Appearances are deceptive. The Drifter provokes double takes and second glances. Observers smile when see what they think is a beautifully restored Indian Chief, then doubt corrugates their brows as realisation dawns that it’s an illusion. Few but the cognoscenti ever peg it as a Kawasaki on causal inspection.
Springtime in the new millennium, and the air was thick with that new bike smell. As I patiently awaited Editor ‘arris’ test ride phone call, my mind raced with the possibilities. After all, last year I graduated from a Suzuki Marauder 250 to a Yamaha R6. This year was bound to bring a whole new level of excitement to my test riding experience.
First, some context. The trend these days in the cruiser world (which holds more than half of total street bike sales in Canada) is to the “power cruiser”.
The RC’s 999cc four stroke, 90 degree, v-twin motor comes with fuel injection and ram air to produce a claimed 130bhp @ 9,500rpm, with a max torque of 71 lb.ft. at 7,000rpm, in stock form. The PGM-FI fuel injection utilises two injectors per cylinder with the ram air passing directly through the frames steering head. Camshafts are driven by a gear train off the crankshaft.
The new Fireblade got the sport bike fanatics much lusted makeover with a complete redesign from top to bottom. With the addition of PGM fuel injection, claimed output is a class leading 160bhp/litre, 10 up from what Yamaha claim for the R1.
Buell has made some peculiar choices in the past. The company designed a wide range of sport bikes and then rather oddly chose to power them with1200cc pushrod Harley Sportster engines. Odd because this is not exactly a state of the art “sport motah”!
I was a big fan of the (now) old F650 Funduro. In ’98. I toured around New Zealand on one, two up with luggage, and the 650 never missed a beat, coped well in all situations and allowed us to explore a lot of the more interesting dirt roads which would have been otherwise left undiscovered.
One of our staffers came across some information on the new BMW F650GS from the UK. Although the official launch is not until February, some information and official pictures have leaked out and into the sordid world of CMG.
Anyone who’s ever had an independent dog for a pet, one that’s big and likes to play but occasionally decides to ignore you and do its own thing to the furniture, will probably have a pretty good idea of what it’s like to live with a Buell X1 Lightning.
John and Tina ride around South America.