Happy Bday Mistress

Well, my Buell Ulysses XB12XT is one year old today! This time last year I was like a kid in a candy store as I went to collect my new Buell with my partner. The weather was terrific, we went to a nice restaurant and parked the Buell outside for all to admire. Yet by time I got home that night the oil filler plug/dipstick had somehow disappeared while on the motorway ride home. Left a message with my local dealer and out they were out next morning with a replacement. All good!

The break in period was smooth and relaxed. I did everything by the book and followed the best sage advice I could find online. The motorcycle is very well cared for and I am not even a fast rider, I love the torque and handling of the Buell.

However things started to go wrong. I have blogged here all about it. The motorcycle started cutting out while riding and all sorts of strange warning lights would come on. This pointed to a wiring short that was never found after 2 trips into my dealer. Then the 3rd time the engine cut out I was in a bend and down we went. The dealer recovered the bike (like me, bruised and scratched) and took it apart. They found the wiring loom was faulty and a short in the fuel pump, all was replaced. Though this happened in November and I am still waiting for that replacement side case they promised.

A view that I never enjoy...

Like any vehicle there have been minor recalls. Any other issues have been taken care of under warranty. Though I have already gone through two ECU and awaiting a third due to faults. While just a few weeks ago the wheel bearings had to be replaced after I got off the motorcycle and saw mine had been chewed up. The dealer had to purchase similar bearings locally as there were no official Buell parts in Europe and the waiting period could have been at least a month.

Currently I am awaiting a new exhaust as the current one has turned to rust. Though H-D are having the replacement camcoated before fitting so that is a plus that should mean this one lasts (longer anyway...). I have some Touratech parts sitting on a garage shelf waiting to be fitted which should further protect the exhaust. Due to its exposed position and not being stainless steel it is effectively being sand-blasted by both the front and back wheels every time I take her out.

OK, the above reads like bit of a horror story. In many ways I am extremely frustrated, one buys a premium priced motorcycle (here in Europe) and you expect something reliable and of quality build. Yet it is the most unreliable motorcycle I have ever owned. Not once did any of my second hand Japanese machines leave me stranded... the time my last motorcycle got flattened in a petrol station being the sole exception. They just kept running. Through summer days and winter snows they never baulked at any road I took them down.

Yet this Buell is targeted at the sport touring market and many of those, like myself, will feasibly use this as a regular commuter. I only have a motorcycle licence so I am on my motorcycle virtually everyday whenever I need to go anywhere basically as I live in the country. Would I buy a Buell again? The honest answer is probably not, certainly not as my primary motorcycle. The dealer has been fantastic and they have done everything they can to help me and fix every problem. It is just the build quality and reliability that hurts the Buell brand.

I love the motorcycle though, for all its faults. If it was a bit more bulletproof then I could have seen myself holding onto this for many years. It is the perfect partner to my riding style and philosophy. I have no problem taking my motorcycles in for services to qualified mechanics and have them carry out the work and stamp the books. What worries me is that once the warranty period is out I may not be able to afford the breakdowns and other failures that have tainted my experience up until now.

To end, as I pulled up outside a shopping centre the other night a chap with a lady friend riding pillion pulled up beside me. He jumped off and came straight over to me. His last motorcycle was a Buell and we started exchanging war stories. He rattled off a list of things that went wrong with his and I went through mine. We both laughed a lot! I then said I will probably sell mine before the warranty period is up, he laughed and said "I was lucky, mine got stolen just after it ran out...".

As always, keep the rubber side down

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