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Buell posted by

Factory Authorized – 1999 Buell X1 Carbon Kevlar

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.



  • Interesting bike. But one thing to be VERY aware of, these guys came originally equipped with a SUPER dangerous EXPLODING rear shock! This bike appears to have the stock one still in place? And when it occurred the rider was ejected over the bars!! An upgraded shock would be a good idea.

  • Interesting. I know that they had issues with the rear shocks and there ware some recalls, but never heart such thing as you mentioned – EXPLODING.
    I think, if what you saying is real, someone will sue Buell already long time ago and Harley will never let this go without doing something.
    I think those shocks may be week or failing – thats it.

  • I was curious why my original post seemed to disappear? I wanted to be polite. And didn’t want to put Erik Buell in a bad light. I met him once. And for a long time thought he was a brilliant designer. I knew I could have elaborated much more about the exploding rear shock on these bikes. And since there is some doubt, I guess I will now. So while being employed at an aftermarket suspension company, Buell contacted us regarding this problem (few bikes have had “pull type” shocks as original equipment, they can be problematic). And his original shock had come apart on more than one bike. When this occurred the shock main shaft would contact the ground. Then cause the catapult effect I mentioned. Our company had no problem designing a shock that worked perfectly. Our ultimate goal was to supply shocks for new Buell motorbikes. Sadly our prototype was taken “overseas” and copied. Needless to say we didn’t get the contract.

  • Hi twostroker, thanks for your explanation. I am in engineering field as well and know how the manufacturer are reacting if such things happen.
    I was just looking if there is anywhere any proof of this failure. Base on your description, it would be risky for the rider.
    If so, then 100% recall of the rear shock would need to be performed back in the days … don’t you think?
    From Buell forums … people are referring to week and failing rear shock on some models and some modified shocks from Buell later in the days, but nowhere I saw similar statement about potential of rear shock exploding.
    The other things is … they had at least 3 different rear shocks back then on Buell bikes.
    Anyway, bike looks great and most likely someone will tune this bike with modern rear shock, as most of the rider do, or it will end up in some collection and disappear for years. Cheers!

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