Driving report Buell Lightning XB9S


Driving report Buell Lightning XB9S

Pulsating tremor

With the XB9S, Buell is again building a purist driving machine for country road junkies, with the shaking Harley descendant at the center of the action.

“C’est une BMW?” The policeman the MOTORRAD tester in Grasse in the south of France asks for directions is irritated. This cracking when changing gears, this clacking of the starter, plus the wheel breaking driver, quickly identified as Teutone. But why did this BMW put on the typical boxer ears? A secret prototype? Rock fan Eric Buell would make his hair stand on end at this misunderstanding. To mistake your American street fighter for a strictly German BMW is like mistaking Bruce Springsteen for Patrick Lindner.
The motto of the company founder is: “Designed for real world riding.” Instead of synthetic asphalt strips on the racetracks, for swing on winding country roads, for real life. All the better if it can take place in Chateauneuf and not in Neuhausen. “Drive until you have to chisel the grin off your face” is the slogan for the presentation.
Thanks to the law enforcement officer quoted above, excellent mountain roads are quickly found – more curves than in the entire north German plain. This is Buell Country, with a sonorous bass the puffing bumper engine tempered its oil supply stored in the swing arm. The pleasant humming radiates a relaxed sovereignty from 2000 rpm, let it roll is the motto. At 4000 rpm, the thrust becomes more vehement.
A short stop at a parking lot with a magnificent view of the Mediterranean Sea to take in the lightning. Why are they screwing up such an elegant machine with a matt black, misshapen steel tube? The muffler looks like it fell off an old Dodge pickup and then got caught in the Buell’s bow keel. Apart from this local disaster, the artistic oeuvre will delight the Buell fan base. Incredibly small how it looks. The mighty two-cylinder does not lose its dominance, but largely disappears under the projecting aluminum frame that serves as a tank. A smart idea. But you shouldn’t fall down, even a harmless slip could convert the excitingly shaped aluminum structure into a living room sculpture.
In the brevity lies the spice, around 40 parts make the difference between R and S, about two grim-looking headlights and the tight stub tail. Thanks to footrest extensions ?? by the way unscrewable? theoretically a pillion passenger could be transported. But how is he supposed to sit on those few centimeters behind the driver, let alone find support? The solo look is of course a deliberate expression of minimalism. At least the driver is adequately accommodated, even if the posture with the notches placed relatively far back requires a certain degree of compromise. But the photos provide proof that even a halfway agile 1.90 meter man can fold onto the XB9S.
The engine ticks away contentedly, waiting excitedly for harder tasks. From now on the cable can be pulled a little harder. The smooth nature of the power development is inspiring. Thanks to the ingenious elastic suspension of the motor-swing arm unit, almost no vibrations penetrate the handlebars, but every explosion remains a noticeable experience. The jolt-dampening, backlash-free toothed belt also contributes to the smooth movement, the Buell accelerates smoothly at the top of the curve.
The 85 hp are not the world. Nevertheless, the torque-oriented twin with its huge flywheels, which thanks to its short-stroke design does not shy away from revs up to the limiter at 7500 rpm, has a special appeal, as long as you don’t get lost on expressways and motorways. In the angled terrain you can let the Buell run quickly without rushing, while speed-oriented engines always require aggressive squeezing. Which is known to be strictly illegal, dangerous for your driver’s license and potentially unhealthy. With the Buell, the fun starts at 50 km / h less. On bumpy ground, however, the unusual chassis develops a tingling life of its own. The crisp suspension is particularly difficult at the rear. On the brakes, you can practically only go straight ahead because of the strong righting moment. Driving a Buell still takes plenty of time to adapt, but above all the right attitude.
UThe show value of the XB9S is in dispute. Whether in front of the street cafe, where worried guests worry about the fan still howling for minutes after it has been switched off, whether on the country road, where the Ducati 999 driver who shoots past at 180 km / h is braking to take a closer look at the unique yellow? the US bike is causing a stir. And the man at the gas station asks right away: “Une BMW?”

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