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Long-term test Buell Lightning XB12S (interim result)

Nothing off the shelf

Buell machines are certainly not mass-produced. All the more interesting the endurance test, which should provide information about the durability of the bumper twin. Here are some initial findings.

Japanese who can do it. This is the common pigeonhole thinking when it comes to quality and workmanship.

Although this assessment is often confirmed in reality, including in many of MOTORRAD’s endurance tests. And the Americans? They may be clever at marketing, but you don’t necessarily trust them to have really solid products.
Which is why there is initially skepticism when one B.uell is tackling the 50,000-kilometer distance. Especially since the mighty V-Zwo is not just a Harley derivative, but now has a whopping 100 hp despite the antique two-valve bumper technology. All attention. Will it work well in the long run? Doubts are also
therefore not entirely unfounded, because
Buell’s earlier years of construction stretched their wings in rows? or their connecting rods from the housing. But a lot has happened in terms of workmanship at the Harley subsidiary since the introduction of the current generation with the characteristic aluminum frame.
Which the MOTORRAD endurance test machine seemed to confirm, which scrubbed its kilometers down without any problems and inconspicuously from the start. While renowned colleagues in the long-term fleet test ?? Ducati, MV, even BMW? regularly for troubleshooting or damage-
repaired in the workshop, the Buell ran very inconspicuously day after day without any defects or failure symptoms.
But it probably had its individual quirks, not every driver could make friends with the idiosyncratic American planer. That the clutch needs a lot of power: okay, a matter of getting used to. The hard and noisy gearbox is more annoying. “Even worse than the BMW boxer, ”said tester Stefan Kaschel, horrified. With a little sensitivity, the worst blows when changing gears can be mitigated. There is agreement on another point: the loud fan is simple
just embarrassing. The thing always starts at the wrong time. For example, if you like her colleague Monika Häring on the top of the pass
Want to enjoy the alpine panorama. And in summer the caustic whine drowns out even the engine noise.
That’s not an issue on the racetrack. There, tester Werner Koch noticed that the injection sucks in air during hard braking if the tank is not full to the brim. It is uncomfortable when the engine refuses to work at the apex of the curve. This obviously never happened on the country road, none of the drivers complained about this problem. The low consumption at the pump ensured that the faces were happy. So far, the Buell has consumed an average of 5.6 liters of Super Plus per 100 kilometers, a gratifyingly good value in comparison with similarly powerful machines. Less pleasant when you get stuck in spite of the economical use of fuel. After the reserve lamp lights up, there are barely 50 kilometers in it, then the last drop is used up.
Most of the entries in the logbook, however, concern the chassis of the eccentric Buell. How the sometimes quite stubborn steering behavior is to be classified, there are quite different-
common interpretations. Some drivers can’t handle it at all, while Monika Schulz proves it in the XB12S
thinks that metal can live: "Such a Buell is just human." And therefore has certain sensitivities depending on how things are going on the day. When it is pleasantly warm outside and the environment is comfortable, the Lightning runs like oiled lightning. If, on the other hand, it is cool, the street
bumpy, she seems listless, lousy. The driver has to pay for it. The Buell definitely doesn’t like cold, it needs cozy warmth. Just not too much.
You know the fan.
After a cold start, the V-Twin shakes itself unwillingly and needs plenty of time before it takes on the gas cleanly. The long warm-up phase could perhaps be interpreted as an educational measure, because the lubricant stored in the swing arm should be warmed up carefully. And also checked regularly. Buell experts report that oil consumption increases exponentially when the oil level drops below the minimum. So every now and then pull the fiddly dipstick out of the swingarm.
There are various theories about how to give the driving characteristics that take getting used to, which are certainly due to the unconventional framework concept and radical geometry their cause, there are various theories, ranging from voodoo evocations to the choice of tires. For the former we do not give a guarantee of success, but for the exchange of the unsuitable series tires for significantly better harmonizing ones (see below).
Despite the little ailments, the Buell made a very healthy impression to date. Nothing rattles, no sign of aging. In the logbook there are entries such as: "The older the bigger." Premature euphoria? Shortly before reaching the 30,000 mark on the odometer, the Lightning no longer wants. Slaps and bangs as if the end is imminent. The workshop considers a defective candle to be the culprit. If it is wrong, however, the same symptoms reappear shortly afterwards. A defective ignition coil is probed during the second attempt at repair. However, it can’t be, because the two-cylinder is currently running as a single-cylinder again at times. Surely nothing will be serious? The explanation will follow soon in MOTORRAD.

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Long-term test Buell Lightning XB12S (interim result)
Nothing off the shelf

Driver’s opinion: Werner Koch, test editor – Buell ?? I think it’s good

As the Swabians say: For those who like it, it’s the highest. When one of these elemental forces
carry the combustion engine through the landscape on a wave of power and thunder,
friendship is fast
closed. Yes, I know, neither test bench values ​​nor driving performance can reflect the subjective driving experience. But which measurement protocol can depict the fun of the fat sound and the colossal earthquake experience of the 1200 V2?

Driver‘s opinion: Monika Schulz, deputy editor-in-chief – a person like you and me

There are motorbikes that pull you through every depression. Not the XB12S: bad vibes
on the handlebars, wet and cold weather, lousy road conditions ?? something like that transfers one to one to driving behavior. Because a Buell is only human. Sometimes brittle goat who pretends to have never heard of curves, then full
the daredevil who can’t go jagged enough in an inclined position. The nice thing about it: After the crisis, Buell is still driving 17 times better than before.

Driver opinion: Rainer Froberg, freelancer and Harley freak – lots of rough edges

With a Buell there are really only two options: you love it or you hate it. Riding a Buell is a different kind of motorcycle riding, pure emotion. For example, when you casually bubble through the landscape at 2500 revolutions. Anyone who approaches it rationally, is bothered by a stiff clutch or the idiosyncratic steering, can never be happy with the American roadster. A Buell has a lot of rough edges? and the
is also a good thing.

Damage overview

The Buell Lightning XB12S suffered major damage to the first 30,000 kilos-
meters from. The Ami-Twin saw the workshop very seldom, at least at the beginning of the MOTORCYCLE endurance test, as Buell has meanwhile extended the inspection intervals to 8000 kilometers. So far, major repairs have not been necessary, but there were still a few minor details and anomalies that are worth mentioning and which were rectified during the inspections. In any case, the broken toothed belt, which meant the end of a business trip, was annoying. Here is a brief overview of the extraordinary incidents and repairs during the first half.

Tire recommendation

Not all radial tires approved on the Buell harmonize with the extreme chassis geometry of the XB12S. That’s why MOTORRAD took off on the winding Rheinring in the French-
sian Colmar in search of the right rubbers for the
crisp Harley offshoot. The tire pressure was adjusted to the test conditions at 2.3 and 2.5 bar, and the rebound and compression damping of the chassis was trimmed for stability. Driving style and cornering speed are less oriented towards racing demands, so that the results for the brisk ride on winding country roads can be transferred.

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