This is what the Buell XB9SX Lightning is all about. Make no mistake, it’s razor sharp and will fall on its ear like its name suggests. Erik Buell is obsessed with mass centralisation – to keep everything tight and low the exhaust is under the engine, fuel is in the frame and oil is in the swingarm. The rim mounted disc brake has a lot of initial bite and the wide motocross bars make weaving through traffic easy. Oddly though the XB9SX comes fitted with dual-purpose Pirelli Scorpion Sync tyres – probably mostly to fit the urban scrambler styling. They grip well enough and will come in handy if you happen to find yourself on a dirt road, but for most riders some standard sports or sports touring rubber would make more sense.
Unfortunately this is the Buell’s weak point. It’s charming 984cc V-twin motor has character, makes a reasonable 84bhp and pulls hard from very low revs (handy in town). But the XB9SX has very little in the way of top end. It also vibrates heavily (see our video) and the gearbox occasionally rewards undetermined changes with false neutrals. It’s great for squirting out of hairpins on B-roads, not so good on lengthy straights.
Buell have come a long way since their tubular frame models and reliability has improved, but some owners do still have occasional problems. Buell may have closed down now, but Harley are promising a further 10 years of dealer and parts back-up.
The hard truth is, many bikes do more for less. Now that Buell has closed down though, there are some great deals on new bikes as dealers try to shift their remaining stock. Harley have promised dealer support for a further 10 years, so if you always wanted a Buell now is the time to grab a bargain – just don’t expect it to hold its value well. Fidn a Buell XB9S Lightning for sale.
The Buell XB9SX is as simple and uncluttered as its styling and the pillion seat is for ornamental use only. On the plus side the clocks are clear and easy to read and the mirrors are better than you would think. This is the City-X (pronounced ‘city cross’) version of the XB9 so you do get hand-guards, a grill over the dual-headlights and pucks on the frame to protect it in a spill. The overall effect is a stylish-looking urban scrambler. Available in 3 colours: ‘Villain black’, ‘Kick Ash Translucent’ or ‘Cherry Bomb Red Translucent’, but the translucent options are £370 more. Compare and buy parts for the Buell XB9SX in the MCN Shop.