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Buell XB12XT ULYSSES Adventure Motorbike Review

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MCN overall verdict rating is 3

Reworking an existing model to make an all-together different model can work, as Suzuki’s Bandit and V-Strom range has shown – add panniers, taller screen, other accessories and they become good budget touring bikes. Buell’s take on this is to rework the Ulysses adventure-based bike, add small panniers and top box and hope they can get away with an archaic air-cooled engine to lug its load – along with a top heavy price tag. It nearly works, but it’s definitely one for Buell aficionados.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The 1203cc Thunderstorm engine thumps out big torque and is a pleasant, relaxed plodder at 70mph. There are no fuelling issues to talk of because the bike gets a new ECU with much more brain power for a greater range of predetermined fuel/ignition maps. But its the heat from the air-cooled engine that makes congestion riding a warm affair – the noisy electric fan is on constantly and is bloody annoying.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Ulysses model the Buell XB12XT is based on runs with taller suspension for that off-road stance. This version sees the Showa suspension reduced down to normal road bike height, and is very plush. Being fully adjustable there’s a setting available for every riding scenario, from solo to pillion with luggage. Handling is typical Buell: agile, surefooted and manageable for a 211kg bike. 

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

Panniers, topbox, useful tall screen, hand protectors and mounting kit are all standard, as is the useful 12v accessory socket. The topbox mount also doubles up as a fold up pillion backrest when the box isn’t used. Arguably the best device is the belt final drive; no lubing, minimalist adjustment and super reliable. Compare and buy products for the Buell Ulysses XB12XT in the MCN Shop.

Buell Ulysses XB12XT (2008-current)

Detail Value
New price £8,310
Used price range View Buell XB12XT ULYSSES bikes for sale to see current asking prices
Engine size 1203 cc
Power 103 bhp
Top speed 131 mph
Insurance group 15 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 3 rating is 4.5
Engine rating is 3 rating is 4.5
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Equipment rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Quality & Reliability rating is 3 rating is 4
Value rating is 3 rating is 4.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

Arguably the biggest bugbear of Buells is the quality of finish eg exhaust coating giving up and engine running niggles. But Buell assures us all past ills are behind them and the future’s on par with other makes. Owners clubs/forums speak volumes…

Value

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

With the Ulysses XB12XT Buell has entered the touring segment. Obviously the Buell isn’t aimed at displacing or competing with the likes of BMW and so it’s fighting against bikes like BMW’s F800ST, Honda Deauville and Suzuki’s budget tourers eg Bandit GT-range and even Suzuki GSX650F – bikes either cheaper or more in tune with touring. Find a Buell Ulysses for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 15 of 17

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Model History

2005: Buell XB12X Ulysses – adventure-styled version of XB12 sport range
2008: Buell XB12X Ulysses – minor chassis and engine revisions
2008: Buell XB12XT Ulysses – intro of touring version

Other Versions

Buell XB12X Ulysses is the taller adventure-style brother of the new touring bike. Not in same league as BMW GS range but can hack rough roads with ease.

Specifications

Top speed 131 mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 103 bhp
Max torque 84 ft-lb
Weight 211 kg
Seat height 780 mm
Fuel capacity 16.7 litres
Average fuel consumption 15 mpg
Tank range miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 15 of 17
Engine size 1203 cc
Engine specification Air/fan-cooled, 4v, 45° V-twin four-stroke. Five gears
Frame Aluminium dual beam
Front suspension adjustment Rebound and compression damping, spring preload
Rear suspension adjustment Rebound and compression damping, spring preload
Front brakes 1 x 375 rim-mounted disc with inverted 6-piston caliper
Rear brake 240mm disc with single-piston caliper
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(2 reviews)

  • The Touring Buell for tall ones

    svens

    Average rating rating is 5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    This is the Buell for tall riders. I am 5"11 and still feel quite comfortable on the S and R but I can imagine being taller and it would be cramped. So there is the Uly a fantastic touring bike if you put on the panniers and a fantastic 2 up bike. Take the pillion and luggage off and you have a supermoto style superb handling bike. Stand out off the GS crowd and get one.

    30 April 2009

  • Great Commuter & Tourer

    Victor9098

    IE

    Average rating rating is 3.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I collected the XT in July. Have wanted a Buell for years, but either height/practicality ruled them out as I only have a motorcycle licence I need a 'most things' motorcycle (100 mile commute each day). XT ticks all the boxes, completely kitted for touring/commuting in all weather. The big V-twin engine is great fun, the bike is very agile and have never got sore in the saddle. Downside, my fuel pump shorted 2 months in & the exhaust is looking very rusty after 6 months. Other then those two issues I am loving the XT, great all-rounder that I am on everyday in all weather.

    26 January 2009

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