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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
  • Insurance group: 14 of 17
    Compare insurance quotes now
  • 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.

Insurance, running costs & value 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.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2002
Year discontinued 2007
Original price £5,999
Used price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 14 of 17
Annual road tax £88
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.

Owners' Reviews

16 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.

Review your YAMAHA BT1100 BULLDOG (2002-2007)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.6 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.1 out of 5
Engine 4.3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.8 out of 5
Equipment 3.6 out of 5
5 out of 5

Outstanding if bought in context

21 December 2017 by Nibbler

Buy it for what it is and you won't regret it. If you want easy to ride, lazy torque, home maintenance, big bike feel, all day comfort, 60mpg economy, V twin character and enough power to pass everything safely and leave trouble behind, buy one. If you enjoy brisk riding, buy one. But if you are a dedicated fan of sportsbikes or wannabe racer (or are of the power ranger persuasion) you'll hate it. To qualify, this is my personal opinion based on 44 years of high mileage riding, everything from a Puch Maxi to a top fuel drag bike. I don't get my knee down because the machine isn't suitable for it, as is well documented elsewhere. But I do make swift progress without any banshee wailing and in a much more relaxed manner. Needs loud pipes for me though, whisper quiet without them.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Ride quality is on the soft and wallowy side, but brakes are superb, best I have on any machine
Engine
5 out of 5
Needs loud pipes to release character
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
No problems here
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Overall average running costs are low, 60mpg on a run, 50 to 55 mpg when ridden briskly, great tank range, I refuel at 200 miles
Equipment
3 out of 5
Basic and the odometer in KM with the speedo in MPH. Work that out.....
5 out of 5

01 April 2016 by tickle

excellent

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
-
4 out of 5

I'm a dog person!

17 August 2015 by Fuzzygoth

Yes, wonderful long distance commuter. Most comfortable bike I've ridden and fast enough to hoon around after most bikes.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
I rode from Aberdeen to Sheffield on this bike and was comfortable the whole trip just under 400 miles taking about well over 5 1/2 hours without any problem, very comfortable. It's fairly economical and on long trip at national speed limit I'd get easily 65 mpg out of it. It's not a sports bike and if your daft enough to try to ride it like one it'll dump you on yer bum, ride it like a big v-twin roadster and it'll be good to you.
Engine
4 out of 5
did what it said on the tin, though the starter clutch which packs up after 60k miles was a bit of an arse (thankfully was under warranty).
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
Overall I never had any issue with the build except the electrics which after the mechanic got too it and sorted it it was fine.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
apart from sorting the electrics and the starter clutch (under warranty) it wasn't bad.
Equipment
3 out of 5
Basic and functional, not complicated and no issues
Buying experience

From a dealer

5 out of 5

LOVE my Bullog !!!!

23 June 2015 by Bullshitter

In 50 years biking the best bike I've ever had (the others, Italian guess-what V-twins and Japs). Had this beast for a year and a half now and the enthusiasm has never ceased. The MCN review is rather harsh and laid-back. What had he just been riding, a Ninja H2R ??? Oh no they've only just come out. For what most of us do around here, i.e. running around radar-free country and mountain roads with as many bends as possible during the week-end, this is a truly gratifying bike. Once it's rolling you can throw it around as much as you like, and it the frame and suspension don't mind the terrible surfaces, bumps, repaired patches etc that are part of the roads around here. It starts hot or cold and idles like a Massy Ferguson. It charges the battery enough even if you commute to work every day in heavy traffic with the headlight on ( compulsory here but not a bad idea). Etc. etc. But this bike has also changed my life ! There happens to be a very active Bulldog owner's club here with a buzzing forum, and we have an annual spring meeting in the mountains of southern France with about 20 bikes and the most adorable collection of owners from 30 to 65. Including some lady owner-riders who have to look for a kerb for footing before they stop. But once on the roads up there, they don't hang around! So the Bulldog here, has generated a whole new following, with people from all walks of life, young and old, guys and girls, but all sharing some kind of spirit that makes it so much fun to be out together for a few days, and then the whole year on the forum ! Will now run straight up to the rev limiter in 5th and could do with a 6th gear. However, at strictly illegal speeds, so no real use for that. The joy of surfing that torque, chassis and brakes on the secondary roads with a whole crowd of Bulldog fans is enough...!

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Have not got to the limits of the braking yet. Except for the rear brake while you're zapping down the gears at the same time (the engine torque works the other way around as well) so despite the PR3's it'll squeal the back tyre. With XL-son on the pillion you can use the rear brake to better effect. The front brake is endlessy powerful, but a bit mushy on the lever. Aftermarket "racing" hoses cure that. It's got a big tank and reasonable fuel consumption so you're not always on the lookout for a petrol station. Often two-up with my elder son (21) - both of us are big guys - I don't have to alter my riding style except more caution round bends. Overtaking, etc, no problem. The rear suspension is set in the middle of its adjustment, and is pretty dynamic when solo, but has never bottomed-out when two-up, despite beefy son and bumpy roads.
Engine
5 out of 5
5 ot of 5, once modified by removing AIS and all the stuff that makes it work, by spoiling engine breathing and performance, i.e. Air filter intakes Carb slide restrictors Main jets AIS pump and piping Exhaust restrictors The AIS system is rather a rip-off anyway - it only dilutes emissions to comply with EU rules, but doesn't really reduce them. I actually do little annual mileage, so the slight extra pollution is negligible. The low-speed grunt of that engine will get your rear end sliding if you open the throttle at 2000 rpm in a tight bend in low gear, and you can feel the tyre slipping at each piston stroke. That's a tribute, not a criticism of roadholding or whatever. The Michelin PR3's on my Dog stick to the road like chewing gum, but they have limits. Yeah, that's motorcycling, guys ! Then on the straight it'll run up to maximum revs in every gear without hardly diminishing the pull on the bars (high torque over the whole range). Overtaking is just a matter of blipping the throttle and it's done, no need to wind the revcounter to 12000 rpm before you can do it...
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
I should admit that I've done some development on the engine while keeping the rest pretty stock. Love the stock Lanfranconi stainless steel silencers but modified them to sound like a Ducati V-twin. AIS removed. Air intakes from a TDM, carb slide restrictors removed, main & idle jetting readjusted.
Buying experience

Privately, used, 30 000 miles.

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 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 !!!!

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 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!

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 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.

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

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!

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 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!

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

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 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

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 with it.

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 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.

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

Brilliant Bike for Yorkshire Roads

03 August 2006 by thebiker800

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.

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
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

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

28 May 2006 by thornest

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.

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
-

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  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Riding
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  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog motorcycle review - Side view
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  • 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
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