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Thread: Talk me out of buying a XB-12Scg

  1. #1
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    Cool Talk me out of buying a XB-12Scg

    Hey guys, new member here! Possibly a new owner in the near future!

    With all this pandemic going on I have been thinking a new (to me) bike is the perfect cure for these isolation doldrums.

    Im coming to Buell after finding a nice example of an XB12S cg within my budget in my local classifieds. But not really knowing much about them... Other than they are kinda a Harley... Kinda...

    Most of my bike experience is in the high revving Japanese bike world. While I'm not looking for a speed or track demon, I am looking for something that is an enjoyable riding experience from point A to B.

    After doing a ton of research on Yamaha FZ's and Suzuki Bandits and GSX-S bikes... even looking at Triumph Speed/ Street Triples, I felt like I wasnt getting anywhere. When I stumbled upon the Buell I was actually pretty surprised that every review I found had nothing but good things to say about them!

    I understand coming to a Buell Forum might get me some biased opinions, but tell me are these bikes really as bullet proof, fun to ride and as good as the reviews say? What are some things I should look for buying used? Any years to avoid or questions I should ask the seller? It might take some getting used to, hearing Harley noises come out of my sport bike, any other quarks that take getting used to?

    Thanks for your time and opinions! If aliens where a motorcycle they would be a Buell... Fuel in the frame, oil in the swing arm... while weird at first these innovations seem really neat.

    Specs on the bike Im looking at:
    Year: 2006
    Model: XB12Scg
    ODO: 6200 mi (10k km)
    Color: Black body on Amber wheels
    Owner claims in ad:
    -Meticulously maintained with fresh sevice (fluids, plugs, inspection)
    -Mint, showroom like condition
    -Completely stock and "unmolested"

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by darkphaux View Post
    Hey guys, new member here! Possibly a new owner in the near future!

    With all this pandemic going on I have been thinking a new (to me) bike is the perfect cure for these isolation doldrums.

    Im coming to Buell after finding a nice example of an XB12S cg within my budget in my local classifieds. But not really knowing much about them... Other than they are kinda a Harley... Kinda...

    Most of my bike experience is in the high revving Japanese bike world. While I'm not looking for a speed or track demon, I am looking for something that is an enjoyable riding experience from point A to B.

    After doing a ton of research on Yamaha FZ's and Suzuki Bandits and GSX-S bikes... even looking at Triumph Speed/ Street Triples, I felt like I wasnt getting anywhere. When I stumbled upon the Buell I was actually pretty surprised that every review I found had nothing but good things to say about them!

    I understand coming to a Buell Forum might get me some biased opinions, but tell me are these bikes really as bullet proof, fun to ride and as good as the reviews say? What are some things I should look for buying used? Any years to avoid or questions I should ask the seller? It might take some getting used to, hearing Harley noises come out of my sport bike, any other quarks that take getting used to?

    Thanks for your time and opinions! If aliens where a motorcycle they would be a Buell... Fuel in the frame, oil in the swing arm... while weird at first these innovations seem really neat.

    Specs on the bike Im looking at:
    Year: 2006
    Model: XB12Scg
    ODO: 6200 mi (10k km)
    Color: Black body on Amber wheels
    Owner claims in ad:
    -Meticulously maintained with fresh sevice (fluids, plugs, inspection)
    -Mint, showroom like condition
    -Completely stock and "unmolested"
    HEY!!! another Buell n00b to converse with!!

    Firstly I want to say that I'm no expert when it comes to Buell other than some minor riding experience and just recently acquiring a 2009 1125r (LOVE IT). Which sports bikes have you had beforehand because I could probably give some perspective on that side of things:

    For one; the heat between your legs will be pretty intense by comparison (as opposed to under your butt if your exhaust was top-tail end), nothing too bad unless you like riding around in boardshorts or your undies then you might have to swap out.

    For two; the power delivery is going to want to wheelie you a fair bit if you're used to launching, and if you had launch control previously then I'd be feathering the clutch.

    Third; you will be shifting gears until you get to to higher gears if the 1125 is anything to go by. My previous ride (GSXR1000 that still had the TRE) would hate anything below 6k revs so on daily commutes it was rare that I would shift above 1st simply because if the revs got too low it got sluggish.

    I can say that Buell are pretty bulletproof if my knowledge of the XB12r was anything to go by. Reason I say that is a good friend of mine (who actually taught me how to ride) had one, and the amount we hung out I got to see it and ride it enough to see how he looked after it (he had a full proper shop on his property, dyno and everything as he was a "pro" amateur racer) and the amount he actually had to work on was next to nothing, the problem came in if something got damaged or had to be replaced (rarely, and usually due to either a knock or at the end of its service life like a belt) that the time between ordering to getting the part took a really long time (getting parts for the Buell in Oz was a problem, and that was back in 2014 - 2016) so he would just order a heap of the "consumable" ones.

    One of the things that I did (before buying mine) was downloading the manual, parts list and electronic diagram to see what parts were where and so on, then looking at prices for:

    - Final drive components
    - Braking components (not just pads and rotors - but rebuild kits up to piston assemblies as well)
    - Scheduled service requirement parts.

    Basically going to the "worst case scenario" can be as bad as getting a new bike, so instead I go to the best case for estimating on a bike that I know, and that is by looking at the scheduled servicing manual and costing it out from there as well as parts availability.


    If I were you I would be looking at the drive belt and pulleys for one, because those (at least to me) are one of the main sticking points because of how it's not something that's stocked regularly. I would also be checking out for any error codes as I got one on mine, and the next ride I'm going to try and isolate it (as it only seems to be when running, and intermittently) to figure out what might be wrong.

    Bit of a rant, and probably doesn't help much but.....LOVE MY BUELL.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Cooter's Avatar
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    Where in the world are you Mr. San Diego? That can make a world of difference on parts availability (pun) hee hee. In the states I have no problem getting any parts, on the rare occasion I even need them.

    Whats your inseam? Its the width of these (making you straddle the rear cylinder) that really dictates what comfortable to sit on. If you have a short stature that needs a super low seat height, an Scg is a fine bike. Otherwise you are sacrificing a lot of comfort with a thin seat and limited suspension travel. I would recommend a regular S if you can, or an Ss or STT of you are a larger human than most.

    Mechanically they are very simple and maintenance free. No chain, no radiator, no valve adjust... ever.
    because the typical downfall of a used bike is lack of maintenance, that means used old Buells can be resurrected pretty easily.

    Either find a good V-twin shop. Any decent shop familiar with Sportsters should be able to help you, OR us Buellers tend to be the do it yourself type. Buellmods.com has a free service manual download, to see any quirks, like checking the oil level on the side stand. And checking out Buelltooth.com for ideas for mods or tuning it thats your thing.

    And like Kuell said. Buells are a very special experience. "Different in every way". I recommend any real motorcycle enthusiast gives it a shot. Who knows? Maybe you end up drinking the Buell-Aid like I did and end up with a garage full of them
    Last edited by Cooter; 04-18-2020 at 08:36 PM.

  4. #4
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    Really appreciate the detailed replies.

    I am180 lbs 5'9" with 32" inseam on a long day. Being the center of gravity edition is a big selling feature for me. I live in Canada and have good Harley support up here, with dealerships in every major city.

    My current bike I had to save after 10 years of neglect from the previous owner. I am pretty comfortable behind the wrench after getting that bike on the road. To that end I already had a service manual downloaded prior to even making my post here.

    They seem like solid bikes, with good components, good predictable power and decent comfort with unique styling.... is there a peice of this puzzle I'm missing? What do people not like about them? Every review I have read has been glowingly positive. Its almost like a cult where the people are too happy.... where does the human sacrifice come in?? LOL

  5. #5
    Senior Member Endopotential's Avatar
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    Here are my 2 bits...

    For comparison, I also ride a Triumph Daytona. It's light, smooth, maneuverable and on paper has more top end horsepower than my '09 XB9Sx. Power that I haven't even come close to using at its full potential. It's the scalpel to the Buell's jackhammer.

    Yet there's something so viscerally satisfying about the rumble and torque of the Buell. I know a lot of online reviews talk about how "flickable" Buells are with the supposed mass centralization. Compared to the Daytona, the Buell feels like a ponderous top heavy beast. Compared to the Yamaha R3 I first learned to ride, the Buell feels like a whale. Especially with your legs splayed out with the wider seat. But I still keep coming back to it because it's so fun to ride.

    Full disclosure, I've had to do more maintenance on my '09 XB9 with 20k miles than on any of my other bikes. The fuel pump had to be replaced, a known weak spot on our bikes (John aka LunaticFringe is the man to go to for those parts). Also had to replace the voltage regulator.

    Once you get your Buell - it's a foregone conclusion by now, right? - I would highly recommend doing the DIY voltage gauge. The breather re-route and electrical grounding mods seem to also be requisite rites of passage for Buell ownership.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Endopotential View Post
    Here are my 2 bits...

    For comparison, I also ride a Triumph Daytona. It's light, smooth, maneuverable and on paper has more top end horsepower than my '09 XB9Sx. Power that I haven't even come close to using at its full potential. It's the scalpel to the Buell's jackhammer.

    Yet there's something so viscerally satisfying about the rumble and torque of the Buell. I know a lot of online reviews talk about how "flickable" Buells are with the supposed mass centralization. Compared to the Daytona, the Buell feels like a ponderous top heavy beast. Compared to the Yamaha R3 I first learned to ride, the Buell feels like a whale. Especially with your legs splayed out with the wider seat. But I still keep coming back to it because it's so fun to ride.

    Full disclosure, I've had to do more maintenance on my '09 XB9 with 20k miles than on any of my other bikes. The fuel pump had to be replaced, a known weak spot on our bikes (John aka LunaticFringe is the man to go to for those parts). Also had to replace the voltage regulator.

    Once you get your Buell - it's a foregone conclusion by now, right? - I would highly recommend doing the DIY voltage gauge. The breather re-route and electrical grounding mods seem to also be requisite rites of passage for Buell ownership.
    Well... I went to check it out... and once I sat on it running and heard that engine.... a certain itch that I didnt know existed had been scratched.

    The bike is in showroom like condition, 100% stock, and incredibly clean. If I end up closing this deal I will post a ton of pics... this bike is really exciting. Everything that makes it 'diferent' is something that really sells me.

    I have an older TDM850... if you want to talk top heavy and... well... heavy....and finicky. Dual carb, parallel twin with a pull choke. I always joked that if someone could figure out how to start it they deserved to steal it.... watching the XB12 start on first button push on a cold engine was nothing short of magic....

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Endopotential View Post
    Here are my 2 bits...

    For comparison, I also ride a Triumph Daytona. It's light, smooth, maneuverable and on paper has more top end horsepower than my '09 XB9Sx. Power that I haven't even come close to using at its full potential. It's the scalpel to the Buell's jackhammer.

    Yet there's something so viscerally satisfying about the rumble and torque of the Buell. I know a lot of online reviews talk about how "flickable" Buells are with the supposed mass centralization. Compared to the Daytona, the Buell feels like a ponderous top heavy beast. Compared to the Yamaha R3 I first learned to ride, the Buell feels like a whale. Especially with your legs splayed out with the wider seat. But I still keep coming back to it because it's so fun to ride.

    Full disclosure, I've had to do more maintenance on my '09 XB9 with 20k miles than on any of my other bikes. The fuel pump had to be replaced, a known weak spot on our bikes (John aka LunaticFringe is the man to go to for those parts). Also had to replace the voltage regulator.

    Once you get your Buell - it's a foregone conclusion by now, right? - I would highly recommend doing the DIY voltage gauge. The breather re-route and electrical grounding mods seem to also be requisite rites of passage for Buell ownership.
    Anything feels like a whale next to a R3. And my Buell is the best handling motorcycle I've ever owned. Got to get going past 50 to appreciate it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member 34nineteen's Avatar
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    How old are the tires? My guess is with that low of mileage they could possibly be the stock ones. Even if they were replaced at some time, they are probably over 5 years old. Better check the date codes.

  9. #9
    Senior Member 34nineteen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Endopotential View Post
    Here are my 2 bits...

    For comparison, I also ride a Triumph Daytona. It's light, smooth, maneuverable and on paper has more top end horsepower than my '09 XB9Sx. Power that I haven't even come close to using at its full potential. It's the scalpel to the Buell's jackhammer.

    Yet there's something so viscerally satisfying about the rumble and torque of the Buell. I know a lot of online reviews talk about how "flickable" Buells are with the supposed mass centralization. Compared to the Daytona, the Buell feels like a ponderous top heavy beast. Compared to the Yamaha R3 I first learned to ride, the Buell feels like a whale. Especially with your legs splayed out with the wider seat. But I still keep coming back to it because it's so fun to ride.

    Full disclosure, I've had to do more maintenance on my '09 XB9 with 20k miles than on any of my other bikes. The fuel pump had to be replaced, a known weak spot on our bikes (John aka LunaticFringe is the man to go to for those parts). Also had to replace the voltage regulator.

    Once you get your Buell - it's a foregone conclusion by now, right? - I would highly recommend doing the DIY voltage gauge. The breather re-route and electrical grounding mods seem to also be requisite rites of passage for Buell ownership.

    And remember, the newest of the XB's is 10 years old, and is going to need work. If you do your own maintenance, you should be fine... but if all you do is "put gas in and ride", you may be better off looking at something newer and still in production. If you have a shop you use, go ask them about working on a Buell. If they give you back anything but an enthusiastic "Sure!" either find another shop or motorcycle.

    Shops that regularly work on Asian and Euro bikes will probably tell you they don't work on Harleys.
    Shops that are HD, including "custom shops" may begrudgingly work on it.... but do you really want that guy wrenching on your bike?
    Find a shop that is enthusiastic about the brand.

    Remember its a Buell, its not a Sportster... it is Sportster based, but thats the engine/transmission and thats where the similarities end. And even then its still only based on a Sportster, its not a true Sportster engine.

  10. #10
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    I don't think it can be said better than this ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ !



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