Before I start, I must say that the Buell Ulysses XB12X is pretty hard to be mounted if you’re a medium-sized person, not to mention the shorties. It will also be a difficult bike to hold in position given to the fact that only tall riders will flat-foot the ground and feel completely secure and confident at stop signs or when you simply stop to rest and enjoy the view.
If you consider yourself suitable for the 6.75 inches ground clearance and the 31.80 inches high seat, than you’re in for an amazing ride that will take you from the city, through the highways, and all the way down the middle of nowhere.
When I first got on the Buell we were in the city so I had the opportunity to watch this master perform in a hostile environment for him, considering its dimensions and the fact that it is built for pure riding enjoyment, something you can’t talk about when it comes to the cities these days.
It is a good thing though that the engine pulls smoothly from down low (even under 2000 RPM) and you will be the first to catch the next stop sign (that is if you are not riding along sports bikes).
Handling it in the city isn’t that annoying as the bike is very responsive and although not that sharp handling, given to its 23.5 degrees rake, it can be easily thrown from lane to lane.
But once you leave the city barriers behind and head towards the highway, you will immediately feel the Buell Thunderstorm 1203 V-Twin engine change its behavior and leave you with an open mouth. The engine’s mid-range is very impressive and shifting the five speeds of the helical gear is the easiest thing.
2008 Buell XB12X
Top end rush is also pure fun and in fifth gear I managed to raise the speedometer’s needle up to 120 mph while approaching the naked aerodynamic riding position which introduced me to the small and efficient windscreen. This unit offers great wind protection, making the Ulysses perfect to be ridden fast all the way where the road ends and the dust begins being started.
The bike has long travel Showa suspensions which would have the bumps soaked up in an instant so despite the 17” wheels the off-road package is there. I don’t consider the Ulysses an alternative to Dakar bikes, but simply a machine that doesn’t like to stop having fun simply because the pavement ends.
But if it does need to stop, it relies on the ZTL-type front brake featuring 6-pistons and a 375 mm disc. This system offers enough stopping power to have the Ulysses willing to do a wheelie even when you’re riding with a passenger on your back. That is why I always recommend stopping using both brakes. In this case, the second braking system is a single-piston applied on 240 mm disc. It will make braking feel well more secure and the passenger won’t be praying for his life.
It becomes a truly competitive bike when it comes to its price. Offered for an MSRP of $11,495, compared with $14,598 (KTM 990 Adventure), 16,600 (BMW R 1200 GS Adventure) and $13,995, and not being miles away from these bikes, the Ulysses is the most advantageous choice you could do.
You can have it painted Thrust Blue, Barricade Orange or Midnight Black and the price would be the same, not to mention the satisfaction with which the Buell comes guaranteed. It seems that America starts making a point when it comes to Adventure Sport bikes, but we’re still waiting for the Japanese and European reactions.