The Buell Ulysses: an Adventure Sportbike with long-travel suspension
By Mike Hanlon
July 31, 2005
August 1, 2005 Buell has announced its 2006 range and the big news is a whole new on and off-road machine. The new Ulysses XB12X is an Adventure Sportbike with long-travel suspension and aggressive tires designed to offer outstanding performance on paved and unpaved roads. With a dry weight of just 425 pounds and the broad powerband of the 103-hp Buell Thunderstorm 1203 V-Twin engine, the Ulysses will offer an outstanding power-to-weight ratio and sporting performance on the tight-and-twisty back roads that often lead to dirt roads. It’s one of two new Buells that will added to the company’s product line in 2006. The other is the Lightning Long XB12Ss, a longer version of the original Lightning XB12S designed to offer more comfort. In addition, all 2006 Buell Lightning and Firebolt models are enhanced with a new swingarm design, a new transmission and a redesigned intake system.
The 2006 Buell product line features these models: the Firebolt XB9R and Firebolt XB12R sportfighters; the Lightning family of streetfighters, including the Lightning CityX XB9SX, Lightning XB12S, and the new Lightning Long XB12Ss; and the new Ulysses XB12X adventure sportbike.
"I'm really excited about the 2006 Buell line, because we are taking our proven XB platform in some bold, new directions, creating motorcycles that will appeal to more riders," said Erik Buell, chairman and chief technical officer at Buell Motorcycle Company. "We also significantly improve our existing models. Call it evolution. At Buell, we will never stand still."
Buell Gets Dirty and Goes Long
The new Ulysses XB12X is an Adventure Sportbike with long-travel suspension and aggressive tires designed to offer outstanding performance on paved and unpaved roads. With a dry weight of just 425 pounds and the broad powerband of the 103-hp Buell Thunderstorm 1203 V-Twin engine, the Ulysses will offer an outstanding power-to-weight ratio and sporting performance on the tight-and-twisty back roads that often lead to dirt roads.
A larger frame and extended swingarm stretch the wheelbase of the new Lightning Long XB12Ss to 54 inches, two inches longer than the Lightning XB12S, to give this model a more relaxed personality and a cockpit that may better suit taller riders. Fuel capacity of the Lightning Long is 4.4 gallons, compared to 3.8 gallons for the Lightning XB12S. Handling remains quick and responsive, and the thrust of the Buell Thunderstorm 1203 V-Twin is undiminished. (See separate Lightning release for details on the Lightning Long XB12Ss.)
All Buell XB models benefit from the following design changes in 2006:
Designed to be significantly lighter and stiffer, the new XB swingarm weighs 0.56 pounds less than the previous swingarm, a significant reduction in already low unsprung weight. The XB swingarm continues to double as the engine oil reservoir, and the oil-fill cap has a new easy-to-open design and is relocated for better access. The upper and lower belt guards and rear inner fenders have also been reshaped.
A New Transmission, Lighter Clutch, Stronger Belt
A redesigned transmission for all Buell XB models offers reduced mass and improved shift quality, quieter operation and extended service intervals. This transmission replaces moving/sliding gears with thin steel "dog rings" that slide to cause gear changes, a design commonly used in automotive racing gear boxes. Because the dog rings have less mass than gears, shifting is quicker. New helical-cut gears are smoother and quieter than straight-cut gears. The new transmission requires Buell Formula + Oil, and the oil change interval for the primary/transmission case is extended from 5,000 miles to 10,000 miles. Clutch effort has been reduced by 15 percent (on 984cc powertrain) and 22 percent (on 1203cc powertrain) due to a lighter spring. Finally, a new Goodyear Hibrex final drive belt with Flexten Plus technology has been reinforced for enhanced durability. The new belt weighs just over one pound, compared to drive chains that can weigh up to five pounds, a significant contribution to the Buell philosophy of minimizing unsprung weight.
New Air Intake System
The engine air intake is relocated and integrated with a wrap-around fuel cap cowling in the airbox cover, where air flows through an aluminum hex screen. The new intake system replaces the intake duct that previously passed through the left-side frame section, and thus also results in increased fuel capacity to 3.82 gallons, as the frame doubles as the fuel tank. The duct on the left side of the motorcycle below the frame now delivers cool air exclusively to the rear cylinder.
New Tie-Down Connection
All XB models feature new rear reflector brackets with an eye designed to act as a tie-down point for cargo. The passenger heel guard can also act as a tie-down point.