A REVIEW OF THE NEW BUELL FIREBOLT
Written by Ralph L. Angelo Jr.
Submitted by Nitinol
About the 2002 Firebolt
XB9R- "More ice than fire" Oct 13 '02
Author's Product Rating: 1/5
Comfort: 2 stars
Handling And Control: 3 stars
Quality and Craftsmanship: 1 star
Innovative and unique
Way too over priced, typical Buell engineering mis-cues.
The Bottom Line
Not worth the cost of admission.
Dated motor and sci-fi design make for bascially a useless bike.
I rode the Buell Firebolt at a demo during the Americade bike rally in Lake
George , NY. I had heard for quite some time how great and innovative a bike
it was. How special the reversed front disc brake was, how the oil in the swing
arm and gas in the frame kept the center of gravity low for superior handling. I
wanted to really like this bike. I came away shaking my head and thinking yet
another typical Buell.
Throwing a leg over the XB9R I immediately felt the tight riding position. This
didn't bother me at all. I know sport bikes with tight ergo's. What did bother me
was when I thumbed the start button and immediately felt like every filling in my
head was going to vibrate out. That was the first impression. My second was
my surprise at the amount of exhaust being blown onto my left foot at stop
lights. What was that about? Who designed this idiotic exhaust?
Do you have to bring a change of socks
with you when you ride this bike?
Before taking the bike out on a test ride, we were warned that "The front brake
is so powerful it can easily flip the bike." The front brake felt vague and basically
lifeless to me. It worked fine, but with very limited feel. Furthermore, the
stopping distance of this brake set up was unimpressive as well. We were told
that the XB9R handled great, and by the stats of this bikes suspension, it should
handle like a 125cc race bike. It doesn't. It feels twitchy at best, though the rear
shock seems to be a step in the right direction compared to previous Buells. At
speed, on the highway, the bike felt the best in any circumstance, but the serious
lack of wind protection hurt its standings even more. The fairing is basically
useless. The vibration at standstill is very annoying, and is the prevalent
personality trait of the bike. The best thing I can say about this motorcycle is
that the triple clamp is very stylish and well made. This bike was so bad, that it
scared a friend of mine who has ridden for years on everything from dirt bikes
to sport tourers. How can anyone expect to charge the top dollar rate Buell
does for this bike? It's another embarrasment for the American motorycle
*ANY 5 YEAR OLD 600CC bike* will run circles around this one, and be 4
times as reliable.(Buells reliabiilty record speaks volumes.)In my opinion, this
was the worst bike I test rode at Americade (I rode 8 others.)I could never
recommend this bike to anyone other then someone who simply wants to
maintain his Harley mystique by owning another product of the so called Motor
Company, and having a so called sport bike as well.
The bike is innovative, but I believe it's more glitz then anything else. The bike is
very pretty, that much I can say about it. To bad the mechanics of it didn't
match the reality of how it runs. Until Buell starts to market a real motor, instead
of the ancient, very tired sportster mill they keep rehashing, and they fix the
glaring design faults their bikes have, they will always be more of an oddity and
a conversation piece then a real road going and useful motorcycle. At $11,000 ,
this bike is $5,000 overpriced for what it offers.
Amount Paid (US$): $11,000
Model Year: 2002
- Ralph L. Angelo Jr.