Buell FireBolt XB9R - Sportbike Forum: Sportbike Motorcycle Forums
View Poll Results: Firebolt XB 9R
Yes buy it and see for yourself 20 34.48%
No don't buy it, you know better 7 12.07%
Someday Buell will get it right, but not yet 19 32.76%
Never buy a Buell 12 20.69%
Voters: 58. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 73 (permalink) Old 10-02-2001, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 43
Exclamation Buell FireBolt XB9R

I've been feeling patriotic lately and looked at the new Buell. It is kind of interesting. They got rid of the breadbox air intake and made quite a few changes on the new liter bike. The engine isn't their usual 1200 cc POS. It got a good write-up in Cycle World, like most bikes do.

But I have seen a couple used bikes sitting on the curb all summer looking for a buyer and don't want to get stuck with a lemon. Anybody have experience with Buells? Any chance the FireFart will be a good bike to own?
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post #2 of 73 (permalink) Old 10-03-2001, 01:26 AM
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Re: Buell FireBolt XB9R

Originally posted by otter
Any chance the FireFart will be a good bike to own?
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post #3 of 73 (permalink) Old 10-03-2001, 01:35 AM
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Check out the Buell manuf. specific section of the forum in this website..

Those guys are pretty honest about their bikes.

Tell 'em I sent you.
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post #4 of 73 (permalink) Old 10-03-2001, 02:03 AM
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Buell experiences...

I have a 2000 Buell Cyclone, and am very happy with it.

The Cyclone has had more then it's fair share of problems, but if you keep a reasonable perspective on them, they have not been a huge deal. None of the problems left me stranded, and none cost me any riding time.

If you buy an older Buell, I can give you a list of about 5 things you want to do to it right off the bat that will save you trouble down the road. All are simple jobs that can be done with normal hand tools, are very low cost, and don't take too much time.

Historically, reliability is lower then most Japanese bikes, but the Buells are MUCH easier to work on, and parts are MUCH easier to find. If you can do your own work or have a good dealer, I think it ends up a wash. If you are at the mercy of an idiot dealer and can't turn a wrench, you will not be happy.

The non-engine parts of my Cyclone have been great... and you have to cut the engine a little slack. It was designed to produce 45 or so horses, and has been stretched to produce between 91 and 101.

Even with the grief I have had with my Cyclone, I would not trade the bike for anything (except the firebolt). It really is a pleasure to work on... I am by no means an expert wrench, and I can have the heads (including the valves) completely off and on the bench in about half an hour. Complete top end rebuild? New heads with valves in place ready to bolt on from the factory for around $500. About two hours work to put them in. Tranmission problem? I can have the whole thing out and on my bench in about an hour.

The firebolt promises to be the Buell we have all been waiting for. What Erik has managed to do with the existing models is remarkable... he took an old sportster cruiser engine, and managed to create a bike that really is remarkable, and that you really have to ride to appreciate.

Now that he "has the handcuffs off" (his own words), he took the strengths of the sportster engine and eliminated the weaknesses, and really came up with an innovative bike with a LOT of promise.

When you read that it's "just a warmed over sportster engine", don't believe it... it has some very significant changes. It follows a similiar geometry, and is still pushrod air cooled, but just about every part is new and rethought.

Us Buell faithfull have high hopes that the reliability issues will be behind us as well. The Blast (500cc single) has been very reliable, and has had some of the lowest warranty claims in the industry (even compared to the Japanese bikes). The Firebolt engine is much closer to a doubled blast engined then it is to a sportster engine, and Buell knows they are betting the farm on this bike. They have gone out of the way to get it right, and I believe they will make it.

To appreciate the Firebolt in particular (and Buells in general), you have to appreciate their design goals. Erik did not set out to build a pure race bike, he set out to build the best bike for the street.

Take the rotor for example. A single larger rotor (as opposed to two smaller rotors) eliminates one caliper and one rotor. This still gives you 85% or more of the rotor area for breaking, but nearly halves unsprung weight. On the track, this is a drawback, as even the dual rotor systems are prone to overheat and warp, and the pavement is smooooooth and perfect. The lower unsprung weight helps little, and the brakes overheat quicker. But on the street it is a different story.... "Real" streets are a mess of rippled pavement, potholes, and other junk. The lower unsprung weight lets the tire keep contact with the street FAR better. Remember, a tire that is not touching the road has ZERO braking... the single rotor gets you stopped more quickly.

Thats just one example of many why a racebike may suffer on the street, and why Erik is trying to create a new class of bikes... he calls them "streetfighters". Bikes that are designed to give you the best possible performance under real world conditions.

The engine is similiar. It trades a monster power hit at the top end for a broader powerband across the whole RPM range. One of the magazines that got a crack at the Firebolt was talking about how fast the thing went, but that its power delivery was so smooth they did not notice it like a twitchy race tuned 4 banger. They asked Erik if he was concerned that this was going to give people an unfair opinion of the bike, and he replied "We built this bike for great riders, not some geeky kid looking for an adrenelin rush".

Geesh. Enough typing. There are a lot of really cool innovations that are going into this bike that I think will re-write many of the rules of street tuned sportbikes. Some subltle, some obvious. It would take pages to go through them all.

And yes, especially right now, it feels great to be riding to work every day on a bike that says (from the factory) "American Motorcycles" right across the tank in big white letters. Nothing against foreign bikes or other countries. I just like having an American bike better. As an anology, I prefer a black bike over a red bike... Nothing wrong or against red bikes, I just like the black better... Same thing. I ride a motorcycle for pleasure, and I get more of it riding a bike built a few hundred miles away and designed by a guy I have a decent chance of actually meeting someday... and who may be reading this right now.

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post #5 of 73 (permalink) Old 10-03-2001, 04:06 AM
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From what I gather, Buells are worthy machines. They aren't quite up to speed with the Japanese yet however watching them on the track is quite impressive.

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post #6 of 73 (permalink) Old 10-03-2001, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up bargain shopping

Thanks for the info folks. I'm going to check out one of those curb Buells tomorrow. Will see how bad he wants to get rid of it. The Harley dealer gave me a runaround on the Firebolt price. Told him the mag said it was less than $10K. He whined that he wasn't sure they could sell one for that. F him.

BTW-absolutely no thought of trading in the busa.....except maybe for a prettier, younger one

Last edited by otter; 10-03-2001 at 02:24 PM.
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post #7 of 73 (permalink) Old 10-03-2001, 04:03 PM
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Screw the dealer and the likely dealer mark ups if this bike is as hot as it should be........find some dealer in the backwoods where sport bikes aren't big sellers and see what they say. If this doesn't work I'd wait till the next year when the supply has met some of the demand and the price normalizes.

So let's see, TZ250 size (wheel base anyway, wish it weighed that little) and power, air cooled so easy to work on and less maintenance, no heavier than current race rep bikes that are said to be sweet handling, and pretty bad ass looking (subjective I know). I think I'm sold unless it starts to grenade when it gets to the street. It would make a great canyon bike, maybe not Iron Butt material though i'd guess???
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post #8 of 73 (permalink) Old 10-04-2001, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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Originally posted by apexismaximus
Screw the dealer and the likely dealer mark ups if this bike is as hot as it should be........

I'd wait till the next year when the supply has met some of the demand and the price normalizes.
I think I'm sold unless.....
Yeah, I really like the way it's put together. Harley marketing is at work here too so I will wait and see if it is as good as it looks.

The curb Buell is still there but the "for sale" sign blew off. I'm going to have to wait till it snows and follow the footprints to find the owner
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post #9 of 73 (permalink) Old 10-05-2001, 12:26 PM
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If you can get a good deal on the 'curb' buell and you want it go for it. Just don't expect the old lightning bikes to be anything like the Firebolt. Nothing against the older model buells but the firebolt is the ONE I've been waiting for. I always said when eric got the water cooled VR engine that I'd get serious about considering buells. Guess I have to change the criteria because this 'small bore/short stroke' air cooled engine sounds like it'll be quite adequate within the new chassis for the canyons/street. Can't wait to see one.
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post #10 of 73 (permalink) Old 10-06-2001, 04:09 AM
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Yeah, right,

For $10k you'll be able to get a 2002 R1 that will be much more dependable and will have at least double the perfomance envelope.

I couldn't resist pointing that out. It is just a fact.
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