternoon. Was coming up out of Salt River gorge into a 50 mph headwind with my big fat butt (295 pounds) on board up the 6% grade and the bike in 4th gear at about 85 mph and that was all she would do. You would think it would continued to accelerate, but I guess that gave me a wind speed of 135 mph and that with a 6% up hill grade was all she wrote. Still, felt weird throttle wide open and only doing 85 mph.

Went by today and picked up my free Buell Sling bag, they are having a demo ride special where if you stop by and test ride then they give one to you. Very nice bag.

04/20/04 – 04/29/04 --- 7830 --- 8000 Miles

The wife and I rented a Honda Gold Wing this weekend, very luxurious, but also very huge and vague. I swear the amount of slack in the steering was enough where you had to move the steering tiller several inches to do a counter steer. Got back on the Buell and it felt like a precision laser scalpel by comparison, it felt like I could take several thousand different lines in any given corner. It almost felt like being on a 100 horse power bicycle by comparison.

04/30/04 – 05/14/04 --- 8000 --- 9000 Miles

Continue to get looks wherever I go. Had a guy on a White Lightening X1 Buell come up and give me a real look over. His bike was in really good shape. Another guy at What-a-Burger really came out and looked the bike over, he used to have an old M2 Cyclone like mine. He’s getting ready to buy a new XB12S.

My friend with an older Yamaha YZF 600 just traded it in on a new Black 2004 XB12R! He loves it, and is now saving up for the race kit.

05/15/04 – 05/28/04 --- 9000 --- 9200 Miles

The front tire is really worn down on the left side and cupping. So much so that it’s causing the handlebars to wag. It’s down past the wear bars and past the tread in some areas. So… had my new Pirelli Diablo tire put on. Once again the attention to detail at Chandler H-D Buell has gone down hill. They forgot to put my valve stem cap on, which would normally be no big deal except these Buells comes with really nice aluminum caps so a rubber or plastic one looks like crap. So will go by today and try to have them find it.

They also overfilled the tire to 39.5 psi and the book calls for 36. Lowered pressure to 36 but there is still a lot of that protective coating crap on the tire which makes it really slick, so I’m gradually working my way over on each side before really laying the bike over and judging the tire.

05/29/04 – 06/10/04 --- 9201 --- 9500 Miles

Front tire is much better now with just a few hundred miles on it. It is really starting to have feel now. Must have been all the protective coating. I’m even running 36 psi again in the front. Front brake pads were down to the limit so had them replaced.

Continue to get stares wherever I go. You would think I left Pamela Anderson in the parking lot the way guys cluster around and stare. Ok, so maybe it doesn’t get that many stares, but hey there is usually at least one or two people looking at it when I come out to most parking lots.

06/11/04 – 06/18/04 --- 9500 --- 10,000 Miles

Totally getting used to the Pirelli Diablo front tire now, either that are it’s really broken in now. Just a hint of high speed wobble other then that I love it.

Getting ready to take it in and change the oil. It’s starting to get really hot around here so thought it would be a good time at 2,500 miles since the last change.

06/19/04 – 06/22/04 --- 10,000 --- 10,185 Miles

Rode out to Tortilla Flats this weekend. Saw one guy on a new Ninja ZX-10R, really riding hard and hot. Met another guy on a Suzuki SV650 that was really heavily modified.

I think I got some lower octane gas. I stopped at this Chevron I don’t normally use and the bike is pinging like mad. Of course the 108°F temperature and low speeds at Tortilla Flats might have something to do with it. I’m going to buy some 104+ HP octane booster payday. It worked for my old Buell M2 Cyclone.

Was running with a guy who has a Honda Valkrie yesterday on the 202. My bike absolutely stomps that bike both in roll-ons and in off the line.

Sitting in the early morning sunlight I am starting to see an outline of the cords underneath the rubber on the back tire. Will probably have to order that new back tire soon. Still I have over 6,000 miles on it. That’s 2,000 more then I got with the stock Dunlop. I have run both back tires at 38 psi the entire time I had them on the bike so it should be a fair comparison.

06/23/04 – 06/24/04 --- 10,186 --- 10,292 Miles

Back tire finally bit the dust. The back Pirelli Diablo now has 6,000+ miles on it and finally the cords are showing. Had the dealer put on a new one and change the oil and filter while they were at it.

06/25/04 – 06/28/04 --- 10,292 --- 10,500 Miles

Dealer overfilled engine oil again, but not as bad as last time, at least it was close.

Also noted that in the summer when it’s running 100°F+ that if I let the engine oil level go down to the lower full level on the dip stick it won’t move even after 1,000’s of miles. If I fill above this mark the oil will always quickly go down to that level and then stop. So I just ignore it and let it sit on the lower full mark.

Ok, got the new rear tire put on and either I’m getting used to the Diablo tires, or this one did not have as much crap on it. I was into the tighter corners in only 25 miles and feeling good. Good to have on such great tires both front and rear knowing that they will last 1,000’s of miles longer then the Dunlop’s and handle better to boot.

Occasionally the bike will idle low now at about 750 rpm after it’s been running a few minutes and then I start it back up. I found that by adjusting the idle up a couple of clicks that this went away. Adjusting it more then two clicks results in it idling too high and not returning to idle.

06/28/04 – 07/19/04 --- 10,292 --- 10,645 Miles

Went on vacation for two weeks so missed a lot of riding time. Bought some of that 104+ HP octane booster. Put in half a can of it and my pinging problems at Tortilla Flats went away. Also noticed that if the temp is going to be higher then 105°F and I’m ever going to be stuck in traffic it’s best to add a little to stop any pinging. I usually use about ¼ of a can except when I’m at Tortilla Flats. The slower speeds make it way hot when the temp is 110°F.

Still went out riding this Saturday to Tortilla Flats out by Canyon lake and met a guy who is riding a GSX-R 750. We tore up the road out past the flats and had a blast. I’m now riding on the very edge of the back tire with no chicken strip left so I must be getting very close to the edge of my limits but haven’t touched down yet. We then road back into town together, I gave him my card and will see if he wants to go riding again.

07/20/04 – 07/29/04 --- 10,646 --- 11,140 Miles

My best friend on his XB12R just got a ticket for 91 in a 65 on the US. 60. Guess I gotta slow down as I too travel at a very fast rate in the HOV lane on 60.

Got a free bottle of Harley Glaze Wax from the dealer since I am approaching the one-year anniversary of my purchase. Got out an actually waxed the entire bike in the heat.

Got to where I don’t check the oil but once a month now. The level never changes.

07/30/04 – 07/31/04 --- 11,141 --- 11,247 Miles

Have gotten to the point now where at red lights just as the light turns green I will feed in about 1,500 to 2,000 RPM as I let out the clutch, then feed in just enough throttle to let the front tire just skim the pavement. I run it like this through the intersection and just as I start to run over the cross walk on the other side of the intersection I look down and I’m doing 50 mph. Then I up shift a couple of times into third maybe on into 4th and cruise on down to the next light. This bike is so fun to do that time after time. Gotta watch it though as any ripples in the pavement or just a little too much throttle and the front tire is off the ground.

08/01/04 – 08/03/04 --- 11,247 --- 11,340 Miles

Went out to start the bike, and heard a ping and then a rattle start in the instrument headlight-fairing pod. Took off the cover and what do ya know. The horn-mounting bracket has broken again right at the mounting bolt area. I thought the first one was from mishandling by the dealer, but now I am beginning to think that the design is flawed and lets the horn vibrate to the point where the bracket eventually fails. If this happens again then I will know for sure.

Hit a false neutral between 3th and 4th this morning, very irritating!

Still all in all love the bike. At almost 12,000 miles and one year it’s still looks brand new and I have people ask me all the time if I just purchased it.

08/04/04 – 08/09/04 --- 11,340 --- 11,500 Miles

Took the bike over to the dealer and they ordered my new horn assembly. They are thinking the same thing I am that ordering a second one will get someone’s attention and maybe a redesign of the bracket or placement is in order.

Hope it comes in soon as now the horn rattles like made inside the housing and everyone is staring at me for the wrong reason. If I pad the horn so it does not rattle then the sound is really muffled when I honk the horn and you just can not hear it even at idle let along at 80 mph.

Just bought a new Helmet yesterday. It’s a Shoei X-11 Norick 5 in size large. Man what an upgrade over my old Arai R-7. Quieter, lighter, easier bigger release tabs on the chin strap you can use even with gloves on. The visor is easier to change out, and the graphics which look like a tribute to the native Americans with feathers and a dream catcher look really cool.

08/10/04 – 08/15/04 --- 11,501 --- 11,640 Miles

Finally got the new horn in. So much quieter now thank GOD! Wonder how long this bracket will last before breaking, at least it’s under warranty.

08/16/04 – 08/25/04 --- 11,640 --- 12,000 Miles

Heading back on the freeway from lunch today. Slowed down and got over in the right lane to exit I-10 at Chandler Blvd. and bang the big truck up ahead hit a large mattress. It came out in several pieces and I was sure glad I was on the Buell and not the Gold Wing. I went around several pieces but traffic behind me went crazy. Didn’t hear any wrecks behind but didn’t stay around either.

08/26/04 – 08/30/04 --- 12,000 --- 12,300 Miles

Rode with my adopted daughters friends out to Canyon lake Route 88 to Tortilla Flats on Saturday morning. Had a great time. Tom was on a GS500 Suzuki and his friend on a new 2004 636cc Kawasaki Ninja. It was interesting, once again rider experience makes a lot of difference when riding the twistes. Tom’s friend on the Kawasaki could not believe it when me and Tom left him far behind when we got to the twisties near canyon lake. In all fairness he is a fairly new rider but it was still funny the look on his humbled face. Also I was smoking him at the lights and had to explain that his bike makes power at higher RPM’s and he is going to have to rev the engine up pretty high to get a good lunch and then practice until he gets it down.

Still we had a lot of fun and met up with a guy breaking in a new Kawasaki 10R Ninja and rode or tried to ride with him a while. Fast fast fast bike! Impossible to stay up with on my Buell.

Mileage has settled into the 45 miles per gallon range, it seems like it’s gotten even better in the last few thousand miles as used to I would get around 42 to 43. Either that or I’m getting old and slowing down a little.

Am getting the funds for the Gold Wing now and just found out there are no more 2004 models out there. Put money down on a new 2005 Gold Wing expect delivery soon.

08/31/04 – 09/09/04 --- 12,300 --- 12,600 Miles

Took the bike in for another 5k service, get it back and not only is the engine oil overfilled by half and inch, but the clutch is so far out of adjustment that you have to release it almost all the way to get to the friction zone. Told Toni my service scheduler and she was plenty upset with the service dept. I only wish the mechanics and service people took their job as seiously as she does. She sent it back to get redone. They got the clutch right but took a couple of tries to get the oil level right. What’s so hard about getting the oil level right???

If it wasn’t for the horn bracket and dealer over fill problems this would be a perfect bike with no problems. Still all in all it’s been more reliable then either of my Kawasaki’s. Now if I could just have the transmission out of the Kawasaki and the V-Twin out of a Ducati 999 to put into the Buell.

Oh well, life’s not perfect.

09/11/04 – 09/13/04 --- 12,600 --- 12,831 Miles

My gas mileage seems to have settled down now to the 46 to 47 mpg range now that the bike is broken in. Almost as good as my old 250 Ninja at 50 mpg and much better then the 86 900 Ninja.

Just got back from lunch and had a really really close one today. Some jerk in a S10 pickup decided he wanted over in the turn lane even though he was past the gore point and parked. Only problem was he decide to change lanes into me right as I was riding past. Very close!

Still don’t like the transmission, sorely miss the Kawasaki positive neutral finder and clutchless upshifts and would love to see an all new water cooled V-Twin from Buell

I don’t miss cleaning, lubing and adjusting a chain every other weekend. Would rather be out riding instead of cleaning that crap off my bike.

And I still love all the attention from riders and non-riders alike.

So there you have it, 1 Year 12,831 miles on a Buell XB12S. Only one problem that was the design of the bike, broken horn mount bracket (twice). Other then that just the dealer problems mentioned above.

Let the comments begin.





(anytime, any speed, Yeah BABY!)


(The frame gets nice and warm and the fan blows warm air in the winter)

Makes me want to be BAD

I love to run it up and down the power band just to hear the race kit equipped engine note

Sounds AWSOME!

Everyone looks for a Harley and sees a tiny muscle bike, throttle roll off pop pops!

3rd gear 60 to 80 Roll-on

2 seconds flat on a cold morning!

Reliable, so far

Great commuter bike

42 to 48 MPG!

Looks COOL / Rare!

Just way too cool and different to even describe, lots of attention


Everyone thinks it’s a 250 or 400, suckers! I especially love surprising car drivers and unwary 600 sport bikes!

Belt Drive

No lube, no cleaning, no adjusting


The Seat Absolutely Sucks!

Corbin Here I come

A Little Small For Big Riders

I’m 6’2"


The heat from the fan will roast your thighs at stop lights on hot days

Too easy to wheelie

I weigh 295 lbs, leaning forward and running wide open in 1st & 2nd you will do a power wheelie

Watch out for cops!

Kick Stand Location

Very easy to put bike into gear when putting down the kickstand

Unstable over 120

Very nervous, have to really loosen grip at speeds over 120

Wind blast and Top Speed

No where to hide at 130 MPH and 130 MPH is top speed.

Needs higher Rev Limit

No overrun in lower gears, have to shift early at times, but not if bike reved to 9,000


You have to tell everyone it’s a 100+ HP 1200, some people even laugh, at first.


New Buell horns sound like a Japanese bike, the old horns sound like a truck horn

Other bikes Owned

2000 Kawasaki Ninja 250

1986 Kawasaki 900 Ninja

2001 Buell M2 Cyclone

Bike Problems

Safety Recall Notice for re-routing of the horn wiring harness 01/03/04 3750

Horn mounting bracket broke at mounting bolt. 04/22/04 7,600

Horn mounting bracket broke at mounting bolt. 08/02/04 11,348

Dealer Problems

Dealer overfilled engine oil level during service 09/23/03 653

Dealer did not correctly tighten or install instrument pod mounting nut after installing the race kit electronic module.

The mounting stud nut for the right side of the instrument panel came off allowing the turn signal blinker controller to fall into the instrument pod causing a vibration noise, went to dealer for repair. They put on new nut and washer with lock-tight. Found out the dealer mechanics probably did not put back on or put back on too loose when they put on the race kit and that this dealer has a history of this with other customers. 10/06/03 1000

Dealer overfilled engine oil and adjusted clutch so far out that there was almost no friction zone. 09/03/04 12,500

Wear Replacement Items To Date

Replace back tire with Pirelli Diablo, they have special on-line to get the front tire free. This tire is much much better then the stock Dunlop. Bought this tire for $118 at Arizona Motorsports at 01/16/04 4200

Replaced front tire with Pirelli Diablo, Dealer Chandler H-D Buell left off valve stem cap 05/27/04 9,150

Replaced front brake pads at Chandler H-D Buell 06/10/04 9.500

Replace back Pirelli Diablo tire, the current one was down to the threads 06/24/04 10,292


Service Dealer Mileage Date

500 Mile Chandler H.D. Buell, Chandler AZ 637 09/23/03

5000 Chandler H.D. Buell, Chandler AZ 3900 01/09/04

10000 Chandler H.D. Buell, Chandler AZ 8000 04/29/04

Oil Change Chandler H.D. Buell, Chandler AZ 10,292 06/24/04

15000 Chandler H.D. Buell, Chandler AZ 12,500 09/03/04"

· Registered
295 Posts
Buy it.

I just picked up an xb12Ss. It simply kicks ass. 600 miles on it and I'm in love. The Ss has a slightly longer wheelbase, perhaps giving it more in corner stability with less flickability than the Cg. I think you might be able to swap seats to get her closer to the ground, if that's an issue.

The bike is a grin machine torque monster. Motor has been great, though it does tend to run a little rough when cold. This tendency is beginning to reduce as the miles build up.

She needs to get ready for the torque unless she is a very experienced rider.


· Registered
1,538 Posts
Always run good high-octane gas. The XB12 series tends to detonate when hot and lugging a tall gear. If I owned one, I'd retard the ignition a tad and maybe drop the compression with taller base gaskets. Of course, this would sap a bit of power, but it'd do wonders for longevity. -Sean

· Registered
86 Posts
My experience has been good...

With only 5000 mikes on my year-old XB12S I realize my experience is limited... however the bike is obviously well put together and has been completely trouble-free. The low-maintenance design features (no valve adjustments, clean belt drive) are also nice to have. And the riding qualities are outstanding. Truly there is no other bike on the road that gives the kind of sensory return that the Buell does. It is an exceptionally enjoyable little canyon-running, street-fighting, wheelie-making monkey-bike. And in the newer long-wheelbase versions, its even a good long-distance two-up sporty touring bike. Put the hard bags on the Ulysses and you can go damn near anywhere (as long as you are VERY tall).

Since I'm short and gettin' shorter, I'll stick with my 12cg, thank you.
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.