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Old 01-10-2013, 10:06 AM   #1
T2urtle
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Default Buell lightning owner?

Anyone own or ridden one of these?

I got a possible trade for a car on one. I own a sv650 already.

Might trade the car for this, thinking its easier to sell the a old car. Or I keep it as a second bike.

03 buell lightning. It has 18k miles on it. Think this is worth $2500?
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:06 AM   #2
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Run. Run away.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:14 AM   #3
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they are that bad? LOL

they look interesting... like a custom chopped up bike. I never cared for anything other then jap bikes.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:36 AM   #4
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Run... Fast....
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:18 PM   #5
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Well... You had better research where you can get service and parts as Harley Davidson decided to kill that line what??? Three years back now?
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:09 PM   #6
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Why run fast? I get that that Buell is no more. But I doubt parts are any more difficult to find than most Japanese bikes that old.
If the seller will let you ride it, take it for a spin. You'll probably know right away if you like it or not. Their reputation is either you love them or hate them.

I think it would be a really fun bike.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:09 PM   #7
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The lightning was a good bike albeit sort of goofy looking. I wouldn't mind having one, but availability of parts will eventually be an issue. I heard that HD planned to support buell parts, but I don't know what came of it.

I wouldn't be too worried about common stuff... brakes, clutch, etc etc. But wait 5-6 more years and oddball stuff like reg/rectifier, switchgear, and so on will likely be impossible to find.

It would be a great collectors bike.. Ride it once a month or so, keep it for 10-20 years and it will be worth a good chunk of change.


That being said, I personally would treat it as partially disposable.. Primarily because if you have some major issue like transmission it would not be worth replacing. I would say $2500 is a fair value.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinrider1 View Post
Why run fast? I get that that Buell is no more. But I doubt parts are any more difficult to find than most Japanese bikes that old.
If the seller will let you ride it, take it for a spin. You'll probably know right away if you like it or not. Their reputation is either you love them or hate them.

I think it would be a really fun bike.
I could buy enough parts off a bike forum to build a Jap bike from 03. No chance of doing that with a Buell.

Dont get me wrong, they are neat bikes. But parts for something that did not have a great reliability reputation when new from a company that does not exist anymore on a 10 year old bike would be enough to make me run.. Fast....
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:42 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by jaha2000 View Post
I could buy enough parts off a bike forum to build a Jap bike from 03. No chance of doing that with a Buell.

Dont get me wrong, they are neat bikes. But parts for something that did not have a great reliability reputation when new from a company that does not exist anymore on a 10 year old bike would be enough to make me run.. Fast....

The blasts had issues, but as far as I've heard the 03+ lightning 9s was fine.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinrider1 View Post
Why run fast? I get that that Buell is no more. But I doubt parts are any more difficult to find than most Japanese bikes that old.
If the seller will let you ride it, take it for a spin. You'll probably know right away if you like it or not. Their reputation is either you love them or hate them.

I think it would be a really fun bike.
The Japanese have been selling hundreds of thousands of motorcycles per year for 4 decades. It took Buell 13 years just to get to 100,000 motorcycles sold... and they folded a couple years later.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:25 PM   #11
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I've come across owners throughout the years
The brakes kinda suck
The engine runs out of steam immediately after you think the torque is nice.
Great "soul", fun to ride.
Heard a few stories of electrical issue popping up as the bikes age. I personally would go through the wiring and check everything prior to riding it.
Headlight housings don't hold up well.


For 2500 bucks
Depends on condition
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:29 PM   #12
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I would much rather have the $2,500 to put towards a better bike.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:30 PM   #13
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I would much rather have the $2,500 to put towards a better bike.
Agreed. You could probably pick up a nice Ducati S2R1000 for $3500. Tons of aftermarket support, easy to work on (once you learn how) and tons of knowledgable owners to help you if you have questions.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:02 PM   #14
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Tough call, maybe if it was in immaculate condition with some mods that you liked. They have a crazy slick ride to them. The only bike that I have ridden that changes direction faster was a KTM Duke 690.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
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I would much rather have the $2,500 to put towards a better bike.
Not the point I'm going for. I'm selling a car worth roughly $2000-2500. Someone offered a even trade for that buell. I'm not against or for the idea, I just don't know anything about them. Hell I much rather get another sv650 or even a clean 250 if I can pick because those I know the market, how to sell and fix somethings and most importantly its a hot/easy to sell. Or any ducati for that matter. But those aren't on the trade table.

I put it last on my list for now, mainly because its a yellow buell. I'm hoping to sell the car for cash instead.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:54 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Not the point I'm going for. I'm selling a car worth roughly $2000-2500. Someone offered a even trade for that buell. I'm not against or for the idea, I just don't know anything about them. Hell I much rather get another sv650 or even a clean 250 if I can pick because those I know the market, how to sell and fix somethings and most importantly its a hot/easy to sell. Or any ducati for that matter. But those aren't on the trade table.

I put it last on my list for now, mainly because its a yellow buell. I'm hoping to sell the car for cash instead.
KBB lists that bike at $2,785 retail. Trade in is $1,880... not factoring in the mileage, which is getting up there, or condition. The fact that you're in IL means you're going to have to sit on it until the spring if you have any chance in hell at selling it for a profit.

It's not a great bike to begin with and the fact that it has no factory support and was sold in limited numbers doesn't help. Who knows, in 50 years these bikes might go for tens of thousands of dollars but right now they just aren't worth much.
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:37 PM   #17
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unless you want the bike for yourself, I'd pass. They're fun bikes to ride around but the buyer's market for them has always been small and it keeps getting smaller every day.
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Old 01-11-2013, 02:27 PM   #18
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Yea, you guys made all the good points for not buying one. I don't have a personal want for it. I figured bikes might be easy to sell in the summer. Plus I wouldn't mind trying other bikes out (only rode 4). But gotta pass on it.
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:52 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Well... You had better research where you can get service and parts as Harley Davidson decided to kill that line what??? Three years back now?
It's a Harley?
Run. Fast.
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:42 AM   #20
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There is nothing really wrong with the Lightning. It's a really interesting bike. It has a heavily massaged Sportster motor, but the rest of the bike is Buell, from the ground up. It's very short wheelbase, and with a low center of gravity, due to the fuel and oil being held in the forward frame and swingarm, respectively. The thing that looks like a tank is the airbox. It's belt drive, so no chain maintenance.

I have a friend who has one, as well as an 1125R, its big brother, and he loves it as a great around town bike and commuter with razor sharp handling. He basically checks the plugs and changes the oil. It is air cooled though, so it's not a great bike for riding in heavy traffic in hot weather. He also suggests the race ECU, which gets rid of the dip in power due to emissions tuning, but I had to put a Power Commander on my Kawi 650r after putting on a new exhaust for the same reason, as well as to get rid of backfire.

For a street bike, it's got excellent handling, which was a trademark of all of Buell's bikes, except for the Blast, which was a bastard child that Harley forced him to build, and which he disowned when they dropped the division. He is doing some excellent work now in his new company, and the new 1190R is a work of art and engineering.

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Old 01-13-2013, 09:13 AM   #21
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There is nothing really wrong with the Lightning. It's a really interesting bike. It has a heavily massaged Sportster motor, but the rest of the bike is Buell, from the ground up. It's very short wheelbase, and with a low center of gravity, due to the fuel and oil being held in the forward frame and swingarm, respectively. The thing that looks like a tank is the airbox. It's belt drive, so no chain maintenance.

I have a friend who has one, as well as an 1125R, its big brother, and he loves it as a great around town bike and commuter with razor sharp handling. He basically checks the plugs and changes the oil. It is air cooled though, so it's not a great bike for riding in heavy traffic in hot weather. He also suggests the race ECU, which gets rid of the dip in power due to emissions tuning, but I had to put a Power Commander on my Kawi 650r after putting on a new exhaust for the same reason, as well as to get rid of backfire.

For a street bike, it's got excellent handling, which was a trademark of all of Buell's bikes, except for the Blast, which was a bastard child that Harley forced him to build, and which he disowned when they dropped the division. He is doing some excellent work now in his new company, and the new 1190R is a work of art and engineering.

That is an absolutely beautiful bike, but it's absurdly expensive and production is VERY limited. Hopefully once his non-compete with Harley expires he'll be able to start building bikes for the public. They still won't be called Buells, but if he can make an American bike that rivals my Street Triple R...I'll give it a look.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:30 AM   #22
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They are still being produced by hand, one at a time. Once he has his racing fleet up, he'll produce the 1125r variants, to sell.

Having ridden an XB9 Lightning, Buells are a breed apart from regular sport standards or naked bikes. The bike is not a super sport by a long shot, but it has razor sharp handling. But, it's done through short wheelbases, steep geometries and low center of gravity. They are bikes that are made to be unstable to some degree. You have to ride them a bit more carefully, but they turn in almost instantly.

I wouldn't want a Lightning myself, due to wanting a faired bike for commuting on the interstate and medium distance touring, but I appreciate them for what they are.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:44 AM   #23
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i pesonally woudlnt worry about parts on buell for a while. Sure they are a bit more expensive but the driving dynamics are worth it.

I rode an 1125R that a guy here locally wanted inspected and wow was I impressed. Flicks like a 600/
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