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Old 07-18-2003, 05:03 AM   #1
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Default Re: Cooling and reliability.

I too worried about the Buell's reliability, and the cooling of the rear cylinder bothers me.

On the other hand, many air cooled motors are actually subject to overcooling. Guzzis in particular seem to run fine in hot weather, idling for as long as you can stand. Probably police bike heritage.

Most of the rationale for liquid cooling on streetbikes is for noise and emissions control. I prefer aircooling because it's one less thing to leak. And most liquid cooled bikes I ride send a LOT more heat to the rider.
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Old 07-18-2003, 05:10 AM   #2
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Default Re: Cooling and reliability.

Man, everyone seems to be at the same place I am. I am very interested in the XB9S and now the XB12, but I too am concerned about reliability. Hopefully we can get some feedback from current owners.
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Old 07-18-2003, 05:41 AM   #3
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Default Re: Cooling and reliability.

I own an XB9R with about 7800 on the odometer and I've had no problems so far. One of my riding buddies just wen't over 10K and with the exception of a blown fuse- so far so good.

I spent a great deal of time and thought over this purchase decision because of Buell's past lack of reliability with traditional HD motors, but I decided to chance it based upon the chasis technology, looks, handling qualities of the XB's and the durability of the Blast motor. I suspect there would loud shouts from Buell owners and more likely, non-owners if reliabilty was again a problem.

I live in NC, it is hot and humid now. I try to avoid being parked in traffic and for the most part I can; but, when I have been left idleing in traffic that rear cyclinder fan just whirls away and the bike continues to do what it does best- put a smile on my face.

Now I like the fact that I don't see my bike on every corner, so all you anti-buell guys out there, no problem, there's plenty of different bikes for us all.
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Old 07-18-2003, 05:57 AM   #4
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Default All bikes are liquid cooled.

Oil is a liquid and Buells have two external oil coolers and a thermostatically controlled fan for the rear cylinder. Use the synthetic oil and you are good for an extra 100 degrees of heat at least in terms of the oil's ability to resist breakdown degredation. Remember the oil pulls away alot of heat and it goes to the oil pan where it joins the rest of the oil and evens out in temp.

I don't currently own a Buell but one day I most definitley will. My Harley has 31000 miles on it and I use Mobil 1 15W50 auto oil and change every couple of thousand miles and never have to add. The reason I don't spring for the more expensive Mobil V-Twin oil is because my Harley has a seperate oil supply for the transmission and it costs twice as much. I run the same oil in my wife's 89' YX600 Radian and when it is changed it looks like it was just added, very clean. It is air cooled also. She just averaged 63 mpg on a 1200 mile trip we just took. No problems. I averaged around 50 mpg loaded down and with my son on the back.
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Old 07-18-2003, 06:04 AM   #5
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Default Three Buell Owners Speak

Three Buells, two new 2003 XB9R's with about 2,000 miles each and one old style 2001 M2 Cyclone with 23,500 miles on it. The two XB9RÂ’s have the complete Pro-Series race kits installed and the M2 Cyclone is jetted richer. One of the XB9RÂ’s also has a programmable ignition module which after some tuning was able to show 95.1 rear wheel horsepower on the dyno.

All three of us ride in Phoenix Arizona, in the summer with temperatures up to 117°F so far and we ride hard with a broad mix of other types of bikes. Between the group we have owned a BMW, Ducati, Hondas and Kawasaki’s.

With that out of the way here are our experiences so far:


None of the bikes have ever left us walking ever, unlike my friends CBR600F4 that left him walking twice when the battery went. Nothing has gone wrong with either of the 2003 XB9RÂ’s yet. The 2001 M2 CycloneÂ’s only problems have been oil leaks, see below.

Oil leaks:

The two new 2003 XB9RÂ’s have never leaked a drop.

The older style 2001 M2 Cyclone has had continual oil leak problems since day one, from the base gaskets, rocker box gaskets, and from around the fish bowl intake where the oil return lines are located.

Cooling and Overheating:

Neither of the 2003 XB9R’s have ever had a problem even when caught in traffic jams even on a 117°F day. They just will not overheat. We were about ready to melt even wearing Phoenix jackets and pouring water on ourselves.

However, the older 2001 M2 Cyclone if caught in a traffic jam tends to ping when accelerating strongly after idling through a couple of red lights when the temp is over 100°F. Poring in enough octane booster cures this. This M2 Cyclone has survived two summers in Phoenix with no other problems.

Looks and Comments:

If this is what you want, then this is what you will get, we have never, ever , and I mean never been stopped, talked to, stared at, followed and commented on so much in our lives. What kind of bike is that? What size is it? Where can you get it? Is it made in Italy? They always think itÂ’s smaller then it is and made somewhere else.


HowÂ’s 40 to 45 miles per gallon sound? The XB9RÂ’s continually will get you 45 even riding like Satan himself, and the M2 will get 40 to 41. All three will get you 50+ if driven slowly.

DonÂ’t forget insurance, man IÂ’ll tell you the crooks wanted $3,100 a year to insure me on a GSX-R for full coverage (100/300), my price for full coverage on any of the Buells, about $700 a year.

Sport Riding:

In Town:

This is why we bought the bikes, right? When riding in and round town the Pro-Series modified XB9RÂ’s have no problems holding their own with friends on 600cc Japanese sport bikes running from light to light etc. The M2 Cyclone will be left behind some in long straights.


The Pro-Series modified XB9RÂ’s are very very close to the new Honda 2003 CBR600RR especially the one with the programmable ignition module. With that one itÂ’s a dead heat or whoever comes off the line first. In all fairness our XB9R rider is a very very light 135 pounds and the Honda rider is 195 pounds so that may have some to do with, still itÂ’s a very close race.

The M2 Cyclone isnÂ’t too far off the mark until you hit 2nd gear at around 50 mph and then more so as speed climbs.

My friend Jim who owns a Kawasaki ZX-12R will simply walk all over us at any speed.

Canyon and Twisty Roads:

May the best rider win. Here itÂ’s a lot less clear, and this is not said near enough in any of the magazine articles. The real tight twisty road seems to belong to who ever is the best rider and the craziest rider with the biggest balls. Jim on his big Kaw is simply crazy, passing around blind corners while laying down long dark strips, cutting between cars like no tomorrow. You simply canÂ’t catch him unless you are crazy. The Buells are very different both from each other XB9R vs M2 and the Honda CBR600 in the corners. We found all of them the Kaw included to be comfortable to double the posted corner speeds, I.E. 45 mph corner at 90+. So to say one will out handle the other you would have to be better riders then us and just a little bit crazy or go to a race track.

Top Speed:

The XB9RÂ’s with the programmable ignition module will pull quickly to 148 MPH indicated and thatÂ’s it tail wind or not. The other XB9R has a top speed of 142 indicated. The M2 Cyclone pulls pretty hard to 110 indicated and will eventually pull to 124 MPH though I had it to 128 MPH with a tail wind once. If you are after top speed then you shouldnÂ’t be looking here, try the Kawasaki ZX-12R or a Suzuki GSX-1300R Hayabusa.


No problems, all three will do easy stoppies and no sign of fading.


The new XB9RÂ’s are much better then the M2. Still no match for the Jap bikes, but, you get used to it.

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Old 07-18-2003, 06:26 AM   #6
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Default Re: Three Buell Owners Speak

Oh geez, now you've done it. Stating that your air-cooled pushrod V-twin is more reliable than a Honda? Shame on you, you should know better- Hondas never break. You must have been hallucinating from the fumes caused by your Buell leaking oil all over your exhuast.
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Old 07-18-2003, 06:31 AM   #7
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Default Re: Cooling and reliability.

I would say if reliability is your #1 priority, Buell wouldn't be the place to look. I'm sure the new Buells have few problems, and are certainly reliable enough, but I would say they would need to be looked after a bit more than a Japanese bike. If turning a wrench turns your stomach, I would buy a Honda, and just put in the gas and change the oil. Buying a Buell is about being a bit different, and certainly not about being the best, most reliable, or cheapest. It's a priority thing. Only you can decide.
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Old 07-18-2003, 06:31 AM   #8
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Default Re: Three Buell Owners Speak

Yes, guess I didn't know any better, I'm getting a load of e-mail right now. Yikes! Thanks for the tip.
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Old 07-18-2003, 06:39 AM   #9
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Default Re: Cooling and reliability.

So what's the range on a tank of gas then? The small fuel capacity is what is holding me up from looking at them more seriously.
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Old 07-18-2003, 06:41 AM   #10
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Default Re: Three Buell Owners Speak

Thanks for taking the time to write this. It's nice hearing from someone who is "living" Buells and just not reading about them. Nice Post!
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