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MrBear44 06-10-2004 07:52 AM

Re: Excellent Review

There was an element to the Buell that I should have included, because it may influence your thinking. IÂ’ve ridden with the owner of the XB9R a lot; heÂ’s the person who got me into motorcycling in the first place. IÂ’m riding either a 748 or CBR 929. The Buell has instant, effortless, power from a standing start and off of low speed corners. On the 748, he leaves me for dead and thereÂ’s no way to prevent it. Even on the 929, I have to abuse the clutch to stay with him from a standing start. He has a ball with it.

Grover 06-10-2004 08:07 AM

Re: Compliments and suggestions.
I can answer one of those questions right now. 2000 900SS, just dropped it off for the 24,000 mile service. Bought it new in '01 and the only problem I've had (if you can even call it that) is that about 2000 miles ago it developed a small oil leak around the slave cylinder side of the clutch pushrod. I bought new o-rings for the pushrod from a dealer for about 3 bucks and replaced them myself. That said, the clutch slave cylinders are notorious for leaking. Mine hasn't, maybe I'm just lucky, or maybe they've actually addressed the problem. Aftermarket replacements are readily available and run about 120 bucks. As for maintenance costs, they're not cheap. I've used two dealers now, and the 6000 mile services are around 350 to 400 while the 12,000 mile services are closer to 5 or 6 hundred. The 12K is higher because of cam belt changes (40-60 bucks a pop), fork oil replacement, and a few other items that aren't part of the 6K. I bought an entire set of fairings for track days off ebay (in varying conditions, some were perfect) including a tank and probably spent 600 bucks total. I absolutely love this bike and have been nothing but pleased with how well it's performed and lasted over the years.

piinob 06-10-2004 09:10 AM

Re: Compliments and suggestions.
Great writing, great article. "Living with" section sounds like a real plus, count me in.

Neal 06-10-2004 09:19 AM

Re: You asked for it: My Buell experience.
Great read! Now how bout borrowing a Guzzi Le Mans and reporting on that? No one around here owns one and Im dying to get a real world perspective. Any Guzzi owners who care to comment?

gbrummett 06-10-2004 09:22 AM

They both turn so light they make a CBR600RR feel like a truck
Just so you know, we have 2 XB9R's with race kit, 1 XB12R stock, and 1 XB12S with race kit and a new CBR600RR here at work.

The CBR600RR feels like a truck in comparision to the XB12R. One of our riders said he felt like the CBR must have had flat front tire and got off to check after being on the XB12R.

Blake_1 06-10-2004 10:31 AM

I agree! Make this an article!
Thanks for taking the time to write such a thoughtful review.

Blake_1 06-10-2004 10:36 AM

Early model XB9R/S's suffered a less than opimum batch of wheel bearings
Factory provided free replacement. Suspect bearings have black seals, replacements have orange seals.

pdad13 06-10-2004 10:44 AM

Re: You asked for it: My Buell experience.
You find me one and I'll ride it. Hell, I'll ride anything. I rode a Heritage Softail Classic last week. Anyone want to hear about that?


Didn't think so.

nokneedragin 06-10-2004 10:56 AM

Re: You asked for it: My Buell experience.
With the well written review of the Buell, I'd take another snapshot review by your hand. So anytime you get to spend some saddle time on any new, or unique bike, send a story on in to MO. If its half as good as this one, they'll probably publish it (and if you didn't lie to us, this was done at 3:00 am with no sleep, not to shabby either).

seruzawa 06-10-2004 10:58 AM

Re: You asked for it: My Buell experience.
By all means. Write it up.

More content. More content.

BMW4VWW 06-10-2004 11:09 AM

Re: he said kludged
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

One entry found for kludge.

Main Entry: kludge

Pronunciation: 'klüj

Variant(s): or kluge /'klüj/; US also and British especially /'kl&-j; 'klü-jE/

Function: noun

Etymology: origin unknown

: a system and especially a computer system made up of poorly matched components.

Apparently someone has ewok. VWW

Blake_1 06-10-2004 11:14 AM

No way the new Buells are Kluged.
These bikes are extremely well integrated and extremely well designed. If you haven't ridden one, you may be basing your opinon on old information from the tube frame era. There you wou

MrBear44 06-10-2004 11:45 AM

Re: Excellent Review
ItÂ’s not a work utopia in Japan. IÂ’ve spent quite a bit of time there, and have colleagues who have worked there for a number of years. They waste time and money due to some poor human resource management, and while they certainly do value harmony, it can be very difficult to get important issues in front of the right audience and get a decision made. ItÂ’s a case of ying-yang. They have weaknesses where we have strengths and vice-versa.

If they were universally good, the Suzuki twins would have left Ducati for dead. In reality, the outcome was pretty dismal, and you certainly canÂ’t chalk it up to a lack of engineering or manufacturing capability. People are people, and itÂ’s all tougher than it looks.

Buzglyd 06-10-2004 11:46 AM

Re: You asked for it: My Buell experience.
I flew on a 737 from Newark to San Diego yesterday. You want me to write it up?

ewok1 06-10-2004 01:00 PM

fantastic. now it all makes sense. i shoulda known
the tech guys at wmrra are almost all microsurfs. now i know why they sometimes say "that's kinda kludged together ain't it?" i just kick the ground and say, i'm no engineer. instead of telling the truth and saying i'm too lazy and stupid to do it right. ;-).

seruzawa 06-10-2004 01:12 PM

Re: You asked for it: My Buell experience.
Don't be silly.

Or is my simple request a waste of time?

Newark, huh? Wouldn't it have been more pleasant to stay in Fallujah? You should have asked to borrow the snubby.

ewok1 06-10-2004 01:21 PM

The modern engine predicament and...great job
i appreciate your effort and having ridden the bike agree with your analysis. also, nice job of communicating your thoughts.

i wonder if a buell would be better with a different mill.

sometimes improvements don't improve anything.

you can correctly observe that they wouldn't then be improvements.

i think i can boil my impression of the buell down to this. i like twins. on the street they are more fun to ride because they have zip where you need it. on the track they are just easier. i can lose count of what gear i'm in and not always lose my spot. the only exception was the tl1000. shiver.

so i don't think the buell is "the answer" but it's pretty good. and no doubt it's fun to ride.

how did this become a forum about buell's anyway? i blame john burns.

sarnali 06-10-2004 01:21 PM

Re: The price is NOT steep...
Times when I've sat on Buell's The Lightning felt alot more do-able. The Firebolt is too cramped for me

If it wasn't for my love affair with new Triumphs I'd consider one. The Lightning looks and feels like a big dirtbike that goes really fast and sounds neat!

ewok1 06-10-2004 01:31 PM

not a guzzi owner but....
i rode a le mans for a few hunderd miles and then a buddy bought a cafe' sport. i hated the 01 le mans. at between 4 and 5000 rpm the thing buzzed like a trapped yellow jacket. i mean it hurt.

but the cafe sport didn't have that mean little vibration and it was a fantastic ride. it has handle bars, not clip ons but still had enough weight forward that the front had oodles of feel. of course a full ohlin spec is hard to beat.

the motor gives you the little bmw feel if you blip it at a stop sign, but you just learn to quit doing that. and once underway it doesn't feel like the tractor engine that it is.

they sound good too. that is all.

bmwclay 06-10-2004 02:16 PM

Just bought a used 2002 LeMans to compliment my 1150 GS. A great bike. Mine came with the factory track only titanium cannisters and CPU. Plus a Corbin gel seat. I love this bike! Poor GS just sits alone in the garage while I'm out on the Guzzi. Probably power like the Buell only with a longer wheelbase and the Italian dry clutch rattle and soulful exhaust. Mine had 4 k miles on it and is very smooth, yet you know (and everyone else) that you're riding something special.

Buzglyd 06-10-2004 03:01 PM

Re: What about a MO write up on Buz's new bike?
The MV is at GP in San Diego getting its break in service and Sean is in the process of getting hitched.

Buzglyd 06-10-2004 03:02 PM

Re: You asked for it: My Buell experience.
You know firearms are outlawed on the Democrat coast.

IceWorm 06-10-2004 03:27 PM

Re: Buell Comfort?
Very Sweet. Too many large ones I am thinking. Kind of a catch 22 sort of thing. I am old enough to have more than enough money for the dammn thing and yet my age keeps reminding me of past times when new BMWs cost 5 grand, helll just a few years ago they were 9 grand. Helll, $20K bucks for any bike is just hard to swallow. The new K1200s is already creating some good bargains on used k1200rss but sadly I don't care for the styling, nor the k1200gt. My DL1000 will have to keep my happy until I decide what I want. All in all not a bad thing. Wanna sell the boxer?

Buzglyd 06-10-2004 04:09 PM

Re: The price is NOT steep...
That's how I refer to my Brutale. It's a 110 hp dirtbike.

EbonFlame 06-10-2004 04:27 PM

Re: Compliments and suggestions.
Hey, you should have felt famous when you were mentioned by name a couple of times in actual MO articles!

It was a reference to your frequency of replying half a dozen times in a thread with something like "great review thanks." :)

MrBear44 06-10-2004 07:21 PM

Re: Excellent Review
Oh yeah, right. I forgot.

seruzawa 06-11-2004 01:58 AM

Re: You asked for it: My Buell experience.
Yeah. That's why all the criminals don't use them.

seruzawa 06-11-2004 02:32 AM

Re: The modern engine predicament and...great job
Buell's problem is that it's the air-coolled longstroke engine that makes it different. If they switch to a powerplant like Aprilia or the other v-twins use than they lose their character.

In spite of the claims by various people that they would consider buying a Buell with a shortstroke liquid engine, I doubt that many of them actually would and Buell might lose the buyers who like it the way it is.

Tough decision.

nbyers 06-11-2004 04:48 AM

Volume, volume, volume...
"You know that at the price they are charging $10,000 the mark up is considerable. Consider the average Japanese Hi-Tech 600 ss is about $8000"

I don't think they're making a lot of money at Buell.

KPaul, I was going to say that the wacky tooling for Buells (there's a bunch of new think in a Buell) justified the higher cost.

But then I considered, say, the Yamaha R6. Controlled fill castings for the frame and subframe? Substantial redesign every couple of years? Lighter, stronger, better, faster engineering going on constantly as the big four snipe away at each other making yesterday's bullet into today's spent slug? OK, maybe tooling and engineering costs are just as much or more for the Japanese.

But I bet volume is the issue. I'd guess that Buell is selling many many fewer XB's than Yamaha is R6's, so the manufacturing costs are spread out over fewer units.

This seems borne out in that it's been tough to find Buells at a significant discount. I suspect that if they had to knock off 20% from the Buell list price the factory couldn't be profitable.

Of course, this could be total hooey. Does someone on this forum know what the markup on a XB12R is?

seruzawa 06-11-2004 05:36 AM

Re: Volume, volume, volume...
Also, the Japanese have their cruiser cash cows to fund the sportbike wars. I wonder if HD uses their normal line to underwrite losses at Buell.

It'd be interesting to know exactly how the internal funding goes at these companies.

pdad13 06-11-2004 05:42 AM

Re: The modern engine predicament and...great job
Yeah, you're right. I thought about that, too. Once you get used to it, there's something very endearing about that motor. The tourque is enormous and, once the revs climb a little, it really does smooth out and feel very cool. Totally different than my daily inline-four experience. And that IS one of the things I grew to really like about the bike.

Lest anyone be confused, this bike in no way feels like a Sportster. Except maybe when you're watching the front wheel bob around at idle.

I did ask myself if I would like it as much, or more, if it had a more mainstream, high tech engine. The answer is probably. I do think Buell has enough new-think engineering, not to mention styling, to continue to stand on their "different" positioning. And because the motor continues to be the source of most of the critisism, a new one would most certainly open the door to mainstream acceptance. Will they lose some of their core audience? Maybe. But what will they gain?

Stand-out-from-the-pack looks, stunningly different engineering, excellent chassis, reliability (hopefully), American-made AND a top-flight motor. How many do you think they'd sell? Even a premium price?

I think I know the answer to that one. I'd be saving my pennies and wouldn't carp one bit about the price.

We must also remember that there is a percieved value to things. This is very important to people when they go to purchase something, even if that value brings no measurable functional advantage. For sportbike buyers this is especially true. People are willing to pay for a Ducati, for example, because, aside from exclusivity and beauty, there is a percieved technical excellence built into each one. We imagine a team of engineers in Italy sifting though hundreds of exotic materials, making millions of calculations, poring over reams of computer designs until they get the optimum combination of finely developed parts. The designs are then handed over to master builders, who painstakingly hand assemble at least the first few prototypes. The bikes are tested and measured in every parameter known. Then, voila! An exotic sporting motorcyle is born.

Now, consider the imagery associated with Eric Buell's motorcycle: This guy from Wisconsin had a few cool ideas how to build a sport motorcycle. Unfortunately, the big wigs bankrolling the operation are more interested in selling 1950's-style cruisers, so they won't give him the money to develop a new, advanced engine to go along with his impressive chassis. So, he goes to plan B, which is to take an essentially 1940's engine architecture and redesign it. And voila! We have some sort of half-baked, developmentally-disabled, idiot-savant motorcycle.

(By the way, much of this may not be true. But we THINK it is.)

The question is, for 90% of all riders out there, is the first really a functionally better motorcyle than the second?

I'm not so sure it is. And even if the first is a functionally better bike, who's to say many people still woudn't enjoy the second better? I think we all lose sight of the fact that most of us will never line up on the starting grid next to Valentino Rossi. Or Ross Valentino--dry cleaner by weekday, club racer on Sunday--for that matter.

The problem, from a sales and acceptance standpoint, is that the Buell is so different, people, including yours truly, have trouble getting their heads and hearts wrapped around the idea of a cutting-edge chassis carring an old-tech motor. It doesn't compute. There is no percieved advantage to using such a lump--even if there may be some very tangible real world advantages. And I think I can now say that there are some indeed.

Interesting, ain't it?

(P.S.: Buell can never use an outsourced engine. It would do tremendous damage to their brand. They're trying to build an new-think engineering image. To go somewhere else for a motor would be mean admitting defeat and destroying that image. Whatever is developed has to be done in-house, or at least it needs to give that impression.)

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