YAMAHA BT1100 BULLDOG (2002-2007) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"Owners love their Yamaha BT1100 Bulldogs. Everyone else hates 'em"

Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Riding

"Owners love their Yamaha BT1100 Bulldogs. Everyone else hates 'em"

  • At a glance
  • 1063cc  -  64 bhp
  • 45 mpg  -  200 miles range
  • Medium seat height (812mm)

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

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.

Ride Quality & Brakes 2 out of 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.

Engine 3 out of 5

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.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

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

Value & Running Costs 3 out of 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.

Equipment 3 out of 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.

Owners' Reviews

12 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA BT1100 BULLDOG (2002-2007) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3.9 out of 5
Engine 4.2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.9 out of 5
Equipment 3.6 out of 5
4 out of 5

A little known gem

01 February 2013 by bluepaul427

I bought this on a whim as I am fortunate o be able to change my bike as and when the mood takes me. I have had bikes for as little as 4 weeks up to 5 months, until now. The Dog I've now had for over a year and I still love it. It zips around... Read more Birmingham with no problems, in and out of traffic, pulling quickly away at the lights. I've been touring around the Highlands & Islands. Starts first time every time and good for all day riding. 200 miles plus from a tank full. I F*****G love this bike !!!!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Looks awesome, sounds awesome

27 July 2010 by oodoom

Ive got a 2002 'Dog which I bought 3 months ago after a 3 year break from life on 2 wheels. I wanted a bike that looked good, sounded good and wasnt gonna kill me with 150 bhp. It does all those things - even 9 years from launch it still looks... Read more fantastic, it sounds like thunder thru Scorpion cans with the baffles removed, and up to 90 will easily keep up with my mates on their plastic rockets. Its comfortable, the V-twin gives it loads of character, and it handles well enough - this business about it grounding on right hand bends is frankly down to the idiocy of the people riding it - Yamaha never claimed it was a sportsbike so dont ride it like one! Anyway as you can tell I like my Bulldog and interestingly enough, after a few ride-outs my fizzy-4-pot riding mates are starting to make 'I might get one of those next' type noises. Ha!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Some people just dont get it!

03 February 2010 by bulldog pete

Had mine from new in 02 paid £5000 then. Have now done over 62K. The only real issue I have had in all this time is that the starter moter seems to give up at exactly 31K. I have just replaced it for the second time, not cheepat £400 a go! but apart... Read more from that no mechanical probs. Mine is looking a bit tatty now as I use it all year in all conditions and don't keep it in coton wool for weekend trips out. Simple engine easy to maintain yourself and good mpg. It's not quick and it's not trick but it does the job without trouble and minimal care. Can't ask for more.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Honestly

05 June 2009 by therightstuff

I think the MCN review is a bit harsh. I got one of these second hand and it was at good value (depreciation comment correct). I am sure I have done much than your declared top speed, were you riding a restricted one or something, these are rapid... Read more up to 80mph, with still quite a lot of 5th left!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Love a bit of Bully!

02 June 2009 by Suzuki7

This is a classic case of the the whole being more than the sum of the parts. It is beaten in every department but trick it up a bit on the looks front, pop on some loud pipes and wide bars and by golly it is so much fun! Read more

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 2 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 2 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
5 out of 5

Brilliant Bulldog

13 February 2009 by adyc

Held off this bike because of poor reviews. Wish I hadn't. Lesson learned. Always liked the look and concept of this bike. Finally got mine, an 03 in silver. Superb. It is a cross between a cruiser and a roadster. Strong and smooth engine. Seperb... Read more shaft drive. Nice handler too - in the right hands ofcourse (ignore journo's riding like it's an R6 !!). Fantastic comfort for me, see things I'd not had time to notice before. Great fuel economy too. If you like the look of it - go for it, cos the performance is perfectly acceptable. Take away the worry about that licence!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Very underated

14 August 2008 by paulb3243

Love this bike! The sound from the V twin engine and the convenience of the shaft drive, together with the excellent brakes make this a very underated machine. Not really surprising given the UK obsession with sports bikes, but hey, japanese build... Read more quality, designed in Italy. You cannot get any better. Main gripe - it needs a sixth gear.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Bulldog chewing a wasp !

13 August 2008 by alleycat1966

First of all i would like to comment on the above review quoting "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... Read more wheel and you’re on your arse. And it feels bum-heavy, too, like you’ve got a washing machine for a pillion." The above review put me off buying one of these fabulous machines ! Lesson learnt dont read reviews written by some bloke who has probably never ridden a Bulldog, mine has hand made pipes but is otherwise standard has more than ample power with just 65hp plus a little bit more from the pipes. Leant well over i have tried to touch the pipes down and i cant. The Torque is awesome much more than i ever had from any of the sports 600's i have owned or ridden. To sum it up try one you will love it bob on a small fly screen good up to 100mph with little wind blast, ride the torque enjoy the maintanance free shaft then check your reflection in the mirror and watch the dirty great grin on yer face ! Enjoy

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Think what you want!

02 February 2008 by feelveryold

I've owned this bike for 3 years, it's got a lovely riding position, the engine is a real smoooothie, top speed is @ 110 at red line, but that really is not what it's about. Got the bike for a great price from George White, and overall i'm delighted... Read more with it.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Stylish streetfighter

01 November 2006 by Bonesguy

Px'd my GSX 600 for this. Well different at first I've never owned a naked before yet alone a big V twin. Over the past year I've sussed it out - its all about riding the torque. Brilliant fun especially coming off corners. Great handling even two up... Read more no way will this bike touchdown when leant over. On the motorways I just cruise around 85 but this bikes strength is on the A & B roads - its just so much fun!!! Again lots of interest when parked up.  Strengths: Style, Pillion., Torque, Brakes. Weaknesses:  Not often recognised as bike press ignore it.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 12 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2002
Year discontinued 2007
Original price £5,999
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 14 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 64 bhp
Max torque 60 ft-lb
Top speed 109 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 13.8 secs
Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Tank range 200 miles
Specification
Engine size 1063cc
Engine type 4v V-twin, 5 gears
Frame type Tubular steel trellis
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Seat height 812mm
Bike weight 230kg
Front suspension Preload
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Twin 298mm discs
Rear brake 267mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 170/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

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

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Front view
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Front view
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Side view