Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles Reviews (23)
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2005-02-08 1999 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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I own and have owned a lot of bikes. I ride a Gold Wing, CB200 Honda, and a '72 Norton Commando. In the past I owned a 1967 T120R Triumph, a '74 KZ500 Kawasaki and KZ750 (the three cylinder two stroke rockets of death), etc. I recently bought a tricked out 1999 Buell X1 Lightning with about 20 extra hp and lb/ft, wheels, tires, exhaust, intake, ECU, etc. My first experience was a test ride and I knew it was special as soon as the mechanic started it up. It was an intimidating sound even at idle. It came to life in a low deep growl, lumpy and very serious, it gave me butterflies and I was a little scared and wondered if I had made a mistake. After a minute of earth pounding idle the mechanic decided it needed to be rapidly revved to about 5 grand 3 or 4 times. The Buell engine sounds like something Enzo Ferrari would build if he built motorcycles on steroids. I climbed aboard this shuddering mass of utterly intimidating technology, metal, rubber and fuel eased off the clutch and rolled on about 1/8 revolution of throttle. My feet found their way to the pegs quite naturally in spite of the fact that I am tall at 6' 3. The riding position was comfortable and more upright than I expected and the saddle fit quite well. I slowly maneuvered around the parking lot getting used to the clutch and controls before my foray into traffic. Within the first 50 feet of very cautious riding I knew the Buell was something quite extraordinary. It was easy to ride and had very responsive brakes, the engine felt lumpy but the throttle felt light and balanced, all in all the bike feels small like a 250. It stumbled a little at low speeds, apparently the lungs desire higher airflow to satisfy the lust for explosion. This turned out to be only one of two bad habits I discovered with the Buell. The engine lunges at very low speeds like a 15 mph school zone. Maneuvering in stop and go traffic requires a lot of finesse on the clutch and throttle and this bike does not like to passively roll forward ten feet. This bike is a thoroughbred racer and wants to go, it feels anxious and edgy at very low speeds, the clutch is very heavy and made my hand cramp. I found that I needed to keep the motor at about 3000 rpm to get smooth performance riding or cornering, below this, it can shudder and affect speed and turn radius. It's a small quirk and something that can be tolerated and the rider can learn to ride around. It's not a sacrifice to have a bit of engine speed in the turns so the throttle roll-on is smooth and responsive. I rode it around a local neighborhood, stopping and starting to get the feel of the controls and pegs, kids would stop and look and more than one car seemed to pay attention. I eventually wound my way to a larger road with a higher speed limit to test my skills. The light turned green I rolled on the throttle, slipped the clutch and off I went. Acceleration is brisk to say the least, the 1203cc plant pulls effortlessly and very smooth above 3000 rpm. The first gear comfortably winds out to about 40 mph and slipping into second and a modest rev got me to 60 in a 45 zone in about 6 seconds. If I could I would change the pulley diameters to trade low speed engine revs for ultimate top speed. I found that I rarely needed 5th gear as I'm a wuss rider and only go 75 or 80 mph anyway. Within a few miles I had gained the confidence to roll the throttle to perhaps 1/4 revolution and this is truly where the fun begins. The acceleration as well as the exhaust note go from effortless and manly to NASCAR and then from NASCAR to Top Fuel somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 throttle. I never revved the engine above 5000 rpm and even so this machine left me grinning from ear to ear and my heart pounding every time I took off from a traffic light. The sound and utter fury are amazing and I found myself respecting this machine the first time I walked it through the gears. This is a bike that can get a careless undisciplined thrill happy rider in trouble very, very fast. It requires discipline, self control and a fondness for life to offset the siren call of the almighty throttle. Beware. The first time you stop on this little machine you will notice the brakes. They are simply the best brakes I have ever felt on any vehicle. I suspect the 60 mph braking distance is about 60 feet. I found that I had to be careful for a number of reasons, first I was afraid that the front tire would lock up and second the traffic behind you cannot stop anywhere near as fast. As with all new vehicles and with any performance vehicle, you will need caution and diligence to manage the performance on this little bike. After a few very satisfying high speed 1/4 throttle launches from traffic lights I decided to find some twisty roads to test the handling. I cruised one local road a couple times and after learning all the bumps and verifying that there were no cinders or oil patches I made a pass and practiced push steering the little Buell. It's a very responsive bike and immediately responds to pressure on the handle bars and immediately returns to upright when you let up. It handles like a road racer, a lot like my Norton, light, responsive, tight and rigid like a fighter plane. Balance and counter balance steering character are also very good and natural, my only complaint is that the steering lock is encountered too early, does not allow enough maneuverability in parking. Again, this is a very small quirk and one the rider can learn to manage. I test rode my Buell for an hour, got off, looked at the bike and all I could do was grin and say Wow! All I wanted was to ride it again. The Buell is a unique one of a kind high performance bike and not for everyone. It's stripped down to the bare essentials necessary for performance, so it vibrates, makes noise, and everything it does is breathtaking. I found it was a good match for me and I enjoy learning to ride it even 1/2 way to its potential. The X1 Buell will always have a place in my stable of motorcycles and close to my heart and it gets the majority of my attention when I go for a ride. I may end up neglecting my Norton and my Gold Wing, and I hope they can forgive me, but I won't have time to feel sorry.
- Den, Philly, Pennsylvania

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2004-02-10 2000 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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I bought a used and modified X-1 with just over 7k miles on it recently. I've been riding almost 30 years and have had cruisers, crotch-rockets and everything in between. Much as I like the silky-smoothness of Japanese sport bikes, I find the personality of such rides lacking (for the record, I have a 600 Ninja in the stable as well). The X-1 though, it redefines image! It is the hairy-chested brawler of performance bikes; don't get one if you're shy and timid. Be prepared to be the center of attention every time you fuel up and plan your schedule to allow chat sessions every time you park it somewhere! The real reward is this bike performs every bit as well as it looks, the chassis is a thing of wonder. It slices and dices the curves and rips down straight stretches with a growl. I also have a 1200 Sportster and the difference in handling and performance is astonishing, the Buell reigns supreme. If you've ever ridden a Sportster, you'll also be amazed at the smoothness of the Buells. On the freeway they cruise along buzz-free at 60+ mph. Nice! In summary, get an X-1 and get in touch with your inner hooligan, you'll be glad you did!!!
- Tres Wright, Dallas, Texas

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2003-08-05 2000 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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I've ridden Harleys since I was old enough to ride a hummer(12). This was my first sport bike, and wow. That says it all. The only disappointment is the lack of umph past 120 due to the gears and the aero, but how many times do you need that type of jail bound speed? I am currently stroking out the bike to 111 cubic inches, with slight mods to the tank. I have a 54 mm throttle body, a 575 cam with 253 duration, thunderbolt cnc hurricane heads, a k&n ramhorn, and vance&hines s2r exhaust. It's hard to find anyone on the street who can keep up, even without downshifting. the bike is scary in the corners, because it feels like the bike is laughing at the road wanting more. I love my baby, all 11,000 miles of the experience have been great, with no shop visits other than the recalls.
- Matthew Malott, Norfolk, Virginia

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2002-05-18 1999 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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Some of my past bikes include..Norton 850,Guzzi LM11,Guzzi MKV (Ult ED.)GPZ 900R ,GSXR 750 M,ZZR1100(98),& 99X1 Buell.....I wont part with the Buell.Minimum maint will prevent problems and with very little work the bike has never let me down.Fantastic hills scratcher...hard to beat, very forgiving.Always gets looks & enquiries.Its like no other bike Ive ever ridden. Simply...........I love it.
- Geoff , Adelaide, Australia

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2002-03-13 2000 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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had mine almost two years and 11000 miles with only a speedo sensor to replace.sounds awsome with the vance-hines muffler.really fun bike to ride.
- bobby getman, charlotte, North Carolina

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2001-05-26 2000 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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This bike is simply too much fun. I have had a race kit installed and the power is staggering while remaining silky smooth. Oh, and the sound is awesome. This bike is a blast to ride and a real head turner. This is my second Buell and I have no complaints with the bike. Additionally, dealing with the sales and service staff at Danbury H/D-Buell is truly a pleasure.
- GMorris, New Fairfield, Connecticut

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2001-04-24 2000 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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I'm the proud new owner of a 2001 X-1. I will tell you that after years of driving different makes (Kawasaki, Yamaha, Ducati, Honda) while overseas Germany, where there are no real speed limits, a foreign bike is what you want to own. Fast, cheap, disposable, plus there are many places where you can speed-up your bike to its limits. Here in the States, well, if you're willing to pay $12,000 for a street legal bike that will do 160 MPH,(where?) then more power to you. My point is, the X-1, turns heads everywhere I've gone with it, it has enough power to handle any (LEGAL) speed in the US HWY's, and if you care for it, it'll last as long as any other foreign bike. Plus it will keep its value, better than most of them. So far I'm impressed with bike, the dealer's customer service and the Harley Davidson's engine. Just my opinion.
- rider, Radcliff, KY

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2001-02-19 2000 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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This is by far not my first bike, and it's one of four I own now. I did a lot of research before purchasing it and knew what I was getting into. Since I've owned it the bike has been in the shop four times, that's four times in four months. I've got about 2000 miles on it now. Not sure the actually millage because on my last trip the odomiter failed when the charging system went south. So far it's been in twice for an intermintant surging/rough running problem that has yet to be diagnosed. The shock has had both recalls, the highbeam indicator went out, it used over a quart of oil in 1500 miles, (factory says 1 quart in 1600 is usual), a seal came off in the air cleaner, and as of yesterday the entire charging system failed. Had to stop every 30 miles or so with my buddy and use his bike to charge my battery to get home. Long day :) You would think I'd pretty much had it with the bike by now but not so. I purchased it at San Diego Harley Davidson, they have been great. They have top notch people with outstanding Buell knowledge. (They have a Buell race team) The mechanic's have known proper set up and the fixes for most of my troubles. Hopefully the surging/rough running will be fixed with this charging system replacement. When the bike is working, it works like nothing else. The handling is wonderfull, the throtle response is frightening and it never fails to start conversations where ever I pull up. I'm sure that once it's dialed in and the bugs are worked out it will be a true dream. I also know I'll always have to tinker with it....and that's OK. Like I said, I have three other bikes. If you are looking for a one and only, turn key ride, this may not be the bike for you. If you are looking for American made Exotica with more hrumph and grumble than anything from over seas and don't mind tinkering from time to time, this may be the ride for you.
- Larry Adair, San Diego, California

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2001-01-15 2000 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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Man I had this bike since June 00 I put 9500 miles on it. The thing leaks oil. My muffler broke 4 times and waiting on new race kit for about 3 months / but if this bike hit 180mph and would last longer than 1 month with no problems then I think it would be probably the best bike out but till then its just a great ride.
- rider/owner, Modesto, California

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2001-01-09 2000 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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My good friend and neightbor owns an X1, every time my cell phone rings with his # on the caller ID I know he broke down on his X1, so I hitch the trailer and do the neightborly thing. He bought this bike against my advice I had an S1 for about 4 months, this bike stranded me 9 times on different days, guess who used to come and get me?
- Gilbert Companioni, Miami, Florida

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2000-12-04 2000 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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I love riding this bike! It is not the fastest bike in the world. With 1203 cc motor, you'd think it would be faster. but there is tons of torque that makes the twisties a blast. I ride with guys with sportbikes and they sure eat my lunch, which is annoying since my bike has a bigger engine and costs more. But there is something about this bike I love. Maybe it's just because it is one tough bike.
- kent, Oklahoma City

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2000-11-27 2000 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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This is in response to the last post from LA. Did your friends X1 have a race kit? This makes all the difference in the world. Try one with the kit! Later Dave
- Dave, Waterloo, Louisiana

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2000-11-20 2000 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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I recently had the opportunity to ride a friend;s 2000 X-1. The overall handling of the bike impressed me, but the motor isn't impressive at all. It starts to make good power at 5000 rpm, but red line is 6500 rpm. Below 5000 rpm there isn't a whole lot of power. I would probably go for the M-2 instead and upgrade the suspension to the units on the X-1. If you can live with the peaky motor, go for the X-1, just don't expect the same level of performance you can get from a four cylinder bike.
- Jack, Los Angeles, California

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2000-10-30 1999 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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I've been riding bikes longer than a lot of the guys I ride with have been on the planet. My bright yellow Buell X-1 with the factory race kit is just great. My last bike was a H-D Low Rider Custom with about an extra $5,000 in it. The Buell is about ten times the fun to ride. I went on a Sport Bike ride and found that I could pass the Japanese bikes on the inside of the turns, on the outside of the turns. It was a kick starting out in the back of the pack not knowing how competitive I'd be and ending up in second place. Out of the twisties and onto the freeway running at 120 with the pure Sport Bikes and as smooth as a babies behind. Not a great tourer but lots of fun. that's what I bought it for.
- Tom Martin, Fremont, California

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2000-10-02 2000 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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I bought it new in July after all recall work was complete. I have had in and out of shop for various problems (Fuel leaks, Fuel injection problems). The bike currently has 550 miles on it and is for sale!!!!!! (Shop put over half those miles on testing problems) I got no help from H.D. Dealer or Southeastern Buell rep.
- Dwayne Mims, Jacksonville, Florida

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2000-09-15 2000 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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poor reliability, poor customer service, I purchased this Buell in April of this year. It has been at the dealer for more than seven weeks for repair. I have had problems with the rear tire (lost air but wasn't punctured), clutch, alternator, rear suspension (recall item), and now the front brake. The folks at Harley customer service have not returned my calls or letter in two weeks. This bike handles great and is great to look at. Unfortunately, despite my dealer's best efforts, it's impossible to keep it running!
- Rider, Detroit, Michigan

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2000-08-11 2000 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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I have been riding a Buell for two years. When I traded in my S-1 for a brand new X-1, I was expecting the same ride -- far from it. Buell has made dozens of improvements. The ride is smoother, more comfortable, and has a better engine. All around it is an excellent bike. Great for anyone with the need for raw power and the sound of a hell raiser at your heals
- adam bell, Waterford, Michigan

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2000-07-28 1999 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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If you are into the latest, greatest sportbikes then you probably won't be interested in a Buell. If you like to carve corners without buying overseas then you have no other choice. Although '99 was the first year of the X1 (remember the old maxim about never buying the first model of anything? It's true...) and it has problems, it also has outstanding handling, the ability to rocket from corner to corner without rowing the shifter, and the components necessary to hang with friends riding Triumph Speed Triples and Ducati Monsters. Erik Buell's marriage of a torquey V-twin and stiff frame using the engine as a stressed member is the simplest possible definition of sportbike. The mass is kept low in the frame and this allows a Buell to change directions easily. You don't suppose Honda and Suzuki have recently marketed big-bore V-twin-powered sportbikes as a whim, do you? Unlike most street-legal racebikes, this bike has real-world ergonomics. The footpegs are where they belong (under your butt without feeling like they're part of your cheeks and not three feet out in front of you, either) and the handlebar (no clip ons!) is a comfortable reach. The 74-c.i. (1203 cc) engine will spin willing right to the rev limiter (almost 7,000 rpm), is smooth from 3,000 rpm on up, and will cruise all day long at 95 mph (or until those bright, colorful lights show up in the rear-view mirrors....)There is virtually none of the high-rpm buzz that an in-line fours produce at speed. The faster you go, the smoother it feels. Buell apparently did very little testing of the engine management system. This was their first shot at a production machine with fuel injection. The original-equipment ECU (brain) stinks. An extra $200 gets you the "Race Only" module with a huge improvement in rideability, particularly at low engine rpms. Other mods included gutting the airbox, K & N air filter, stainless steel SuperTrapp exhaust can (way better sound, some extra power, several pounds weight savings), and a radar detector. If you go with the American sportbike be sure to check out potential dealers carefully. Harley dealers make a lot of money selling Harleys, but most would rather not have Buells on their lots. Harleys sell for list plus whatever the dealer thinks he can make on top of that. Buells go for no more than list. When it comes time to service your bike be sure your chosen dealer has someone who has actually worked on Buells before. Just because it has a Harley engine doesn't mean the dealer's wrench has clue one about a Buell. Plan on shopping elsewhere for most of your after-market modifications. Despite spending too much time at the dealer for various repairs (all under the extended warranty I was smart/lucky enough to buy) this bike does what I want: Gets me wherever I want to go with little fuss. It looks cool, the girls love it, and the guys envy me, what else is there?
- Frank, Grand Junction, Colorado

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2000-07-11 2000 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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I own a 2000 X1 - tons of fun. Great in traffic and on the highway. Total wheelie monster. I think reliability could be better, and a higher revving engine would certainly help things. On the other hand, its competition is really the Duc Monster and Triumph Speed Triple - neither has a rep for reliability (in fact quite the opposite) and the Buell has better performance and components. I'd have bought the monster if it had any thing close to the performance (and it will next year). I do own a Japanese Sport bike, but the Buell fits my punk style and my vanity (it gets a reaction) and is easier to ride around town so it is the commuter. Hey BMC, when is that water cooled OHC comming?
- Anonymous, Seattle, Washington

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2000-06-08 2000 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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I am a huge fan of twin cylinder sport bikes, and I have always wanted Harley to build one with no excuses. Each year I test rode a Buell and each year is better than the last. The chassis is great. This bike handles well, as expected, but rides comfortably also. The ergonomics are near perfect. The finish is almost there, far less of a home made look than the earlier bikes. Brakes are first rate. The transmission shifts fair, but could use another gear and narrower ratios, because the engine has such a narrow (!!!) power band. This was a huge surprise, to me. I'm hoping for a more modern engine (maybe a Sportster Twin Cam) but not a Japanese style DOHC. Then I'll buy one in a heartbeat.
- Mark Trimmer, Warwick, Rhode Island

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2000-05-01 1999 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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My recomendation, IF you know this a Harley and for the money you can get faster bikes, bikes that handle better, bikes that are easier to resell. ..BUT When you're riding it you just love that there probably isn't another one around for a couple hundred miles and this thing looks cool!!! In terms of performance though I have a borla pipe, k&n filter and mine was dyno'd at 83ft/lbs at the rear wheel - approx.12.8 1/4 mi times. Would I recomend this bike to a serious speed freak ....NO. To a Harley fan??.. you bet. Don
- Don X-one, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

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2000-03-28 2000 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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You've never rode anything like it, but you should. Buells aren't like those japs, cause you can actually ride one. In fact, when I first rode a 99 X1, I was just poken arond and this guy walks up and says...
- Thomas Hopkins, Bradford Pennsylvania

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2000-01-09 2000 Buell Lightning X1 Motorcycles View Listings

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Handles Great! Excellent brakes. Decent seat and bars. One of the most fun to ride bikes made. Look out or it will turn you into a hooligan!
- Garry Burman, Madison, Wisconsin, USA

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