In Re putting handlebars & looping on the 9R: I can offer you some direct advice. I have a 2004 12R and have just finished taking off an LSL Superbike bar kit in favor of a Heli top triple. I also run a Zero-G +3 touring screen, a Saeng-TA "wingtip" add-on screen, XBS footpegs, a Muller Power Clutch and a Corbin seat. I'm 5 foot 10 and about 210 pounds.
The stock bars were a nightmare for commuting. I ride 5 miles one way, and I'd usually have at least two numb fingers by the end of that 10-11 minute ride. Suprisingly though they weren't that bad for freeway rides, thanks to the wind; that's where a better seat and/or the pegs come in. I did a 400-mile weekend last year and found that I could do about an hour on the stock seat. After that I was making excuses - "might as well stop for gas NOW..." The LSL bar was nice (especially beacuse I used the extra width to mount Hot Grips and a controller) but I found myself sitting too upright.
With the changes I've described plus CRG Roll-A-Click levers, it's all different. I haven't done a long weekend on it yet (I also have a 1978 GoldWing), but the commuting is great. My last fill-up was a combined 53 mpg.
It's been much more reliable than I expected - I've had it in for warranty just once, when I fouled the plugs trying to start it with the temperature under fifty degrees. It'll go in again this week for a mildly leaking shift shaft seal.
Bottom line: after two years, I'm still in love with the looks and the torque.
We are all faced with this dilemma from time to time.
One bike we have an emotive attachment to, the other is a practical and usable tool.
I am in the market for a new bike next year, I am torn between waiting for the BMW f800s and a thruxton. One is far more capable than the other but there is something about the thruxton. (BTW) I am english so that might explain it.
I think it is the same way for you and the Buell. But let me share with you my logic everytime I look at a Buell. After the initial wow that looks really nice, no valve adjustments and a belt drive, I can't get by the HD engine.
Everytime I see a Harley or Buell I can't help thinking that there is an angry farmer somewhere wondering where his tractors engine has gone.
Think of it this way, if you where buying a brand new buell and the salesman said "What v-twin shall we put in it for you sir, the HD, suzuki or Ducati?". I'm willing to bet that it is only the CPA turned bad boy biker (read middle age crisis -- which I am in BTW) that would choose the HD.
Consider what you want to use the bike for. If it were the occaisional romp through the canyons on a sunday, after church of course , then I would go with your heart, but you are talking about commuting. You want something with balanced power and torque, comfort and cheap maintenance. ALthough bike maintenance is not cheap I would have to come down on the Z.
Sorry Buell, I love your designs but the mill just doesn't do it for me.
P.S. Just to gussy up the thread, you know, to get things moving, I would like to propose that helmets should be optional, but electing not to wear one should entitle your insurace company to reclaim all medical expenses from your estate. There, you have a choice, but it is not without consequence.
XB-9S was one of my fave commuters when doing many freeway miles at a time. At idle, they shake. Once rolling, that mounting system makes the Buells the smoothest-running bikes out there. Plus, once above 35 or so and in 5th, you won't need to shift again until you get where you're going. Also, phenomenal gas mileage (now that that actually matters).
After test riding a Buell, FZ1 and Z1000. I went with the z1000... never regretted it until it came time to sell it. Its a great bike that just isn't very popular in the US since it doesn't fall in the sport bike/cruiser mold.
Its very comfortable around town. Less hiway comfort than the FZ1. But, lots more fun and personality.
Most of the vibration in the bars is caused by a loose clutch lever. A plastic shim will remove the side-to-side clearance in the clutch lever and make bar vibration a non-issue.
BTW, with an orange z1000 you'll need to allow an extra 5 minutes at every gas stop for Q&A. The non-riding public loves the bike!
If you put a Suz or Duc motor in the Buell, you would not have a Buell. The motor is the heart of the beast, and what gives the machine its visceral character. You can't change the motor and keep the character.
Whether or not that character appeals to you is a separate issue.
Yamaha sells lower risers (GTY-R risers) that lower the bars a bit too if needed. I found I was sitting too straight up when I got my FZ1 ('02). These leaned me over just enough so I didn't feel like I was going to fall off the back of the bike on acceleration.
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