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Discussion Starter #1
has anyone seen this thing? it's pretty wild! it was featured in the october 2001 issue of cycle world. i like buell's as an alternative point of view to all the other sport bikes out there but their styling generally leaves me a bit cold. most of them look unfinished, kind of crude, as if they're only a prototype and the polished version is due out soon. this one's got a very nicely finished look and the design is something way out! it's got very clean looks and REALLY wild engineering.

they wanted a big bike in a 250 gp size package, 52" wheelbase. eric buell stuck the muffler under the engine, a different point of view that buell uses; makes sense if you ask me. since it was so big they lost the usual underside placement of the shock and oil pan. the shock migrated to the standard location under the seat (different for a buell) but then the oil tank had to be moved into the large cast aluminum swingarm.

since it's got this huge engine it also needs a huge air box. no room for a tank now in this tiny little package with everything else crammed in already so they built a hollow aluminum perimeter frame and use the cavity inside for the fuel tank.

another neat tid bit is a perimeter front brake disc. since the spokes don't have to handle the torque between the disc and the tire they can be pretty spindly. that cuts the front wheel weight down to less than that of a racing magnesium wheel even though it's only aluminum.

they've got a nifty little tensioner that allows them to pre-tension teh belt drive. this allows for zero slack/drive lash and never needs adjustment. the bike doesn't even have adjusters for the belt.

the engine started life as a 45 degree v-twin 1200, air cooled to save space and weight. the stroke was shortened for a total displacement of around 984cc but with a shorter stroke comes slower piston speeds that allow for a higher redline, 7500 in this case. it might not sound high but i think most buells are around 6000 plus or minus. it's also got lots mods to the engine like new heads and other stuff.

the idea was not to build a track bike but rather a real world back road burner. gobs of torque spread across a smooth rpm curve so that everything is easily usable, rider friendly.

i'm really impressed with this thing. first, it's not trying to be another egg bike race replica, it's designed as a real world performance bike for the kind of roads we really ride on. second, they really went out on a limb. not the way harley did with the styling of their new super cruiser but with engineering and design vastly different from everything else they and everyone else are doing.

one trick little toy :)

time will tell if it really performs but the only sour note is the price - $10,000. for a wildly designed, niche brand liter bike that's not too bad but since it's a harley (of sorts) i'll bet the first run never sells for anywhere near that low. shame.

scott :)
 

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MotoMacGyver
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Supposed to handle pretty well, and really trick with the oil and fuel storage and stuff, but to me, Buell's are butt ugly! Their exhaust and engines look like (don't get sick now) a bunch of intestines squished together or something. Honestly, that's the first thing tat pops into my head when I see one. Plus, Erik Buell's testament that "the muffler belongs on the bottom" makes the bikes really ugly. Just no flow or flare. The engine compartment just looks over-busy with nothing recognizable - except - you guessed it - intestines!

Follow me here people....

Emrah
 

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Discussion Starter #3
now that you mention it i've go to agree. it does kind of look like something out of an alien movie squished into the frame =)

don't get me wrong, i like the idea of putting the muffler under the bike but most of the buells really lack style. seen the blast's muffler? ick! but as with the rest of this particular buell the muffler is more finished looing and i like it more than the rest.

scott
 

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I think it's pretty cool looking myself. It also appears to be very well-engineered (i.e., they didn't do things different just to be different, but rather for a specific, desired reult).

Looks like the early press reviews are starting to trickle in:

http://www.motorcycle.com/mo/mcbuell/xb9r.motml
 
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