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 !
Ogri the Biker !