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Which Bike?Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
OK don't laugh. When I rode UK to Aus in the 80's with a mate we chose XT500's (the obvious choice really). We came across a BMW GS in Pakistan, we laughed too until we all got punctures, when fixed BMW meister then pumped up all three tyres with a dancy gadget that attached to his "extra" cyclinder. Very clever but fancy the lunacy of riding an 850cc, 220 kg bike on a trip like that (Oh how times have changed).
So to my point Erik Buell says "If you want to ride what everyone else rides... fine." and I like the guys attitude so when looking at my next adventure (no pun intended) rather than look straight at a KTM or even a GS how about a Buell Ulysses?
Despite the bad press (like they'd know!!!) the bike rides well. Small tank at 16.7 litres and being in the frame no option to fit an aftermarket one but you could always carry a Jerry on the pillion if really necessary. Tight handling but the belt final drive could be a problem. At 193 kgs dry it ain't THAT heavy and with 100 bhp on tap and massive torque with a VERY light front end sand could prove less of a problem.
What do you guys think?
Ride safe be free
Scottie (no relation except by clan)
I wouldn't believe everything you read although they are talking about the Buell Blast which is not available in the UK and doesn't seem to be much of a bike anyway.
I've ridden plenty of Buells and haven't had any problems. Like the Harley, which also comes in for a lot of flak, on which I have covered over 60,000 miles in 3 years round Europe and the US with only one breakdown (corroded battery cable). I love 'em. The Buell has good power, amazing torque, good weight distribution, light front end and great brakes.
My main concerns lie with the belt drive (my Harley covered 40,000 before I replaced it and even then only because the sprocket was worn.) but they are more inclined to break and are not so easy to fix "road side".
No they are not Metric yet, you guys driving on the right yet? :-)
[This message has been edited by Scottie (edited 16 January 2006).]
You've answered your own question. If you like it and want to use one go for it, but remember its no trail bike, which will limit the places you can visit on your own bike. Spares and odd tyre sizes will be a nuisance outside of "da west", but probably no worse than european brands. Have they got perimeter brakes? if so getting spare pads could also be difficult outside civilisation. You could convert it to chain drive like the road racers do.
Take a look at the Forwards pages on the Travelers Tales. They have done a zillion countries on an electra glide.
Unfortunately as it is not metric you wont be able to take part in Axis of Evil MCC activities.
I guess the question I was really asking is as you say very much up to me to answer. I am no off road rider and I found the XT500 with 50kgs of kit fairly hard work on the loose surface in Iran and Pakistan. I also struggled with the XT 600 Tenere off road, particularly in the deep sand in Aussie's centre. On road it was fine and coped well with the track from Ceduna to Kingoonya, the corragations north to Alice Springs and the Plenty Highway to Tobermorey but again I struggled as I headed north to Urandangi first through the sand (one BIG off) then getting bogged many times as the water table rose nearing the Georgina river. Unloading the bike made a big difference but it was still hard work and not really off road as such.
I know the current "adventure" bikes are much better but with a substandard rider would it really make that much difference? The new Buell Ulysses is designed to cope better off road with longer suspension travel and higher ground clearance but would it compare with an older Tenere or XT500?
I had real problems with the Tenere on the run back from Bourke to Adelaide witha faulty CDi unit so technology isn't always best. The Buell is fuel injection and while it seem reliable it is not a road side reapair anymore than a CDi unit but then I guess no one runs points anymore.
Guys make these rides on Enfields and all sort of stuff so it's "posible" on most bikes.
I have read all the opinions about the XB12X (Ulysses) and its always so interesting to see how many bikers have opinions before they have ever slung or will ever slung a leg over that particular bike. How does the saying go ? " Best stearman is always on the dry ground " or something like that.
Some journalists do not know their own back sides from their front. They are young boys of 22 -26 years old with only a few years riding under the belt. Some of that riding maybe even just track racing or superbikes or whatever.
Now you give them a laptop, a salary check and expect them to play judge Dredd over motorcycles, developed by engineers with a certain vision and certain niche market in view. That, I say is all bullsh*t !
I have been riding bikes for 34 years and I have owned more than 36 different bikes, classics, vintage, off road, dual, sport tourers, superbikes, nakeds, retros, quads and so on. I say one can only judge a bike in its spesific category.
Yes, maybe it is difficult but that would give the best objective opinion of how good, bad, fun, or average the bike is. Do not compare bikes that are not meant to be similar as similar, especially if you are only still a boy with a subjective blurred opinion !
I bought a Ulysses 1200 in 2006 as I have always loved the HD 45 degree Vee twin motor. Its pretty, its so basic and its legendary. I did not buy it because its "better" of "more capable" than a mulitstrada or GS1200 or whatever.
NO, I bought it BECAUSE it is a BUELL, and a hell of a FUN Buell on top of that. It makes decent power for what it is ( a simple push rod air cooled vee). At 103 bhp and 110Nm torque delivered at under 6500rpm, thats not bad at all. Most of the torque is available from 4000 up and that makes the bike an arm stretcher. It just pulls on those arm sockets and it feels great when the torque comes in.
With a narrow power band the bike is so much fun to play with on mountain passes between 4000 - 6000 rpm. Thats all you actually need as it relates to 140 - 170 km/h in top gear. Clunk it down to 4th and you have a STONKER for tight twisties.
I took my bike down to the Cape province and have done some sand roads on it. I was impressed as I changed my tires to Pirelli Super Corsas for road use and was amazed at how well the bike handled, two up on dirt and rocky roads (very small rocks though).
Even though I said one should not compare: Here is my experience - I must say the Buell is as quick as a GS 1200 (similar year model of course) I have owned 2 x BMW Gs models previously. The GS is a very average bike and VERY UGLY too. Everybody here seems to own one..... Yawn how boring can one be !
Even the GS1200 is much too big and heavy for extended dirt touring. For that you need a KLR 650 or XT660Z (that new Tenere) or even the new GS800F. I canot stand it to look at the GS1200. They should fire the designer immediatly but we have seen uglier bikes from Bee Em !
Is the Buell relaible ? I have not had problems ever and some of the guys in the Buell Riders association here in South Africa have high milage on their Buells. All done relaibly. The belt drive is awesome. It is quiet and clean. Light and so easy to change a wheel/tyre. self centering hub is a breeze !
Good top notch suspension. All adjustable Showa. Very comfy and can be set up to your hearts desire. Either for road / sport or touring / whatever.
Reach is a bit of a problem as the bike only takes 16,7 L but if you ride smart you can get about 300km. Ride hard and you will see only 250km with the reserve light coming on at 220km or so.
Buells are so customisable also. I fitted small mirrors, small indicators, chopped the belt guard so it still gives protection but looks much prettier and fitted aftermarket Harri grips.
The bike is an excellent open road bike with good dirt road capabilities, in spite of the 17 inch front wheel. I expected it to be awfull on sand/dirt but on normal unpaved roads, the bike handles extremely well. The bike is very nimble and feels more manuvarable then my trusty old KLR 650 Kawasaki.
The light chassis and quick steering charactaristics benefits the bike in a strange way. As with any biggish, tall bike, I would not take it to thick sand or deep mud. (If I can help it)...for that you need a proper dirt bike anyway.
The engine does have mechanical clatter and noise and sounds as if its not well, but even after 12,000 km my primary chain has not even stretched in spite of me being a hasty person so I often cruise long distances at 150-160km/h. The bike never moans or misses a beat. The only problem I had was the cooling fan that startet acting up. Its an Italian made part so do not blame the Americans. I live in an area where it can get to 38 degrees celcius (over 90 deg f) so no wonder !
I also prefer the highest quality synthetic oils in my bikes, new or old. It works.
Erik Buell has come a long way with reliability and design. The post 2004 Buells are all well made, modular bikes with parts sourced from Italy, Japan, China, and so on. Verlucci frame, Enkei wheels, Nissin brakes, Nippon electrics, Siebring header pipes, Showa suspension, and the list goes on. One cannot ask for more. Only about 15 years ago only Bimota used such exotic components. Now you can buy the bike all nice and very pretty to look at with all that funky stuff.
The upside down forks, the ZTL paramater front disk brake, the belt drive that legendary 45 degree vee twin and all that. A great bike. I usually keep a bike only for 12 months before I trade it in. This one I have owned now for 2 years and I am not selling it soon !
I own four other bikes and one of them is a real winner, the faithfull old donkey: The Kawasaki KLR650 A model (pre 2007). What a magic bike. It will go anywhere, every day, all day long.
I have ridden in some pretty rough stuff where I would never have thought to have gone on such a big bike. The bike is well balanced and in spite of its size (157kg dry) it just goes anywhere. I find it a much nicer and more fun bike to ride than the GS650 (2002 model) that I owned.
The bike is slow for cruising. But that is what makes it so unintimidating. One can cruise the paved roads all day long at a leisurly 130km/h no sweat. Just do not try to do 160. It will not !
In the dirt it is just awesome. River crossings, ruts and ditches, forrests, sand, corrugated and washed away roads, anything. It will just go, like a big old African elephant. You can just sit on its back and it will walk through 99% of stuff you throw at it.
I never ever thought that I would love a bike as much as I do this old lady. My previuos bikes were always Honda XR's. They were extremely capable, but the KLR takes it a mile further, It has a big carrier-rack, big tank (over 400km reach) and a very smart little fairing. What a machine !
Now that is a do anything do everything all the time Bike !
A buell ulysees set out on the off road rideout at the hubb meet last weekend. My son was on the rideout on his serow, the buell did not complete the rideout but then I think about 3-4 riders dropped out during the day including an F650 and a XR250 with a blown engine. To me of all the buells the ulysees seems the most practical and usable and if I had the money I would give one a try, certainly seems to be the best use of a sportster engine. I still have a v-twin a 1984 Morini Kanguro.
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