Sports bikes are not the sole domain of the young

American Motorcycles Gallery
You know, passing middle age doesn't require you to give up a love of speed, just ask Cairns Ulyssian Peter Boniface or read about Burt Munro if you don't believe me. Also, you'd be forgiven if when I mention V-Twin sports-bikes, you immediately think of Italian makes, but there is a serious contender to their reign. Such a bike is the latest offering from Harley Davidson Buell as unveiled last November at the motorcycle show, the 1125R. It's very suited for weekend blasts with your mates and their R1s, Gixers or Fireblades etc. with maybe the odd track day thrown in.

I decided it would be a good idea to take one to the launch of the updated Ural Outfit at Armidale, principally because there was some great riding road between home and there i.e. the Thunderbolt Way. Apart from a throwover sheepskin to protect my aging butt from saddle sore, it was very much as delivered and surprisingly close to my suspension requirements. 

American Motorcycles Gallery
First thing I noticed was the astounding acceleration and power from the new Rotax engine, second, the braking force from the front brake, third, how little feel there was from the rear brake (between just dragging it and rear wheel lockup). That single peripheral front disk brake has got more bite than my Wings 3 disks combined plus that of my mates Wing behind me!

Hand and foot levers are adjustable for length of reach, which is a nice touch, although I'd like a longer peg on the rear brake lever. The seat is a bit hard and I found my own limit was about 300 kilometres in one sitting, however, I did survive the 475k round trip to Armidale and back.

The fairing pushes air out around the hands which was good seeing as the bikes outside air temperature gauge registered only 5 degrees on top of the mountain road during my return trip. Speedo also shows 2 trip counters, analogue tacho and clock with settings via 2 buttons.

Without being economical, I covered 266 kilometres to reserve then another 30 k's before refuelling.

Some annoyances I encountered were the speedo nacelle reflecting like a mirror making it hard to read (would benefit from a dark tinted screen) plus I got tired of looking at my arms in the mirrors (useless). There's no side-stand cut-out or indicator, ridiculous!

City zones are not the realm of the 1125R, you need to keep the revs up over 3500rpm for it to be comfortable, even holding it in second gear. However, that's not what this bike is about, it's a serious sports-bike and as far removed from a commuter as a Tiger Moth is to an FA18. The Buell excels at power and cornering, like an extension of your body, it makes you a “cyborg”.

Handling is precise, well balanced, and now with this 146hp Rotax motor the whole package gets close to being a Ducati killer, check these websites for some race results. (http://www.buell.com/en_us/news_events/newsdetail.asp?news_id=1399) or (http://www.buellersdownunder.com/showthread.php?t=1073).

There is nothing in the way of on-board stowage, so the wife dutifully modified my Townsville AGM shoulder backpack and that worked very well for carrying cameras and such.

American Motorcycles Gallery

My airstrip test produced 240kph with more to go, but I lost my nerve when I felt the nose getting light.

Most surprising is the price at $17,490 plus ORC, not bad for an import from septic tank land.

May Your Lid Never Skid.

Ian Parks

Engine: 1125cc liquid-cooled four-valve V-twin, injected
Transmission: 6-speed, wet cutch, belt drive
Power/torque:146hp @9800rpm; 11.2kg-m @8000rpm
Weight: 170kg
Fuel capacity: 20 litres
Seat height: 775mm
Price: $17,495 + ORC

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