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Buell’s new Ulysses XB12XT

By Terry Roorda

Playing to the platform’s strengths

And to the inseam-challenged, too

With the introduction of the new Ulysses XB12XT at their winter dealers’ meeting in January, Buell Motorcycle has greatly enhanced the Ulysses platform by taking their existing model—the XB12X—to a new low. And that’s a good thing. While still billing the bike as an adventure sportbike, the company’s fashioned this model as a more conventional sport-tourer, and in so doing has addressed the chief complaint lodged against the XB12X—i.e., a seat height that’s proven unworkably high for most riders of short-to-medium stature—and also acknowledged and exploited two simple facts of current Ulysses life: (1) that despite the off-road pretensions of the machine, the lion’s share of its travel time is spent tearing up the pavement, and, (2) that the Ulysses has shown itself to be a long-distance tourer of admirable comfort, capability and carrying capacity.

To achieve those diverse ends, Buell started by shortening the suspension travel from about 6.5″ to just under 5, and retuning the shocks for serious street duty. That alteration lowers the seat height by about an inch, and while that may not sound like much, it should make a world of difference to a lot of potential buyers in this application. Also emphasizing the bike’s sportbike bias are Pirelli Diablo Strada sport touring tires instead of the more dual-purposed Pirelli Sync units used on the XB12X.

From a strictly sport-touring perspective, the XB12XT comes with all of the excellent touring accoutrements offered as options on the XB12X. These include the lockable side bags and top box, which provide a remarkable amount of storage space, and a substantially taller windscreen than the stock XB12X unit. Those items are in addition to the full complement of adventure-friendly features found on the existing Ulysses; things like heated grips, 12-volt power outlets, a tool kit, helmet lock, bungee hook slots, on-the-fly rear shock adjustment, and the versatile Triple Tail System rear appendage that serves as a passenger backrest or packing platform. The 4.4 gallon fuel capacity gives the bike a practical range between refueling.

Like all XB12 models, the bike’s power is provided by the exhilarating 1203cc Thunderstorm motor, producing 103 horsepower and 84 pounds of torque, and stopping is handled primarily by Buell’s innovative ZTL perimeter rotor front brake, and to a much lesser extent by a single piston disc setup in back.

The XB12XT’s color-molded Surlyn bodywork is offered in both Thrust Blue and in a new Racing Red, and the sticker price on this fully loaded model is $12,995.

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