Review of Buell Lightning 1200

25 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Review of Buell Lightning 1200
Buell Lightning

Review of Buell Lightning 1200

Posted By: adminuser

Issued November 2007

Photos and report – Bern Adams

Rider for photos – Mark harbord

Buell Lightning XB12s

The Buell XB12bs Lightning is not a bike most people would have got to see, let alone ride. It will be found next to its more popular relatives at the Harley Davidson dealer. Not that Buell is a brand to be hidden away quite the opposite in fact.

But due to the mainstream success of the Harley, the Buell sister has always been to some extent in the shadow.

The machine is striking to look at different from any other bike out there on the market place. The Lightning has cut a niche out of weird yet funky school of design. It’s a street fighter with attitude and has been taking a good dose of steroids to help it along the way.

Translucent plastic fairing and tank cover

As soon as the lightning arrived at the Camrider offices a small crowd of instructors started to gather around the bike. Soon I was fighting off people for the keys and had a list of people lined up for the test rides and the photoshoot. This bike was popular, and popular around people who knew about bikes.

I made a mental not to hide the keys and to take the thing home as soon as possible.

The model I had comes with translucent plastic tank and clock cowl. The working of the engine management, injectors and cables could be seen moving when looking through the tank. Kind of reminiscent of the older Apple Mackintoshes that let you see all the components inside the case.

Whoever designed this bike was clearly having a great time and probably way too many drugs. The concept is just loopy and should by all rights never work yet it does! The Lightning is the mad cousin, the one that plays with matches and skips school.

Most likely to be found in a detention centre and gaining a collection of tattoos. This bikes is for your bad boy persona its purpose in life is to mess with you head and leave you with a grin.

Clocks – Clear and concise

Let’s start with the feeling of getting on the bike. To keep in line with the delinquent image, the first thing you think is Who’s stolen my front wheel. You can’t see the damn thing! It’s been engineered out of you sight as the steering rake is just 21 degrees (angle of the front forks from vertical) and the wheelbase (distance from front to rear tyre contact point) is just 132cm.

In biker terms this is tiny. The bike looks short and aggressive and lives up to it’s image. Its a BMX bike with a 1200c engine. wahoo!!

This means the bike handles and I mean handles really well. It loves corners and will flick from side to side just as much as you tell it too. This has to be its party piece as the lightning is a worthy contender for the king of the street-fighters.

It will dance on the road like a prize boxer showing off some fancy footwork, and I’m mot kidding to say it will run rings around just about anything out there.

It defies the laws of physics as it let me lean that extra 5 degrees into the roundabout and gave me the first of many mad grins. This bike is so funky at braking and cornering it really should have its own biker ASBO slapped on it. Surely something this fun can’t be legal?

Rear swing arm doubles up as oil reservoir

Pull up among a group of bikers, and soon you will have a gaggle of admires wanting to find out just what the hell you are sat on. Allow time to become the centre of attention, as others quiz you and pour over every detail of your unnatural ride.

You won’t disappoint ether you can show off your crazy clear tank cover, the Kevlar belt drive, the oil reservoir that’s inside the swing arm to save weight and engineering. I just loved that! It’s those touches that set aside the Lightning from the mainstream and lets you get a real sense of character.

But your bragging ammunition does not stop there. You have the absolutely massive front brake disk and six piston calipers to show off. This amazing 375mm rim-mounted floating disc has a six-pot, opposed piston caliper.

Buell Lightning

It’s pulling up power is awesome. Though it maybe has a slightly offside on immediate grip, it surges in with a vast amount of controllable power. So again our evil delinquent has hatched another plan and created a recipe for a wild stoppie machine.

Vastly powerful six pot 375mm brakes

The exhaust snakes around the engine to have the outlet throw the Co2 onto the ground in front of the rear wheel. Again Buell sticking its fingers up to old school design and going its own way rather than any of that dumb ass exhaust at the rear nonsense. I just can’t help but like that.

The bike challenges so much that we take for granted about motorbikes. Its fiddled with and messed up all the stuff that a bike is supposed to look like – and just to pee us off it actually works better than should be legal.

But let’s get this in perspective. The lightning is a street fighter. It’s a grunting freakboy of a motorbike that can out manoeuvre even the shiniest of the Japanese sports bikes when it comes to urban jostle. But its bad manners will show it up if you want it to behave itself for a while.

The revs stop at 6000 when the big V twin has pushed out all of the 100Bhp. The high speed ride is not going to ease your Karma as your knuckles turn blue due to your hang on for dear life death grip tightening in the howling gale. Arms abs and neck will all be in great Arnie-esque proportions if you do any long time high speed blasting on this bike.

Short wheelbase for nimble turning

But I just loved the bike. It’s one of those motorcycles that can make you laugh out loud when you are riding it. Heading back to the Camrider site I needed pick up some speed for an overtake on the A11. At 80mph I just could not believe the wind pull on my arms and chest.

But still it was fun. and I mean big fun. So okay I could not really get a great rear observation in, but the mirrors work fine and you can check blind spots. You need to have more skill to tame the beast that is the Lightning.

The Lightning is a fun motorcycle. It really turns heads and it’s well engineered. It’s a street-fighter and lives up to that. If you are looking for a motorbike to go and enjoy some back lane scratching and to have some real credibility on the street then this is a top bike to look at.

It’s well engineered and the dealer backup is first class.

If you are looking for practical commuting machine, touring bike or have a need for race rep speed then your boxes are just not going to get ticked.

Most importantly – I loved this bike it made me smile.

Buell Lightning
Buell Lightning
Buell Lightning
Buell Lightning

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