Skip to content

Yamaha BT1100 BULLDOG Naked Motorbike Review

Find By Make/Model

1 of 15
Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Riding
Click to enlarge
Previous image Next image

MCN overall verdict rating is 3

Owners love their Yamaha BT1100 Bulldogs. Everyone else hates ‘em. Depending on your point of view the Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog is either a relaxing, better-braked alternative to a cruiser, rather like a Japanese version of a Moto Guzzi Breva (that won’t break down), or it’s an ill-handling, gutless chump of a thing that would sooner dump you on your backside than take a right-hander with any kind of vigour.


MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

The Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog's air-cooled V-twin SOHC lump comes straight from Yamaha’s old 1100 Virago. And while it’s got some decent pull with 230kg to haul about it soon runs out of ideas and go. Bizarrely it makes all its torque early and high up in the rev range. The Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog needs loud cans to give it any kind of character.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

The big problem with the Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog is brisk cornering. It simply can’t do a big lean to the right – the header pipe touches down, chamfers briefly, then lifts the front wheel and you’re on your arse. And it feels bum-heavy, too, like you’ve got a washing machine for a pillion. No – ride the Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog like a cruiser or slow muscle bike and it’s fine, push it hard and it’s horrid. The ex-R1 superbike brakes are predictably good, the lazy bones ex-cruiser gearbox less so. In its defence, the Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog is very comfortable.


MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

Shaft drive keeps the Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog's back wheel free of grime-attracting lube and the clocks are comprehensive (they were redesigned in 2005) and clear. From 2005 onwards the Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog gained an ignition-based immobiliser as standard.

Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog (2002-current)

Detail Value
New price £5,999
Dealer used prices
£3,090 (2005) - £3,450 (2005)
Private used prices
£2,780 (2005) - £3,100 (2005)
  View full used price info
Engine size 1063 cc
Power 64 bhp
Top speed 109 mph
Insurance group 14 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 3 rating is 4.5
Engine rating is 3 rating is 4
Ride & Handling rating is 2 rating is 3.5
Equipment rating is 3 rating is 3.5
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Value rating is 3 rating is 4.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog's mirrors are poor, showing more of your elbows than the road.


MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The only thing that depreciates faster than the Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog is underwear. The hit on a new bike is phenomenal – a dealer would shave 50, yes 50, per cent of the original value on a trade-in after just a year’s use. So buy a two-year-old Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog and be a very much happier bunny. However, the best thing about the Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog is the attention it attracts – civilians (non-bikers) love it. What price that, eh? Find a Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog for sale


Insurance group: 14 of 17

Compare motorcycle insurance quotes now

Model History

2002: Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog introduced.
2005: Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog gets slight updates including better clocks and seat and an immobiliser.

Other Versions



Top speed 109 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 13.8 secs
Max power 64 bhp
Max torque 60 ft-lb
Weight 230 kg
Seat height 812 mm
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Tank range 200 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 14 of 17
Engine size 1063 cc
Engine specification 4v V-twin, 5 gears
Frame Tubular steel trellis
Front suspension adjustment Preload
Rear suspension adjustment Preload
Front brakes Twin 298mm discs
Rear brake 267mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 170/55 x 17

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(12 reviews)

  • Brilliant Bike for Yorkshire Roads


    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Ride and Handling
    Quality and Reliabilty

    Ignore the reviews go and ride one - had mine 3 years and done 15k on it. Done the Jack Allen carb conversion 10bhp more for £50. It is ideal for the Yorkshire roads and still does 60mpg 1 or 2 up. I have done 250miles in the day it is it comfortable - just gets tiring at 90+ but at normal road speeds it is great. Have not yet touched anything down using BT020's but have worn away the edges of my boots and the front pipes dont seem to get anywhere near the ground. Sorted the mirrors by swapping the stems from my wifes Virago for mine and that pushes the mirrors out and gives a better view. Fitted a hugger and belly pan and would definately have another. Strengths: Pulling power especially with the Jack Allen Kit. Handling with BT020's. Weaknesses: Rear shock - too hard for single riding on Yorkshire roads and no one does a replacement at a reasonable cost.

    03 August 2006

  • Great looks. Good low down acceleration, but low geared.Good Pillion.


    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Ride and Handling
    Quality and Reliabilty

    Beautiful looking bike, attracts a lot of attention because it is different.  Lots of torque as a result of which it is quick away from the lights.  But this acceleration is all low down with the revs bouncing off the limiter around 7000rpm.  It is low geared and feels as though it should have an extra gear. Handling is good in the dry but the back slips out in the wet even when not pushed particuarly hard. The pillion is good and would lend itself to touring. This bike looks aggressive, and has an aggressive name but it is a cruiser.  The riding position is upright and very comfortable and the windblast is fine up until 90mph.  I feel very relaxed driving this bike but feel more than a bit envious when the sports bikes come zipping past.  When I'm in the mood its the greatest bike ever.  Strengths: Looks, Pillion, Torque.  Weaknesses: Gearing.

    28 May 2006


Discuss this

Add your comment


The Faithful Bulldog

You have to live with one for a while to understand it. It is not a sports bike, and people like my self who own one didn't buy it for track days or to blat along the motorway at 150mph. I think comments about the handling on big right hand leans only confirms that the rider was a die-hard sports bike rider, testing it on a track; not a real world environment where it performs very well and at a brisk pace, A&B roads and twisty country lanes. Some of the roads I like to ride on I have never seen a sports bike ride on, the roads are probably to rough and bumpy for them (yes the Bully soaks up the odd pot hole nicely, if you let it). It does not mean I think sports bikes are rubbish, maybe just a little unpractical for what I want to do. On my income to do what I needed to do, the Bulldog (in the real world) commuting, leisure, and touring ticked all the boxes for me without the cost of three bikes. We can’t all afford the latest R1, and by no means are many riders skilled enough to ride around the world on one, not everyone is a god on two wheels (although I get the feeling that certain types of people think that their bike will make them so).
I’ve had my Bully for 3 years, bought it second hand with less than a 1000 miles on the clock and stuck another 29000 miles on it. Low maintenance which means more riding time than fixing, stick a pair of after-market cans on, and the already great sounding V-twin engine becomes a heavenly roar that will make you grin every time you open her up. Admittedly it has no top end, bottoms out at 120mph but I have pissed over Blades and Gixer's from the lights. Torque takes it up to speed in an instant, and because of the forward (V-lump) weight you can pull full throttle without sending the dog back over your head, sending you rocketing forward. But you have to flick up the gears bloody quick as it red lines quickly through 1st and 2nd. Unless I go on a motorway I wouldn't need to go over 120mph and quite honestly how often are you going to go that speed anyway. In the real world (not on the track or 3am in the morning on your favourite bit of open road!) not only will you lose your licence you will eventually kill yourself or someone else. Another good reason for me to stick with my Bully! I have ridden a diverse range of bikes to come to the conclusion that this is the bike for me. It may not be my dream machine but it makes me happy.
Anyone who has ridden with me will vouch that the Bulldog is no slouch. In the right environment, in the right hands as with any motorcycle there is plenty of fun to be had. If you are smiling now you know what I mean and that is what biking is really about!
I've stood on my box and said my bit, happy riding everyone!

04 May 2010 16:34



Yamaha Bulldog

well i can only agree with all the owners here, and that just about sums it up. The Bulldog is a MARMITE bike.


So as we all like marmite. how about some kinda get together. as a suggestion how about a meet at a cafe. Whaddya think


post here if your interested

03 April 2009 13:27



pre reg 07 'new'

I can get this for 4999,, good deal?

26 March 2008 19:41



best of both

The amazing ability of the bt1100 bulldog to put a grin on ones face and remove wrinkles are side effects when riding this seriously great machine . I cant say enough about how gracefully it handles corners fast slow also awesome brakes looks fast when parked up lol adyz!  

29 January 2008 13:43



Yamaha Bulldog

I don't know why this bike gets such a bad press.It is a fantastic bike.One of the problems is that it doesn't fit a category like sports or cruiser.All I can say to people is try one, these are a lotta bike for the money.

21 November 2007 17:07

Show all comments

Most popular

Rate my bike