This urban assault specialist was designed to excel in the metro-madness of crazy cabbies, knee-deep potholes and back-alley shortcuts.
The Buell Lightning series is a family of motorcycles with a strong strain of American Streetfighter DNA. Packing a one-two combination of V-Twin muscle and innovative engineering, the Lightning is a motorcycle designed to excel in the real world, where torque trumps horsepower and credibility is earned on the streets and backroads.
Wide, flat handlebars and athletic ergonomics put the Lightning rider in control of any situation. A broad, V-Twin powerband means thrust is always just a twist of the throttle away. The Thunderstorm 1203 features electronic fuel injection and dry-sump oiling, and is equipped with the Buell InterActive Exhaust system, which utilizes a valve in the dual-chamber muffler that is controlled by the ECM and adjusts exhaust flow according to riding conditions to smooth torque delivery and optimize engine power.
A short wheelbase and stiff chassis – the pure application of the Buell Trilogy of Technology philosophy – produce a motorcycle that is agile and intuitively responsive to rider input. There are five Buell Lightning models for 2008.
What’s New on Lightning for 2008
- Updates to both the 1203 Thunderstorm V-Twin and 984 Thunderstorm V-Twin engine enhance performance and reduce maintenance cost.
- Each Lightning model is pre-wired for installation of accessory heated hand grips, with 18 peak watts per side and High and Low heat settings.
- The instrument panel styling is refreshed and the tachometer reflects the new 7100-rpm redline on models equipped with the 1203 Thunderstorm engine.
- A commemorative Buell 25th Anniversary graphic with Erik Buell’s signature is placed on the handlebar clamp.
- Cosmetic frame protectors help reduce damage to the frame in case of a tip-over incident.
Buell Lightning History
In 1996, Buell introduced the all-new S1 Lightning motorcycle. The original "street fighter," the S1 Lightning defined a whole new class of "hooligan" motorcycles. Featuring minimal bodywork, a racing styled seat, exposed frame and the centralized mass of the 1203cc engine, exhaust system and suspension, the model was named "Hooligan Bike of the Year" by Cycle World Magazine.
Together with the S3 Thunderbolt and the S3T Thunderbolt, the S1 Lightning combined for sales in excess of 2,000 units.
In 1998, the new 101-hp Thunderstorm engine heads were introduced into the Buell line-up as part of the powerplant for the new S1W White Lightning model. Similar in styling to the S1 Lightning, the new bike featured a carbon fiber rear fender, bold colors and the super-high output engine. The S1W was named "Best Standard" by Cycle World Magazine. Sales continued to grow, with more than 5,000 motorcycles sold for the 1998 model year.
A complete redesign of the Lightning model range was in store for 1999. New body, frame, suspension, larger and more comfortable seats and bold new color offerings marked the entrance of the Lightning X1. Dynamic Digital Fuel Injection (DDFI) became another high-tech standard feature on the Lightning. The redesign, refinements and injection of new technology contributed to total sales of approximately 8,000 units worldwide for 1999.
The 2003 Buell XB9S Lightning was created with the Buell philosophy of design in mind: low unsprung weight, mass centralization, and chassis rigidity. The model was crafted with premium components, and has minimalist styling/visually exposed technology, agility, and handling.
For 2005, Buell added a new motorcycle to the streetfighter category it dominates: the Buell Lightning CityX XB9SX (pronounced "Lightning City Cross"), a motorcycle bred to rule the mean streets. The Lightning CityX gives the Buell Lightning platform a tough new profile and offers performance that’s especially suited to urban riding - a combination of agile handling and muscular mid-range power.
Thunderstorm V-Twin engine
Buell continues to develop its Thunderstorm V-Twin powertrain in 2008, with significant enhancements that boost engine performance and reduce required maintenance.
The Buell Thunderstorm is a modern air/oil/fan-cooled V-Twin powertrain utilized in the Buell XB motorcycle platform that includes the Firebolt, Lightning and Ulysses model families. Two versions of the engine are offered. The Thunderstorm 1203 displaces 1203cc and produces 103 horsepower at 6800 rpm and 84 ft. lbs. of torque at 6000 rpm. The Thunderstorm 984 displaces 984cc and produces 92 horsepower at 7500 rpm and 70 ft. lbs. of torque at 6000 rpm. Both are tuned to deliver a broad, flat torque curve that makes abundant power available to the rider at almost any speed, reducing the need for downshifting and providing strong acceleration in any situation.
Both engines feature electronic fuel injection and dry-sump oiling. The Thunderstorm 1203 is equipped with the Buell InterActive Exhaust system, which utilizes a valve in the dual-chamber muffler that is controlled by the ECM and adjusts exhaust flow according to riding conditions to smooth torque delivery and optimize engine power.
For 2008 the Thunderstorm 1203 redline is increased to 7100 rpm from 6800 rpm, giving this engine an even broader powerband, and riders the ability to accelerate longer and downshift at a higher rpm. The sustained rpm redline of the Thunderstorm 984 remains 7500 rpm.
For 2008, the following changes have been made to both the Thunderstorm 1203 and the Thunderstorm 984:
New Timing System
The timer cover is eliminated, as the engine is now crank timed from a new crank position sensor, which eliminates the need for manual timing, reducing maintenance costs. The ECM actively monitors and adjusts timing based on driving environment. The new sensor makes 30 reads per revolution, compared to the previous two reads per revolution, for more precise control of fuel mapping and timing to conditions.
More Robust Crankpins
The size of the crankpins is increased to 1.50 inches from 1.25 inches.
Oiling System Upgraded
A higher-output oil pump supports oiling to the new crankpin area. The new pump is driven off of the crank, a design based on the Buell XBRR production racing motorcycle. A new eight-row oil cooler offers enhanced cooling performance. All oil line ends are now equipped with Jiffy-tite fittings.
New DDFI 3 ECM (Engine Control Module)
A new ECM with increased computing capacity. DDFI 3 actively controls and monitors the TPS (throttle position sensor), IAC (idle air control), and timing. DDFI 3 automatically zeros the TPS and adjusts fuel metering for smoother idle, eliminating service intervals and reducing the cost of ownership. A new progressive throttle cam and new throttle cables provide smoother throttle input from stops, and less rotation to full throttle.
Due to its styling and color, the CityX immediately caught my eye. I then watched all of Mr. Buell’s technical explanations on the web site and was blown away. I had to find out for myself if the theory I was hearing is translated into the real world.
The Buell is the most fun bike to ride. I love how it corners, the way the bike just disappears in front of you (like highway surfing!). It has tons of torque throughout the range and handles as well as any bike I have ever ridden. It is so different, it’s hard to explain, but you feel more bonded to the machine than the others, especially after riding a bunch of twisty roads. It has personality. For once, the stock tires (Pirelli Scorpion Sync) are excellent and I would replace them with the same. Downside? I was expecting a ton of vibration and was pleasantly surprised when I found that there was not much. There is some heat that you will notice on the right side on hot days, the suspension needs to be adjusted to your weight to really enjoy the abilities of this bike. Though, there’s not much wind protection for cold days and rain but I still smiled like an idiot every time I get on it. It’s cool to have a bike designed and built in the good old USA and as far as I am concerned, the theory of this bike has translated exactly into reality.
This bike is awesome. For some reason, It inspires a level of confidence that I didn’t expect and as a result, I have been leaning into turns quite aggressively without even knowing it. It seems very forgiving and likes to wheelie with little effort. Overall, you get the mean looks, mean sound, and fast bike all rolled into one. Get one and own the street.
2008 Buell Lightning CityX XB9SX
Aggressive Pirelli Scorpion Sync tires offer good bite on all road surfaces, and a tall Skyline seat with a grippy cover enhances visibility and control. For added style and function, the CityX features wide, Supermoto-style handlebars with deflectors, dual headlight grilles, and frame pucks to fend off minor cosmetic damage.
Buell Lightning CityX XB9SX highlights:
- Buell Thunderstorm 984 fuel-injected air/oil/fan-cooled V-Twin engine
- 92 peak hp @ 7500 rpm (per SAE J607)
- 70 ft. lbs. peak torque @ 5500 rpm (per SAE J607)
- New DDFI 3 Electronic Fuel Injection ECM
- New eight-row oil cooler with Jiffy-tite fittings
- Fully adjustable 43 mm Showa inverted fork
- Fully adjustable Showa rear shock absorber
- Buell ZTL front brake
- Goodyear Hibrex drive belt with Flexten Plus technology
- Dry Weight: 390 pounds
- Wheelbase: 52 inches
- Seat height 31.4 inches
- Pirelli Scorpion Sync T tires
- Translucid bodywork
- Supermoto-style crossbar handlebar with deflectors
- Headlight grille and frame pucks
- New Pre-Wired for Accessory Heated Grips
- New Instrument Panel Graphics
- Commemorative Buell 25th Anniversary badge
Overall Length: 76.20 in. (1935.48 mm)
Overall Width: 32.30 in. (820.42 mm)
Seat Height: 31.40 in. (797.56 mm)
Ground Clearance: 4.35 in. (110.49 mm)
Rake (steering head): 21°
Fork Angle: 21°
- Soft Contact, Right: 42°
- Soft Contact, Left: 42°
- Hard Contact, Right: 50°
- Hard Contact, Left: 48°
Trail: 3.30 in. (83.82 mm)
Wheelbase: 52.00 in. (1320.80 mm)
Tires: (Scorpion Sync):
- Front: 120/70 ZR-17
- Rear: 180/55 ZR-17
Fuel Capacity: 3.82 gal. (14.46 L)
Reserve Fuel Capacity: 0.75 gal. (2.84 L)
Fuel Economy(EPA urban/highway test): 50/65 mpg (4.70/3.62 L/100 km)
- Dry Weight: 390 lbs.(176.90 kg)
- Gross Vehicle Weight Rating: 850 lbs. (385.55 kg)
Load Capacity: 396 lbs. (179.62 kg
Engine: Air/oil/fan-cooled, 4-stroke, 45˚ V-Twin
Valve Train: OHV, two valves per cylinder, self-adjusting
Bore x Stroke: 3.50 in. x 3.13 in. (88.90 mm x 79.38 mm)
Displacement: 60 cu. in. (984 cc)
Compression Ratio: 10.0:1
Fuel Delivery: 49 mm down draft DDFI III fuel injection
Intake: Zero-resistance airbox
Exhaust: Tuned, tri-pass resonance chamber with mass-centralized mounting
Torque(North America per SAE J607): 70 ft. lbs. @ 5500 rpm (94.92 NM @ 5500 rpm)
Horsepower(North America per SAE J607): 92 hp @ 7500 rpm
Oil Capacity: 2.50 qts. (2.37 L)
Oil Filtration: Screw-on disposable element
Primary Drive: Chain, 1.676:1 (57/34) ratio
Final Drive: Constant path, 14 mm pitch aramid-reinforced Goodyear Hibrex belt with Flexten Plus technology, 2.407:1 (65/27) ratio
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate, compensated
Transmission: 5-speed, constant mesh
- 1st 2.648
- 2nd 1.892
- 3rd 1.407
- 4th 1.166
- 5th 1.000
Frame: Aluminum frame with Uniplanar™ powertrain vibration isolation system, fuel in frame
Front Fork: 43 mm Showa® inverted forks with adjustable compression damping, rebound damping and spring preload
Rear Shock: Showa® coil-over monoshock with remote, under-seat reservoir and adjustable compression damping, rebound damping and spring preload
Wheels: Hero Blue Translucent (new) or Designer Black Powdercoat
- Front: 6-spoke, ZTL™ cast aluminum, 3.50 in. x 17 in. (88.90 mm x 431.80 mm)
- Rear: 6-spoke, cast aluminum, 5.50 in. x 17 in. (139.70 mm x 431.80 mm)
- Front: ZTL™-type brake, 6-piston, fixed caliper, 375 mm single-sided, inside-out, stainless steel, floating rotor
- Rear: Single-piston, floating caliper; 240 mm stainless steel, fixed rotor
- Front Wheel: 4.72 in. (119.89 mm)
- Rear Wheel: 5.06 in. (128.52 mm)
Battery (per Battery Council International Rating): Sealed lead acid, maintenance-free, 12V, 12 amp/hour, 200 cca
Charging: 30-amp, permanent magnet, single-phase alternator with solid-state regulator (405W@3000 rpm, 405W peak)
Starting: 1.2 kW electric with solenoid shift starter motor engagement
Lights (as per country regulation):
- Headlamp (twin quartz halogen [H7]): 55-watt low beam, 55-watt high beam
- Tail / Stop Lights: 5W/21W
- Turn Signal Lights: 10W manual canceling
- License Plate Light: 5W
- Electronic speedometer, tachometer, odometer;
- dual tripmeter;
- high beam, neutral, oil, low fuel (plus, odometer shows miles traveled on reserve), turn signal and engine
- diagnostic indicator lamps;
- Hero Blue Translucid,
- Kick Ash Translucid
Warranty: 24 months (unlimited mileage)