Comparison test Buell X1 against Triumph Speed ​​Triple

Comparison test Buell X1 against Triumph Speed ​​Triple

Side effect

A little off track, but all the more effective: Buell X1 and Triumph Speed ​​Triple are always good for a strong performance.

Stand out at all costs, be different from others, just don’t embody the boring and everyday. Not that easy in today’s world, when hardly anyone is surprised about brightly colored hair or piercing.

In addition to a striking appearance, it takes a little more to impress humanity.
The motorcycle manufacturers have also understood this. For the 1999 model year, Buell and Triumph, two representatives of extravagance, concentrated less on external values ​​than internal values ​​in their two revoluers, the Lightning X1 and Speed ​​Triple. Because one thing is clear: fun without a function can hardly be brought to men or women in the long term.
The British mainly relied on a significantly strengthened drive and implanted the Speed ​​Triple, the three-cylinder of the sporty Daytona model. A displacement advantage of 70 cm³ compared to the previous model promises not only an increased final output of now 108 HP, but also a better torque curve, especially in the middle speed range. In addition, the three exhaust manifolds are now connected by an interference pipe, which, in conjunction with the new throttle valve housings, should have a further increase in torque. In order to keep the thermal balance in balance, the Speed ​​Triple received a larger water cooler. On the chassis side, the British rely on the tried and tested and only used a somewhat softer spring on the rear shock absorber.
While all these changes are hardly noticeable externally in the English three-cylinder, the Americans are taking a much more radical path. According to the motto that progress must be visible, they present a new model that is recognizable at first glance. And to be on the safe side, it has also been given a new name. The Lightning X1 is thus a further evolutionary stage of the Lightning S1, which previously held the sporty flag of the American motorcycle manufacturer around company boss Eric Buell.
Injection instead of carburetor, small air scoops instead of huge bread boxes, suspension comfort instead of rigid frame feel, a bench that also deserves this name, and a vehicle rear made entirely of cast aluminum are the outstanding features of the youngest Buell family member. Unfortunately, not all that glitters is gold. At least in the case of the X1, the tuning of the 1200 Harley Sportster engine turns out to be not particularly successful. The V-Twin surprises on the MOTORRAD test bench with no less than 97 measured horse strengths, but the performance curve shows a considerable gap between 2000 and 3000 rpm. And it is precisely in this area that the mighty Vau should actually have its strength. Accelerating in high gear from the lower speed limit – unfortunately, with the Buell, nothing.
The rough fellow wants to be kept happy, preferably in the range between 4500 and 5500 tours. As soon as the tachometer has exceeded the 6000 mark, the previously impressive forward thrust is suddenly stopped. As if it had to fight against a wall made of rubber, the two-cylinder barely reached the red area at 7000 tours on its own. Despite the remarkable top performance, the X1 has to be agitated a lot in the five-speed gearbox due to the unfavorable performance characteristics. Long switching paths and imprecise ratcheting quickly spoil the fun.
The English engine is of a completely different nature. The performance drop of the old model at 5000 rpm has actually been reversed. The three-cylinder catapults the 219-kilogram machine forwards when it is already at idle. With measured 109 PS, the Triple seems almost overpowered, especially in the first two gears. Contemporaries who like to stay on the road with both wheels should definitely not make full use of the British woman’s acceleration potential. Less down-to-earth people, on the other hand, will find it a pleasure, as the hoarse hissing three-cylinder in connection with the six-speed gearbox, which is a bit bony, but can be shifted very precisely, satisfies almost all demands on acceleration, spontaneity and pulling power.
The Triumph chassis is satisfactory, but not entirely without blame. Handy, accurate and sufficiently stable, the triple driver feels just as comfortable on fast, well-developed country roads as it does on winding mountain roads with poor road surfaces. The softer rear suspension is hardly noticeable. The triple tail still reacts rather stubbornly, especially to short waves following one another, and passes these bumps on to the driver almost unfiltered via the sparsely padded seat bench.
Another weak point shows up at greater angles. Here the English woman loses some of her sovereignty and reacts wobbly and imprecisely to steering corrections of all kinds. The fault is to be found in the over-wide 190 rear tire on a six-inch rim. Good for an effective appearance, bad for driving behavior.
On the Buell, the revised rear suspension is having an effect. Measured against a Kawasaki ZRX 1100, it still does not work brilliantly, but compared to the previous year’s model, a significant improvement is noticeable. The X1 now filters out at least small bumps in the asphalt and no longer transmits rough blows unchecked into the pilot’s backbone.
A step forward in terms of stability. Thanks to additional struts on the frame mesh and a massive swing construction, the X1 runs straight ahead even at top speed and does not react with unpleasant pendulum movements when cornering. Despite the stability it has gained, the Buell has even increased its handiness, but has completely lost its aversion to tilting. Cornering – if not quite with the vigor of the Speed ​​Triple – is a real pleasure with this Buell.
The braking systems of the two opponents are also very suitable for this purpose. The Triumph stoppers are among the best there is in this class: great bite, easy to dose and still in control of the situation even when fully loaded. The huge single-pane system of the X1 is not quite as snappy, but can also be dosed well without showing any major weaknesses under increased load. The fact that the fork turns a little to the right when you grab it takes some getting used to, but it doesn’t have any further disturbing effect.
S.On the other hand, small things like the lid of the oil tank are still annoying with the X1. It takes hands like vices to pull out the rubber stopper on the dipstick. But you have to accept unpleasant side effects if you opt for the "slightly different" way of riding a motorcycle. With the Triumph a little less, with the Buell a little more.

2nd place: Lightning X1

2nd place There is no shame in losing out to Triumph. Especially since Buell has made a big leap forward technically and optically with the X1. Above all, the chassis is now working at a decent level, which is a lot of fun even on European roads. The German importer should, however, think about the unfortunate coordination of the injection system before the first models are delivered.

1st place: Speed ​​Triple

1st place Bravo Triumph. But the fact that the new Speed ​​Triple confidently secured the test victory against the Buell is not cause for joy. Congratulations are due to the English, as they have succeeded in making an even better motorcycle out of a good motorcycle with the modifications for the 1999 vintage. An insane engine, good chassis, great brakes and unique optics make the Speed ​​Triple a success across the board.

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