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Old 04-11-2004, 03:53 PM   #1
pdad13
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Default Re: Long term reliability of Buell lightning?

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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Old 04-11-2004, 04:00 PM   #2
billhawley
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Default Re: Long term reliability of Buell lightning?

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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Old 04-11-2004, 04:10 PM   #3
RonXX
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Default Re: Long term reliability of Buell lightning?

"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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Old 04-11-2004, 04:17 PM   #4
jibosch
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Default Re: Long term reliability of Buell lightning?

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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Old 04-11-2004, 04:30 PM   #5
Gooch
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Default Re: Long term reliability of Buell lightning?

"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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Old 04-11-2004, 04:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: Long term reliability of Buell lightning?

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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Old 04-11-2004, 05:28 PM   #7
ZX7Rrider
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Default Re: Long term reliability of Buell lightning?

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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Old 04-11-2004, 06:16 PM   #8
sportriderjed
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Default 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

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Old 04-11-2004, 07:56 PM   #9
Jexter
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Default Re: Long term reliability of Buell lightning?

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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Old 04-11-2004, 08:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: Long term reliability of Buell lightning?

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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