2008 Buell 1125R at Monteblanco

29 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2008 Buell 1125R at Monteblanco
Buell 1125 R

From the Monteblanco circuit in Spain. 1125R tested at Laguna Seca! Ultimate film at the end!

2008 Buell 1125R production launch – Fit for fight

The 1125R is fundamentally the same as when I rode it at Laguna Seca last year. However, some genuine improvements have been made to the production bike. Better fuel injection is the important one.

The 1125R is a beast of torque!

Words: Tor Sagen/Photography: James Wright-Double Red

Whilst chewing on something that could have been last nights kill at the local Spanish bull ring, I contemplate what sort of beast the Buell 1125R is. Not long ago I watched the brilliant film “There will be blood” based on the book called “Oil!” from 1937. There’s no oil in the 1125R swingarm as in other Buell’s, but there will be blood if Buell doesn’t get the marketing and packaging right for the 1125R soon.

Daniel Day Lewis character in the film doesn’t take criticism lightly and Buell has had to put up with a lot of pure shite on the 1125R coverage so far. Certain people play the Matador against the 1125R and we know that this is not fair. Perhaps Buell should launch at Pamplona next year…

But not all is unjustified, the fuel injection needed improvements and that heat shield on the right hand side of the engine does help and makes it a lot better than the air-cooled models. In my opinion there never was anything major wrong with the 1125R on the racetrack, it’s on the road the problems started.

The 1125cc V72 pulls like Ferdinand the Ox from as low as 4.000rpm and feels more powerful than other superbike V-twins in the next 3.000rpms. In a nutshell this is what makes the 1125R so much fun to ride both on track and road.

The changes made to the 1125R since I last rode it in California involves improved fuel injection and throttle response, tweaked suspension and a new heat shield on the right hand side of the engine.

One of the things that I remember the most about the fuelling was doing a few first gear wheelies downhill in the Laguna Seca area last year. They didn’t come that easy as the fuelling made them a bit unpredictable. Wheelies definitely are good for something when testing a bike. One of the very first things that I did on my rendezvous with the 1125R in Spain was to give it some throttle in first on cold tyres and the front just rose predictably and smoothly.

That’s improvement for you and despite the fact that it’s still not perfect, hardly any oversized performance V-twin are. Through town I still noticed something I didn’t like too much, but I could easily ride it without nervously covering the clutch so it’s probably no worse than a Ducati 1098 or KTM RC8 1190 now.

On our road ride I guarantee you that we all went much faster than on the road ride in California. The corners ranged from long and fast beautiful sweepers to hair bend corners. The roads were so good that I have rarely felt so satisfied after a launch road ride before.

Fast and flowing broken up by some challenging hair bend corners is the best way of describing it. -Perfect for the 1125R really as it has got both top end performance and low end grunt.

For some reason my bike had the front brake lever adjusted to 1 which is really bad for the feel. I adjusted it to 2 and found it much better and less abrupt on both the road and track. Stability on the brakes is great, but carry too much brake into the corners and there’s a struggle leaning.

The only problem I have with the handling and braking characteristics on the 1125R is the lack of feel. The Showa suspension simply isn’t Ohlins and I can’t seem to get the same good feeling as on a Honda CBR600RR which is also damped by Showa. It lacks finesse and I believe this is difficult if not impossible to tune without adding some crème de la crème suspension.

The chassis is also very stiff and tight which only gives you one option – to trust it!

On the Monteblanco circuit the 1125R could breathe freely. All 146 horsepower and 111Nm of torque could be utilised on a more than 900 metre straight and a host of what really is first gear corners taken in second on the 1125R. Some guys insisted on using first of course, but it’s not necessary since so much torque is available from 4.000 rpm and all the way up to 8.000 rpm.

A couple of places I short shifted from second to third gear to calm the front down over uneven surfaces and dedicate myself to the next second gear corner.

At the end of the main straight is the hardest braking area into a hair bend corner where I tried to finish all braking before turning in. Most of the time I went into fifth gear for a slight second before kicking two down whilst braking and then down to second just before turning into the tight right hander. The gearbox and slipper clutch works really well.

Second was perfect as I got great drive up to the blind full speed left hander where I had already short shifted into third before another hard braking area. The 1125R is great on the brakes as long as it’s all finished before leaning it into the corner. For a brand new circuit Monteblanco already had plenty of car abuse, dust and a few uneven surface areas.

If I haven’t already mentioned it, both the clutch and gearbox are impressive and light action.


Buell 1125 R
Buell 1125 R

Whilst still being slightly unpredictable at the very lowest rpm figures, the revised 1125R has been improved. In the usage area it is meant for the throttle response is accurate and smooth allowing great openings should you wish. That’s a very good thing with so much power and torque on tap. The chassis keeps it all civilised whilst we lack a bit of feel.

The ZTL 8-piston rim mounted front brake stops the 170 kilos (claimed dry-weight) with authority and no upsets to the chassis. –That is if you finish all braking before leaning into a bend. The 20 litre fuel capacity is needed as I discovered on our very fast road ride where I ran out of fuel. The issue with heat radiation to the right leg is now solved with a heat shield and the 1125R is better than the air-cooled Buell’s in this area.

I believe that most sportsbikes will struggle to keep up with the 1125R up to 7.000rpm due to the excellent spread of punch. Whether that goes for more than the first gear only a comparison test can reveal.

Engine torque, this is Rotax and Buell’s number 1 engine right now – Better no doubt than the Aprilia V60.

For such a short and small motorcycle it handles phenomenally well

Put everything together and the 1125R is a highly entertaining motorcycle to ride fast

Clutch and Gearbox up there with the best

Still early days for Buell even though Erik Buell has worked on this since 1997

It’s lacking the little something, flare or whatever you want to call it, that the European brands have

Doesn’t want to lean on the brakes

Boots scratch the rear swingarm and part of the wiring harness keeps popping out from the left front fairing side.

Ultimate 1125R launch film!

Buell 1125 R
Buell 1125 R

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