Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in “Buell”

Torqued Peak – 2008 Buell XB12R Firebolt

Donn 1

With Buell’s last H-D derived engine and quite a bit of homegrown tech, the XB12R is a statement both parked and under way.  Today’s comes in the classy white with blue accents, looking exciting and collectible.

2008 Buell XB12R Firebolt for sale on eBay

Buell’s trademark Thunderstorm developments comprehensively rebuilt the 1203cc pushrod engine, incorporating fuel injection and an airbox.  The narrow V didn’t have much room for intake stuff anyway, so the fuel tank is more of an intake cover and the 3.7 gallons of go-go juice is in the chassis cavities.  The 103 ponies are dry-sumped as well, with oil storage in the swingarm.  The snug 1320mm wheelbase makes for razor sharp handling, but does leave room for fully adjustable Showa forks and monoshock.  The XB12R also has the first example of the front brake disk attached to the wheel rim rather than mounted to a hub, perhaps the ultimate evolution of the Zero Torque Load brake.

This collector looks to have taken outstanding care of his Firebolt, with stating just 10,500 miles and showing no incidents or garage rash.  Reflector and turn signal acreage have been reduced, and the massive stock muffler replaced by a polished Jardine unit.  Notes from the eBay auction –

Beautiful example of a 25th Anniversary Edition – This bike is just about perfect in every way. Recent service with fresh fluids, never down, a few tasteful mods like a Jardine slip on and ECU mapped to the pipe for optimal performance. I am a Buell collector and have owned 30 or so different Buell’s. This was 1 of 7 that I own currently.

Rarity might be a double-edged sword for the XB12R, with low production combined with an interruption making some parts harder to find than others – fortunately the fan and knowledge bases are robust.  Buell soldiers on with their 1190 series, made to order in chassis ranging from a cruiser to desert racer.  But performance-minded friends of the H-D Evo engine will help keep bikes like the Firebolt on the road long after this 25th Anniversary Edition is having its 25th birthday.


One Response.

Not Like The Other Girls – 2003 Buell XB9R Firebolt

Norman 11

Picture 3 of 23

2003 Buell XB-9R Firebolt

I’ll admit, it’s not allll that rare. The remnants of what could’ve been one of the most unique sport bike brands in history are littered all over the place. Parts are available too. A couple die-hards private companies make replacements/upgrades and St. Paul Harley Davidson still pretty much sells everything you need to keep these on the road…which is actually not that much. Anyways, what’s actually pretty hard to come by is a Harley-powered Buell in good condition. It’s a different group of unsophisticated goons who butchered these than the group of unsophisticated goons who butchered many of our favorite 90s bikes but, nonetheless, too many of these can grouped into the write-off pile today.

Picture 8 of 23

The Lightning variant has always been a little bit more palatable than the Firebolt to consumers but I feel the Firebolt look is starting to grow. The Lightning fit the naked bike description more squarely while the Firebolt was a big departure from the normal design language of the time. One must realize at the end of the day, Buells weren’t bred for the track and they were air-cooled. That lets/forces you to strip the fairings and posture up a bit in the seat.

This seems to be in excellent cosmetic condition and is finished in one of the two most desirable colors: red or blue. It seems like there is not even any dirt in the cooling fins which is a great sign.

Picture 9 of 23

If you could question anything about the Buell it was the design. The overall performance wasn’t groundbreaking but it was more than enough to clearly distinguish it as a successful sports machine. A souped up Harley Evo delivered it’s signature torque down low but new heads, throttle bodies, a tank-sized intake, and a valved exhaust all contributed to the 92 hp at the crank. Fully adjustable Showa suspension carried the weight while the single rotor/caliper and wheel design lowered the leftovers of the Showas.

Although the engineering was new and many parts had more than one function, the design was still fairly simple. Most DIY mechanics should be able to complete common maintenance and fix the common issues. You’ll just have to get used to draining oil from the swingarm and only getting 1 set of brake pads.

Picture 11 of 23

Some of the most unique and innovative designs have historically come from small builders who are allowed to build and test what they want. The radical designs always receive a healthy dose of skepticism, as they should, but not all of them are bad and that’s certainly not always the reason that they go under. Sometimes you just have bad timing. The Financial Crisis took millions of victims and Buell was merely swept up in the wake.

We’re all enthusiasts here. I think the reason most of you all read this site is because you think the modern stuff is cool and comfortable but that’s not what tickles your fancy. Speed-induced adrenaline is something you like but you know there’s more to it. I think these are fantastic bikes to ride and own because they offer one of the most unique experiences in motorcycling. Listening to the brutish v-twin and it’s deep roar as the revs… eh I’m not going to do these any justice with my cliche adjectives. The real thing is always better than the magazines. Go ride one. You don’t have to like it.

With 4K miles you’ll be hard pressed to find one with lower miles or in better condition. However, you should be able to get some movement on the price. I think the market isn’t there yet so deals can be had. It’s low-risk addition the collection that anyone will respect. If it’s good enough for Barber it should be good for us!

My questions to the audience:

  1. What were your first impressions after riding an air-cooled Buell?
  2. How do you think Buells are aging?
  3. Where you think values will go in the medium-long term?

Thanks for reading!


11 Responses.

Factory Authorized – 1999 Buell X1 Carbon Kevlar

Donn 4

Buell’s final Lightning was a substantial update to the S1, and incorporated a neat alloy seat subframe, Thunderstorm engine mods, and a few limited editions, like today’s super clean Carbon Kevlar example.

1999 Buell X1 Carbon Kevlar for sale on eBay

Peak power wasn’t the Sportster engine’s strongest suit, but stump pulling torque made the most of the dry sump and digital fuel injection.   There’s more to the steel tube chassis than on the S1, and the alloy swingarm is fitted with a better Showa pull shock.  Inverted Showa forks are up front, along with the 340mm single disc brake.  H-D’s Kevlar drive belt matches the carbon kevlar fairings and tank cover, though the voluminous rear mudguard didn’t get the treatment.

Just 9,100 miles from new, the blue frame and wheels on this X1 play well with the carbon tank cover, scoop and fender.  The oversized factory intake has been reduced to a conical filter, the shock is safe in a beauty cover, and the muffler is polished.  History, condition and commentary could have been a great part of this eBay auction, but the seller did post links to two walkarounds, – here – is the running one.

Most X1’s arrive more experienced than this carefully tended example, and number 69 of 250 is the first Carbon Kevlar we’ve seen.  One thing the 45-degree V-twin didn’t do was make designers jump through hoops to achieve a quick handling wheelbase.  As you’d expect from a young company with plenty of oversight, Buell presented an X1 that was a little more mature than the S1, but didn’t forget the fun factor.  The carbon treatment makes this one an interesting and rare animal.


4 Responses.

Rx for Boredom – 2014 Erik Buell Racing 1190RX

Donn 0

Erik Buell extended his nine lives right into the CAD/CAM era, with the limited production 1190RX looking modern, sharp and well engineered.  Today’s offering looks excellent despite one puzzling brush with reality.

2014 Erik Buell Racing 1190RX for sale on eBay

Toned down a hair from the racing 1190SX, the RX still claimed 10 more hp out of the Rotax-based twin, and reviewers enjoyed the wider torque band.  A taut front end design helped keep the wheelbase to 55.5 inches, with nicer Showa forks and monoshock.  The signature zero-torque -load front disk uses an 8-piston caliper, with its own cooling ducts to keep brake temps within limits.  4.5 gallons of go-go juice is carried in the frame, keeping the c-g in place as the fuel gets used.  185 hp on two wheels is an exercise in countermeasures, and the 1190RX uses electronic fuel injection in concert with 21-step traction/wheelie control and a vacuum slipper clutch.

Presented  by a Las Vegas dealer, this EBR shows under 5K miles and looks great save one faux pas by the nearside mirror.  Possibly a replacement could be had from Buell, or a used part or repair might be economical.  No history provided but there is a little borrowed ad copy in the eBay auction –

More than three decades of racing, engineering, and manufacturing experience goes into every motorcycle we make. You won’t be disappointed upon setting eyes on our newest creation – the 2014 EBR 1190RX. It has been built from start-to-finish with pride, joy and a relentless passion to bring you another world-class sport bike from the heart of America.
EBR Motorcycles are unlike anything else on the road or track. What makes them so different is what makes them so distinctly better.

The 1190RX was priced competitively for its performance, but still was a stretch for a “new” brand.  They’ve had their ups and downs, but the website shows new models for 2022.  So much innovation in this all-American story that it would be a mistake to count EBR out.  Listed for about half of what they cost new, this 1190RX might be a singular ride and even a bargain.


Extreme Bravery Required – 2014 EBR 1190RX Race Bike

Mike 4

Brought to our attention by long time collector, reader and contributor to the site, this EBR is perfect for another Track Day Tuesday outing (even though it is a day early). Claimed to be derived directly from a WSBK team as we beg for more details, the pictures show a EBR 1190 modified for track usage but little in the way of provenance. We know that EBR did indeed go racing in 2014 through part of the 2015 season, with riders such as Larry Pegram and Niccolò Canepa, so there must be at least some of these bikes still around. There were still other areas in which the 1190 competed as a customer race bike for privateers, making the pool of available bikes somewhat larger; perhaps less prestigious than a full factory effort, but still quite capable. Let’s look through some pictures:

2014 EBR 1190RX Race Bike for sale on eBay

From the seller:
This is an 2014 EBR (Buell) 1190RX that came from the WSBK team. Suter clutch, reverse shifting. some unknown engine work with RS parts. Bike vin is xxxxxxracexxxx. This bike is very fast and not for street or highway use. Race Bike only frame as from the factory. I have a bunch of parts to go with bike. Just serviced. Lithium battery New Tires front and back. Fresh oil and fresh coolant. Bike is race ready. IM for more info. 8500.00 picked up. Motorcycle is in New Rochelle NY. 10801

Erik Buell enjoyed a tumultuous time in the motorcycle industry; from red-headed step child of The Harley-Davidson Motor Company to breaking out on his own with Erik Buell Racing (EBR) in 2009. India-based Hero Motor Corp purchased a share in EBR in 2013, but by mid-2015 the EBR party was over; receivership was the only way out and the dream of an American sport bike was gone. Today’s Track Day Tuesday offering is an EBR that deserves to be out on the tarmac, thundering out of corners and bringing a grin to whomever is lucky enough to ride it. I would love to know more about the history of this particular bike, but that mystery – and discovery – awaits the next owner willing to pony up the $8,500 asking price. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!


4 Responses.

Carbon Drag – 2012 EBR 1190RS Carbon

Norman 4

Picture 1 of 12

2012 EBR 1190RS Carbon Edition

After Buell had made it out of his garage and struck gold Harley, it’s safe to say he had saved up a couple of bucks along the way. He was tired of Harley management tying everyone up with red tape and decided to get back to his roots: designing and building bikes on his own terms. With an idea, confidence, and a couple extra zeros to his name, Erik Buell started EBR. Erik really only had time to produce 1 architecture at EBR which was used for the all the models that were released under the brand. Today, we have the cream of the crop that came out of East Troy, the EBR 1190 RS Carbon. The 1190 RX is the fully faired base edition which is a monster in itself. The 1190 RS came with racing-focused upgrades and the Carbon Editions were essentially the actual race bike. Roughly a 100 RS models came out of the factory and a sliver of those were draped in carbon fiber but no one is sure exactly how few were made.

Picture 12 of 12

As made pretty evident from the pictures and name, the Carbon Edition came with full carbon body work. Very cool for 2012 and pretty easy to explain. However, the coolest carbon bit on this motorcycle is the brake cooling duct. Remember how we said this was a race-ready bike? The cooling duct kept the brakes in the operating window and maintained great feel over a race distance. On an EBR, especially on an 1190 RS, you’re going to need that due to the unmatched front end feel you can get out of this bike. The single caliper, rim mounted rotor, and magnesium wheels reduce unsprung mass over the front wheel and allow racers to trailbrake much deeper into corners. Just watch Danny Eslick race the 1190 in AMA and you’ll see what I mean.

Picture 4 of 12

Aside from the Carbon drag, The 1190RS also had a few chassis and engine upgrades. You have an Ohlins TTX with a remote adjuster on the rear and an Ohlins fork with the race cartridges up front. I’ve had the pleasure of riding a set of their road and track cartridges and those are incredible. One can only imagine the competence of full race cartridges. The motor received Carillo rods, CP pistons, higher lift cams, titanium valves, and a slipper. Did I forget to mention all the RS editions were handbuilt?

Picture 6 of 12

Forgive the turn signals, high beams, and horn.

From the seller:

2012 1190RS Carbon Fiber Edition. #73 of less than 100 ever made. (FB does not have the correct model and miles) Not many out there still in this condition. Made in USA. Over 175HP. Under 25 miles. Clear Title in hand. Its a little bit hard to let it go. But It needs to be driven and enjoyed more than I can give. Its under 400lbs. With magnesium rims. And needs nothing. Must go to a person that understands what this is. Asking 30k obo Located in New Rochelle NY 10801. Sold as is where is. No low ballers please I know what I have and not hard up to sell. Call Steve 914-576-3332 for more info. Check out our feedback. Buy from a trusted source.

Picture 8 of 12

The technological innovation on this bike is arguably the coolest thing about it. A small of team of engineers were able to pull together something that was able to compete with the big 5 on tracks. Not only did they build something that was competitive, they built something totally different so there wasn’t an opportunity to peek at a neighbor’s test to see what they came up with. Aside from being different, it bucked the notion that all things American were heavy and sluggish. I would absolutely love to hear stories about what the other folks on the paddock were saying about this thing as it crossed the finish line.

As far as pricing goes, it’s tough to say where these should land. A carbon edition recently made it as high as $17,000 on BaT in May 2020. Our seller is looking for $30,000 which isn’t totally unreasonable as you have all the ingredients for a future collectible: low miles, rarity, racing history, innovation, and a story. Buells and EBRs are still relatively new so they’ll likely need some time before they get to ride the value curve. It’s certainly fair to say some of the early model Buells are starting to receive that recognition they deserve.

Thanks for reading!


4 Responses.

Track Twin – 2003 Buell XB12R Firebolt Track Bike

Norman 0

Image 6 - 2003 Buell XB12R

2003 Buell XB12R Firebolt Track Bike

Motorcycling is something that people do out of passion. Most of us have a passion for riding but only a few have a passion to build and even less are any good at it. Of those who build, only a few can build something new and different. That’s what made Erik Buell so special.  He was an enthusiast who loved to race and engineer motorcycles that ended up making it in the big leagues. After many iterations, it’s fair to say most know him for his XB line of motorcycles that he built during his time at Harley Davidson. Today, we have an example of one his great designs that was taken one step further. A well-preserved Buell XB12R Firebolt track bike.

Image 11 - 2003 Buell XB12R

There’s a lot to digest here.  A stock Buell XB is already an interesting bike. One thing that makes them particularly interesting is actually the philosophy that governed the design of the XB. One of those philosophies is that it had to be a really good street bike. Big torque and comfortable ergonomics were key. However, many of Buell’s designs were brilliant because they brought new innovations that made them great track weapons.

Image 61 - 2003 Buell XB12R I won’t go through all of the quirks on the XB as I trust most of you have listened to the podcasts and seen the Youtube videos. The one thing I do want to mention that really made this a great track bike is the front end. At the top, you have fully adjustable Showas that very competent and easy to work on. Moving down, you have the rim-mounted disc and single 6 pot caliper. The use of a single disc/caliper lowers the unsprung weight. The rim-mounted disc allows for a lighter hub and spokes so you have less gyrospcopic inertia at the wheel. During corner entry, the lack of unsprung weight and inertia gives you loads of front end feel and more importantly, confidence. If you have a proper pair and ride this on the right road you can see for yourself.

Image 11 - 2003 Buell XB12R

As far as modifications go, you have the standard changes for a Buell track bike. Chain conversion, track fairings, and a kill switch. The folks who raced this went above and beyond with the engine modifications and race ECU to get every last bit of power out of the motor. The best bit is the factory race muffler. Almost worth their weight in gold at this point, this is what makes the Buell stand out to the common man. It’s weird but incredibly satisfying to hear the lopey v-twin shoot out of corners.

Image 1 - 2003 Buell XB12R

This is certainly an accomplished race bike and I’m sure the owner has many stories to pass down to the future buyer. Some of those stories will explain the battle scars this bike carries but no track bike is perfect so consider that when assessing value. Also, the seller mentions the bike has sat for a number of years which is probably a bigger concern but that doesn’t affect Buells more than other bikes. I’ve sat for 12 hours today and I feel like I won’t start tomorrow morning. Buell motors are Harley motors so they aren’t rocket science. There’s an incredibly strong community that that can help you through any questions and parts are easy to come by on the forums or from Harley.

At $3,950, the value won’t exist for every buyer. You have to be there for the story and appreciate the efforts of someone who wasn’t afraid to cut his own path. Or maybe you want something interesting to toss in the trailer for classic track days. After all, this is almost 20 years old.


Potato, Potato, Potato – 2001 Buell X1 Lightning

Norman 5


Image 61 - 2001 Buell

2001 Buell X1 Lightning

In the early 90s, Harley Davidson realized they needed to round out their cruiser/touring-focused lineup  with an offering that allowed the company to cut itself a slice of the rapidly growing sport bike market. By acquiring Buell, a company started by an ex-Harley engineer who was building race bikes on his own, HD wandered where they never had before. The X1 Lightning was one of their first attempts to play in the sport bike space before Erik Buell really went wild with his low center of gravity and multi-function parts designs. As intriguing as some of Buell’s later designs are, the X1 capitalizes on what is great about the simple design of a naked motorcycle while also being totally unique.

Image 1 - 2001 Buell

Overall condition seems really good for a 21 year old bike. Paint is fresh and the polished rims are still in great shape.

Image 91 - 2001 Buell

The flat white gauges accent the white racing stripe that goes up the windscreen and tank. Very retro look that has aged incredibly well.

9,776 miles is low low low for the engine. The Evolution motor which was the starting point for the X1’s engine is one of the greatest powerplants ever made. Simple and dead reliable. Just keep you fluids fresh and you shouldn’t have any issues as far as the motor goes.

Image 101 - 2001 Buell

Polish the subframe to match the wheels. Mirror finished X1 subframes are the way to go. The owner has installed the Buell accessories seat. Good seats are critical for comfort on any Harley-powered motorcycle so you won’t be disappointed there. All the other mods are tasteful and can be undone with the factory parts that are included.

Image 141 - 2001 Buell

One of the most entertaining aspects of any Harley engine is the torque you can use to shoot yourself from one stoplight to the next. One of the most entertaining aspects of any Harley engine that Buell got his hands on is experiencing the stoplight to stoplight torque and then staying in it and feeling the extra hp that he squeezed out of it. Reworked heads and cams give the classic Evo motor 82 hp and 78 lb ft of torque compared to stock Evo’s 61 hp and 65 lb ft of torque. It’s weird to rev these motors out because you think they’ll shake themselves apart but the power is up top and you need to force yourself to stay in it to get there. The rubber-mounted engine provides a much smoother ride than the Sportsters of the era but it can’t change where it came from.

Image 81 - 2001 Buell

Buell just didn’t make a trellis frame and slap a hotrod motor in it. He was bred on road courses where  handling is paramount. Fully adjustable Showa forks are used in the front and the Showa shock on the bottom actually gets pulled instead of compressed in response to a bump. The position of the rear shock is odd but it was done to keep the weight down low and also because there isn’t much space to put it anywhere else. Buell did his best to keep the wheelbase short on his bikes so everything is packaged up tight. The singular 6 piston Nissin caliper will provide a surprising amount of stopping power up front as well.

From the seller:

“2001 Buell X1  Limited  Edition paint, New Michilen power pilot tires, Rizoma led turn signals, New Brake Pads, Bronze oil pump drive gear, SuperTrapp Exhaust, Power coated seat rail, accessory seat, Hammer Performance intake. Low miles in Excellent Condition. All Original parts included.”

Image 14 - 2001 Buell

The X1 is a solid addition to any collection. The styling has aged nicely and the motor/chassis combo give you an experience that is totally unique to the Buell lineup. Parts are easy to come by and there is an active Buell community that can help you sort out any issues you might have. The seller has allowed people to make an offer but I don’t think $5K is a crime for a such a clean example. As a Buell owner, I am biased but if you can get past the vibration and onto a twisty road you will undoubtedly leave with a smile on your face.





5 Responses.