Buell S3T Thunderbolt Motorcycles Reviews (18)
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2010-03-19 2001 Buell S3T Thunderbolt Motorcycles View Listings

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I'll startout by saying Buells aren't for everybody. If you're looking for warp speed, look somewhere else. If you're looking for a bike that is a good all around bike, then a Buell is a bike you want. There is mounds of negative press about Buell and for years it deterred me from buying a Buell. I couldn't resist looking at Buells everytime I started thinking about a new bike. Finally, I bought one. Somebody was almost giving away a S3 that his wife had ridden only once or twice and didn't like it. I found the negative press to be exaggerated a little. The bike does shake/lope a little bit at idle, but it is smooth as silk once you get above 2500. I have never had a major problem or a minor one for that matter. The motor is solid and doesn't leak. If you're thinking about a Buell, get an older tube frame Buell, you won't be disappointed.
- Sanders, Great Lakes, Illinois

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2005-09-28 2000 Buell S3T Thunderbolt Motorcycles View Listings

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I purchased a 2000 fuel injected Thunderbolt earlier this summer. At the time, I also had a 99 Sportster sport. Since the Buell purchase, I have sold the Sportster. The Buell runs better, faster, is lighter, and is a winner. The performance is spectacular and it is amazing what the Buell folks can do to a harley 1200cc engine. I used to think my sporty was pretty quick until I began riding the Buell. All I will ever do now is replace someday with a newer Buell model.
- Mark, St. Louis, Missouri

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2004-10-03 2000 Buell S3T Thunderbolt Motorcycles View Listings

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Talk about American Made, whew, this was my first American bike and it DOES make me GRIN!! Having been raised on Kawasaki's and Triumph triples of the 60's an 70's most of my younger life. The Buell was different, just like my "Tridents" when I fell in love with them. Brutal torque, I had to put a set of Trident bars on it just so I could hold on! I got it with 1400 miles a second owner, race kit, PM wheels, she was a fire breathing dragon as far as I was concerned that handled better than my Triumph! Enough said there. I'm 53 and a bit crippled up (Crashed a SuzukiGS750 in 78 hard, Ouch) so vibration is my enemy. If you can stand the vibration(from my Harley buddy that I let ride it, "What vibration, She's as smooth as silk")she'll take you anywhere you want to go and more reliability than any other bike I have ever owned. I rode her 8000 miles in 16 days last year on a trip out west from Florida to Idaho via California. My longest day was 987 miles, Sonora, Tx to Scotsdale, Az. Most days were around the 750-800 mile mark in all kinds of weather(47 degrees to 100+) including a downpour in Texas that stopped me for 2 hours as it rained 6" in 2 hrs! She sat out in it the whole time and started on the first push of the button. I've heard others tell their tales of woe but my Buell has been great. Simple to repair, I did those valve cover gaskets myself in 4 hours, 2 taillight bulbs in that time, belt still good but wish the tires went as far as the belts do! I have added some creature comforts, Throttlemeister, Moto-lights, the better to see Montana deer with, taller Zero Gravity wind screen, taller still by Rifle would be better! and of course those Ugly western style Triumph Handlebars, I can sit up or lay down on the tank bag. The Saddlebags are the narrow style and have never given a problem and they are always stuffed! Did I mention the brakes? I also have a Monster Fuel injected 2000 md. and have racing cast iron dual Brembos on it, the Buell weighs more and still stops better! About handling, think it and it goes and fully adjustable too! One day I'll have a Goldwing but I don't think it'll make me GRIN like the Buell does, at least not going uphill into a bunch of twisties and the thrill of racing down the otherside. As for what would make it better? Maybe some foward rider pegs, a better seat, that 6 speed tranny from Baker would be nice, the Rifle sheild, that's about it.
- Brian Brodhead, ft. Myers, Florida

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2003-09-28 2002 Buell S3T Thunderbolt Motorcycles View Listings

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As a rider of H-Ds since 1972, I thought I'd try something a little different, particularly since my friend Bob ate my lunch on the back roads of Arkansas. You see he was on a Screamin' Eagle Road Glide, and I was on a 95 Heritage Nostalgia. Nonetheless, dragging that steel sled through tight 10- 20 mph turns was a drag. I came home and traded for the S3T, and I love it. It's faster than I need,handles superbly, and stops as fast as I want. I recently took a one week, 2,000 mile trip through New Mexico and Colorado. The bike cruised at 80mph without missing a beat. It loves to be between 3,000 and 4,000 RPM while cruising. I'm now at 6,500 miles since last year, with only one problem, the oxygen sensor had a glitch. The dealer took care of it under warranty, and I was on my way. Bottom line, it's a great bike, with a lot of fun inside. Is it a crotch rocket? No. But it will keep up with any of them in the turns. This bike handles exceptionally well. Do I miss the old sled? Yeah. But I won't get rid of the Buell. I'll just add another ride to the stable. Enjoy.
- LC, Argyle, Texas

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2003-06-20 2001 Buell S3T Thunderbolt Motorcycles View Listings

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Excellent True Sport Touring bike with tons of torque. Smooth over 2500, and handles like a dream. Only needs are a taller screen from the factory, and a nice integrated backrest. Luggage is first class, and seating position for someone 5'8" is perfect. Bars are medium height. Also needs a factory plug in for an electric vest. 8500 miles to date, and though I have had some glitches in the fuel injection, Buell went of their way with factory and dealer help. For others that have posted with one star, they need to call and talk with Buell customer service to get things resolved quickly.
- ADB, Illinois, Illinois

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2003-05-17 2000 Buell S3T Thunderbolt Motorcycles View Listings

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I now own a 99 S3T in Colorado after owning several bikes from 5 "Yap" bikes to 3 different Harley's and have enjoyed most of them. After riding a freinds S2 all through the Italian alps for 3 years I knew what my next bike would be after returning to the states. I love to "Cruz" and "Ride" the S3T allows me to do both. It's very comfy on the long runs and when it's time to get on it this bike holds the road like glue and grants unbeatable control in the curves. The bike does generate some heat to the legs and a optional tall touring windscreen but overall this one is a keeper, don't know why they discontinued the S3. What were you thinking Eric?
- Rocky Mtn. Buell'r, Colorado Springs, Colorado

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2002-12-31 2000 Buell S3T Thunderbolt Motorcycles View Listings

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I am 57 and have been riding since I was 14. I had the Buell 2000 S3T for 2 years and was a fun travel companion. Mine was full race, chrome sportster engine, black/nuclear blue, tons of carbon fiber, great noise, but too much attention had to be paid to the road in front of you. I traded it in for an Electro glide Classic. The S3T can be picked up at the Gainesville, Fl dealership for 1/2 the price paid for, not including all the extras.
- Dennis Trimble, Gainesville, Florida

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2002-12-06 2001 Buell S3T Thunderbolt Motorcycles View Listings

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I purchased my Buell S3T about a month ago and am ready to sell it after only 200 miles. The overall quality of the bike is very poor, and the handling is even worse. I made numerous attempts to contact Buell with some of the concerns I have but they don't return my calls. The "customer care" line is nothing more than voice mail. Did I mention that I sat on hold for 15 minutes before the voice mail? I've owned about 8 other bike before the Buell, and I can honestly say that this is by far the worst. Junk on wheels. I can almost hear Erik Buell laughing at me as I write this.
- Another Buell victim..., Detroit, Michigan

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2002-09-12 2001 Buell S3T Thunderbolt Motorcycles View Listings

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I have a 2001 S3 and I love it. The hate part comes in a couple of places, one is the fact that since it is fuel injected it is harder to find a different intake. The other is the fact that I had an Oil leak that no one could find, so my bike was spending more time in the shop than with me, but that has been fixed, and since then I haven't had a problem
- William Luce, Portland, Oregon

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2002-02-15 2001 Buell S3T Thunderbolt Motorcycles View Listings

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I recently got my bike back from the shop and decided to go for a ride with some friends.About 50 miles from home it began backfiring and surging. It is once more headed back to the shop. At this rate I'm going to have to get visitation rights to see my bike. I only hope that the problems are all fixed before the warranty is up.
- St, Honey Brook

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2001-12-30 2001 Buell S3T Thunderbolt Motorcycles View Listings

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Found a brand new '97 Thunderbolt S3-T at the local Buell dealership for less than 10 grand in June of this year. A discount of nearly $2500 over the MSRP in '97 and only two miles on the bike made for a really attractive deal. Buells seemed to be the only thing coming out of Wisconsin that you could actually find a "deal" on at the time. It doesn't have the Thunderstorm heads or fuel injection but still makes around 85 ft-lbs or torque and 90h.p., enough to suit my needs. The only immediate problem was with the saddle bag latches which would stick closed leaving stuff inside. The dealer replaced the faulty latches with latches from a newer bike on the floor, which were re-designs, and these have worked flawlessly since. I have put nearly 9000 mi. on the bike since June and in that time the only other problem was the muffler mounts got vibrated into pieces. I put an aftermarket Supertrapp muffler on and it's main mount broke in less than 500 mi., the Buell IS a Milwaukee vibrator after all. I redesigned a cable type mount which allows the muffler to find it's natural state and everthing seems to be holding up well now. The Supertrapp also added a big boost to throttle response in the mid-range which should equal a few more ft-lbs of torque. My main riding is along the Blue Ridge and other mountain ranges here in western NC. The Buell just eats up the curvy hilly roads, roaring up through mountain gaps like they were little hills. This bike is very well suited for mountain riding with plenty of pulling power from the 1203c.c. engine. I weigh 200+ and even with the bags full of gear the bike still pulls hard in fourth gear at 70+mph up these mountains. I'm not a racer so I'm not going to brag about scraping anything or relate an anecdote about blowing past anybody on the track. Let's just say the bikes handling gives me great confidence when the roadsigns start looking like reptile snapshots. I don't believe I've ever worn tires on a street bike so evenly before. My "chicken strip" was 3/8" on the Buell but on my older hawgs the tire would sometimes look square when it was replaced. All in all, I feel like I have a great ride and that Buell will stand behind me if necessary. I can't recall the number of times I've found myself grinning from ear to ear after tackling some back road or cresting the eastern divide. If you like taking long rides on some very curvey roads, the Thunderbolt will make an excellent choice.
- A.J., Winston-Salem, North Carolina

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2001-05-16 2000 Buell S3T Thunderbolt Motorcycles View Listings

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Well, okay, I have an S3, not an S3-T... but I've added the factory luggage, handlebars, and aftermarket larger windscreen. All that's missing are the fairing lowers, which I don't want anyway. :) I really like this bike. It replaces another sport-tourer, a 1985 Suzuki GS1150ES, and everything I liked about the Suzuki is present in the Buell... only a little moreso. The handling is excellent, the motor strong and torquey, the brakes powerful (albeit a bit grabby when it was new). It also draws attention from other motorcyclists everywhere I go ("What is that? A Harley sportbike? Cool!"). And, for a 6'2" 200-pound rider, the bike *fits*. And there's no damned chain to lube! Yay, belt drive! The rough edges part... the 2000 Buells have had a couple of recalls (rear shock, front muffler mount). At 2500 miles, it developed an oil leak on the rear cylinder rocker-arm cover... a warranty fix. It spits a little oil back through the breather tubes. I'd trust it to go across the country, but let's be honest... it's not a Honda in the reliability department. that's okay, though, at least for me... part of my relationship with my bike involves a set of wrenches and TLC. I like it.
- Lance, San Jose, California

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2000-11-15 2000 Buell S3T Thunderbolt Motorcycles View Listings

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I had the pleasure of logging about 4500 miles on a S3T this past summer. It has changed the way I look at riding. I've spent the last 16 years riding Harleys, had lots of fun, looked cool and all that. This past summer I put more miles on Buells than I did my other three bikes combined. Now before you think I didn't ride that much I also put about 4000 miles on M2s and X1s. You see I am a lucky guy that sells Harleys and Buells. The Buells are much more fun to ride than any other bike I've ever had. The power, handling and style of riding are different than I'm used to and I have to admit lots more fun! The S3T is only 5-10% less comfortable than my Electra Glide but it wheelies 150% better. If you're looking for a perfect blend of comfort and performance buy a S3T. Later Dave
- Dave Stueve, Waterloo, Iowa

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2000-11-03 2000 Buell S3T Thunderbolt Motorcycles View Listings

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Sure it's a lot of money. Sure my right side fairing cracked after 1400 miles. (And it will again I'm sure) but I've had more fun on this bike then my 10 years with my beloved FXR, and my two with the Kaw. Riding position is perfect, handling is excellent, acceleration is effortless, braking is good...get one
- Brett Betz, Aurora, Ohio

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2000-09-20 2000 Buell S3T Thunderbolt Motorcycles View Listings

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I have had over 40 bikes and this is the best. It accelerates up to 80 and beats anything on the street providing that you use the chip, aircleaner, and borla exhaust. For a man over 40 this makes a great sport tourer with awesome luggage capacity. Top speed is around 140 and very stable. Passengers are also very happy. Get one
- hugh mclaughlin, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

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2000-07-17 2000 Buell S3T Thunderbolt Motorcycles View Listings

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My 1999 S3 with the touring package is by far the best bike I've owned in my 50 years, and over 30 years of riding. It's also my first American bike. It will do anything, and do it well. Sure it has shortcomings; It tries to bake your knees at a stop light, the oil is hard to check, and the stock windscreen does very little, BUT... What it does do well far outweighs its shortcomings. Watch it bounce around at a stop light like a Harley should, or growl when you get over 4500rpms. Great on the highway or on the back roads. A true American touring sport bike.
- Ken Budzek, Dayton, Ohio

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2000-04-27 2000 Buell S3T Thunderbolt Motorcycles View Listings

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There are a lot of sport tourers coming out these days. I picked the Buell S3T because I wanted something unique. Buells are. The bike runs great above 2500 rpm, below that you search for the right gear to keep the lugging from being annoying. Handling is outstanding...the bike goes right where you want with practically no effort. The ergonomics are very comfortable with the touring package, but a slightly taller windscreen wouldn't hurt. The bags are quick and easy to remove, although they must be empty to do so. If you want really good performance, a comfortable ride, and some place to put a couple bags of groceries, this bike should be at the top of your list. I love mine.
- Anonymous, Eastern Shore, Maryland

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2000-01-26 2000 Buell S3T Thunderbolt Motorcycles View Listings

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This bike is by far one of the best handling bikes out there. Above 3000 rpm and in the twisties, it is smooth and agile. Just think the turn and it happens. that's the up side. Below 3000 rpm, this thing will vibrate your fillings out. Midrange power and torque are weak at best. Worst of all is that things break and the fit and finish are not 14000 dollars(after tax) worthy. At my 500 mile break-in check, the tranny was already having serious problems and the back brake had stopped working. This after 500 sedate miles and a lot of pet and pampering. The Buell dealer was very helpful and fixed everything asap and without cost but is this worth 14000$??? Also the left bag leaks at the slightest hint of moisture in the air. I can tell this is going to be a love-hate machine. It rides like a dream but the Buell nightmare continues. Add to this (which may or may not be contributal to the make) thieves have already tried to separate it from my ownership. A good disk lock and having the steering locked only cost me a few scratches. Happy riding.
- Anonymous, Atlanta, Georgia

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