Awesome Cornering Tool
The Buell Ulysses is an AWESOME corner carver ! It is QUICK through the corners....as Erik Says "Own the corners" I ride away from many many superbikes on mountain passes, including those annoying BMW 1200GS pain-in-the-arse people.....and I stick with my fast riding buddies on their Aprilia Mille's and BMW K1200R's without effort when we ride hard.
I own a couple of bikes. Also a 2006 Ulysses and this is my 43rd bike since 1974. I have had them all. Scramblers, tourers, BMW's, Honda's...name them, I have either owned or ridden it. I am fortunate to have such vast experience and knowledge. I have toured and raced and done enduros and now my joints gets sore after 60 miles (100km) from abuse but thats not what I want to say.
I bought the Uly after writing off my VFR800 V-tech. Was not ompressed when I did the test ride....but... I bought it as I wanted to own a Harley engined sport machine as I have never owned my own HD or Buell.
My own bike grew on me in a matter of hours as I found out the test bike was out of tune for some reason. Mine was strong, light, fast and fun.
Suspension setup, I found out, is crucial. With the factory settings, mine was all over the road. Horrible. Next thing: Tyres ! The Dunlops it came with was totally wrong for the bike, in spite of giving very good grip on tar.
Because I do 99,5% on road riding with the Uly, I went for the best grippers I could fit, even before the OEM tyres were finished. So I opted for a Pirelli Supercorsa SC1 front and a Supercorsa SC2 on the back.
No good in the wet so M1 metzelers would be better if you ride a lot in rain or even Michelin Pilot Powers, they are also nice and will work well on the Ulysses.
It took me three years to get to grips with riding the Ulysses fast in the mountain passes. Because of the bike's quick steering ability and its short wheelbase, tall seat hight and whatever went wrong on the first batch of Ulys, I could never ride the bike as fast on fast sweepers or tight mountain passes, hairpin bends and blind corners.
I would consistently be faster on my Triumph Thunderbird sport, tha is 31kg heavier and only makes around 83bhp/78Nm (manufacturer specs). The chassis is also much longer at 1570mm wheelbase. I use a Metzeler Rennsport front and Michelin Pilot Power back on the Triumph.
Compared to the Buell's 193kg, 105bhp/113Nm and 1370mm wheelbase and soft tyres, this did not go down well and I could not understand what I was doing wrong.
I started thinking about what I did when I rode and realised that because the Buell moves around more: meaning it reacts to any small inputs, especially on the sport tyres, I have to concentrate harder and get my line and make sure I am in the right gear !
Also I found sitting right up against the tank like a super motard rider works very well. I do not hang off any more when I sit like that as it puts just enough weight on the front and gives better feed back. I just use my knees and lean forward on the tank iI want to load the front and go really fast !
As the Uly starts pulling strongly from around 4200rpm its essential to keep the revs between 4000 and 6000. (I never rev my Uly over 6000)
All the fun lies in that secret: right gear, get lined up, dip it in, and as at the instant when the corner opens up, hard on the gas, and let the bike push hard and drive out of the corner...
If you know the corners by heart then you can open up much earlier as you know where the road ahead leads to !
as I do not believe in wasting fuel and tyres on straight roads, I ride at around 90mph (145-150kmh cruising). On fast sweepers when I am sitting at my cruising speed, all I do now is bang the trottle open and ride through the corner, leaving the sweep at around 170-180. Loads of fun whereas I never enjoyed sweepers before, on ANY bike.
With the Uly, as on a Lightning, the corner entry speedss are high. I find that I can enter corners much faster than on a VFR, R1 or even a RC30. for down-hill mountain passes I make use of the Uly's poor back brake as I trail brake to control my corner speed. That way I can enter faster than usual en just push on the pedal a bit. No braking before the corner. Weird but I am used to it now and it works as I wonder if anyone can lock up a Uly back brake at 140 kmh ??
So, there. I do not care what any journalist says, or anybody about the bike being tall and blah blah blah... I ride my Supercorsas right up to the edges, something I could never do before... Thanks to my riding buddy HLB (Jack Sh1t, of the Stuff Everything MCC ZA) and good tyres and some practice I am now addicted to my bike.
Yes, the bike has an old type engine, yes, it does not rev and yes its actually crap in the dirt with the engine heat and tall 1st gear but HELL its a nice bike as an all rounder ! I fitted a 2008 8 rib oil cooler and run my bike on MOTUL synthetic 10W50 but Castrol's 10W60 would be better here as summer can get up to 37 deg C. The 8 rib was worth the money.
Recently did a 2,000km cross country trip and the bike was super comfy...Just needed heated grips. ABS could also be nice but it sipped fuel and at one stage I got 280km on 13.3 Litres. Not bad at all for a 1200cc.
I have had no problems so far (17000km) except for my fan that packed up and I replaced it myself as I am 460km from the nearset HD dealer. The triple tail is very handy and I had a Bag made that fits over the triple tail and sits on the seat where I can fit a whole weekends kit. For longer trips I use a big Duffle bag and an octopus tie down system. Works well... No need for Massive panniers and t boxes.
Will buy a set of Oxford throw overs if my wife goes with me on a weekend trip. She loves the bike and says its nicer to her than my BMW 1150RT that I had in 2004/2005.
The only irritating thing is the fuelling at low revs especially when the bike gets very warm and I have to ride in traffic. So I do not use the bike in traffic unless I am going on a run / tour. For city riding, there is not much that beats a 150cc Vespa 2 stroke !
Will I replace my Ulysses ? YES defenitely. I was at a rally on 5 Sept 09 and out of all the 1000 bikes there, I was the only BUELL ! Do NOT buy it as a dual purpose bike. Rahter buy th new Yammie 660 Tenere.
But if you want something with ADDICTIVE torque, great customising ability, sport riding ability, touring ability, good fuel consumption, no maintenance valve strain and belt system... and lots more... Buy the Ulysses.