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Buell Lightning X1 reviews

4.1
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Reliability
4.1
Overall quality
4.1
Performance
4.1
Comfort
4.0

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24 ratings and reviews

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

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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Geoff

Adelaide, Australia

Reviewed on 2002-05-18

Motorcycle reviewed1999 Buell Lightning X1

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5.0
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.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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bobby getman

charlotte, North Carolina

Reviewed on 2002-03-13

Motorcycle reviewed2000 Buell Lightning X1

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5.0
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.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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GMorris

New Fairfield, Connecticut

Reviewed on 2001-05-26

Motorcycle reviewed2000 Buell Lightning X1

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5.0
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.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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rider

Radcliff, KY

Reviewed on 2001-04-24

Motorcycle reviewed2000 Buell Lightning X1

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

Larry Adair

San Diego, California

Reviewed on 2001-02-19

Motorcycle reviewed2000 Buell Lightning X1

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4.0
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.
Reliability
4.0
Quality
4.0
Performance
4.0
Comfort
4.0
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rider/owner

Modesto, California

Reviewed on 2001-01-15

Motorcycle reviewed2000 Buell Lightning X1

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2.0
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.
Reliability
2.0
Quality
2.0
Performance
2.0
Comfort
2.0
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