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2007 Buell Ulysses XB12X Road Test


by Pascal Bastien ,

The XB12X is a versatile, multi-purpose bike that can take you almost anywhere. Whether it's a short afternoon ride on a backcountry road or a long trip on unchartered territories, Buell's adventure motorcycle has to be solid in all conditions.

Buell has always offered uniquely-styled bikes.

First, you have to admit that the XB12X boasts a stunning and unorthodox styling. The integrated frame, which houses the 4.4-gallon fuel tank, the unique fairing and the grille-protected dual headlight are among the many highlights of this design. The already impressive inverted fork features lower guards that enhance its singular style. The wide black-painted swingarm also helps in creating a massive, aggressively-styled, one-of-a-kind motorcycle.

High but rider-friendly
The ergonomics of the XB12X are spot-on. This machine offers a very high and backed-up riding position as well as a nicely sculpted seat -- must-have features on any adventure-type mount. However, protection against the elements is somewhat disappointing: while the XB12X offers the brand's largest fairing ever, it does not provide the kind of protection you would normally expect from such a two-wheel warrior.

In normal riding conditions, getting used to this XB proves extremely easy; rider-friendliness is surprising given its size and displacement. Overall, riding this bike requires no particular precaution; it has all the usual charisma of Buells without their oddities. The seat was redesigned last year to lower the ride height from 841 to 808 mm. Suspension travel remains unchanged, although different fork springs have been used to create a stiffer package.

As you may know, the Buell philosophy is based on three main principles: mass centralization, frame rigidity and low unsprung weight. The XB12X is certainly no exception; in fact, you can feel it as soon as you take off with the bike. Among the key features are the slender-spoke Buell-exclusive wheels and the famous perimeter front brake. In addition to enhancing the bike's look, they help achieve a 3-kg reduction in front-end weight compared to a traditional setup. Said braking system offers surprising precision, especially when riding under the rain. It's also very durable and fade-free, meaning you can take this bike to the track occasionally -- with no modifications required.

The perimeter front brake is one of Buell's trademarks.
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