Buell Ulysses XB12X

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Two Years 18,000 Miles Later

By Ron Allen(Owner), Jan. 4, 2009

I love this machine! I have ridden big touring bikes most of my 45 years of ridding. I did a few years on BMW’s and the Ulysses is a close comparison to those machines. It has very good handling characteristics that are made even better by the fully adjustable suspension, both front and rear.

The mo. tor pulls strong off the line all the way to the redline. Quick acceleration is a little bit of a problem on this machine as it just loves to point the front tire toward the sky, when you grab a handful of throttle and drop the clutch.

I have outfitted my XB12X with the stock Buell saddlebags and trunk along with the tall windshield. The Buell tall windshield directed all of the air off the shield and under my helmet. I quickly found an aftermarket shield made by Parabellum (from my old BMW days).

This shield provides great wind protection.

I have also installed the Buell heated grips and found them to be outstanding. They get much hotter than the units I had on my BMW, GL1800 or my other H-D’s. I very seldom have to use the higher of the two setting to keep my hands warm, even when the temperature is in the high20’s low 30’s.

The motor does put off a lot of heat. I have wrapped the header pipes with exhaust wrap and put a heat barrier under the seat. I also purchased the heat deflectors from Buell that snaps into the frame just under the rider’s legs. The combination seems to work very well in keeping the heat to a bearable level even in the 90° days of summer in central Illinois.

In the winter riding season I can remove the under seat barrier and the Buell deflectors to make use of the heat to help keep me warm on the cold days.

The front brake on the XB12X is outstanding! It has all kinds of power and never fades during hard braking. The rear brake is very weak.

I have made adjustments to the pedal to try and get a better “feel” for the brake or to get more pressure on the brake, but it is still very weak. It is good for trail braking when going into a turn or when making slow speed maneuvers.

I have been using Metzler Roadtech Z6 tires on the machine for the last 12,000 miles. The stock tires only lasted for 4,500 miles before they were done. Although the Metzler’s are not an on/off road tire they meet my needs of good handling and long life. I got about 8,600 miles on my first set of these tires.

Buell Ulysses XB12X

Due to the 17” rim size of the Buell, I have not been able to find anyone that makes a dual sport tire for the machine except Pirelli, current OEM tire, and Dunlop the original OEM tire. This is not a huge problem for me as I do about 90% of my riding on the pavement and what off road riding I do I just slow down and try to stay within the tires limits. If I was going to take a trip to Alaska I would put on a set of the dual purpose tires for the trip.

As for gas mileage I get in the range of 43 mpg. If I keep the engine speed below 3,000 rpm I get 50 mpg. The problem is the machine wants to run at a higher rpm range.

It loves to cruise around 3,500 rpm which puts the mph at about 70 and as we all know the more speed the less the mpg. Since the bike has a 4.4 US gallon tank I get about 170 miles before I need to refuel.

I have had the machine for 2 years now and I find myself riding it more than my other machine, a 2008 H-D Ultra Classic. It is a fun machine and very comfortable to ride. I am 6’2” tall and have a 32” inseam.

I have no difficulty reaching the ground while setting on the machine. The longest I have driven it if about 580 miles in about 12 hours. This ride was not stressful and has got me thinking of dumping the Ultra and going strictly with the XB12X.

Other than tire changes and basic maintenance the machine has required no service. The machine is simple enough that I can perform most of the maintenance myself, which saves me money over a more exotic machine that would require me to take it to a shop so they could perform the service.

As I said in the beginning, I love this machine. It may not be a perfect machine but in 45 years of riding I have never found a machine yet that did not have some “personality”. The Buell Ulysses XB12X is a sweet machine and for the price it is hard to beat.

Buell Ulysses XB12X
Buell Ulysses XB12X
Buell Ulysses XB12X
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