2. Buell XB9S/XB12S (2003-2010)


I’m reluctant to put this one out there because I really want to park one of these in my own garage someday. All the Who’s in Sportbikeville throw up their hands immediately when they hear it’s powered by an H-D Sportster motor, and few listen long enough to ascertain that this Sportster is so modified that it reciprocates in the opposite direction of the H-D original, makes a bunch more power, and is in the words of the original rough rider, Teddy Roosevelt, a DEE-light!

The XB9S got here first, with the small-block Sportster motor; the XB12S a year or two later with the 1200. Buell’s Uniplanar mount lets the big V-Twin shake but not the bike, it carries its gas in the Verlicchi-built frame, and it’s one of the best urban rat racers ever produced by man. Sure you run the risk of having to take your sportbike to an H-D dealer now and then, but at least not for routine maintenance, thanks to the hydraulic lifters, belt final drive, EFI … On second thought, no, you don’t want one of these at all. Forget I said anything. They’re really an acquired taste.

  • Funguy

    Please, could you please put the top-10 content-stretcher articles on a single page?

    Thank you.

    • Ser Samsquamsh

      Is helping you favorite motorbike site milk some revenue off telemetry driven marketing hacks, at zero cost to yourself, such an inconvenience?

      John Burns, with both ambidextrous prose AND impeccable taste in motosicles [sic], can not be cheap.

  • JMDonald

    Damn those guys at SuperBike. Objectifying women. WTFO. It took me twenty minutes to get to the next bike. I hope you’re happy.

    • We don’t really even like that particular bike 🙂

  • curly

    Good article, good choices.
    I think I counted 7or 8 bikes, not counting the H2. Owned 4 or 5 of them.
    Vfr- well, no, rc30?
    1998 R1/several early R6’s

    H2’s command big money from collectors (in Japan), but H1’s are better bikes, and cost a lot less- get a 74 model and spend a little on a John Aylor reed kit, a set of good shocks and a front brake upgrade- go smokin!

    I would substitute 996 for 998(budget bike that hauls). 999’s may not have that look, but they are better bikes, and a bargain, IMHO

    Delete Either the aprilia or rc51, add 929 or 954

    And I would comment that if you could find a mint early R1, you’d be making a rare find. 98’s are all gone, and I would not chop one up to make a “street fighter”

    a Suzuki on the list? 2005 gs xr anything, 30 year anniversary color
    scheme bikes are nice, getting cheap, and of course they haul ass

    Where’s the Kaws? – ever ride a 05-06 636? Or a 04-05 zx10? Insane

    Zx12s aren’t well thought of , but see above

  • fastfreddie

    Personally would list 996 over the 998 as they are very similar and 996 could be got for less money.Also dissagree with your assessment of the VFR 800.Found it bland,but that was comming from a 929 blade,so may have influenced me negatively…