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Old 06-22-2009, 03:18 PM   #1
snakyjake OP
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Question Buell Ulysses XB12XT vs. BMW R 1200 GS

Requesting some help, comparisons, differences, pros/cons, info, reviews, articles regarding the differences between the Buell Ulysses XB12XT versus BMW R 1200 GS.

Engine:
Interested in information regarding the differences between the two engines. And does the V-Twin really put out more bothersome heat than BMW's boxer? I believe both are air-cooled.
Vibration?

Cooling:
How annoying is the Buell's cooling fan?
Any rumors of a water cooled Buell Ulysses?

Drive System:
What about the differences between the Buell belt drive vs. BMW's shaft drive?

Brakes:
Any advantages to Buell's braking system?

Fuel:
Fuel mileage?

Maintenance and/or Cost?

Reliability?

Anything else I should be aware of?


The type of riding I'm planning to do is (no particular order):

1. Commute
2. Day trips
3. Occasional forest/dirt roads.
4. 2Up-passenger
5. Looking for more cruising comfort than sport .
6. Low maintenance.

Thanks,

Jake
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Old 06-22-2009, 03:28 PM   #2
SkiFastBadly
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The choice between these two bikes is a purely emotional one that cannot be made by answering the kind of questions that you're asking. Ride the GS then ride the Uly. Or, ride the Uly, then ride the GS. You will not like them equally. Do you like a sport bike with the ability to manage gravel roads? Then get the Uly. Do you want a mechanical camel with an unlimited amount of Touratech farkles available? Then get the GS.
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Old 06-22-2009, 06:41 PM   #3
wbrisett
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Jake:

Based on what you're looking at, I would question why you are looking at the GS at all. You're really better off looking at things like the RT (heck, they can be had at the same price as the GS). But, if you want something like the GS, then look at (in no order):

GS
Uly
Tiger
Bandit
VStrom
Stelvio

Those six bikes right there pretty much cover most of the gamut of bikes you are looking for based on your criteria.

Wayne
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:11 PM   #4
right$pecial
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From experience I can tell you that the Buell will do all of that admirably...something tells me that the BMW will too. The notion that this is an emotional decision is right on.
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Old 06-22-2009, 10:07 PM   #5
snakyjake OP
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If it is an emotional decision, then I assume that all the bikes perform near equally--and just buy the bike that makes me and my wallet feel good?

I'm also interested on what to look for, since I don't have the experience with the bikes. I'm hoping to spend some time at the dealership this weekend to get some better ideas. Unfortunately, I won't be able to give any of the bikes a true test. Love to spend 4-6 hours on the bike and do some street and fire roads, but doubt the dealer will let me get away with it.

Thanks for listing the other bike options, I'll be sure to consider those too.
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Old 06-22-2009, 10:16 PM   #6
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I own both a GS and an X.

Both great in their own right, but despite being classified as the same type of riding platform, they are VERY different bikes. Even if you ignore any concept of taking either offroad. I don't ride either off road. I have 32,000 miles on my GS and about 5,500 on my Uly.

You have to go take each for a test ride and you will know which one speaks to you.

I am not bothered by the supposed "heat" from the Uly....though there is plenty written about it.

The fan...well, it make noise when you turn the Uly off, for a few minutes. I couldn't care less.

Uly handles more like a sport bike. The GS is more comfortable to tour on, especially if you do long days. The GS offers more feels more powerful than the Uly, despite specs that say otherwise, but it doesn't matter, because both will get you to illegal speeds faster than you want or need.

They each vibrate more or less than the other depending at what rpms you are riding at.

They just feel very different.

I love my Uly. But the GS is my favorite bike of all I have owned (and I have owned more than I am willing to admit), even though I sometimes try to tell myself otherwise.

Want to make it more complicated? Consider a Triumph Tiger 1050 in the mix.


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Old 06-22-2009, 11:05 PM   #7
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Please talk more about the Bandit and the Tiger. I didn't think these bikes had the designs for off-pavement as compared to GS, Uly, and Stelvio. I assumed the bikes were more of a naked lighter-weight sport touring bike. Both the Bandit and the Tiger appeal to me because of the price...especially the Bandit. When I sat on the Bandit, it leaned me more forward than an upright bike...felt more sporty.

My experience is KTM 250 EXC, Kawasaki Concours, Yamaha R6, Honda Shadow 750.

Thanks for the ideas to add to my paper research.
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:03 AM   #8
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I actually just made this exact decision based on the same scenario. I chose the Uly. I set out to by a GS, and thought I wanted one. It is a nice bike and would do everything I wanted well, but after riding one I realized it had no soul. It was a washing machine.

The bike i really wanted was a KTM990adv, but the service costs scared me off. The Uly has its issues, does get a little hot - but if you wear real riding gear you will not notice it. The fan does annoy me, but everyone seems to agree it runs less as the bike breaks in. Vibration at idle takes some getting used to, but it is glass after about 2500 rpm. Maint is nil, change oils, and check stuff. Beemer is same except valve adj every 6k?

I have only put 600 miles on my bike since new, last week new. Average mpg has been about 45. My friends GS gets about the same, but he has a bigger tank. Fuel light comes on at about 150.

Beemers have final drive failures, Uly has wheel bearing failures (fixed in 09), choose your poison. Both are no/low maint.

Brakes work good, but no ABS like on GS. This thing stops and turns like a sport bike, reminds me of my old Ducati Monster.

Cant tell you anything about reliability as I am a new owner.

Ride them, I wanted a GS until I rode something else back to back. Felt like I could have driven my car and had as much fun. Hands down in this segment the KTM was the most fun, but the Uly was a close second and a lot cheaper to own and purchase. Also if you are not vertically challenged think about getting the XB12x and adding the bags separate as you get more ground clearance and better suspenders.

Choose you kool-aid
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Old 06-23-2009, 05:49 AM   #9
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I own and XT, I have owned an RT and test rode a GS. Here is my 2 cents.



Quote:
Originally Posted by snakyjake
Requesting some help, comparisons, differences, pros/cons, info, reviews, articles regarding the differences between the Buell Ulysses XB12XT versus BMW R 1200 GS.

Engine:
Interested in information regarding the differences between the two engines. And does the V-Twin really put out more bothersome heat than BMW's boxer? I believe both are air-cooled.
YES, the Uly is significant hotter to ride than the boxer. I have blisters on my leg to prove it.

Vibration? The Uly vibrates like a paint shaker at idle. About the same as the boxer at speed. Niether is as smooth as a triple or four.

Cooling:
How annoying is the Buell's cooling fan? Its not. You can only hear it when the bike is shut off. And then I am walking away from it.

Any rumors of a water cooled Buell Ulysses? Strickly a rumor.

Drive System:
What about the differences between the Buell belt drive vs. BMW's shaft drive? Both break. The Uly is a lot cheaper to fit. The Uly can also be fixed on the side of the road.

Brakes:
Any advantages to Buell's braking system? ??? It does a good job stopping the bike. What more do you want.

Fuel:
Fuel mileage? I got about 42 out of my 1150RT. I am getting 45 out of the Uly.

Maintenance and/or Cost? The Uly is a clear winner here. The Beemer needs it valves dont every 6,000 miles.

Reliability? I didnt have a lot of problems with my RT (other than the final drive crapping out at 45,000 mi). Havent had the Uly long enough to say. From reading the forums I would say they are similiar.

Anything else I should be aware of? Stock XT bags are the biggest in the business. The missus finds the Uly to be about the same comfort wise as the RT. That mass centralization thing Buell talks about is the real deal. Both are tall bikes but the Uly carries its weight much lower and it feels it. Low speed handling with the Uly is great. The RT was a behemouth and the GS didnt feel much better. The wide rims of the Uly appears to limit your choice of tires somewhat. The XT handles the dirt road just fine. Until they get wet!! Which is more a function of the street tires I have on it that anything else.


The type of riding I'm planning to do is (no particular order):

1. Commute
2. Day trips
3. Occasional forest/dirt roads.
4. 2Up-passenger
5. Looking for more cruising comfort than sport .
6. Low maintenance.

Thanks,

Jake

They are close enought however that the bottom line is which calls to you the most. To me the availabilty of a local dealer and the low maintenance made the differenct to me. YMMV.

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Old 06-23-2009, 06:57 AM   #10
Strada
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Don't be fooled into thinking the Buell is cheap to run due to it's basic design.
It will cost way more than a GS BMW - I've been quoted upwards of 800 just for a 10k service.
If you do that mileage every year then that's a bloody lot of money!
Both my Alfas only cost half that every year.

I love my Uly but no thought went into running costs nor durability testing for things like bearings, engine mounts, etc.......

Sorry, should add that I've riden the GS a couple of times and it's a good bike (especially low speed riding) but just doesn't excite like the Ulysses.
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Old 06-23-2009, 08:07 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strada
Don't be fooled into thinking the Buell is cheap to run due to it's basic design.
It will cost way more than a GS BMW - I've been quoted upwards of 800 just for a 10k service.
If you do that mileage every year then that's a bloody lot of money!
Both my Alfas only cost half that every year.

I love my Uly but no thought went into running costs nor durability testing for things like bearings, engine mounts, etc.......

Sorry, should add that I've riden the GS a couple of times and it's a good bike (especially low speed riding) but just doesn't excite like the Ulysses.
Strada- if that's typical in the UK the dealers are really raping you over there. I've never paid my dealer to do it here in the U.S. but I think the price would be less than 1/2 that.

The only hard things in 10k maintenance are changing the spark plugs and the fork oil. The great thing about the bike is pretty much all it requires for routine maintenance are oil and filter changes. The 08-up bikes did away with the necessity for periodic TPS resets. No valve adjustments, no throttle body synch, no final drive chain adjustments, etc. Only routine mechanical adjustment required is the primary chain which is easy to do.

Niggles like the rear wheel bearings (a fairly common problem on pre-09 bikes) and engine mounts (a fairly rare problem from what I've seen) have been addressed by the factory with updated parts.
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:56 AM   #12
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One thing I'll add.

The Uly is a great bike for two-up riding. Comfortable for both rider and passenger.
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Old 06-23-2009, 10:42 AM   #13
Kawidad
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Another thing to consider, minor tho it is: ABS. For street riding the BMW ABS system is the best out there.

Also, the instrumentation, including a gas gauge is nice to have. It totally escapes me why Buell (and others) does not have a more comprehensive instrument package. A low fuel light is adequate IMO.
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:45 PM   #14
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For the record, marketing geniuses would probably classify both the Tiger 1050 and Uly as adventure tourers. Both bikes handle light off road duty and excel at sprited pavement touring (tho' I'm partial to the Uly's near telepathic handling)

Quote:
Originally Posted by snakyjake
Please talk more about the Bandit and the Tiger. I didn't think these bikes had the designs for off-pavement as compared to GS, Uly, and Stelvio. I assumed the bikes were more of a naked lighter-weight sport touring bike. Both the Bandit and the Tiger appeal to me because of the price...especially the Bandit. When I sat on the Bandit, it leaned me more forward than an upright bike...felt more sporty.

My experience is KTM 250 EXC, Kawasaki Concours, Yamaha R6, Honda Shadow 750.

Thanks for the ideas to add to my paper research.
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:12 PM   #15
snakyjake OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staves
For the record, marketing geniuses would probably classify both the Tiger 1050 and Uly as adventure tourers.
Why would they not be? What does the GS/Stelvio have that the Tiger/Uly don't?

Is it simple and relatively cheap to customize the Tiger, Bandit, Uly to make it more of an adventure tourer?
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