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Anyone ridden a Buell? Advice on swapping ? 06 Jul 2021 12:21 #851393

  • Sheath
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Hey everyone, basically I've had my uk z1000 shaft for nearly 7 years now, I really love it ,I've spent a lot of time and money on it and got it exactly how I want and I've ridden it many hundreds of times at all speeds, aggressive and slow and I know it inside out, but.... I can't help feeling I'd like to try something very different now,  and have something new to tweak and personalize,  I cant afford two bikes but I have figured out that with a good price given for the zed I could probably afford a lovely looking Buell m2 cyclone! Now I think they look great, they sound great, on paper they seem to be a tiny bit quicker than the z1000 but I've never ridden one! Can anyone tell me what the ownership experience might be like? Do they vibrate excessively or is it tolerable? Are they generally reliable?  How is the steering feel and the weight shift compared to a kz? I've heard reports of a "clunky" gear change, how is it compared to a kz? And apparently it's a must to uprate engine mounts and adjust the primary drive just right... anyway what are your thoughts? Would you trade a 1000st for a buell?
many thanks for reading all this!
Luke
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Anyone ridden a Buell? Advice on swapping ? 06 Jul 2021 13:26 #851398

  • slayer61
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Sheath,
   Let me start by saying, I have never owned a Buell.
Many years ago at the World Superbike races at Laguna Seca, here in California, I had the opportunity to test ride a Buell courtesy of the HD/Buell factory. I found it absolutely "agricultural" in feeling. It was sloppy loose, it shifted horribly, it knocked & rattled. It was..... there just aren't words for it.

   The following year, I had to try the "new & improved" model. It included an on board electric fan to cool the engine. It was actually an improvement. The bike "seemed" better all around, and didn't knock & ping form being run hot.

   Also keep in mind that these bikes were drug around the country from event to event. They weren't "new" bikes & maybe that had some contributing factor to the poor example that I got to ride.

Good luck with whatever you choose.
Don't be ridiculous! It's only a flesh wound!

Wife's little bike... 1984 GPZ 550 Kerker and DynaJet stage I kit
Wife's BIG bike...... 1981 GPZ 1100 Kerker and factory FI Mikuni RS34s W/ K&N pods

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Anyone ridden a Buell? Advice on swapping ? 06 Jul 2021 13:36 #851399

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Thanks slayer 61   I can imagine it would be quite a different feel to a 4 cylinder Kawasaki but and I know this might sound naive I thought they would be relatively refined despite using a sportster V twin, in the uk at least buells are regarded as special quite high end bikes with good build quality and clever innovative tech..... also I like them cos they're different and not very common here 

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Anyone ridden a Buell? Advice on swapping ? 06 Jul 2021 14:22 #851404

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My neighbor owned a Harley and a Buell at the same time.  He hated the Buell as he was never able to get it running as well as he expected even though he bought both bikes new.  Ed
1977 KZ650-C1 Original Owner - Stock (with additional invisible FIAMM horn)

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Anyone ridden a Buell? Advice on swapping ? 06 Jul 2021 14:23 #851405

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, in the uk at least buells are regarded as special quite high end bikes with good build quality and clever innovative tech..... also I like them cos they're different and not very common here 

Interesting. I do not think that is true anywhere in the states. The HD faithful have no interest in sport bikes, and sport bike fans were disappointed in them for a wide variety of reasons. Agricultural is an apt description. When I first read about them , I really hoped that Erik Buell had done something fabulous, but I just could not get past the vibration, the searing heat off the engine, and the lack of power from such a large engine.
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2000 ZRX1100 not ridden enough

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Anyone ridden a Buell? Advice on swapping ? 07 Jul 2021 04:18 #851440

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This is why I love this Forum because I could have sold my 1000 on a spur then found a cyclone and probably regretted it! It's a shame though because the buells look promising and I've heard that above 4500 rpm they fly and I am a big fan of the sound they make .
I do think I would definitely miss my Kawasaki though!

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Anyone ridden a Buell? Advice on swapping ? 07 Jul 2021 05:11 #851442

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This may not be relevant to the Cyclone but I've rode a mates XB12R Firebolt and had a couple through my hands.
On my mates bike ( which he didn't keep very long ) the handling was quick but i didn't like the motor.
No matter how you dress it , it's still a Harley motor.
The two that passed through my hands which i broke for spares both came in blown on the rear pots forked big end which runs on two slim roller bearings.
The motors on those are big bored Sportster engines so i think the design was maybe pushed too far.
The general finish on the bikes was also crap and not up to the UK climate unless only used in the dry..

 

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Last edit: by zed1015.

Anyone ridden a Buell? Advice on swapping ? 07 Jul 2021 08:06 #851447

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I test drove a Firebolt years ago. 

I Looked Like A Circus Bear On It. 

Made for Little People

Dave

 

Original owner 78 1000 LTD
Mr Turbo Race Kit, MTC 1075 Turbo pistons by PitStop Performance , Falicon Ultra Lite Super Crank, APE everything. Les Holt @ PDM's Billet Goodies . Frame by Chuck Kurzawa @ Logghe Chassis . Deep sump 5qt oil pan. RIP Bill Hahn

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Anyone ridden a Buell? Advice on swapping ? 07 Jul 2021 09:15 #851451

  • Sheath
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Thanks zed 1015, yes that rear pot issue does sound a bit worrying,  according to google the motor makes 93hp if that's true then the motor must be quite tweaked and stretched! It's such a pity because I love the look and on paper it seems like such a trick bike with a nice bit of thunder thrown in!
also I laughed at the streetfighter Ltd comment on the size of it! 
 

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Anyone ridden a Buell? Advice on swapping ? 07 Jul 2021 14:49 #851456

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Eric Buell is an admirable guy.   Europe and Japan had sports bikes, but the US none.   He tried to make an all US sports bike with US components, but the only suitable engine he could find was a HD sportsters engine, dating back to 1953 with flat heads, and to 1957 with OHV heads (Kawasaki 4s OHC date back to 1972).    This 1957 HD engine is basically what Buells had (the Blast, was 1/2 that engine)

This old HD engines were very undersquare, with very long strokes, harking back to the days of flat heads, good for low RPM torque (like diesel engines), but not good for high performance.   They also had 45 degrees, not 90 (like Ducatis, or Guzzis), or 180 (Like BMWs) where twins are smoothest..so the HDs vibrate most than most without rubber or balance shafts....although not as bad as big vertical twins w/out trickery.       

Worse yet, they have a system where one piston conrod wraps the other one on the same plane (fork & blade), this makes for a very narrow engine, but one cylinder is exactly behind the other one,  and thus does not get good air cooling.    OK on a low performance Sportster, but Buel found that hotrodding the engine to make more power, made rear cylinder unacceptable hot, thus he devised a fan and a thermostat to keep rear cylinder cool enough.

.....interesting historical motorcycle... the Buell, ....I'd keep the Kawi, and get the Buell as a curiosity, ....but not as only bike.........only my opinion..
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Anyone ridden a Buell? Advice on swapping ? 07 Jul 2021 17:11 #851462

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+1 I would never trade a good Kawi for a Buell, but I thought they were pretty good fun and think it would make for some nice contrast to own in addition to my jap bikes.  I rode a buddie's XB9r Lightning several times.  I found it quick revving and nimble, but still hard to ride as it was very wheelie prone.  My buddie found the mechanicals very dependable, but some of the electronics gave trouble.  They are cleverly built and easy to work on.

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Anyone ridden a Buell? Advice on swapping ? 08 Jul 2021 08:19 #851473

  • Sheath
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Thanks for all the great feedback guys   its great to have a good insight into different bikes, I've been toying with the idea of a Buell for so long but now I think I would probably be a bit disappointed! I'd really love either an old 900 or the gpz 750 turbo in an ideal world but I cant afford either! I toyed with the idea of buying a rolling 900 chassis and transferring as much of my 1000st over as possible and converting the motor to chain drive but I just cant bring myself to butcher the old st and the outcome would be so wrong in so many ways! 

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