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Old 08-24-2005, 09:22 AM   #1
eoR OP
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Joined: May 2004
Location: Clarksville, Arkansas
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My Life With Ulysses: An Eeyore's Tale

I've been trying to figure out how I could make a contribution to this site and the purchase of the Buell XB12X may have provided me with an opportunity.

Several folks here have shown an interest in the Ulysses and have allot of questions regarding Buells...their characteristics, reliability, dealer support, etc. I thought it might be fun to share my Buell Ulysses ownership "experience" with those who might be interested....sort of a long term review by a non-professional. I have owned Buells and am admittedly a fan of Erik Buell... his ideas, enthusiasm, and machines. That doesn't mean that if something goes wrong or there is something about the bike I don't like I'm going to gloss over it.

I don't carry any pretentions of being an expert in ANY facit of motorcycling. In fact, I have only been riding bikes for a couple of years. But in that time I have ridden quite a bit and have played with several bikes. I'm a quick study and have an open mind. It's quite possible that I will misunderstand something or use the incorrect terminology..and I hope if that happens someone will correct me.

Is the Buell Ulysses an "Adventure Bike?" I don't know. Perhaps in the course of this we will find out together.

Doing this the way I want is going to involve some effort on my part. I hope I can stay with it and do the bike and ADVrider justice. I can't ride around the world, or even take off across our great land at this particular time, but I hopefully can do this. At some point the mods may feel that this belongs in "Ride Reports." I considered putting it there but while it may end up being an extended ride report I view it as a "bike ownership" report.

Let's see what happens...

Sign On The Dotted Line

As soon as I saw the XB12X I was VERY interested. At the time I owned a Buell XB9SX [CityX] ana a BMW F650 Dakar. I had been following the rumor mill and was hoping that Buell would produce a bike that could replace those two. As I learned more about Ulysses I began to have doubts that it would be able to replace the Dakar. It just doesn't appear to have the off pavement orientation I was hoping for. However, the Uly does address the major issues I have had with the two Buell XB models I have owned...particularly rider comfort. I'm 45 and have tendonitis in my right knee. The knee bend on the XB's is a bit extreme for me. After riding for an hour or so, extending my knee is somewhat painful. The Uly also has luggage option. Until recently I have been happy taking 150-200 mile round trips a few times a week on one of the bikes in the garage, but now I want to go further. Doing so requires more gear than a cell phone, camera, handheld ham radio, and a ball cap for helmet hair [ well...I do have some left]. I also felt the geometry of the Buell XB models to be a bit too extreme and the handling, while good, was a bit unusual.

Cycle Connection in Joplin was the only dealership in the region that had a Ulysses in stock. Last Saturday I made the 360 mile round trip on the Geezer Glide in order to look at the Uly and test ride it. It had been out of the crate for less than 24 hours and was generating allot of interest in the dealership. The service and sales people were fighting for an opportunity to ride it, but I got there early.

After the test ride, I went to the Geezer Glide, retrieved my checkbook, and placed a deposit on it. It was black. I don't like black bikes but they didn't think they would be getting an orange one until November. From calling around it appears that the current demand for Uly's far exceeds supply so I thought I'd better move on it.

I returned on Monday and completed the purchase. Tradition demands that you ring a large bell on the showroom floor when you purchase a bike and everyone in the dealership applauds. I did first ask if in ringing the bell I had to buy drinks for everyone [hey...I may be an Arkie, but I didn't just fall off a turnip truck ] I had my picture taken and will recieve a framed version from the dealership in a few days. People representing the various departments of the dealership then line up and greet you with a handshake, a business card a small gifts...a quart of oil, a tee shirt, accessory catalogs, etc. It's all a bit cheesy and was somewhat embarrassing to me, but it does make you feel important and appreciated for a was kind of fun actually.

Welcome to Your New Home

I didn't have much time to ride the bike when I got home. The wife had this idea that she was entitled to dinner out since I had bought another new bike. While on the way home I had called her and she informed me that she had used my credit card to buy a new horse. I laughed. She didn't.

I did take a few shots of the bike and posted them for the curious on and here...

Tomorrow we will read the manual and setup the suspension. Stay tuned.
It's not much of a tail, but I'm sort of attached to it.

My continuing tale of life and riding in the Arkansas Ozarks: Wandering About In The Hundred [Thousand] Acre Wood

eoR screwed with this post 08-24-2005 at 10:32 AM
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Old 08-24-2005, 09:38 AM   #2
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2007 Aprilia RXV 5.5
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Old 08-24-2005, 10:43 AM   #3
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Good stuff. I'm not sure the Buell is my kinda bike but I damn sure enjoy reading about experiences like yours. Who knows, I may change my mind one day!
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Old 08-24-2005, 10:51 AM   #4
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photo galleries
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Old 08-24-2005, 11:01 AM   #5
eoR OP
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Location: Clarksville, Arkansas
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Read the Friendly Manual

One of the most important things a new Buell owner needs to do is adjust the suspension. This should be done prior to riding the bike if possible, as I have seen some very strange suspension settings as they come from the dealer. The XB model bikes are EXTREMELY sensitive to suspension adjustments...a 1/2 turn here or there can transform an ill-handling bike into the machine that Buell enthusiaists rave about. I have always attributed this sensitivity to the radical geometry of the bike. Even the Ulysses with its longer wheel base [54 inches] and larger rake [22 degrees] is unlike any other bike on the road.

You start at with the factory recommended setting for your weight [rider and gear] and fine tune from there per your riding style and preferences.

I weigh 180 -190 and assume my riding gear weighs 10-20 pounds. I decided to set the suspension for 200 -230 pounds, preferring to be on the stiff side.

The front preload adjsutment...

The front fork compression damping adjustment....

After dinner, I geared up and took a ride into the mountains on a familiar route. Stay tuned....
It's not much of a tail, but I'm sort of attached to it.

My continuing tale of life and riding in the Arkansas Ozarks: Wandering About In The Hundred [Thousand] Acre Wood
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Old 08-24-2005, 12:03 PM   #6
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Nice post Eeyore. I'm fascinated by this bike.

Either you're very funny or you're an idiot.
I'd hope for the first part but I'd bet on the latter.

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Old 08-24-2005, 12:15 PM   #7
loosely portrayed
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Hot new bike Eeyore, best of luck with it, I've seriously considered this as a GS replacement, lots of things I like about it.

I'll stay tuned.
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Old 08-24-2005, 12:32 PM   #8
Streamin' E
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Great Eeyore! I'm really hot for this bike and your analysis will help me with my decision. Many thanks.
Freedom is not simply the right of intellectuals to circulate their merchandise. It is, above all, the right of ordinary people to find elbow room for themselves and a refuge from the rampaging presumptions of their “betters.”- Tom Sowell
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Old 08-24-2005, 12:33 PM   #9
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Excellent write-up so far. That looks like a hell of a fun bike.

Those must be male-slider (upside-down) forks. Compression damping is on the top of mine. My rebound damping settings are very sensitive to changes in preload, as well. Did you need to adjust yours, or is it just not pictured?

Looking forward to more...

Childhood is a journey, not a race.
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Old 08-24-2005, 01:33 PM   #10
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Your dealer's process may be hokey but it at least shows interest and small gifts mean something. Most places fall way short in that respect. The old day Jewish peddlers knew enough to give a customer an extra bit of cloth or spool of thread after they bought some fabric. Modern day dealers who sell at list and over with no extra's or even a test ride just don't get it, customers who return to them don't either.
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Old 08-24-2005, 01:42 PM   #11
Jimmy the Heater
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Very interested in what a real world impression on this bike is...keep the posts coming.
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Old 08-24-2005, 01:47 PM   #12
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: May 2004
Location: Phoenix, AZ
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Forgot to ask:

1. Where is fuel filter for this bike located and how long to change?
2. What grade of fuel does it run on?

87 octane ability becomes a little more important at $3
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Old 08-24-2005, 02:06 PM   #13
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This is good, I like the idea....and I think I like this bike too. I am going to ride one in about three weeks if all goes as planned. Nice documentation which I am sure will be very useful for all the future Buelysses owners on this board.....

Schreckendgust Field
Florence, MT

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Old 08-24-2005, 03:39 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by westnash
2. What grade of fuel does it run on?

87 octane ability becomes a little more important at $3
I'm pretty sure Eor will confirm this: ALL Buells (with the possible exception of Blasts) require 92 (and preferably 93) octane. 10.5 to 1 compression, air cooling, and high efficiency pretty much dictate the high octane requirement.

Offsetting that requirement is the VERY good fuel efficiency (50-60 MPG for most owners).
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Old 08-24-2005, 04:03 PM   #15
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Break in finished

I just finished the 500 mile break-in on my Uly this morning. Now the fun begins. Nothing negative to say, very very happy with the control, smoothness, cornering. 46mpg on the first frame full, 51mpg on the second fill up.

How do you post pictures to the site? At the bottom of the forum, it states that I'm not allowed to post attachments. I have some pics of the Uly next to my '99 S3T.

Did find out that the saddlebags really carry alot. I had a hard time fitting a dozen ears of corn in one of my HD Road Glide saddlebags. Yesterday, I was riding the backroads of Wis., came across a farmers stand and gave it a try. One dozen ears of corn fit easily in one half of one saddle bag. That's 4 dozen per pair of bags. Quit impressive. (This is also why I'm not going to give technical reviews)

Even found a gravel road. Anyone have locations for gravel roads inbetween Chicago and Milwaukee?

Bob C
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