This weekend a HD dealer in Gettysburg had a Buell demo. So I put my feeling for Harley aside and went to the dealer to ride a couple of them. I love the look of the Firebolts but I wouldn't buy one without riding one first...
I rode the xb12r first:
And them took the xb9r for a spin:
So as for the ride...
Basically with a few exceptions everything L48shark said in his Pro/Con thread is true. They are torque monsters. There is no big power hit...just smooth even power from idle up to the rev limiter. You never get hit with a
power surge...but there is no lack of acceleration or power either. It's just there when you need it, at every rpm and in every gear.
The suspension was INCREDIBLE! I didn't even feel bumps in the road. The bike didn't 'fall' into corners but it went so smooth as you lean it over and holds whatever line with razor precision. The suspension felt so nice.
The bike vibrated but actually less than I expected. The sound is beautiful..V-TWIN. The engine comes alive above, say, 3 grand. Surprisingly..the clutch pull was easier than my GSXR. I was expecting a high effort clutch. The gear box wasn't very clunky...not silky japanese smooth...but not bad. I did have trouble finding neutral on the 12...but not the 9. And you CANNOT go from 2nd to N. You must go into 1 first.
Not a big deal.
The bike is VERY comfortable. I felt like I could ride all day. On my gixxer my back hurts after about 10 minutes.
The brakes felt great. SS lines and the rotor mounted to the outside of the rim. Nice set up.
As for the difference between the 9r and 12r...
The 9 is basically the same bike. The 12 had a little more grunt but the 9 appeared to be a bit smoother at low rpm. The 9 also revs a little higher. My complaint is the 9's gauges are hard to read. They have a weird font. Other than that...they are pretty much the same bike.
The test ride was a 10 mile trip around the country side then a quick blast up the highway...following a guy from the dealer. The guy was the HD sales manager. True Harley guy...beard, pony tail, piercings...full leather. But one of the nicest, coolest guys I've ever met. He knew his stuff when it came to bikes...not just HD's but sportbikes. And I got a free hat to boot.
So the end result is this: I loved the Firebolt. It is absolutely on my list of potential purchases. I fell in love when I rode it. Comes stock with Diablo's. I cut the strips from 3" to about 1/2" on my 10 mile ride. You could tell a bunch of amatuers rode them.
They were also brand new bikes...right off the showroom floor. The 12r had 8 miles on the clock when I hopped on.