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sean_hunter 05-21-2002 04:51 AM

Re: Buell XB9R
Indeedy. Surely the gyro effect would be even worse on a bike with a big rim-mounted brake disc, too?

electraglider_1997 05-21-2002 04:54 AM

State Farm $301/yr 250 deductible full coverage
I'm 46 and I checked what it would cost to full cover insure the XB9R and was quoted $301/year. I'm in Omaha Nebraska.

SeanAlexander 05-21-2002 07:18 AM

Re: Buell XB9R
If he used the V-Rod motor, he'd have one fairly fast sportbike, with an extremely long and heavy engine. This bike would not have the excuse of being air cooled or push rod, so comparrisons with RC-51s, Mille Rs, etc... would be fair. I think its safe to say that the V-Rod motor would handicap the chassis sufficiently enough that the extra H.P. would do little more than improve 1/4 mile times and top speed. I understand that in this review, the Firebolt compared favorably with an RC 51 piloted by an admittedly slower rider, on a tight road. Reverse the riders and pit the two against each other on a race track and I think you will see that the Firebold gets its backside handed to it, by the RC-51.

SeanAlexander 05-21-2002 07:23 AM

Re: braking in turns
I do.

jng1226 05-21-2002 10:57 AM

I test rode one a couple of weeks ago, after much anticipation. Though I have never ridden one, I have really wanted to like a Buell for some time, I do like the design philosophy and branding. Oh well, it's not going to be the Firebolt however...

I went with my riding buddy, who rode it first. I followed on my 2000 Aprilia Mille R to see what it looked and sounded like moving down the road. I do love the styling and the innovations with the frame and weight-saving strategies. It started out well enough when just down the road my friend pulled a great second gear power wheelie. After he set it down he looked back at me and I could see his eyes wrinkling from the big grin he was wearing. Alas, it was pretty much all downhill from there on.

We rode about 30 minutes each on some twisty backroads to get a good feel for the bike. When I was following him, I kept waiting for him to really get on it, and take off. I was short-shifting (at around 6500-7000, redline 10,500), not braking going into corners and thought he was getting acclimated to the bikes handling. Next thing I know, we're headed back to the dealership so I can take a turn. It turns out he was winding the bike out and hitting the rev-limiter most of the time! What a weak little bike!

When it was my time for the bike, I did like the seating position, which has fairly high pegs but also much higher bars than my Mille. The disappointment began literally when the engine started. As I mentioned, I have never ridden a Buell, and perhaps I had too high expectations from this one (too good a PR machine Harley?).

I don't know who doesn't think this bike shakes at idle, because it is disconcerting to me to see the mirrors and bars visibly shuddering. I thought my Rotax twin was a little rough!? Blipping the throttle results in revs rising not too quickly and taking seemingly forever to fall back to idle, at least it smoothed out once past idle. I have never experienced a motor with these characteristcs.

We pulled out from the dealership and the bike felt actually pretty good. I like the general compactness of the bike, and short shifting into traffic it felt as if there were good things to come from the motor. As we headed out to the twisty backroads only minutes from the dealer, I started to weave the bike back and forth to get a feeling for the steering. It felt like it weight 500 pounds compared to my Mille! Seriously folks, it steered MUCH slower than I anticipated it would, especially for something SHORTER than an R6. I owned a Triumph Daytona 955i before my Mille and you can seriously compare how quickly that heavy bike turns compared to the Firebolt. The Firebolt is faster, but not much. I think this could be similar to what Hackfu describes in his article as reluctance to turn and standing up on the brakes or off. I particularly didn't notice the bike standing up under trail-braking, but then again I was trying to get the bike to go fast enough to require trail-braking.

The bike does feel stable once you get it cranked over into a turn, but then the motor fails you again by running out of revs before you exit a corner. Watch the MO videos, and you can even see what I mean. It goes like this: Finally get up to a (near) triple digit speed, brake for the corner (It has OK braking feel, I didn't notice only one rotor or how trick it is from the lever), downshift once or twice to get into the meaty part of the power band, trail throttle/brake on corner entry and then smoothly power out of the apex... that's the idea anyway UNTIL the bike hits the rev-limiter just after the apex and causes you to bobble as you shift up mid-corner to keep momentum (this is where you need to get used to the zero-lash drivetrain, it can be jerky because you're not used to it being so direct). This is what happened to my friend when I was behind him and it really keeps you from going fast IMHO. The motor only seems to have a 2,000 rpm powerband and right when it starts to get fun it's over abruptly.

On the ride back to the dealership, we ran into a couple of traffic lights and in no time at all the Firebolt's noisy fan came on and would stay on. The seat got pretty hot also. Ambient temperature was around the mid-80's.

I guess the biggest disappointment to me was that I bought the marketing hype about it being the "Best Handling" sportbike. Understand that my Mille R is set up for me, with the forks dropped so that 4 lines are showing above the triple clamps. With Pirelli Dragon Evo Corsas (120/65-180/55) I have NO DOUBT in my mind that if I could clone myself and put one of me on a Firebolt and the other on the Mille, I would run RINGS around the Firebolt AT WILL, street or track.

Now I know it's not fair to compare a $17,000 Italian race replica with a $10,000 Buell, so understand that during my time on the bike, my friend rode his SUZUKI SV650 to pace me and was ALL OVER ME. In the course of full disclosure, I will say that he has a full Vance and Hines S4 exhaust, redone jetting, Penske race shock and Traxxion Dynamics re-worked front forks. After pacing me through the twisties, he had no doubt that he could stuff me in almost any corner AT WILL. Oh yeah, with no motor-work his SV makes about the same HP as the Firebolt at the rear wheel while weighing about 40 pounds less soaking wet. One more thing, he bought it second hand for $4000 and even with $2,000 of goodies it's a whopping $4000 cheaper than the "Amazing" Firebolt. That'll keep you in premium rubber for a few years, which is all you'll need...

Suffice it to say that as much as I wanted to be in love with the Firebolt, I came away understanding what all the jokes and jibes at Buell have been. If this is the best Buell ever, I guess I'll check back in with them in another five years.


nweaver 05-21-2002 01:27 PM

Vibration and Buell
The pecular vibrational behavior is a defect of the engine design:

The single pin, 45 degree V-twin is inherantly unbalanced, and wants to shake itself apart with rather an extreem vengence.

Buell, to keep this from driving the rider crazy at higher RPM, rubber mounts their engines. As a result, the rubber mounts effectively act as a low pass filter: high frequency vibrations (eg, those at road RPM) are isolated, but low frequency (at idle) pass through and shake the bike.

The bigger limitation this causes is it prevents the engine from being a stressed member: Look at how HUGE those spars are, compared to say a TT-600 (a bike noted for extreem rigidity): it's because the TT makes the engine part of the frame.

99R6 05-21-2002 01:48 PM

At least there were no oil leaks?!?!?

Harley technology at its best?!?

TheFox 05-21-2002 07:17 PM

Re: Insurance
30 miles from Chicago, in the south suburbs. I do not know how I have this insurace rating.

I know State Farm doesn't care what model bike you have. They don't even ask. All they care about is cc's, that's all they asked me. Weird, but I suppose if you give them the specific cc's of a CBR600, they know you have one...who knows...

--The Fox

Captain_Codpiece 05-21-2002 07:37 PM

Re: Buell XB9R
Agreed. In the land of "Sue 'em blind", Buell want's to cover their ass and also follow the service ethos of their parent company, H-D. Besides, I would never buy a motor product from a new player like Buell (or Triumph as another example), without some expectation of growing pains. Hell, it's just nice to see something coming out of Milwaukee besides overpriced, underpowered, street trinket loser cruizers.

Lobotomy_Boy 05-22-2002 08:14 AM

Re: Buell XB9R
This sounds like a project for MO. Ditch the front wheel of the XB9R and ****can its Mystery Science Theater brakes. Mount the lighweight OZ rim from the Aprilia Mille R, fabricate some caliper carriers, and see if that doesn't take care of the problem.

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