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World first test report of the Buell 1125R

Published: 23 August 2007

Updated: 19 November 2014

MCN’s Chief Road Tester Trevor Franklin is currently at Laguna Seca riding Buell’s radical, all new 1125R.

“The looks may be familiarly quirky Buell, but the 1125R is a revolutionary bike for Buell using, as it does, an all-new, purpose built, 140bhp motor specifically developed for the firm by Rotax, in place of the breathed on but essentially archaic push rod Harley lumps it’s used until now.’

"That said, from the saddle the 1125R is nowhere near as radical as you might expect. The riding position is more road than race (say, Firestorm rather than 1098) and although its handling and steering continues the Buell traditional of being ultra-sharp yet surprisingly stable, the overall vibe is definitely more that of impressive street sports rather than uncompromising track weapon. And that’s a good thing.

"The other ‘vibe’ is less of a good thing. The new engine, though with enough poke to match RSVs and the like (it’s nearly 50% more powerful than any previous Buell) is actually a fairly sane and sensible beast, yet with more than enough instant urge when you need it. Highlight? Gorgeously slick gearchange that’s a million miles more advanced than previous Buell efforts. Lowlights? More than a few vibes through the bars at high revs and a slightly fluffy delivery between three and 4000rpm, both of which, Buell says, will be fixed on production models.

"Whether the 1125R is beautiful or not is up to you. What’s beyond any doubt is that this bike makes Buell, for the first time, a truly credible contender…"

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