|Not too sure you could call it handsome but the Buell Cyclone|
has a definite style and presence.
A new toy. Yes, the saving up to buy a pioneer motorcycle fund is not going so well. However a redistribution of motorcycles within the shed is being plotted so perhaps I will be riding a veteran in events next season.... In the meantime here is a machine I have lusted after for a good long while. I decided to make the jump as Buells seem to be going up in value at the moment, that's not because I've bought it as an 'inv***ment' rather that there is no way I could be persuaded to part with hard earned cash if they cost much more than they do now....
Firstly I will say that I haven't had many opportunities yet to ride this fine machine but I already love it. It delivers absolute, raw motorcycling thrills. Think about it, there are not many traditional in line v twin pushrod engined sports motorcycles out there. What else, Moto Morinis? or hush... Vincents.
The feel of the Buell is in fact very much like a development of a British classic. That is to say, it vibrates a lot, has very pronounced character and delivers power with definite pulses. And it does have quite a lot of power, some 95 horses of them, not massive by sportsbike standards but they are of the shire horse variety. Most importantly it is a wildly fun machine to ride and can deliver a lot of thrills at speeds that don't risk an instant ban on the license.
|It's a bit like a less cuddly version of a Ducati Monster.|
Like any limited production machine developed on a low budget the Cyclone has quirks. Firstly the engine is solid. It's a Harley Sportster so is, you can say, very well proven. Of course it is pushing out considerably more power than a standard Sportster but it is still fairly Bullet proof. The frame is simple and good. Buells are known to be good handlers, to give this one the benefit of the doubt I would say that it needs new tyres. It is a short, high bike with a sharp steering angle so the handling is not immediately familiar but undoubtedly it can hustle through the bends. The trademark Buell suspension unit under the engine does really seem like obstinate engineering for the sake of it: it raises the, already heavy, engine slightly too high up when a set of twin shocks would have done the job equally well and kept mass low down.
|Gear linkage - an abomination.|
Some of the fittings are of lovely quality and some are frankly awful. The front brake is excellent. Apparently Eric Buell is not a believer in using a rear brake and subsequently the rear is pretty feeble.
The gear change lever is an absolute abomination of pressed steel. Admittedly the design is led by the location of the Sportster gear shaft but surely cast alloy and rose joints should have been considered. On the subject of gripes, what were they ever thinking of putting the ignition key between the cylinder heads where it slowly cooks for that Sportster motor does indeed run pretty hot.
|Note the slow roasted ignition key barrel.|
Buells tend to come with a very definite image. Maybe it is because they have a Harley motor and were sold through Harley dealers. As a consequence you do see a number of them around with dodgy flame paint schemes. That is why I like this example, it is black - the colour a motorcycle should be. There is not a lot of baggage that comes with a plain black motorcycle. It has a certain menace and danger as a motorcycle should but it is not aligning with any particular tribe.
|Rear brake, very poor.|
Overall I feel like I shall be boring friends and acquaintances extolling the virtues of Buell motorcycles for a while to come. I'm looking forward to putting some decent miles in on the bike and already thinking about how I can get it to haul some luggage for long trips abroad. More to come...
|Front brake, excellent.|
|'Screaming Eagle' air cleaner is an ugly and will|
have to go. Mind, the original Buell 'bread bin'
air filter was a shocker too. Currently on the hunt
for an eye pleasing and functional alternative.