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Buell Lightning X1 reviews

4.2
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Reliability
4.2
Overall quality
4.2
Performance
4.2
Comfort
4.1

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Voted most helpful review

Michael Freund

Kansas

Reviewed on 2021-06-29

Motorcycle reviewed2000 Buell Lightning X1

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3.8
Reliability. I never had any issues, except it vibrates a little and can sometimes loosen hardware. Not like the engine falls apart, but the shift lever end fell off riding one day and the negative on the battery started to loosen. Only things I have had issues with. No electrical problems. At 20 years old, I went through the fuel system and cleaned stuff up, as any gas powered vehicle would need. Quality? Sure. Compared to the price? Definitely. Performance is low end oriented. Don't expect a top end screamer and you'll be happy. It is fantastic bursting around 40-60mph roads, and will net 50 mpg doing it. Comfort? It doesn't make you cramp as bad as some newer sport bikes and is more upright, but it wasn't designed to be comfortable. A nee seat would help as it is a little narrow where it meets the tank. It's been a great bike and you won't see any others like it when you own one!
Reliability
4.0
Quality
4.0
Performance
4.0
Comfort
3.0
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Voted most helpful review

Den

Philly, Pennsylvania

Reviewed on 2005-02-08

Motorcycle reviewed1999 Buell Lightning X1

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5.0
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.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
4.0
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Voted most helpful review

Tres Wright

Dallas, Texas

Reviewed on 2004-02-10

Motorcycle reviewed2000 Buell Lightning X1

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5.0
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!!!
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Voted most helpful review

chuck cox

detroit, Michigan

Reviewed on 2003-08-13

Motorcycle reviewed2001 Buell Lightning X1

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5.0
I don't really know how to work this cumputer or I would send pictures of my 2001 x1 lightning. I had my share of problems from mine at first after adding tons of add ons and working the bugs out I would not trade it for anything.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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jsimpki

Denver, Colorado

Reviewed on 2003-08-09

Motorcycle reviewed2001 Buell Lightning X1

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5.0
I've owned about 15 bikes over the last twenty years, including BMW's, Hondas, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha's. I've raced street and dirt, so I believe I know a little about motorcycles, and I rate my buell as the funnest bike I've owned. Its not the fastest in straight line...but who cares...when was the last time you could go 170mph with out getting a ticket or for more than 1 second before you got scared that a truck was going to turn left in front of you?? So see, straight line performance is worthless in the real world of canyons. Now my X1 eats up the canyons here in Colorado, and with flat massive amounts of torque, I smoke all comers. I also love the styling....as one mag. put it....the "I hate everybody but my rider look" Yeah Baby!!! The unfortunate thing is that Buell is not continuing to develop the Evo powered line any more. They are concentrating on the XB line, which has a very aggressive seating position that I just can't handle. So they've lost a future customer with me, I'll just keep the X1 for as long as it last. j-
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Voted most helpful review

Matthew Malott

Norfolk, Virginia

Reviewed on 2003-08-05

Motorcycle reviewed2000 Buell Lightning X1

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5.0
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.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Voted most helpful review

Stephanie Hunt

Boise, Idaho

Reviewed on 2003-03-13

Motorcycle reviewed2001 Buell Lightning X1

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5.0
Nothing says speed like a racing bike, and nothing says power like a Harley-Davidson! So what better a marriage than the Buell motorcycles? We can run with the racing bike crowd but turn heads toward our ride with that gutteral, masculine to the quick *potata*potata* sound of a Harkey-Davidson. The seat's big enough for a passenger (even one with some extra bottom) to sit comfortable and the rear foot pegs are low enough for even tall passengers to fit. No more sitting on the fender or hip flexor cramps!! Definately give this bike a try!!
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Catlett

Livorno, Italy

Reviewed on 2002-10-21

Motorcycle reviewed2001 Buell Lightning X1

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4.0
4500 miles later. I just had a D&D slip on muffler race ecm and K&N race filter installed. Also had all California emmisions removed. WOW!!! This thing really screams. Eats Ducati Monsters for lunch. Only drawback is, this thing is way too loud!!! I've owned three Harleys in the past, all with straight open pipes and this thing is louder than all of them. Looking for a baffle for the exhaust. If I can't find one I'LL opt for a Vance & Hines slip on. Only problem I've had so far is the battery terminal bolts vibrated out and cables came off terminals. A little lock tite fixed the problem. I love this bike!! Handling is top rate and suprisingly comfortable on long rides. Anyone who likes torque and handling WILL LOVE THIS BIKE!!
Reliability
4.0
Quality
4.0
Performance
4.0
Comfort
4.0
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Voted most helpful review

BRIAN P.

OLD BRIDGE, New Jersey

Reviewed on 2002-10-17

Motorcycle reviewed2001 Buell Lightning X1

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4.0
WHATS UP, MY NAME IS BRIAN AND I OWN A 02' X-1.I FIRST WENT INTO THE HARLEY DEALER WANTING TO BUY A CRUISER,THE SALESMEN TALKED ME OUT OF IT,HE SAID YOU LOOK LIKE A BIG GUY, SO HOW ABOUT A BUELL. OK.SO I BOUGHT IT. I LOVE THIS BIKE,ITS REALLY FUN TO RIDE,AFTER READING MIKES ARTICLE I WOULD HAVE TO AGREE. THESE BIKES ARE UNBELEIVABLE ON THE STREET. THEY ARE REAL STREETFIGHTERS,UNMATCHED IN RAW POWER AND HANDLING... I WAS WONDERING IF ANY OF YOU RIDERS HAVE SPARE KICKSTANDS LAYING AROUND? CAUSE HELL MINE IS WORN OFF!!!!!! ON MY SECOND SET OF PEGS TOO!THIS BIKE CARVES THROGH THE TURNS. WELL JUST HAVE TO SAY I DO RESPECT JAP BIKES FOR THE SPEED,BUT IF YOU WANT TO HAVE FUN ALL DAY AND MAKE PEOPLE LOOK,RIDE ONE AND FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF!! WELL KEEP IT ON 1 WHEEL.. GOOD LUCK AND RIDE SAFE........
Reliability
4.0
Quality
4.0
Performance
4.0
Comfort
4.0
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Voted most helpful review

MICHAEL J

OLD BRIDGE, New Jersey

Reviewed on 2002-10-16

Motorcycle reviewed2001 Buell Lightning X1

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4.0
I OWN A 01'X-1 HAVE ABOUT 3000 MILES ON HER. THIS BIKE IS THE BEST,BESIDE HAVING A BAD REP WITH ALL SPORTBIKE PEOPLE, THIS BIKE IS FARMOST THE TORQIEST TOY THAT YOU CAN RIDE. IVE OWNED A GSXR750,VFR750,AND KATANA1100.THESE WERE ALL SUPER FAST BUT NOT FUN. ALL I WANTED TO DO WAS GO FAST STRAIGHT,BUT ITS NOT ABOUT THAT ANYMORE. ALL MAGAZINES AND SPORTBIKE PEEPS SAY 101HP, 88HP AT THE REAR WHEEL IS A JOKE FOR 1200CC. 12.0 IN THE 1/4 MILE, WHAT A JOKE RIGHT! WELL MAYBE NOT, I RIDE WITH ZX7R, ZX6R, R6, TL1000R,AND XB9R. WELL I HAVE TO SAY THESE ARE WELL KNOWN BIG SPORTBIKE NAMES AND THE MAGAZINE PEEPS BRAG HOW FAST THEY ARE,BUT WAIT,A BUELL IS UP FRONT,THIS CANT BE. WELL BESIDES THE XBR, I THINK THE X1 HANDLES THE BEST. AND WHEN YOU PULL UP AT THE LIGHT I LOVE TO HEAR "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT"..WELL JUST TO SUM IT UP, DONT GO BUY WHAT IS PRINTED IN THESE MAGAZINES,DONT FALL INTO THE JAP BIKE HYPE.YES THERE FAST BUT BUELLS DO DESERVE MORE REAL LIFE CREDIT. IF YOU OWN ONE YOU KNOW WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT,IF YOU DONT OWN ONE, TRY TO RIDE WITH SOMEONE WHO DOES.IF YOUR IN JERSY AREA, HELL EMAIL ME. ;LATER P.S A GOOD REAL LIFE MAGAZINE SPORTBIKE OR NOT IS "BIKE". IT SELLS FOR ABOUT 7$ BUT YOU DONT HAVE ALL THE BS. JUST REAL PEOPLE ON REAL ROADS..
Reliability
4.0
Quality
4.0
Performance
4.0
Comfort
4.0
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