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Fundamentally – 1996 Buell S1 Lightning with 23 Miles !

When introduced in 1996, the S1 Lightning was a little easier on the bank account and slightly improved in the power-to-weight department.  Way back to basics, this all original Lightning has just 23 miles and needs only a new collector.

1996 Buell S1 Lightning for sale on eBay

Buell's second production motorcycle, the S1 incorporates some usual Buell features like the 1203cc Sporty engine with belt drive, patented isoplanar engine mounts, tube frame, with horizontal pull-shock and muffler.  The later rim-diameter front disk brake is hinted at but this single disk is more conventional.  Undersized bikini fairing, fuel tank, and passenger seat all indicate a short-haul fun machine, and the 101 hp / 95 ft.-lbs. drivetrain made shifting the 5-speed more or less optional.

Right down to the rarely seen plastic rear fender, this Buell really is new-old-stock.  The owner indicates it was originally in the collection of Robert Petersen, publisher of Hot Rod, Motorcyclist, and many other magazines.  Pictures show it to be spotless through the glare.  From the eBay auction:

This is the cleanest Buell you will ever find. It has just 23 miles on yes 23 it had 11 on it when it left the Peterson museum and was serviced and they test rode it for 12 miles. I have not started it but the factory battery still has a charge. The fuel was drained. This bike is as it left the factory. Not a mark on it anywhere and the paint is as bright as it was at the day it left the factory as its never been outside.

Buell had their ups and downs, but a surprisingly long and innovative run from the Battletwin to the 1125R some 22 years later.  The S1 was only made for a few years, and around 5,000 examples.  Outdated when introduced, the S1 vibrated to the potato-potato beat, and was somewhat overweight for being naked.  But beloved by some for its brawny basic-ness.  No doubt there is a H-D dealer or collector who'll want this first-year S1 for the display stand...

-donn

3 Comments

  • A 12 mile test ride, and all without ever going outside? Remarkable. Not trying to be too harsh, 23 miles is essentially new in any event.

    I’ve always loved the styling on these bikes. The S1 White Lightning, in particular, remains a bike on my version of The List. Always admired Mr. Buell’s work, but haven’t ever owned one myself. Yet.

    I’m sure this will find it’s way to someone who will love it. God speed. Literally, a museum piece from a rather well-respected museum, no less.

    I recall a few guys on various Buells (mostly S1s) that would show up in a group to track days back in the Midwest in the 2000s, mostly to Grattan and Gingerman. Those bikes weren’t the fastest thing out there, but they sure were cool. What a great sound to hear at the track! I couldn’t help admire them as I rode by on my faster (but infinitely less interesting) GSXR. Note: admiring the bike the other guy is riding is bad for lap times.

  • Always hated the ugly ass air intake, I think they could have come up with a better design.

    • They did – just remove the bread box and fit what ever you like
      It was purely there for some design rule and they are very rare because people couldn’t wait to bin the thing 😉

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