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Steam hammer on two wheels with two cylinders: Buell 1125 R with 146 hp.

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Driving report Buell 1125 R

Born to run

In 2008 Buell celebrated its 25th anniversary.

With the foundation of a new model family. The 1125 R, powered by a newly developed, water-cooled Rotax-V2, is the strongest and sportiest Buell that has ever been produced in series.

You don’t see the bean where it’s going. Can’t even guess the route. You throw yourself completely blind into the corkscrew, the corkscrew curve of Laguna Seca that plunges downhill like a waterfall. Then suddenly the road falls away from under you, as if someone had pulled the carpet away from under the wheels. If the turn-in point was optimal, the road catches the pilot a breathless blink of an eye later, precisely at the apex of the following right-hand bend.

Laguna Seca is an extremely challenging mountain-and-valley railway. Its tricky curves, compressions and secluded crests, such as those at the end of the start / finish, where full throttle and blind with true lean angle, very light front wheel and mighty heart pounding, demand full confidence in the motorcycle. It is a testament to the self-confidence that Buell chose this route for the presentation of the 1125 R. And the commitment of MotoGP to ride Jeremy McWilliams as test driver for the chassis setup shows how seriously you mean their sporty attitude.

Inner size

The Twin, completely redeveloped by Rotax, is a compact and modern design. And strong. 148 hp and 111 Nm torque are a word. If you believe the data in the brochure, the 1125 R was even four kilograms lighter than the air-cooled XB12S, from which the chassis seems to come at first glance. In fact, it is a new design that is stiffer and 4.5 kilograms lighter. The inside of the frame profiles serve as air guiding elements along which the side-mounted coolers dissipate their heat to the rear. The rocker no go along functions as an oil reservoir because the oil tank for the dry sump lubrication is now integrated in the engine.

On the first of the two test days, however, the 1125 R did not take the 1125 R straight to the racetrack, but instead took Highway Number One along the west coast. Sounds great, but at first it meant agonizing traffic in a row, an endless no-overtaking ban, and mobile homes. And always governed by speed limits. 35, 40, 45 miles, at best 50. On such strolling tours, the sporty sitting posture with relatively narrow knee angles turns out to be moderately comfortable in the long run. Especially since the hot engine exhaust is aimed precisely at the right foot. And the Rotax-V2 also protested against these unworthy conditions with constant travel jerks that only disappear above 4000 rpm.

And rough concentricity below 3000 rpm. That’s just the price you pay for a lively, easy-turning characteristic with low flywheels and large throttle and valve diameters. To do this, the gears engage precisely, but noisily. No, this drive is not made for strolling. Those who prefer the low-speed hum are probably better served with the high-flywheel, air-cooled Buells. This engine wants to live, turn and be challenged.

The American Way


Photos: Buenos Dias, Ratering

The Buell 1125 R prefers flat, curved country roads.

So quickly changed direction and into the deserted hinterland, onto a winding, troubled side street. With a steep 69 degree steering head angle and a very short 84 millimeter caster, the 1125 R has the same extreme chassis geometry as the XB12S. Ergo resembles its air-cooled sister in terms of handling. She also wants to be persuaded to turn in and stands up when braking and on bumps. Even if it is much less pronounced than with the XB12S. The whopping 60 millimeters longer wheelbase should have a soothing effect. During the ride across the scarred California highway, the shock absorber acted taut, sometimes a bit unyielding on hard edges. The new Showa fork with 47 millimeter dip tubes, on the other hand? how fully adjustable the shock absorber from the same manufacturer ?? ironed away asphalt wrinkles perfectly.

Even asphalt is more the domain of the US athlete. As soon as the radii of the curves became wider, their surface smoother and the speed faster, the 1125 R pulled its course more smoothly and gave an idea that there was more to it. Because the twin also revived here noticeably. The engine, which is rigidly screwed into the frame, lifts itself neatly out of the starting blocks from as little as 3000 rpm. And once 5000 tours have been done, the V2 snaps forward freely. Whereby the throttle response could still be noticeably refined below this mark. In return, the power plant below is quite cultivated. However, because the prospect of a night in a county jail is unattractive, the exploration of motor potential had to wait until the next day. So the tension increased before the second day of driving in Laguna Seca.

It started with fog. So dense that at the highest point of the route, the corkscrew, it ran off the visor in small droplets. So there is enough time to slowly knead the Pirelli Diablo Corsa III in the first turn and to get to know the track in peace. The technicians had changed the set-up to be tight for the day on the racetrack. As far as steering behavior, feedback and balance are concerned, the 1125 R presented itself much tidier thanks to the changed suspension setting. Most of the test machines ??? all of them still pre-production copies ?? carried fork springs with a spring rate of 10 kg / cm. Two Buells, on the other hand, were equipped with 9.5 springs and a more tightly designed compression stage, which should later correspond to the series status. And now it goes on with such a specimen. The sun has now wiped the fog aside. Track and tires are heated up, time to let the Rotax-V2 off the leash. attack.

Curve discussion


Photos: Buenos Dias, Ratering

The corkscrew is far from the only challenge …

And holla, from 5000 rpm the twin marches off properly, pulls on as lightly as energetically. Thanks to its low flywheel mass, it turns lively up to the highest positions. Vibrations? Available in a well-dosed measure. From 7000 rpm, the tone of the two-cylinder, which has a high compression ratio of 12.3 to one, changes into angry and hard, almost aggressive hammering. In doing so, he delivers his power completely evenly, does not give up until the red area at 10500 rpm. Shift up early, take curves a gear higher and then start to power off from middle positions from the apex? This is due to this V2 with its even, high-torque performance characteristics. The throttle response, which had been reprimanded the day before in the first third of the speed range, works perfectly from the middle speed tidy. The V2 hangs on the gas cleanly and spontaneously. The 1125 R has no problems bringing the power to the ground when exiting a curve. On the one hand, it keeps the line accurately when accelerating out.

And thanks to the rocker arm, which is around 60 millimeters longer than the XB12S, and the sticky Pirellis, there is plenty of grip when accelerating in an inclined position. When turning and braking in an inclined position, an upright moment was still noticeable and some physical effort was necessary. But stability and feedback clearly benefited from the softer fork springs. And: The Buell chassis responded promptly to changes in settings. Which is all the more gratifying because the fine fork has an easily usable adjustment tidy. The shock absorber, which was directly hinged to save weight and not via deflection, also played its part as inconspicuously as it did well. So the Buell plows quite confidently through the powerful compressions as when approaching the Corkscrew. In some places, such as the hill at the end of the start-finish mentioned above, twitching handlebar ends indicate that a steering damper could be a sensitive option. It remains to be seen whether the side-mounted coolers have enough reserves for hot days.


Photos: Buenos Dias, Ratering

… that Laguna Seca has to offer.

On the way, the water temperature was already around 100 degrees. The groovy pleasure of letting the Buell fly eerily diagonally around the course and making gentle braking drifts with it thanks to the vacuum-assisted anti-hopping clutch doesn’t diminish that. Especially since the powerful single-disc brake with the eight-piston caliper borrowed from the Buell Racer XBRR is always in control, at least on this track. Your latent desire for stoppies, on the other hand, is more likely to be attributed to the short wheelbase and the high front wheel load. On the engine side, the 1125 R is on par with the established twin elite and yet far enough away from the mainstream and unmistakably Buell. Which makes it very exciting to see where it will rank in comparison to the competition.

The motor


Photos: Buenos Dias, Ratering

Optical illusion: The high-acting motor is very compact, the swing arm is mounted in the motor.

The 1125 cm³ V2 was completely redesigned, so it is not a derivative of the Aprilia RSV 1000 engine, which was also built by Rotax. Buell’s development specification was not about the displacement, but a certain peak performance and characteristic. Based on this, the engine developers calculated the displacement and the minimum size of the gearbox and clutch. The result was those 1125 cm³.

The stroke of 67.5 millimeters is the same as that of the Aprilia RSV 1000, which requires a bore of 103 millimeters. This resulted in 72 degrees as the narrowest possible cylinder angle. Despite the narrow 14 degree valve angle, the large bore allows large valve diameters of 41.3 millimeters on the inlet and 35.0 millimeters on the outlet side, which promote performance. Engine developer Stefan Leiber aimed for the straightest possible drop channels on the inlet side. The throttle valve diameter measures an enormous 61 millimeters. The valves are not controlled directly via bucket tappets, as in the Aprilia, but via short rocker arms, which, according to Leiber, reduces the moving masses in the valve train by 30 percent. This reduces the valve spring force from 1050 to 880 Newtons.

The dry sump lubrication works with two pumps, and the oil tank is located in the lower front of the motor housing. Nevertheless, the powerful engine is more compact and at the same time a bit lighter than the Mille engine. The distance between the crankshaft and the transmission output shaft has been shortened by 25 millimeters thanks to the offset shafts.

Three balancing shafts take care of the mass balancing. The third shaft is that of the water pump. Your drive pinion is provided with an imbalance that is supposed to compensate for the moment of inertia caused by the misalignment of the connecting rod. Leiber also attached great importance to the lowest possible flywheel mass, in order to give the very large-volume engine high revving, which does not end until 10500 rpm. The anti-hopping clutch, which is supported by negative pressure from the intake ducts, is operated via a slave cylinder integrated in the clutch cover. Interesting by the way: The valve clearance only needs to be adjusted every 20,000 kilometers.

Technical specifications


Photos: Buenos Dias, Ratering

The 1125 R mixes classic Buell design with common style elements.

Engine:
water-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 72-degree V-engine, injection, Ø 61 mm, regulated catalytic converter, hydraulically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, toothed belt.
Bore x stroke 103.0 x 67.5 mm
Cubic capacity 1125 cm³
Compression ratio 12.3: 1
Rated output 109.0 kW (148 hp) at 9800 rpm
Max. Torque 111 Nm at 8000 rpm

Landing gear:
Bridge frame made of aluminum, upside-down fork, Ø 47 mm, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum, central spring strut, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, internal disc brake at the front, Ø 375 mm, eight-piston Fixed calipers, rear disc brake, Ø 240 mm, double-piston floating caliper.
Cast aluminum wheels 3.50 x 17; 5.50 x 17
Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 180/55 ZR 17

Mass and weight:
Wheelbase 1387 mm, steering head angle 69.0 degrees, caster 84 mm, spring travel f / r 120/127 mm, seat height 775 mm, weight with a full tank 207 kg, tank capacity / reserve 21.2 / 3.0 liters.

Two year guarantee
Colors blue, black
Price 12,499 euros
Additional costs 350 euros

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