2002 Buell Firebolt XB9R Consumer Reviews Test Ride Experience Epinions.com

17 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2002 Buell Firebolt XB9R Consumer Reviews Test Ride Experience Epinions.com
Buell Firebolt XB12R

Cons: Rider position a little cramped, engine fan noisy, exhaust blows on your ankle

The Bottom Line: Definitely worth looking at, but don’t buy without a good test ride.

What can I say? I’m an engineer and therefore naturally attracted to technology. My third and fourth bikes were both 1982 Honda 500 Turbos.

When it came time to buy a new bike, I went straight to Buells. I test rode a 2002 X1 and a Firebolt. I really, really wanted to like the Firebolt, but I’m picking up an X1 White Lightning in two days from the dealer.

First I need to caveat this epinion by saying that I’m an American living in Germany, so the versions of the bikes that I rode were European specification. Even so, the things that bugged me about the Firebolt likely don’t differ from the American version.

The Firebolt delivers the technology for sure, and it looks great. However, in my epinion, ergonomically it will only fit folks under probably 5’8 tall. I believe you wear a bike.

I’m 6′ and of medium build. I felt like I was sitting on the Firebolt, not in it. In addition to feeling like I was sitting on top of it, my knees were a little too bent for comfort, and I had to lean too far forward for my tastes. By the way, the upside of leaning forward is that at over 100 mph, the wind pressure pushes you back hard enough to take the weight off your wrists, so you are balanced pretty well.

On the unlimited speed limit parts of the German Autobahn, this would be an advantage. With the speed limits in the States, you would definitely be building some upper body strength as you puttered around. I also had to tilt my head down every time I wanted to look at the gauges because they were just below my line of sight.

Not that I look at the gauges much, but I like them to be there when I want, and not have to go looking for them.

I didn’t notice the Firebolt handling noticeably better than the X1, but admittedly I was only on a test ride, and really didn’t have the curves available to put either through their paces.

The gearbox was a significant improvement over the X1, although not enough to change my mind. What was not an improvement was the placement of the exhaust pipe. I don’t ride barefoot or anything, but when I was sitting still in traffic with my left foot down, I could definitely feel the exhaust puffing directly on my ankle. I would think that this would force a rider to always wear boots.

Even though I always wear boots, so my ankle was protected from the heat, it just didn’t seem natural to stand in an exhaust stream.

Buell Firebolt XB12R

The final thing that bothered me about the Firebolt was the engine fan. As soon as the engine had come up to temperature, the electric fan kicked on and stayed on. I stopped the bike to see what the noise was! At low speeds, the fan noise way overshadowed the exhaust tune.

Sitting at a stop light, I was almost embarrassed it was so loud. Have you ever walked by a car after it had been shut off and heard the fan kick on rather loudly? That’s what it sounded like.

I’m sure Buell had a good reason to put it there, but I sure didn’t like it.

I think Buell is really onto something with this bike. After they decide to make a version for larger-framed people, it could catch on. A bigger bike would fix the my complaints about the ergonomics and the exhaust, and I could probably get used to the fan noise. I’m sure they will since they made an M2 Low so it would fit smaller riders.

How about a Firebolt Tall?

Recommend this product? Yes

Amount Paid (US$): 9,995

Buell Firebolt XB12R
Buell Firebolt XB12R
Buell Firebolt XB12R
Buell Firebolt XB12R
Buell Firebolt XB12R

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