Buell XR9S Lightning


Make Model

Buell XR9S Lightning




45° V-Twin, four stroke, pushrod actuated overhead valve. hydraulic self-adjusting lifters, 2 valve per cylinder


984 cc / 60 cu in

Bore x Stroke

88.9 x 79.4 mm

Compression Ratio


Cooling System

Air cooled


Dry sump


Two-into-one, free breathing


45 mm Downdraft DDFI fuel injection




12V, 12Ah

Max Power

67.1 kW / 92 hp @ 7200 rpm

Max Torque

97 Nm / 9.9 kgf-m / 71.5 ft.lbs @ 5500 rpm


Wet, multi-plate


5 Speed, constant mesh

Final Drive

Kevlar belt

Gear Ratios

1st 2.69  /  2nd 1.85  /  3rd 1.43  /  4th 1.18  /  5th 1.00


Hollow aluminium twin-spar frame doubles as the fuel tank




84 mm / 3.3 in

Front Suspension

Showa upside-down forks, adjustable for preload, compression & rebound damping

Front Wheel Travel

119 mm / 4.7 in

Rear Suspension

Showa shock absorber, adjustable for preload, compression & rebound damping

Rear Wheel Travel

127 mm / 5.0 in

Front Brakes

ZTL-type brake, 6-piston fixed caliper, Ø375 mm single sided, inside out, stainless steel, floating rotor

Rear Brakes

Single 230 mm disc, 1 piston caliper


6-Spoke cast

Front Rim

3.50 x 17 in

Rear Rim

5.50 x 17 in

Front Tyre

120/70 ZR17, Dunlop D207 FY

Rear Tyre

180/55 ZR17, Dunlop D207 U


Length: 1924 mm / 75.7 in
Width:    831 mm / 32.7 in
Height: 1232 mm / 48.5 in


1320 mm / 52 in

Ground Clearance

127 mm / 5.0 in

Seat Height

775 mm / 30.5 in

Dry Weight

175 kg / 386 lbs


386 kg / 850 lbs

Oil Capacity

2.3 Litres / 2.5 qts

Fuel Capacity

14 Litres / 3.7 US gal

Consumption  average

5.1 L/100 km / 19.6 km/l / 46.1 US mpg

Standing ¼ Mile  

12.2 sec

Top Speed

210.2 km/h / 130.6 mph


Motorcycle USA



The naked-bike class has become one of the most popular new segments of the motorcycle industry. The class rules are simple enough: Start with minimal amounts of bodywork so mechanical components such as the engine and frame on display, and make sure there’s a torquey engine and a rigid, capable chassis underneath.

Ducati spawned the naked sportbike genre with the Monster when they introduced the stripped down Monster at the 1992 Cologne Motor Show and it entered production the following year. The machine known as the M900 has gone on to become the most successful line of bike Ducati has ever offered, and it helped save the then-troubled company from extinction. Il Monstro remains the standard by which all other naked bikes are measured.

The naked bike movement also helped popularize saved another manufacturer: Buell. Led by innovator Erick Buell, his early offerings were slow to catch on. But in 1996, the hooligan S1 Lightning debuted, and the Harley-powered bikes gained a much wider audience.

Buell’s Lightning took a huge leap forward with the 2002 introduction of the XB9S Lightning. Buell took his “Trilogy of Technology” to a whole new level, keeping the design concepts of mass centralization, frame rigidity and lower unsprung weight at the forefront of its design. Most manufacturers follow a similar plan of attack when designing a new bike, but the XB9S is like nothing ever seen before.

Gone is the steel-tube frame of its predecessor, replaced instead by a a beefy aluminum technological marvel. What looks to be its fuel tank is actually just an airbox cover; the massive aluminum frame spars actually are the fuel cell, aiding Buell’s mass centralization intent. In a similar vein, the aluminum swingarm also doubles as the oil reservoir for the big air-oil cooled H-D V-Twin. Still not impressed? Take a look at the front wheel. Using the theory of Zero Torsion Load (ZTL), the XB9S is the first production bike to feature a huge brake rotor attached to the rim rather than the hub, with a single six-piston caliper providing the stopping power. This creative approach to braking allows for the construction of the wheel to be very light, which of course reduces unsprung weight.

The wiring on the Lightning might be the most tidy of any production bike. Every piece of vital electronics is concealed neatly beneath the seat. Unlike the Monster, there are very few pieces that look out of place. But that is where the really wonderful innovations end on the Lightning. The heart of the XB9S is a tuned-for-torque 998cc air-cooled, pushrod V-Twin, heavily revised from The Motor Company’s Sportster ramge. The marriage of H-D and Buell is laid out in the open for all the world to see.