; The MY Buell Firebolt XB
Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out
Your Federal Quarterly Tax Payments are due April 15th Get Help Now >>

The MY Buell Firebolt XB


  • pg 1
									The 2003MY Buell Firebolt XB9R
1. Introduction

The Original Sport Fighter

Buell Motorcycles are Street Fighters: Absence of a fairing, exposed V-Twin
engine with a lot of character, unique styling, enormous amount of torque, and
great riding experience above all.
With the new Firebolt XB9R, the Buell range now incorporates a Sport Fighter.
Within the Street Fighter category, the Sport Fighter is the closest one to the
Sport motorcycle segment. A bikini fairing, more aggressive chassis, but still
featuring the main ingredients that are the torquey exposed V-Twin, the strong
character, the unique styling and the riding experience on the real roads.
Therefore, the new Firebolt will be more appealing to the experienced riders used
to the sport bikes but looking for a more realistic package. Not lap times but the
emotions and pleasure of riding a twisty road, you and your Firebolt being one
single entity.

It all started with a vision of Erik Buell, founder of Buell American Motorcycles.
He wanted to create the bike we all dream of: A perfectly balanced motorcycle
for the real roads, an extension of your own body.

When the marketing and engineering teams, led by Erik, started to work on this
new model, they all shared and enjoyed the same vision: Creating the bike that
will deliver the ultimate fun on the road. Motorcycle enthusiasts, they were able to
understand what the riders’ needs are and then focused on delivering the Real
Art of Balance.

Real: Because we all spend more time on the road than on a racetrack, it then
makes much more sense to develop a motorcycle for the real road. And
because it is much more fun going through a tiny twisty road than topping the
maximum speed on the motorway, the handling and engine character of the bike
are then the centre of attraction.

Art: Bikes are a piece of art, and so is the Firebolt XB9R. Designed by a
European designer, the styling of the Firebolt is unmatched and uncompromising.
Cat’s eyes headlights, frame and swing arm forming a perfect line, every single
part is a piece of art and engineering. But the bike isn’t only a piece of art. It also
features the art of balance.

Balance: Pushing even further the 3 Buell principles (Low Un-sprung Weight,
Mass Centralisation and Frame Rigidity), the Firebolt is incredibly intuitive.
Everything is as close to the centre of gravity as possible. Therefore, the bike
responds so quickly that the connection is now direct between you and the
Welcome to the real world. Welcome to Buell. Enjoy the Firebolt XB9R!

2. Quality / Development Process
In 2000, Buell has put in place a whole new Development Process. XB9R has
been developed following this new Process. It consists of 4 phases:

1. Concept

The marketing, engineering, styling and service departments meet to discuss the
first concepts. At this stage, a first experimental motorcycle is built.

2. Proof of Concept
The main goals and quality targets are defined and approved. Every single
department implied in the project defines its own targets and deadlines. Several
R&D motorcycles are built and tested. A council made of Buell and Harley-
Davidson engineers decides if the project moves to the next phase.
Then several generations of bikes go through the Euro Duty Cycle. It is a
comprehensive battery of tests comprising high mileage, high and low speed,
traffic jam simulation, high and low temperatures, low and high altitudes, soft and
rough surfaces. These tests are done on racetracks, motorways or city-like

3. Concept durability

The bikes are still tested. The production line is set up and tested. The reliability
of the bike but also of the assembly line is tested. Again, the council signs before
the project moves to the final stage.

4. Validation

The final test. All parts are thoroughly inspected, the supplying line is tested.
Part by part, process by process, everything has to be agreed. All the tests’
reports are checked and signed off.
Bikes are now ready to go into production.

3. The Design

While still being typically Buell, the Firebolt XB9R represents a major
Based on the positioning of the bike, getting a lot of input from the engineers and
Erik, the styling department had to start from scratch. Therefore, they had the
opportunity to investigate numerous options.

Mike Samarzja, Buell styling Director, describes the XB9R styling journey:
     “When the performance envelope and extensive list of new engineering
     features were discussed it was apparent the chassis was going to bristle
     with technology and innovation. The fuel cell frame and oil tank swingarm
     would not only be innovative but also open up opportunities for vehicle
     packaging previously unattainable. The extremely compact chassis these
     features allowed and the space premium they dictated meant functionality
     of the bodywork and it’s relationship to the chassis would be critical to bike
     and rider operation.”

And Erik Buell to add:
     “To be successful the styling must communicate the overall emotion that is
     the motorcycle. Style is a language that speaks without words but
     expresses volumes. The bike must be treated as though it is a living entity
     born of the energy and desires of the creative team. Every component
     must work together to become the whole. One unified being and presence.
     A design so pure that the viewer instantly recognises it’s purpose and
     fulfilment. You want to reach out and touch its curves, throw your leg over
     and settle into its form. Power it up and ride as you and the bike become

As for any other Buell motorcycle, the styling is unique and form follows function:

“We knew we had to provide a visually stunning package that would
communicate the innovation of the product, evolve the unique Buell look and take
motorcycle styling to a new level. We weren’t after traditional full-bodied
sportbikes styling but something much more minimal and essential. A new
category of motorcycle called “Sport Fighter”. This category combines elements
of Street Fighters and sportbikes. The shapes communicate the lightness and
agility of the bike and also provide an optimum environment.”

4. The Engine

1. Engine
The Buell Firebolt XB9R is powered by a whole new engine that has been
developed by Harley-Davidson and Buell to deliver optimum performance, which
for Buell means great torque over a wide rpm range and controllable power,
user friendliness and an exceptional level of reliability.
This V-twin is a 45-degree, pushrod engine, equipped with DDFI fuel injection. It
produces the highest specific output of any mass produced pushrod engine. The
result: 61.9kW(84.2hp) and 85.6Nm(63ft-lb) of torque (EU standard EC95/1*) or
69kW(92hp) and 92Nm(68 ft-lb) of torque (US standard SAE J607*)
out of 984 cc. (*performance figures relate to same specification bike, but reflect
different methods of measurement; Australian specifications to be confirmed).
The bore and stroke ratio is slightly oversquare (1.12 ratio) which, combined with
lighter pistons, rings and stronger connecting rods, allows higher rpm’s (7500
rpm redline).

Significant developmental efforts have been put forth in producing great torque
over a broad rpm band. This effort began with the development of a zero loss
intake system and very exhaustive research to obtain the best intake/exhaust
tuning. It also found application in the new, high flow, head shape and the profile
of the camshafts, with less overlap for an optimum mid-range power. The new
lightweight valve train includes smaller diameter valves (7-mm stem) and
ensures higher rpm stability.

The algorithm of the Dynamic Digital Fuel Injection has been redefined to
achieve the torque, smoothness and driveability objectives of the development
team, all signature of the overall XB concept.

The internal components of this engine have all been redesigned. This includes a
new oiling circuit that similar to the Harley-Davidson Twin Cam 88, includes
piston oil jets. This engine also features a reed valve that pulls oil from the
cylinder head thereby reducing oil carry-over to the air box. The use of piston jets
and oil cooler, combine with a state of the art forced air flow that includes a high
flow fan cooler and wind tunnel developed air flow control channel around the
engine, drastically reduces the oil temperature in any condition. With the addition
of large fin cylinder and cylinder heads, the simplicity and compactness of the
engine is enhanced while ensuring a very well controlled engine temperature.

This new 984cc engine is simple, light and easy to service ultimately resulting in
accessible technology for the passionate motorcyclist. A totally new shifting
mechanism has been developed, further illustrating commitment to the tenancy
of overall user friendliness. The system uses a dual rail, low inertia mechanism
that drastically improves both shifting smoothness and lever effort, facilitating
neutral finding and offering more tolerance to input variation.

The XB9R also features a new compensated clutch that enhances the overall
transmission smoothness, improves traction and reduces the clutch lever effort
by using a new, lower spring rate.

The charging system is now made of a 3 phase “Trident” unit that provides a
significantly higher output, out of a minimal inertia design.

Any technical description would be incomplete without talking about the character
of the engine. This very unique, inimitable Buell characteristic is a subtle
combination of look, sound and feel: The feel resulting from the high torque
push and the perfectly filtered but perceivable low frequency vibration that best
provides the feeling of force. The sound, which is enhanced by the very modern
engine technology that significantly reduces mechanical noises and allows a
good exhaust note. The look of a unique, marvellous, simple, aluminium piece of

Clearly, close co-operation between Buell engineering and the Harley-Davidson
Product Development Centre, (a recent, state of the art development and
research facility in Milwaukee) has helped to achieve a new level of refinement
and performance for this engine.

2. Intake and Exhaust System
The XB9R intake system features a high volume air box with a high flow filter.
The entire volume above the engine is available for this intake system thanks to
the fuel location in the frame. The XB9R also features a downdraft Ram Air
intake that increases airflow and power at high speeds.
The muffler is installed underneath the engine in order to lower the centre of
gravity and to centralise masses. The new muffler features a very large
volume for maximum performance.

The XB9R exhaust system also features a high velocity header with computer
developed staggered length primary tubes for optimum mid-range power and

3. Belt Drive
The new Buell belt drive features an additional idler pulley that ensures a
constant path length of the belt. All the well-known advantages of a belt drive,
such as smoothness, durability and maintenance ease, are enhanced with this
new configuration. However, the most significant advantage of this new
technology is the total absence of any lash in the transmission thus
optimising power control. Furthermore, the constant belt geometry limits the
influence of the secondary transmission to the rear suspension. No adjustment
is required, which simplifies maintenance and reduces the number of parts and
the weight of the rear axle assembly.

The new 11-mm GT profile belt represents the very latest technology with an 8
Kevlar strands construction. This, combined with the new semi-solid moulded
rear pulley, significantly reduces the rear un-sprung weight.
5. The Chassis

Developed around the V-Twin engine, the chassis is an incredible piece of

1. Frame

The new Buell chassis includes a multifunctional aluminium frame. This
masterpiece blends the functions of a traditional frame with a fuel tank. Its
massive construction delivers an exceptional level of rigidity. The fuel is located
in the bottom-end of the frame and therefore located much lower and more
centred than on a traditionally configured bike. This lowers the centre of gravity
and reduces the moment of inertia in pitch and roll. The overall weight of the
frame is significantly lower than the weight of the traditional components that it

The XB9R also features the Buell patented Uniplanar system which allows the
engine to participate in the frame rigidity AND filters most of the engine
The XB9R frame is proudly showcased and exposed as a key styling element of
the motorcycle.

The overall XB9R chassis dimensions are as outstanding as the ones of a GP
racer: 52 inch (1320 mm) wheelbase, 21 degree forks angle, 83 mm trail and
52% of the motorcycle weight rests on the front wheel. These exceptional
specifications are made possible by a number of factors: The frame and chassis
rigidity, the very low steer axis inertia, the position of the centre of gravity and the
unique, very short configuration of the engine.
And the aim remains the same: A very intuitive, natural motorcycle to ride
through the twisties.

2. Swingarm

As per the frame, the swingarm is made of aluminium. A massive piece further
enhancing the rigidity of the chassis. It forms, with the frame, this one line shape.
When looked from the left-hand side of the bike, it constitutes a line from the
steering head to the rear wheel axle. And again, form meets functionality as the
swingarm holds the oil reservoir around the arm pivot. This not only reduces
the number of parts and the weight of the motorcycle, it also helps reduce the
overall size of the bike by allowing for an easier packaging of elements such as
the battery or the DDFI electronic module. This perpetuates Buell’s strength in
delivering bikes with mass centralisation and a low centre of gravity.
3. ZTL Front disc brake / Rear brake

For the first time on a mass produced motorcycle, the front brake is composed of
a 375 mm inside-out brake rotor combined with a six piston calliper. This
configuration provides exceptional braking power and an excellent “feel” and
“feedback” to the rider, while dramatically reducing the front un-sprung weight.
The new Zero Torsion Load brake transfers the braking forces directly from the
rotor to the rim, without applying any significant torsion load to the spoke of the
front wheel, allowing for the lightweight wheel design.
The rear brake has also been optimised to ensure the proper balance between
power and control.

4. Suspension
The fully adjustable Showa inverted forks ensure maximum rigidity and feedback.
When combined with the optimised triple clamp and front wheel axle design, the
result is an outstanding front-end rigidity. The forks’ set-up delivers fantastic
steering accuracy, while maintaining an excellent level of comfort and
feedback to the rider. It is like having the front wheel mounted between the
rider’s thumbs!

The rear suspension is made of a fully adjustable Showa rear shock absorber,
directly installed between the frame and the swingarm in a semi-vertical position,
allowing such a short wheelbase.

5. Wheels

Thanks to the new front brake configuration and wheel design optimisation, the
weight of the front wheel assembly has been reduced to an incredible value. In
fact, the engineering team simplified all components in the front wheel area as a
result of its constant pursuit of weight reduction. An example of this minimalist
approach is the front wheel axle configuration, which includes a minimum
number of parts (no spacer, nut, nor washer) while assuring the highest level of
And benefits are evident: The low un-sprung weight ensures that the tire has
contact with the road surface in any circumstances, while the low steering inertia
is a key element for the bike’s impressive agility.
The rear wheel also benefited from the engineering initiative of weight reduction
among the un-sprung elements of the motorcycle. The rear tire size (180mm) has
been carefully chosen to optimise the combination of traction and agility.
The combination of front and rear wheel assemblies delivers optimal agility,
traction, comfort, weight reduction, serviceability and …style!
6. Front module / Tail section

The thixatropic cast magnesium front module carries all the front-end
accessories such as headlamp, instrument panel, electrical components and
fairing. It is extremely rigid in order to avoid excessive vibration and is part of the
overall weight reduction effort.

The sub frame tail section is made of square aluminium tubing and is bolted to
the main frame for easy replacement. Its optimised structure ensures rigidity and
weight saving.

7. Ergonomics
Intense scrutiny was exercised in the development of the handlebar-seat-
footpegs triangle to optimise the balance between performance and rider
control. The new shifting linkage enhances the overall smoothness of the new

6. The Equipment

1. Bodywork
The minimalist XB9R body parts are made of Surlyn moulded-in-colour
plastics. Developed in relationship with Dupont de Nemours, they use a strong,
flexible material. The colour is moulded into the bodywork during the casting
stage, giving the bike a finer finish and avoiding defects associated with a
conventional painting process. In the event of a minor spill, blemishes can be
polished out of this material.

2. Electrical / Dashboard
The new XB engine features a new three-phase high output alternator.
The forced–air cooling system involves an ECM (Electronic Control module)
controlled fan.
The dashboard includes the speedometer, tachometer, indicator lights, low fuel
warning indicator, two trip odometers, one fuel odometer which starts to count
mileage when the low fuel light goes on, and a clock.

3. Storage

There is a storage under the pillion seat to store a small anti-theft device or some
personal belongings. It is accessed through the keyhole located beneath the tail

4. Finish
Buell has always been committed to delivering the best quality. And so for the
Firebolt XB9R. The external sides of the rims are beautifully polished, the
aluminium top triple clamp is a superb piece, the wheels’ axles are well
integrated and a 3D logo sits proudly on the fuel tank. You can spend hours
examining the bike and you will still discover new details you haven’t noticed
earlier. For instance there are a vast number of Buell and Pegasus logos
engraved on different parts of the bike: Front forks, footpegs, brake callipers,
pushrod covers, and even on the wheels.
Even the fully integrated dashboard participates to the overall finish quality of the

Maintenance and Service

XB9R requires minimum, easy to perform maintenance. This does not only allow
owners to perform most of it themselves, it also significantly reduces cost of


-   Maintenance free Fuel Injection
-   Hydraulic lifter valve train. No valve adjustment required
-   Fully rebuildable engine
-   Belt secondary transmission: no adjustment required, very high durability
-   Belt and compensated clutch for a very smooth transmission to the benefit of
    the rear tire life
-   Very accessible oil filter, oil plugs, oil cap, air filter and spark plug

-   Very easy to remove wheel thanks to the simple axle construction
-   Single brake disc: easy and affordable maintenance

To top