Buell XB12STT Super TT Sport Rider

26 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Buell XB12STT Super TT Sport Rider


First Ride An interesting factoid came up during the technical presentation for the new Buell Lightning Super TT that went unnoticed by many of the motojournalists present for the bike’s riding introduction in Southern California: At least 50 percent of all Buells produced are now sold overseas. This helps explain the introduction last year of the Ulysses adventure-tourer (or adventure-sportbike, as company founder Erik Buell prefers it be labeled), a market segment that is still minute in the U.S. but relatively huge in Europe. Buells have now gone far beyond cult status or the Americana fascination stage across the Atlantic, and more Europeans are buying the brand than ever before.

This would also explain the introduction of the Lightning XB12STT, a bigger, more powerful cousin to the Lightning CityX. Styled in the same urban streetfighter/assault machine vein, but with more of a supermoto flavor, the Buell Super TT fills another niche market more popular in Europe than in the States. Continuing in its parent company’s (Harley-Davidson) path of changing various exterior components on the same basic platform to create a new model, the Buell Super TT uses the same 1203cc, 45-degree, air-cooled Thunderstorm engine (rated at a claimed 103 horsepower at 6800 rpm, with 84 ft.-lbs. of torque at 6000 rpm) found in all XB12 models, and the chassis sports the extended 54-inch wheelbase and slightly relaxed steering geometry of the Lightning XB12Ss Long and is wrapped up in a supermoto-inspired package.

Suspension travel-measuring 5.6 inches front and rear-is greater than that of half of the completely street-oriented XBs like the standard Lightning and Lightning Long, but almost an inch shorter than the faux-off-road Ulysses’. A high-mount front fender and dual headlights topped by a combination number plate/mini-windscreen and the handlebar/ hand-guard setup from the CityX complete the supermoto look up front. A narrow, flat solo seat (a passenger seat with footpeg brackets is available as an option) with number plates hanging from the subframe finish off the rear to distinguish the Super TT from other XB models.

Although Buell lists the Super TT’s seat height as 31.4 inches, it feels quite a bit taller, despite the slim saddle. The wide, flat handlebars seem a little out of place with the rearset footpeg placement, but you quickly get used to the feel once underway. Vibration from the V-twin engine shakes the bike incessantly at idle, but the Uniplanar engine mounts help cancel out the vibes once past 2000 rpm.

As with the other 1203cc Thunderstorm engines, there’s loads of tractable low-end torque available, allowing you to swiftly churn out of slow and medium-speed corners in your choice of gears. The heavy flywheel and wide spacing of the five-speed transmission can make shifting between the lower three gears a little lurchy if you’re not deliberate with gear changes, however.

Overall handling is nice and fairly agile, with the Super TT exhibiting less of the idiosyncratic steering behavior of the previous Lightning models. Part of this is undoubtedly due to the higher, wider handlebars, which provide more leverage over the steering than the XB12R clip-on-style bars; the Super TT is much more amenable to midcorner corrections as a result.

We rode over a tight, twisty, dirty and very bumpy single-lane mountain fire road during the intro ride, and the Super TT handled it all in stride. Not only was it rock-stable over the gnarliest broken-down pavement, the Buell was still nimble enough to carve around some of the worst sections while negotiating the jump-laden road.

We’ve been impressed with Pirelli’s Scorpion Sync tires on other bikes, and the ones fitted to the Super TT are no different. Excellent traction was the norm on everything from smooth, high-speed tarmac to the aforementioned fire road. The longer-travel suspension was a definite plus in these conditions, as was the narrow seat, which allowed easier body movement when the going got rough.

The trademark ZTL rim-brake system provided ample stopping power, and while overall feel still wasn’t up to where we’d prefer, it was better than previous versions. And with the Lightning Long’s extended frame bumping fuel capacity up to 4.4 gallons, squeezing 180 miles out of a tankful-er, frameful-is easily done.

For those interested in a supermoto-style machine of a different vein, the Buell Super TT may be just the ticket. Available in Arctic White and Barricade Orange (although all body parts are interchangeable, allowing you to mix-and-match with other Lightning models), the XB12STT will retail for $10,295.

Buell XB12STT Super TTMSRP $10,295EngineType: Air/oil-cooled, 45-degree V-twinDisplacement: 1203ccBore x stroke: 88.9 x 96.8mm Compression ratio: 10.0:1Induction: DDFI II fuel injection, 49mm throttle body

ChassisFront tire: 120/70ZR-17 Pirelli Scorpion SyncRear tire: 180/55ZR-17 Pirelli Scorpion SyncRake/trail: 23.1 deg./4.7 in. (119mm)Wheelbase: 54.0 in. (1372mm)Seat height: 31.4 in. (798mm)Fuel capacity: 4.4 gal. (16.7L)Claimed dry weight: 400 lbs. (181kg)

Short ShiftIt was kind of weird. every time I’d pull up to pass a car, it would suddenly slow like the driver was hitting the brakes to let me by. And at other times, I’d glance in the mirror and notice that all the traffic was trailing quite a ways behind me. What was up with these people?

And then I’d remember: Oh yeah, I’m riding a police bike.

When Motor Trend magazine staffer John Kiewicz called and asked us if we’d pilot their police test bike through a timed closed course for a story they were working on, we obliged on one condition: that we’d be able to briefly road test the bike ourselves, just to see what the long arm of the law rides. We were expecting that the lights and siren on the BMW would to be disabled or covered up with the not in service tape when we took possession of the boxer twin in law-enforcement guise.

But, lo and behold, everything was functional. Immediately, thoughts of hanging out by occasional SR road tester Steve Mikolas’ house and playing the ultimate practical joke ran through our minds.

Years ago, Harley-Davidson, Moto Guzzi and then Kawasaki with its own version of the venerable KZ900/1000 were the police bikes of choice of across the country. Now, however, we’re seeing more and more BMWs in the law-enforcement ranks, and for good reason. The oil-head boxer twins have always had a reputation for long-haul reliability, especially with their maintenance-free shaft drive.

Last year, BMW introduced the latest of their police-specific machines, the BMW R1200 RT-P.

Buell Lightning Super TT XB12STT

We sell about 600 units a year to various law enforcement agencies across the country, says Chuck Downing, BMW North America’s liaison for the company’s Police Motorcycle Division and retired police officer. While 600 units a year doesn’t sound like much, that doesn’t include the thousands already in service. Once they see the reliability and maintenance advantages, the BMW is an easy selection, relates Downing.

The R1200 RT-P is much more than just a boxer dressed up with warning lights (new LED units that are brighter while using less power) and police stickers. A larger oil cooler with an auxiliary fan is fitted to keep the engine temps under control when idling for long periods, while the alternator is a more powerful unit to keep the dual batteries (to power the warning lights and police radio with the engine off) charged. There are special mounts for various police-specific items (both forward and rearward-facing radar, baton, flashlight), along with a special speedometer that is calibrated to be accurate within +/-2 mph at all speeds.

So how did the RT-P compare with a standard model? Basically it’s the same, although we could definitely feel some extra heft (Downing says the police radio equipment adds about 50 pounds to the bike) when running through corners. Still, the RT-P handles well, considering that long-haul comfort is the primary function, since a motor officer must endure extended periods in the saddle every day.

Ground clearance is very good, even with the standard crash-protection bars on each side, which are tucked up well. And grip from the Dunlop D220 tires is more than adequate for the uses this bike will see.

We gladly returned the bike, as we were finding it increasingly difficult to resist the temptation to use the siren and lights to get home through traffic quicker. Leave it to us to get in trouble with the police while riding one of their bikes

Bridgestone Introduces New Track-Day And Sport-Touring TiresProductHot on the heels of the BT-002 Pro DOT racing tires we used in the middleweight comparison in this issue comes a new tire from Bridgestone with similar performance but a more everyday use in mind. Also making its debut is a new-generation sport-touring tire that utilizes some of the same dual-compound technology of its more sport-oriented brethren.

Bridgestone’s new BT-002 RS tire (RS stands for Racing Street) is the company’s latest rubber intended for aggressive riding, both on the street and the racetrack. The front tire makes use of the company’s Dual Tread Construction (DTC), with the medium-compound center section paired with a softer and grippier compound on each shoulder for improved grip and handling.

A new fine cord breaker belt underneath a mono-spiral belt provides good bump absorption with excellent feedback and high-speed stability. The rear tire is single-compound construction, with High Tensile Super Penetrated Cord (HTSPC) mono spiral belt and silica-rich compound contributing to superb handling and grip in all conditions. Tread pattern is almost identical to the BT-002 Pros, and the tire is available in the popular 120/70ZR-17 front and 180/55ZR-17, 190/50ZR-17 and 190/55ZR-17 sizes.

Interestingly, the new BT-021 sport-touring tire is just the opposite, in that the rear tire uses the DTC, while the front tire is a single-compound construction. The front tire features the same HTSPC-type belt as the rear BT-002 RS, while the rear BT-021 has a newly developed Outside Bead Filler, which-when combined with the DTC and underlying layer, cap and base technology-provides just the right amount of stiffness for high-speed stability under additional loads along with better bump absorption and grip under all types of weather conditions, whether touring at a fast pace or aggressively attacking your favorite road.

The front BT-021 is available in 120/60 and 120/70 Z-rated tires in 17-inch diameter, and 110/80 and 120/70 Z-rated rubber in 18-inch diameter. The rear comes in a 160/60 Z-rated tire for 18-inch rims, and 150/70, 160/60, 160/70, 170/60, 180/55 and 190/50 Z-rated tires in 17-inch diameter.

Buell Lightning Super TT XB12STT
Buell Lightning Super TT XB12STT
Buell Lightning Super TT XB12STT

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