I wouldn't be too concerned about being noticed for leaving half of your food uneaten at Denny's. I'll bet that happens more often that not. I liked your real world take on riding a new and strange motorcycle. It's something that is often lacking in print mag. reviews. VWW
Thanks for sharing. I whinned to Sean about your review and it seems to have helped get your story pass the the longride.com filter.
Excellent analysis. I have to admit I want to love the Buell but fear I will be disappointed if I ride one and thus dive into my cynical triade about how American management is running this country with its bottom line short-term anti tech mentality. Your review has inspired me to go for it. Thanks pdad13. Good work
Thanks for a real world article. It's hard to filter the bias that seems to seep into XB reviews. I ride a 95 MZ Skorpion Sport - it confuses the hell out of most people. Most riders coming from a 600-whatever sportbike can't get past my redline is about where they start to slip out the clutch. It's all what you're used to. Don't try something different..you might like it.
Nice story! I was down that way on a 1993 K11RS a few years ago for the Gator Rally in Marathon, Fl. I rode the 1000 plus miles from Baton Rouge in a day and a half on that bike for the two day rally and then back the other direction the same distance in a day and a half. I have to say comparing the Buell to a Sportster and a Victory in terms of comfort on a massive 200 mile ride at best, ooops sorry, that would be 400 miles round trip, leaves me wondering. I love that Buell, and have considered buying one, possibly soon, but I would need a lot more than laser straight roads and blue water to keep me happy whilst riding it.
Like I said, results may vary. I was prepared for an unbearable torture rack. The fact that it wasn't exceptionally painful was quite surprising. Don't think I meant that it was like riding a Gold Wing, just far more comfortable than I ever would have expected. After some of the things I read about the Firebolt's ergos, I thought I'd be in traction for a week. I felt fine.
And I don't think I'm even nuts enough to attempt to ride it for 1000 miles a clip. I think a 200 mile ride is more than enough for this type of bike.
I also agree that you really need some twisty roads to really appreciate the Bolt. While I was on it I was thinking what a shame it was that I couldn't bring it somewhere more appropriate to sample its charms.
I've always liked the looks of the XB series. More than that though, I liked this writeup. It is stuff like this that makes my subscription worthwile. Great writing (I laughed out loud in a few spots), and a real world opinion, not just a bunch of numbers and graphs.
Thanks to pdad for the info, and thanks to MO for posting it!
Very pleased to see a real world description like this. Mirrors my own experiences for the first few days of my ownership. I had had many Japanese bikes, mostly Yamahas, and was looking for something other than being a member of the R1 army again. So, made in the USA patriotism, and temporary insanity caused me to make this choice.
I'm glad I did, I may never go back. It turns out that this bike's torque and handling more than make up for any of the technical disadvantages I found when compared to my previously owned masterpieces. And the "WTF is that?" factor is unbeatable. All it needed was some finish work, which, at the price they are selling for shouldn't be needed, but who buys anything and leaves it stock anyway?
First thing done, adjust the suspension. You should have heard the puzzled inquiries about this process from the Harley owners on the dealer floor, "You can adjust the suspension? Why?".
Second things done were cosmetic changes. All the cheesy stickers and warnings were tossed. The heel guards and pegs were changed for more color coordinated pieces (black). Passenger pegs removed.
Third, synthetic oils for the engine and transmission. Although I had almost no trouble with my transmission, the synthetic oil did improve tranny feel. And that hot air cooled V-twin is a torch for lesser oils.
Fourth, changed all the lighting to high intensity LEDs, headlights to Raybrig.
Fifth, the big equalizer. The installation of the race kit, "Not For Street Use". The race muffler does away with the "variable valve technology" (read polution control), and drops five pounds in the process, the intake kit opens up the airbox flow and uses a K&N filter, and the race ECM comes with a high performance fuel map, and is reprogrammable to optimize dyno tuning ...by any H-D dealer with a dyno. Even without dyno tuning, power, torque, and sound all increased and improved dramatically. More dramatically than modifications like these did for my previous bikes. That made the difference needed for the road.
Granted, these things did add another 1400$ in cost, not including my highly skilled labor, and one could argue that the higher price of the Buell should include them. And granted, the Engine Control Modual is only accessable by proprietary dealer software and pc interfaces. But modifications like these are often considered part of the ownership process of many bikes, and the H-D dealerships are often very cooperative in helping you get the additional costs covered by whatever financing you might have. I was aware of the need for the extra work going in, so for me, it was a very rewarding process. And is still rewarding every time I ride. Tires next.
Fascinating, thanks for sharing this. I often look at the Buell site and the race kit and other accessory stuff intrigued me. I assume the variable valve tech you speak of is the muffler in the XB-12 which Motorcyclist said was a performance thing. Interesting that the race muffler doesn't have it i.e. must be pollution thing like you said. I wonder how much horse power and torque you have now. The synthetic oil is a good tip as well.
Thanks again, really interesting. Keep us Buell on the fencers updated.
Though I'm not intending to kpaulize, I feel I should congratulate you on the excellent write-up. It was both informative and entertaining.
Many of us, I think, want a lot more real-world experiences from real-world riders on bikes that we're thinking (or dreaming) of buying... while it's wonderful to know who Sean can smoke on the latest and greatest, I'm also very curious to learn more than a sentence or two about how a bike acts on the street.
Two of my favourite things on MO in the past while have been this little thing and "life with the VFR," published a while back. Since I'm looking down the road for another streetbike (6 months to a year, probably,) I'm considering a lot of options in the sporty-street riding segment, and stuff like this goes a long way towards helping me learn about what's out there in a more-than-dyno-numbers way. This would work perhaps better than the occasional "what should I buy?"
I'd love to see MO's staffers write "long-term" street tests, when possible, but I also have a suggestion that seems do-able fairly easily, if we all would contribute.
Could we get a new section in the news archives (or whatever) called "Life with..."? Then, as many of us as possible could write out as much as we had to say about our current rides, using this as a template... how did you like the bike when you bought it, how do you feel after 10,000 miles, what's gone wrong, how is it to live with the thing every day.
Questions I'd love to have answered in these kind of articles are things like :
Do air-cooled Ducatis break all the time? How's maintainance on them? Did you choke on the bill the last time you dropped it in the parking lot and had to replace a fairing panel?
How's the world on a CBR600F4i when it's raining out? Is it somewhat livable as a daily-type rider?
What has the upkeep been like on your YZF-600's carbs? Does it like you in the cold mornings?
Seriously, JB and whom it may concern -- I'd love this kind of thing. Of course, you know the reader/rider feedback is one of the things that makes MO a great place to be.
I live in Philadelphia, PA. There's a dealer here. There's dealers in almost every state..mostly around metro areas. www.motorradna.com. They don't make the Skorpion anymore, but check eBay, I've seen some there. I'm hoping Honda, Yamaha, or someone makes something better next year. I've had mine for 7 years and spending the day to take it in for service gets old. At this point the XB9R is looking like something to check out. A dealer is two miles from my house. I love my MZ though, it's been really great.
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