YAMAHA BT1100 BULLDOG (2002 - 2007) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£350|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
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 & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog's mirrors are poor, showing more of your elbows than the road.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
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
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.
|Engine type||4v V-twin, 5 gears|
|Frame type||Tubular steel trellis|
|Fuel capacity||20 litres|
|Front brake||Twin 298mm discs|
|Rear brake||267mm disc|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||170/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||45 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£350|
14 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||64 bhp|
|Max torque||60 ft-lb|
|Top speed||109 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||13.8 secs|
|Tank range||200 miles|
Model history & versions
2002: Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog introduced.
2005: Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog gets slight updates including better clocks and seat and an immobiliser.
Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA BT1100 BULLDOG (2002 - 2007)
17 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£350|
Annual servicing cost: £350
This bike is much maligned, unfairly in my opinion. I swapped a Blackbird for this, my 11th bike in 25 years. It's comfortable for cruising and great for central London where I use my bike a lot. Loud pipes essential but it accelerates and manoeuvres brilliantly and sounds epic with pipes. Yes it's wheezy at higher revs and there are better bikes for scraping tarmac with your knees but it still looks bang up to date and the shaft drive is a godsend.
Supremely comfortable - feels like it's going to be short on legroom (I'm 6') to start with but this is misleading. It's great on long journeys and the brakes and ride are relaxing and confidence-giving. It's an easy bike to ride well. I know journalists decked the demonstrators at launch but in the real world I have only touched down once or twice on right handers and it was the pedal that scraped first.
I love carberettors - but it's all a bit mechanical - even agricultural. For those of you brought up on FI you'll hate getting the engine going especially from very cold as you need to use a thing called a "choke" lol.
Faultless and bomb proof engine and running gear (and truly fab R1 brakes) but the bike was designed and built in Italy so suffers on the electrics. Instruments go AWOL at regular intervals and the vibration from the XV engine loosens everytbing.
It's a cheap buy second hand but Yamaha haven't kept lots of the unique BT1100 parts in production so trim can be impossible to replace and service parts can be expensive.
It's basic - (and what I mean is basically nothing electrical actually works) so on mine I have to guess the range, the speed, the revs and neutral but this adds massively to the sense of adventure and will be completely familiar to any Ducati or Guzzi owners.
Buying experience: Private purchase from a nice man who had owned it for 9 years and covered about 5000 miles.
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 is on the soft and wallowy side, but brakes are superb, best I have on any machine
Needs loud pipes to release character
No problems here
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
Basic and the odometer in KM with the speedo in MPH. Work that out.....
Yes, wonderful long distance commuter. Most comfortable bike I've ridden and fast enough to hoon around after most bikes.
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.
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).
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.
apart from sorting the electrics and the starter clutch (under warranty) it wasn't bad.
Basic and functional, not complicated and no issues
Buying experience: From a dealer
Version: The V1 out of 2 versions. Deep black varnished "stardust" colour.
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...!
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.
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...
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.
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 !!!!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.