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Yamaha BT1100 BULLDOG Naked Motorbike Review

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Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Riding
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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.

Engine

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.

Equipment

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.

Value

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

Insurance group: 14 of 17

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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.

Specifications

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)

  • A little known gem

    bluepaul427

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    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 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 !!!!

    01 February 2013

  • Looks awesome, sounds awesome

    oodoom

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    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 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!

    27 July 2010

  • Some people just dont get it!

    bulldog pete

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    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 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.

    03 February 2010

  • Honestly

    therightstuff

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    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 up to 80mph, with still quite a lot of 5th left!

    05 June 2009

  • Love a bit of Bully!

    Suzuki7

    Average rating rating is 3

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    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    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!

    02 June 2009

  • Brilliant Bulldog

    adyc

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
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    Engine

    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 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!

    13 February 2009

  • Very underated

    paulb3243

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    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 quality, designed in Italy. You cannot get any better. Main gripe - it needs a sixth gear.

    14 August 2008

  • Bulldog chewing a wasp !

    alleycat1966

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    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 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

    13 August 2008

  • Think what you want!

    feelveryold

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    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 with it.

    02 February 2008

  • Stylish streetfighter

    Bonesguy

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    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 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.

    01 November 2006

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Fluffers

Flufferssays

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

NitroGary

NitroGarysays

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

richlewis

richlewissays

pre reg 07 'new'

I can get this for 4999,, good deal?

26 March 2008 19:41

bulldogfjr1300

bulldogfjr1300says

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

thornest

thornestsays

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

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