September 1 2009 by Jason Fogelson
I've made no secret about it - I love motorcycles, all motorcycles -- especially Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The sound, the feel, the look - Harley-Davidsons are what I picture in my head when I think "motorcycle."
Some riders have an entirely different picture in their heads. They see chiseled, modern lines. They see track-ready bikes with lightweight body parts and high-tech mechanicals. They see sportbikes.
That's where Buell comes in. A wholly owned division of Harley-Davidson since 1998, Buell is the American Sportbike.
Buell is the brainchild of Erik Buell, who serves as the brand's Chairman and Chief Technical Officer. Buell started his company building race bikes for the AMA Formula One road racing class, and eventually hit upon the idea of building an American sportbike around the Harley-Davidson Evolution 1203cc engine, which powered the Motor Company's Sportster. Buell was so successful that H-D took a 49 percent stake in his company in 1993.
Early Buell bikes included the S1 Lighting (the original "streetfighter"), the S3 Thunderbolt and the M2 Cyclone. In 2000, Buell created the 492cc Buell Blast, a bike designed to be a "truly invigorating entry-level motorcycle." The bike continues to be used as the cornerstone of Harley's Riders Edge training program to this day, training over 175,000 riders to date.
For 2010, the Buell lineup consists of eight models: Pure sportbikes 1125R and Firebolt XB12R; Dual sport and adventure touring Ulysses XB12X and Ulysses XB12XT; Modern day café racer 1125CR; Hooligan bikes Lightning Long XB12Ss and Lighting XB12Scg for the street rider; and Lightning CityX XB9SX, for the urban rider.
If you really want to stand apart from the crowd, but a Harley-Davidson doesn't quite catch your heart, take a look at the Buell lineup. You'll find premium sport performance motorcycles that are like no other. They're a ton of fun to ride, look great, and best of all - they're true American Sportbikes.