Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Femmoto 2005... Bike Reviews

I rode 4 bikes at femmoto, here are my reviews:

Buell XB9R Firebolt

Engine:Thunderstorm® 984cc Air/Oil/fan-cooled, four-stroke, 45º V-twin
Peak Horsepower:92 hp
Peak Horsepower:7500 RPM

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This bike was a bit tall for me. I like the way it looks, I think it’s the best looking of all the Buells, especially in yellow. The Buell is not as smooth as my Ducati. By lap three I was amazed how uncomfortable this bike was, compared to my 954RR. My legs were cramped and my air hump was digging in to the back of my helmet. The bike cornered well, and had plenty of power. The bike felt light with a low center of gravity.

Buell Blast

Engine:Air-cooled, 4-stroke, single cylinder
Peak Horsepower:34 hp
Peak Horsepower:7500 RPM

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This was the worst bike I rode all day. I almost killed it twice coming out of the pits, I somehow couldn’t control the throttle on this one. There was no tachometer on this bike, the instruments looked like I was riding a scooter. The foot pags were in front of me, like on a cruiser, not a comfortable seating position, and not fun for cornering. I though this little bike would be easy and fun on the track, but I found it was the hardest to ride from the all the Buells I rode that day. The bike ran rough, shifting was jerky, sometimes I though it was going to die on me if I wasn’t on the gas hard, and the worst part was that on my second lap I started dragging my toes, so I had to slow down. With the pegs up front and low, this bike didn’t have much clearance for cornering. The bike felt light with a low center of gravity.

Buell XB12Scg Lightning & Buell XB12S Lightning

Engine:Thunderstorm® 1203cc Air/Oil/fan-cooled, four-stroke, 45º V-Twin
Peak Horsepower:103 hp
Peak Horsepower:6800 RPM

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The ‘cg’ is the lower version of the Lightning. Slightly taller then the Buell Blast. I rode the XB12Scg first, then the next two sessions on the XB12S. The taller XB12S cornered way better, I enjoyed riding that bike, it was my favorite of the Buells. The XB12S has a very short wheelbase and the seating position is near the front of the tank, since it has no windscreen nad you sit above the instrument panel, thre is nothing in front of you, only air and the road below you. It took a bit to get used to that. The key location in on the left side, it’s kind of hard to turn the key with your right hand and I’m not a lefy, why would they put that there? I also liked the iPod effect on the tank, it’s a translucent orange plastic, kind of neat, you can see inside. Even though this bike has handlebars, it cornered quickly and had plenty of power. By the time I took the bike out again, I was more comfortable on it and it was even easier to ride. The bike felt light with a low center of gravity.

My Buell rating:

(1=worst / 5=best)
Buell XB9R Firebolt 3
Buell Blast 1
Buell XB12Scg Lightning 3
Buell XB12S Lightning 4

My general impression of the Buells:

I will not buy a Buell until it runs more like a Ducati. I was not impressed at all with the bikes. They vibrate and shake like hell too, compared to my Ducati ST3 especially the XB12S. The throttle/power is not as smooth as on my Ducati. I had a lot of problems pulling out the kick stands on all of them except for the Blast, since they are located in a weird place and you can’t see it when you are on the bike, your leg is in the way. But they do look nice.

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