Monday, June 16, 2008

I've got a friend that rides a Buell Firebolt. We'd gone to the motorcycle show a few months ago when it came through Seattle. I sat on the new 1125R. I liked the riding position, but you can only tell so much from simply looking and sitting on a bike.

Fast forward to a few days ago, he called and said the demo ride trailer would be at a local dealership, so here was our chance to actually ride the things.

Got there early, as it was first come first serve. It worked. After filling out the liability paperwork, the guy immediately set us up on the two 1125's they had. It was a guided ~ 10 mile loop, with an orange vested leader and sweep, and it was mentioned that any stupidity would result in the ride being over. Damn. We behaved(mostly).
The bike. Shaker at idle, the vibes transmitting throughout the entire bike. Ergonomically nice, the front end felt "high" to be on a bike with such sporting aspirations, more sport-tourer than sportbike. Comfy, though. The aggressive geometry was also a bit of a surprise, the thing turned in with authority, actually had to adjust my lines a few times until I got it. Overall, the front was just a bit more vague than I'd like, you were just slightly disconnected from what the front wheel was actually doing.
The motor - pleasant powerband, linear right up to the redline, which is about 4000rpm lower than my bike, meaning I hit the limiter quite a bit. Just when things would get interesting, the bike would stumble...oops, guess I should shift. Easily carries the front a few inches high under acceleration in the lower gears(remember, I had to play nice), well controlled, solid. The layout allows for trouble free clambering about the bike, the fat seat a welcome place to rest your butt. Footpegs are buzzy.
I had no issues with the brakes, but then again it's track abuse that overcooks it's abilities. Maybe it needs an optional second rotor for trackday junkies? On my short street ride, it worked as advertised. No issues.

So, I enjoyed the ride, even for being as limited as it was. The bike was a fun diversion, I think it'd make a good sporttourer. I am, however, corrupted by power, so I'm a bit jaded if the thing won't wheelie off the throttle at 130mph. Thanks to Buell for making it possible to actually ride the bikes they sell, an increasingly impossible proposition in these litiginous times.



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