Find of the Month: 2009 Buell XB9SX Lightning CityX

Welcome back to the Find of the Month, where we share some of the cool bikes we find for sale on This month, we’re checking out a 2009 Buell XB9SX Lightning CityX for sale in Georgetown, Ontario.

The 2000s were a beautiful time for motorcycling. Literally. At least, if you liked naked bikes. These days, naked bikes are almost all angular and edgy, and some sport almost as much plastic as first-gen sportbikes. Back then, these machines were tastefully undressed, and this 2009 Buell XB9SX Lightning CityX is a good example.

The lines of the CityX (Buell intended it to be called the “City Cross”) are lean and mean, just as you’d expect on an aggressive streetfighter. This model has the dual round headlamps, similar to what was found on Triumph’s naked bikes at the time. This style dates back to the earliest streetfighters. Those machines were cobbled together from bashed-up GSX-Rs, which came with those endurance racer-style lights as stock. These days, the manufacturers have moved to angular, more streamlined headlights which may be more aerodynamic or cheaper, but don’t really offer any advantages for urban riding, which is where the streetfighter shines.

Other notable features of the CityX are the fuel-in-frame design, adjustable Showa suspension, ZTL front brakes with six-piston caliper (you either love ZTL brakes or hate ’em), the funky exhaust under the engine that looks like a rocket, and of course, that big V-twin engine, adapted from Harley-Davidson’s Sportster lineup. Although Buell’s version of the 45-degree Harley-Davidson Sportster engines were typically more highly tuned than the MoCo originals, the Buell engines were still buzzy as the revs rose, and you got most of your usage out of the bottom of the rev range. They did not rev as freely as the Japanese (Kawasaki Z750) or European (Ducati Monster) competition. For this machine, the rev limiter would kick in around the 7,500 rpm mark.

Gotta love those big googly headlights.

Overall, the machine is an example of what Buell did very well: make fun-to-ride, unpolished hooligan machines. While fans always wanted Buell to build the Great American Sportbike, the truth is that the Harley-Davidson motors weren’t really up to that task, and worked much better in this role.

Of course, the Buell lineup was canceled by Harley-Davidson in 2009, so this is a late-model survivor.  Designer Erik Buell went on to found Erik Buell Racing, building sportbikes until 2015, when bankruptcy proceedings and then months of liquidation auctions and other finagling destroyed the brand.

But this machine was built before all that happened, and at $4,700 seems to be a reasonably-priced specimen of Buell’s Harley-Davidson days. The bike still has relatively low mileage as well, at 12,488 km. They aren’t building any more of these bikes, so if you want one, now’s probably the time to buy.

This seller has done quite a bit of modification (K&N air filter, NGK iridium plugs, Rizoma alloy handlebars, aftermarket plastic bodywork, GSG engine case guards, custom rear-plate holder, ram air scoop, and some other bits). However, none of it is permanent, and the bike should be easy to return to stock, especially as the seller says all the stock bits are still there.


Check out all the pics that go with this story!

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