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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have never had the chance to ride an "adventure bike" before, but yesterday I got bored and decided to head up to the local Buell dealer in south Austin. I have been eyeing the Ulysses for a while now and wanted to go sit on it. I was looking at the bike and they asked me if I was interested in taking it out for a ride. I accepted the offer without hesitation.

I had a blast riding the thing and am now dead set on an buying an adventure bike. I have been eyeing the DL1000, GS1200, and most recently the Ulsses as viable options for after my graduation (this December).

The things I did not like:
-Very rough idle made it tricky during slow speed manuevers to keep the throttle steady.
-Throttle response was very on/off from the start and this added to the difficulty of slow speed manuevers.
-Lock to lock turning was not enough. Once moving the bike was fairly manueverable but I couldn't imagine taking it on any single-track trails.
-I had guessed a 1200 CC bike with an extra 35hp and 40lbs more torque would pull much harder than my SV but it only felt slightly faster (I have a stock SV with extra HIGH gears)
-No skid plate (the muffler is a jacking point and is supposedly the skid plate)
-500lbs is pretty heavy.
-$12,000 is a lot of money.

The things I liked:
-Ability to take "short cuts;" this thing sucked up curbs as well as my XR200 dirtbike.
-40,000 mile no maintenance drive belt.
-Hand guards.
-Loads of torque from down low.
-I got to finally experience the appeal of "riding naked"
-I had the feeling of being in a big bad truck compared to my little SV. Also let me see further ahead and over other cars. Made me feel like a big bad mofo...
-The small windscreen combined with the seating position made for a MUCH more comfortable ride than my SV
-When RPMs raised above idle speed, it was a super smooth ride, with less vibration than the SV.
-It was easy to throw this beast into the corners (not as easy as the SV) but surprisingly the tires gripped extremely well and there seemed to be plently of clearance for getting crazy.
-Stainless steel brake lines and the Buell's perimeter rotor made for brakes that felt they had twice the stopping power of the SV's.

Other notes:
-It was a little tricky to hang off in the corners because of the "tank" (fuel is stored in the frame). I found ways to contort around it but I guess this wasnt really designed to be hanging off too much on.
-I spent a good 10 minutes in the parking lot just doing super slow speed U-turns to get the feel of the bike and despite its size it is at least as manueverable as my SV and I am sure it would have been even more so if I had the time to get used to it. What made it tricky was the choppy throttle response and very rough idle. It was killing my smoothness. I think I understand the on-off problem you fuel injected people are always crying about.
-I couldn't believe the semi-offroad tires held the road so well. I wasn't dragging knees or anything but I did get on it a little bit and didn't feel any sketchyness at all. Maybe that's a tribute to the suspension's capabilities, but I think they were just nice tires.
-Speaking of the tires I noticed a big patch of gravel in the road while slightly leaned over and decided to see how they would grip on it while leaned over. No problems there. Where my SV would have slid around at that angle of lean (not too much) the Ulysses's tires bit through to the asphault with no problems.

Well thats about all I can think of for now. Anyway it was a blast and I recommend you all go test ride a Buell since it's free and fun!

-josh

Almost forgot for those of you who have not seen one: http://www.buell.com/en_us/bikes_gear/ulysses/
 

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newdriver broke his silence! No more 420 posts... and for a review of the Ulysses ???

;)

Good review, methinks
 

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Newdriver said:
-40,000 mile no maintenance drive belt.
The website said it was chain drive ???
Check out "specs and pricing" and in the "drivetrain" section it says "chain." Confusing
 

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From the website, the primary is chain.  It's the secondary drive that actually spins the rear wheel.

Primary Drive Type Chain  
Primary Drive Ratio 1.500 (57/38)  
Secondary Drive Type (5) Constant path, 14mm pitch aramid-reinforced Goodyear® Hibrex® belt with Flexten® Plus technology  
Secondary Drive Ratio 2.407 (65/27)  
 

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flamingemu said:
If you go here http://www.buell.com/en_us/bikes_gear/ulysses/xb12x/index.asp and click the lowest "dot" on the rear tire - the one to the right, the exploded detail shows the belt drive.
They definitely need to fix the specs page because it does in fact say chain.
The website is correct. If it makes more sense to you, substitute the word "final" for "Secondary."
 

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eeeeek said:
From the website, the primary is chain.  It's the secondary drive that actually spins the rear wheel.

Primary Drive Type Chain  
Primary Drive Ratio 1.500 (57/38)  
Secondary Drive Type (5) Constant path, 14mm pitch aramid-reinforced Goodyear® Hibrex® belt with Flexten® Plus technology  
Secondary Drive Ratio 2.407 (65/27)
So what is the Primary Drive then? Crank to transmission? What do we have on our bikes?
The only other chain (besides the Final Drive) on our SV's is the chain between the DOHC
 

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trying to get my brother to get one of these...if he can convince his wife that is. I'm gonna have him read this thread!
 

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ShaggyZ said:
So what is the Primary Drive then? Crank to transmission? What do we have on our bikes?
The only other chain (besides the Final Drive) on our SV's is the chain between the DOHC
That's because sportbikes have cartridge transmissions. On Harleys and the like, the tranny is a separate unit that must be linked to the engine via a primary. This primary is the massive thing you see hanging off the side of choppers.
 
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Our bikes, as with most, have "unit" transmissions. The transmission shares the primary (crankcase) casting with the engine, as well as the lubrication system.. The transmission is driven (through the clutch) by a gear, either straight cut or helical.

Older triumphs, HDs, BMW Boxers and MotoGuzzis are some of the non-unit bikes that come to mind.

Cassette trannies, which the SV does NOT have, are designed so that the entire gearset, drive and driven, can be removed through the side of the casting rather than having to split the cases to remove the gearset.

Very nice review of the new Buell!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Has anyone had the opportunity to ride the DL1000, GS1200, and the Ulysses? Which one would you pick?

-josh
 

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Sporster engines, which Buell uses as a starting point, are unit construction; the engine and trans use a single case. The primary drive from the crank to trans is a chain. I don't know about the current models ( I had a '66 long ago and the engine has gone through about three redesigns since then) but on mine it was a triple row chain. On my old one the transmission could be pulled out of the side of the case with the engine still in the frame. Had to do it at about 100,000 miles, second gear was worn and it would jump out of gear too much.

My old one had a chain final drive, but the belts on the new ones are pretty durable. My brother had a 1200 Sportster, and the belt had 60K on it, including a trip through Canada and Alaska on gravel roads to go above the arctic circle. He had not had to adjust belt tension in a long time.

If that bike suits your purposes, go for it. They are OK, but personally I've developed a preference for liquid cooling. Right now if I was looking for an "adventure" bike, I'd likely lean toward the DL650. If that version had been available when I bought my "03, I would have gone that way.
 
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OK, I had my head up and locked. I hate when that happens... :-[

Of course, the sporty engines anre unit constructions. I was thinkin' of the big twins, which are are non-unit... :-[

Regardless, both iterations of the HD v-twin use a chain to transfer power from the crankshaft to the transmission input shaft.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
dom said:
Newdriver do u go to st. edwards??
Nope, but my ex-girlfriend lives on campus there, so I used to be up there quite a bit. I live in San Marcos. Do you?

-josh
 

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Good review! I have not test ridden the new XB12X. Now that I have had a chance to ponder your comments, I have a few questions in light of my ownership of an XB9R.

1. You mention the on/off throttle response in low-speed, low-RPM situations and you attribute this to the fuel injection. I am wondering if instead, it is due to the lack of driveline snatch because of the auto-tensioned belt. On my XB9R, in these same low-speed/low-RPM situations, I have to constantly "feather" the clutch to be smooth; but it is not because of the fuel injection. I have had no hiccups whatsoever with the FI on my XB9R. Instead it is due to the lack of driveline snatch and the inherent shakiness of the 45-degree VTwin at low-RPMs. How sure are you that the new XB12X on/off throttle response that you experienced was, indeed, due to the FI?

2. You mention an apparent sluggishness when accelerating from low RPMs (especially compared to your own SV650). I have read that Buell has specifically programmed the ECU on the new XB12X to work in just this fashion, the reasoning being to improve low speed traction on other than paved roads. Do you feel that this may be the reason for the sluggishness? If so, is it noticeable enough to detract from the experience? Or do you feel that the gearing is not quite right? Or do you feel the engine really is down on low-end grunt?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
fdl3 said:
Good review! I have not test ridden the new XB12X. Now that I have had a chance to ponder your comments, I have a few questions in light of my ownership of an XB9R.

1. You mention the on/off throttle response in low-speed, low-RPM situations and you attribute this to the fuel injection. I am wondering if instead, it is due to the lack of driveline snatch because of the auto-tensioned belt. On my XB9R, in these same low-speed/low-RPM situations, I have to constantly "feather" the clutch to be smooth; but it is not because of the fuel injection. I have had no hiccups whatsoever with the FI on my XB9R. Instead it is due to the lack of driveline snatch and the inherent shakiness of the 45-degree VTwin at low-RPMs. How sure are you that the new XB12X on/off throttle response that you experienced was, indeed, due to the FI?

2. You mention an apparent sluggishness when accelerating from low RPMs (especially compared to your own SV650). I have read that Buell has specifically programmed the ECU on the new XB12X to work in just this fashion, the reasoning being to improve low speed traction on other than paved roads. Do you feel that this may be the reason for the sluggishness? If so, is it noticeable enough to detract from the experience? Or do you feel that the gearing is not quite right? Or do you feel the engine really is down on low-end grunt?
In response to your first question... I could be wrong but it seems to me that a loose chain would have much more driveline "snap" once it catches compared to a belt that has no slack. I am not at all sure this was due to fuel injection just guessing though from what I have heard other people say. I have never driven a belt drive bike before so perhaps I am not used to it.

In response to your second question... There was definately enough low end grunt, just not the rip me outta the seat power wheelie into the sky kind of acceleration I was expecting. I did notice that the gearing seemed very high and think that were it geared closer to a stock SV it would feel a lot quicker. Maybe that is just the character of a 5 speed. That bike could definately take advantage of another gear to allow for closer ratios.

Don't get me wrong, it was definately faster than my stock SV, but I do I have much higher gears than stock (5000 rpm at 70mph in 6th gear); it didn't feel much faster except in top gear roll ons. I am willing to bet that most of the people's modded SVs on this board would keep neck and neck with that bike up to 80mph or so.

For what it was though, that bike was a blast and felt extremely confident in the few corners I was able to rail through. Not only that; the thing sucked up bumps and curbs like a champ and I am sure it would take gravel fire roads with no complaints. I want one or something like it soon.

Also you should take to mind that the engine wasn't near broken in yet, but I think I sped that process along a bit ;D

That 7000rpm redline comes up very quickly! The engine felt like it wanted to keep pulling and that caused me to bounce off the rev limiter a couple times...
 
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