Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Best Buell XB12R Firebolt Review

Yes the Buell XB12R Firebolt engine’s crude and lumpy. But that’s part of its charm. Nothing could be further than the in-line fours the Japanese power their sports motorcycles with. This 1203cc air cooled, narrow angle V-twin is an old-school charmer with plenty of brawny torque. The refinement’s not there or the manic top end power but it’s immensely satisfying to use and it digs in and drives out of corners superbly.
Always a Buell bugbear, although they claim issues have been sorted out. Older bikes had major problems, newer ones only seem to have minor niggles. The finish on some parts chucks in the towel at the first sign of winter and electrical glitches are not unheard of. No match for Honda.
As a sports bike or even a track day tool, the Buell XB12R Firebolt’s handling works. Steering’s so rapid you look and the motorcycle turns. But it manages this without being unstable too – testament that Buell’s innovations work. On the road it can be a handful. Instant power, fast steering and firm suspension make it a committed rather than relaxed ride.
The Buell XB12R Firebolt’s price is competitive compared to other litre sports bikes – but not good next to the 600s which have similar / better performance. It’s on par with other character machines like the Tuono and Speed Triple. Running costs are moderate including depreciation as long as you don’t rack up too many miles.
The latest sports motorcycles are pretty well equipped – the Buell XB12R Firebolt is somewhat behind. There’s a couple of bungee hooks on the rear seat until, basic clocks and not much else. Being part of Harley-Davidson there’s a big range of extras from carbon parts to performance exhausts and air filters.


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