Buell Lightning Super TT XB12STT

2007 Buell XB12STT Lightning Super TT-American XL supermoto

Buell keeps refining its range of exciting motorcycles and the Super TT is the most exciting of them all so far. Tweak the suspension a bit, add a mixture of adventure and streetfighter styling and you have the Buell Super TT.

Words: Tor Sagen/Photography: Benedict Campbell

No one makes a 1203cc motorcycle look as compact as Buell. Every mass and fluid needed to create a naked street fighting motorcycle is squeezed into every little space and corner available to the engineers. The result is a package that is still as innovative as ever.

The Super TT is an iron fist where the chassis widens around the fuel tank dummy like knuckles widens your hand. The XB12STT is Buell’s addition to the growing trend of super sized supermoto styled streetfighters. TT in the name reflects on the old TT races in America, the Ascot TT etc.

In Buell’s mind the supermoto is just as much a niche created in America as in Europe.

The 1203cc Thunderstorm motor is at the centre of the attention. Even though any Buell looks like you could wrap both your hands around it and lift it with ease that air-cooled V-twin looks smaller than it is. At a compact 45 degree angle it takes less space than a 90 degree L twin but vibrates a whole lot more. Standing still on idle the physically small motorcycle almost jumps up and down if you rev it a bit.

It’s because it’s eager to ride you see, but certainly adds to the character.

First gear is tall, too tall for my liking and the power band kicks in with a slight delay when clutching it up on one wheel in second gear. The air-cooled engine definitely carries punch and a good portion of torque for a meaty midrange. But the Super TT does not feel like the hooligan it could be.

With such a short wheelbase (1372mm) the Buell STT should be trying to wring itself into knots at every touch of the throttle. But it doesn’t and it is because it handles so damn well. Launching it from first gear at the lights is like launching a tamed beast.

The STT is more of a sports bike in the handling and power delivery departments. The acceleration is not as smooth as on an air-cooled L-twin, but much is disguised by exquisite handling. Better handling than most 90 degree L-twins I have ever ridden!

So really what I am doing here is complaining that the STT does not feel wild enough to ride. But that is because it is so composed, deceivingly composed and the STT will do whatever the rider wants at the end of the day. The whole package is so manageable and going fast in the corners is the easiest thing in the world.

For a big supermoto the Super TT features firmer standard suspension set up and less travel than for instance KTM 950 SM. I played a bit on the beach with the TT and the 17 inch front wheel carries too much weight over it to be fun in softer sand. It just digs in and there’s not enough grip from the Pirelli Scorpion Sync rear tyre on the soft stuff to get me out of trouble.

But on the hard sand both the Pirelli Scorpion Sync and suspension works much better. The Super TT is too wide around the front of the fuel tank dummy cover and I can’t stretch my leg out next to the front wheel properly supermoto style. Even though the STT features a narrow single seat supermoto style seat I can’t get far enough forward to make use of it as intended on a SM. What I could do was changing riding position from left to right on the hard tarmac very fast.

And this is where the STT belongs, on the tight B-roads and in town. It is not a bike to ride supermoto style though, so both feet are on the pegs at all times.

The Super TT is a mixture between the City-X and the Ulysses but very much road orientated. As mentioned earlier the suspension (Showa) is firm enough for fast cornering but softer than on a sportsbike. I caught myself over steering the STT in certain corners making them tighter. So I carried more and more corner speed whilst still being able to change direction if needed.

STT is brilliant at cornering and can carry a lot of corner speed without upsetting the chassis the slightest. When the brakes are needed it’s the same story again, I am unable to upset the chassis whatever I try to do. Hard braking, hard acceleration, you name it and the STT handles it with ease.

Buell Lightning Super TT XB12STT

The rim mounted and lightweight front brake has got all the power that you will ever need delivered through a six-piston calliper.

When I first sat on the new STT I was surprised to find a very low seat height for this type of motorcycle-Only 798mm above the ground on a narrow seat. This is an American thing for US riders that seem to enjoy riding as close as possible to the tarmac. The Super TT works well anyway and the wide handlebars with hand protectors at each end let me steer with ease.

I would have wanted some more suspension travel to tackle city centre curbs and obstacles with more confidence.


Apart from small issues like the deviation from the ‘real’ supermoto and engine vibrations the Buell XB12STT Super TT is one really entertaining motorcycle to ride. The STT is involving, special due to its size, solutions and unconventional 45 degree air-cooled V-twin. STT handles like no other motorcycle and due to the rugged muscular looks, middle of the tree seat height and extreme mass centralisation the Buell can be recommended to almost any type and shape rider.

Extreme mass centralisation makes the STT very manageable for any size rider

Cool concept with the white surfaces that can be customised with air-brush

Super TT is made for fun and fun alone!

Vibrrrating mirrors and bars

To make it a ‘real’ Megamoto STT needs more suspension travel

Buell Lightning Super TT XB12STT
Buell Lightning Super TT XB12STT
Buell Lightning Super TT XB12STT
Buell Lightning Super TT XB12STT
Buell Lightning Super TT XB12STT
Buell Lightning Super TT XB12STT
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