Driving report Buell Firebolt XB9R


Driving report Buell Firebolt XB9R

It’s a Buell!

Big Harley-V2 in a compact sports chassis? and an exhaust the world has never seen.

There! It is moving. But what is it The frame ?? what a killer bridge. The swing arm, the exhaust, the brake, the light. Everything hyper. Extraordinary. Ultra cool. Dramatic design, anarchy on two wheels, genius and madness combined patriotically. Stare. Palpitations. Damp hands. And the anxious question: Is there something like that in real life, in series, for normal money? Or is that just doing?
Certainly not! Buell is written on the tank. Synonymous with completely spaced out bikes. And the brand new Firebolt XB9R is at the very pioneering post of the American company. A motorcycle that would be rejected elsewhere: a huge V2 bumper in a super-sporty 250cc chassis. “Pop meets classic” or vice versa. At least a radical composition.
Pounding engine, deep bass. Unmistakable, pure Milwaukee beat. In good Buell tradition, a souped-up Harley twin sets the tone in the Firebolt. 92 hp, 7500 revolutions high and 984 cubic centimeters deep. With injection, straight downdraft inlet and dynamic pressure charging. Because of “living history“…
Like the oiled lightning bolt, the Firestorm turns the limiter. Thunders along the straights as if the incarnate was after her. “Born on the racetrack” – what read like the full-bodied exaggeration of a heavily committed Buell advertising copywriter is becoming increasingly important at the European premiere at the Circuito Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain. Almost 200 km / h and 7000 rpm are at the end of the 876 meter long home straight. Considerable ?? for an air-cooled V2 engine, the valve train of which comes from the Paleolithic.
The relatively short-stroke XB9R drive has almost nothing in common with the Thunderstorm engine previously favored by Buell. And that’s good. The tough struggle for propulsion, the fight against the long overall transmission ?? not an issue with the Firebolt. She slaps her torque on the clutch with a naturalness that is only known from hearsay in orthodox Harley circles. Even at 2500 tours there are so many Newton meters at home that the tap can be turned on. Switching from then on is a matter of taste. And load change reactions are completely alien to the timing belt-driven 1000 series. Without a millimeter of air, it depends on the gas.
The chassis geometry is radical through and through: 1320 millimeters wheelbase, 83 millimeters caster, 69 degrees steering head angle. Welcome to the realm of uncompromising handling, unconditional stability and the centralization of the masses. Erik F. Buell’s favorite area. A broad field in which the company’s chairman and technical chief works harder than any other series manufacturer: save components, weight ?? and reduce the unsprung masses to a minimum. Try everything, again and again. Question every single detail.
Buell’s thirst for research has reached its peak in the Firebolt: a 1000 Vauzwo could hardly be more compact. The dry weight is 175 kilograms, the technical innovations reach the highest level. The fuel is stored in the mighty aluminum frame, the oil is poured into the rear wheel swing arm, and the supposed tank is an air filter box with a volume of no less than eleven liters. The “real” tank holds three liters more. The crowning glory of the high-tech layout is the so-called zero torsional load brake. An internally encompassing six-piston system in which the braking forces are channeled directly into the rim without going through the spokes.
In action, it still feels like a motorcycle. So don’t worry: the brake brakes, the chassis works. How unmoved the Buell arrows through the most daring curve combinations is awesome. Stable down to the last detail, very, very present and at the same time inspired by a handling that allows quick changes of lean angle to flourish into a delight. Clear feedback, in all situations, despite a slight tendency to push it outwards. However, when the brakes are applied, turning in does not work at all. Reluctantly, the Firebolt leans up and leaves the targeted line.
The brake in general: it is not exactly such a big hit. Okay – you might expect too much from such an important looking part. Good responsiveness and adequate effect are automatically accepted and ticked off. But we won’t let the occasional scratching pass. Probably a question of the toppings.
And one more question in the area of ​​the front section: Why does the Buell have Shimmy? Doesn’t the Dunlop D 207 F Y really suit her? In any case, the fact is that the handlebars began to flutter with the tire half worn out. On the country road. Where the Firebolt actually belongs. “It’s a real world motorcycle” – say those responsible. “Born on the track” or not. “We wanted to build a motorcycle for real life. For everyday use. “
And the Americans are spot on. The world needs such motorcycles. Exciting curve scanners. Unmistakable. Breaking out of the monotony of yogurt cups. Bringing the Firebolt to life alone is a very special experience. That “Kaschumpf” when the starter throws itself into the gear train to get the engine room going. The fidgeting of the front wheel while standing, attracting worried looks at the traffic light. When driving, however, the so-called uniplanar engine suspension almost completely eliminates the vibrations. A pretty nifty patent made of rubber mounts and struts.
The sitting position is also good for real life. Not super comfortable, but reasonably suitable for long distances. “Gathered,” would have been said earlier. And at that time one would have “cheered” about the spring elements. Fully adjustable, namely the entire program: from super sports to butterflies. It’s good that Buell said goodbye to the number with the horizontal strut on the XB9R. The tensile stress never really worked. Despite countless attempts with White Power and Showa. On the Firebolt, the shock absorber sits where it belongs on an athlete: behind the engine, not under it. So the space in the basement now belongs exclusively to the bizarre silencer. A pitch black stovepipe of gigantic proportions, not least large enough to enable maximum performance.
Und now ?? to the cardinal question: What should it cost, the noble darling? Has made a lot of progress compared to the Lightning X1. And definitely has what it takes to lift the Buell brand from the biotope of orchid bikes to the status of the truly sporty two-cylinder. Without sacrificing independence and such. Well: The Americans want to see 11,733 European stones for it. All inclusive. We think it’s a reasonable price when you consider what a Maserati, for example, costs. Or a Kustwerk of Mr. Joseph Beuys. And that’s exactly where the Firebolt plays. An expensive inconvenience. A departure from the necessary, combined with a turn to the abstract world. Life is career enough after all.

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