2002 Buell XB9R Firebolt

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
At the dealer show in Los Angeles this morning, Buell unveiled to thepress details on its new Firebolt XB9R sport bike. Looking nothing like Buells before it, certain Milwaukee-based companies are starting to do things differently these days. And we like it this way.

Erik Buell has always done things differently, and this new bike is noexception. See the gas tank? Fooled you. The gas is in the frame.

"But, Erik, isn't that where the oil goes?" Well, no. The oil is in the swingarm, of course...

More specs and pics inside.While there are some things that are done "differently" here, the term is not necessarily interchangable with the word "wrong." With the fuel in the frame and the oil in the swingarm, Erik is able to keep mass low and centralized.

There's a rim-mounted front disc, 52 inch wheelbase, 21 degrees of rake and 52 percent of the bike's mass on its front wheel. And the motor's pretty interesting, too.

It's an all-new 984 cc, 45 degree V-twin with a short stroke and verylittle reciprocating mass so that it becomes far more snappy than the 45 degree V-twins people automatically associate with anything that comes out of Milwaukee. Its reported that this engine will produce 92 horsies and 68 pound-feet of torquies at the crank.

Buell hopes the Firebolt will provide, "the ultimate middleweight street riding experience." And if sitting on the bike mixed in with the mandatory poking and prodding this morning is any indication, the new Buell is going to be very interesting. It feels light and narrow, like something you'd actually want to ride on a twisty road, instead of just something you had to ride there. The fact that it'll have an MSRP of less than $10,000 certainly helps things along.

Click on the photo for more images and specs. We'll have more info and a full story on the entire Buell line soon.

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Brent Avis
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