Reader's Rides: Jablonski's Buell 1125R

Readers' Rides
by Readers' Rides

Jacob Jablonski tells us the story so many of us already know by heart. This is Jablonski’s personal account of his relationship with his first motorcycle, a Buell 1125R:

I bought it in 2015 as my first road bike (because we all know that dirt bikes only count a little bit) after learning how to ride for a year on my dad’s GL1500. That first test ride was both scary and exhilarating. I’d never ridden something like that before. It was fast, uncomfortable, and felt like it wanted to wheelie if I even thought about hammering on the gas. I loved it so much that my test ride ended up being 100 miles and three hours long. After buying the bike, I put about 15,000 miles on it in the span of two years, about double what it had when bought.

I decided to do a track day the next year and bought the orange fairings during EBR’s excess parts sale right after they reopened in 2016. I did a couple that year, one at Blackhawk Farms Raceway and the other at Road America. I crashed both times but made it out ok with nothing more than a scuffed fairing the first time and a sprained wrist the second time and was able to finish both days.

This is my Buell 1125R on turn 5 in Blackhawk Farms Raceway. It was my first day in intermediate and I touched my knee down during subsequent laps on both turns 4 and 5.

The next year, 2017, was a year of highs and lows. I put the fairings on, swapped out the OE master cylinder for one from a Kawasaki ZX-14, reversed the shifting pattern using a GSX-R1000 shifter linkage, and re-did the shocks. It wasn’t 100 percent where I wanted since I couldn’t mount the belly pan (Danny Eslick’s bike from 2009 has a distinctive bump on his right fairing and belly pan that mine lacks for clearing the clutch), but it ran cooler and looked way better than having the pods. I did two more track days at the same places and I finally got my knee down on the second-to-last session on turn 5 at Road America. Six weeks later I felt confident enough to sign up for the intermediate group at Blackhawk and ended up not being the slowest person. That day was the last time I was able to enjoy it the way I wanted to.

Two weeks later I had an accident and suffered second-degree road rash on my arms, back, palms, and knees. I did have my helmet and boots on (wear your gear when riding). I fixed the bike but had destroyed the left fiberglass fairing. I rode it around with mismatched fairings for a couple of months with the intent of putting the old fairings back on over the winter. Then, when leaving work one night in November, the last time I was planning to ride it for the year, I heard a knocking sound. I took it home, parked it, and since then I’ve taken the bike apart to check on the engine but haven’t actually gone into it yet. Life happens. I restored my ’99 Honda Valkyrie – which I bought while the Buell still ran – met my wife, bought a 2007 Yamaha R1 track bike – which didn’t help my motivation to fix the Buell at all – and got married.

And so it sits in pieces waiting for me to finally get the time and motivation to get it back on the road. As much as I like the Valkyrie, it’s not the same. I used to think I wanted a big, powerful cruiser like a Rocket 3 or a Vmax, but I realized that I like great handling and power more than being able to cruise for a long time and do burnouts on command. I just want to buy the used engine that I found on eBay for super cheap and slap it in the bike, but I have more responsibilities and with what’s going on now I don’t know if I can get one in the near future.

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  • Mackja Mackja on Jun 01, 2020

    Been a long time Buell fan, started doing track days on a 07 XB12R, it is a great bike to learn on, at only 100 or so hp I learned I needed to carry more corner speed to be quick, tons of fun, next was my 1125r which had good power excellent handling and a great chassis, today and probably my last track bike ( getting old) is an EBR 1190rx, love this machine, all the attributes of my previous Buells, but with a lot more power. I have put over 30,000 track miles and the only issues have been a broke belt on the 1125, and a fried front coil on the EBR. They have been great fun to ride. https://uploads.disquscdn.c... https://uploads.disquscdn.c... https://uploads.disquscdn.c...

  • Hugie Hugie on Jun 05, 2020

    I’ve always loved the uniqueness of Buell motorcycles and they always had great handling and power. Good luck getting it back together as it’s art, form, function all rolled into a technical marvel!!!