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Anyone have/ride a Buell Ulysses?


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Every now and then my mind starts to wandering and I think about a RT replacement. Sprint, VFR, V-Strom...ETC. Anyway the one I am thinking about now is the Buell Ulysses. Anyone have any experience with this one? Alot of guy on Advrider have them and the reviews have been very good from the owners for the most part. Seems to be a few guys switching from their GS's to this bike with good results also dopeslap.gif Just wanted to get input from the guys that ride BMW's and such since this is one of the bikes I'm on right now. Now to find a dealer that has one in stock for a demo smile.gif Thanks

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A HD dealer on the north side of Baltimore had one or two back in Feburary. When I was looking at them it appeared one could do well picking up a used one. There is also a new HD dealer in Laurel MD (Patriot or Liberty HD?), that was threatening to stock them.

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I'd like to check them out too and am planning a test ride in the near future. I've read alot of good stuff about them but do not know all that much about dual-sport riding to know if I'd like to invest in something like that. I kinda like the comfort of the RT and most of my riding is long distance, with some long day trips. I would strongly consider a K1200GT if I let the RT go, but the dual-sport thing has a certain attraction. I did some dirt riding when I was a kid and enjoyed it. But with other expensive hobbies (boats) I have to limit the bike stable to one machine.

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I am thinking about now is the Buell Ulysses
I thought you said you were looking for a RT replacement? lmao.gif
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I had a short test ride on a U last year, and, I have a friend with one. Liked the bike when I rode it but it had one deal-breaker for me. The cooling fan tends to run incessantly (maybe it doesn't in cold weather). So, your right knee/leg will be very warm and the fan noise is very irritating - at least for me. Of course there is not nearly as much wind protection as an RT if you are looking to replace your RT with something of similar purpose.

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I took one out a couple of weeks ago. Rode the GT down to the H-D store and hooked up with the Buell sales dood. Told him that I wanted to ride a Uly and get the swag bag.


Dood walked me to the door and showed me a '07. Explained how powerfull it is and to be careful of the front brake, "Very Powerful".


It starts right up and I notice the vibration. I can see him looking at me as I gear up, Shoei MT, ear plugs, armored gloves and 'stich jacket. I take off and head to a local area that has a few fun curves. The Uly smooths out quickly and I'm surprised. After a warming pass of the curves I turn around and hit them a little more agressively. The bike handles well. Very smooth progression from side to side.


Since I was warned about the powerful brakes, I tested them. Yeah, pretty good, first stoppy I've done in a few years.


I then take it out for about 10 miles of interstate. Bad idea. While the bars and seat kept the vibes at bay, the foot pegs didn't. My feet felt like they were vibrating off the pegs.


The wind protection was nil. Instruments were good. Ergo's were GS like (good).


I can't imagine this replacing a RT as a tourer. As a second or third bike to kick around on day rides, maybe.


Just my opinions of the Uly's short test.


Respectfully submitted,

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Jim Miller

I did a demo ride on the Ulysses at Daytona last year and I really liked the bike. I'm 6'4" and it fit me very well and the fun factor is off the charts. Last month, we did our annual Smokey Mountain Run and a friend from Hendersonville joined us on his Ulysses. Bike ran great and he was smiling for four days straight. My only naggle is the mixed bag of fasteners on the Buell - SAE, Metric and Torx heads everywhere. As my only ride, I'd need more wind protection, but as a second bike, it would be right up there on my short list.

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I don't own one but have taken a few longish test rides. Certainly not an RT replacement, but perhaps a GS replacement depending on your taste. Very competent chassis (and yes, some 'character' in the heat issues and vibes, but the latter are amazingly tame when up to speed), but the critical factor will be whether you like the engine or not. Fun, funky, and torquey, and very different from a boxer and certainly any four-cylinder bike. I thought it was a hoot to ride but had questions about long-term livability, for my purposes at least. There are a few Uly owners on the forum who could better address that question. But as was said, the bike is very high on the fun factor scale.

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W. Mazelin

I took a demo ride on a Uly. at the Long Beach, CA IMS. It's a fun bike, I liked it very much, as did the two guys that also rode them with me (my brother, & our long time friend). I have also ridden the Lightning long, and I like that one too (same frame, etc. as the Uly.) Both have fabulous acceleration, great mountains of TORQUE!, when dialed in, the suspension is good too, (I'm 6'2 210#), mile wide grin factor included for nuthin'. Go take a test hop on one. My understanding is, that as the engine gets broken in the fan stays on for less & less time. I didn't have any significant heat issues.

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If I were in the market for a bike like the R1200GS, I'd give the Uly a serious look.


I rode Steve Knapp's Uly at El Paseo and enjoyed it quite a bit. The vibration at idle seems bad, but once you crack the throttle open it smooths out. It seems to make stump-pulling torque all the way to redline. Handling is very quick and nimble. Riding position was comfortable. I think Steve has a Cee Bailey's screen, which I thought did some great things to the airflow.


Harley dealers are far more common than BMW dealers, and the "Final Drive" costs $40, fits easily fits in a tankbag, and can be replaced on the side of the road. cool.gif


My only gripe: I would like more front brake. There was plenty of stopping power, but you had to really squeeze to get it. I prefer bikes like the Tuono that I could stand on its nose with one finger.

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I have one and sold off the 1200RT becuase it travels so well. There are plenty of biased opinions on badweatherbikers.com to get a real good idea of what people like and don't like about their ULYs. There are also a good number of used ones for sale on their classified section.


I love the suspension and seating position, absorbs small road imperfections better than my RT and just a little better than my GS did. The gas tank is only 4.4 gallons so that will be a limitation if you ride in the western states. Wind protection is on a par with the GS but Aeroflow doesn't make the half fairing kit for the ULY.


First gear is geared too high like on the RT, I changed the primary gear ratio and solved that problem. It only has a five speed so 70mph now is about 3800rpm which is just about ideal for engine performance. One of the things I didn't like about the RT was its speed, seemed like I was always running about 85, it just seemd happier there.


The luggage system is good but ugly, latches seem poorly designed. Mine have held up fine. My last real annoyance is the damn fan. It just pisses me off, driving around on a hair dryer. There are far more people that aren't bothered by it, guess I'm in a minority again. I love traveling the scenic byways and the drone of the fan just messes up the scene. You should make up your own mind tho. Almost bought a Duc till I heard the clutch, what in the hell were they thinking. dopeslap.gif


Overall the ULY may be the best bike I've ever owned. The bike is set up for those of us in the larger persuasion, short people need not apply. Much like the 03 GS. thumbsup.gif

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My last real annoyance is the damn fan. It just pisses me off, driving around on a hair dryer. There are far more people that aren't bothered by it, guess I'm in a minority again. I love traveling the scenic byways and the drone of the fan just messes up the scene.


Oh yeah...I almost forgot about that. I found it more amusing than annoying, but it's definitely there.


Almost bought a Duc till I heard the clutch, what in the hell were they thinking.


They were thinking "Damn...that sounds gooood."



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Harley dealers are far more common than BMW dealers,
Very true - but that means very little to a Buell owner. Most Harley dealers will not service Buells unless they have a Buell franchise. In fact, even at Harley dealers that sell Buells, Buell customers are treated like red headed stepchildren. The dealership "issue" has been one of the top hot topics on the Bad Weather Bikers forum for years - and there's no evidence that it's getting any better.



Been there, done that. Three times.

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It's the best bike I've owned to date. I don't miss my RT (02 R1150RT w/ 60k) nor my GS (R12GS w/ ~12k) at all. I've got ~15k on the uly.


It's great on the highway, vibes when moving are NOT an issue except for the 06 spec Dunlop 616's, which not only had some strange vibes as they wear, but also lended to some of the swimming feeling some noticed.


Both bikes have some character. And like all character you can debate the pros/cons of any character trait.


Much like BMW your dealer support depends on your local dealer. One difference, the factory reads badweb. I've had some amazing experiences with Buell customer support. "Can you fedex the part? I'd be glad to pick up the fees" became "I'll just drive to the factory tomorrow, pick up the part and an engineer, head to your dealer and we'll take care of your bike". From my experience, not what I've read online, Buell CS just can't be beat.


The heat could be better, I'm pondering the ceramic coated header pipe to help lessen the issue. I think the boxer's heat managment is a real plus.


Russell, not sure why, but washed the bike (including the wheel and brakes) and the front brake "bite" is a quite bit stronger. I think there is something going on there w/ road scum or the like. Coming from the BMW servo brakes, I find it really hard to comment on the feel, it's SO much better that what I'm used to. I know the stock pads tend to glaze over or some such...


The stock bags are pretty good, lots of space. But the latches are a small flaw. You need to be sure the bags are closed all the way when latching. They are not strong enough to pull the bag shut, and if you have a bit of stuff hanging out they will break.


I don't know what else to say, I really enjoy this bike. I'd be happy to answer questions on it.

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I've had my Uly about a year. It's super on dirt roads. Even 2-up. The suspension front and back is 3 way adjustable, and when you get it right, it makes even washboard roads easy to ride. The worst part for me is the heat that comes off the right side, and the lack of wind protection on long rides. But it is a naked bike, not a fully faired touring bike. The fan on mine doesn't run incesssantly, but when it comes on it can be heard. Gets a lot of attention from bikers when I pull in, turn her off and walk away while the fan is whirring away! Still like the RT for highway and long trips.

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I guess making this a RT replacement would be like comparing apples to oranges, but there has been quite a bit of RT to GS jumping since the 1200 came out, so I don't think it's too far of a stretch. My KLR has been seeing alot of action lately anyway so a little bit of wind won't bother me that much and I can always get an aftermarket windshield, like I did with my RT. I like the fact that the bike is pretty much maintenance free with no valve adjustments or TBS to be done. Quite honestly my RT frustrates me because as soon as it goes out of tune the slightest bit it seems, the surging can be felt. Granted, it's good for about 4k after a tuneup, but doing a tune up every 4-6k is still more than not having to do it at all grin.gif I've heard about the stock brake pads (easy fix) and the fan thing (nothing can be done about that. Another thing is teh dash. Am I correct in saying that you have to manually switch things to see the different readings, such as clock, trip, ETC? I'm not sure if I'll like that. I really like the RT dash. I have read also that pillion comfort is exceptional, but how is it compared to an RT? That would be a dealbreaker there, even though it seems that I'm solo 99% of the time when I ride. As far as dealers, I beleive that there is a very good Buell dealer in Gettysburg, but I have to stop by and talk with them myself. I have heard the horror stories about the Buell dealers, but I don't have alot of good to say about the BMW dealers I have been at to have things done either, so I guess that point is a wash. Thanks for the insight so far and any pics would be great. This bike is really growing on me. I was discussing it with a guy at work today and he said, oh yeah, the wierd looking Buell. You know, kinda the response you get when talking about a GS wink.gif Anyway, thanks

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I was in your shoes last December when I was looking at an 06 Uly and a 04 Rt. I test road both, and went to every dealer who sold both. The BMW dealers are what sold me. I bought the bike used, but they still accepted me as a BMW customer. Of the 7 Harley dealers in the area, only 4 had Buell. Of those, only one was not an Ass. What if he droped the line - then what. It's too bad your BMW doesn't hold a tune too well. I like the Uly, and with a Cee Bailey, Bar risers, and luggage the Uly is an on road GS clone. It would make a great ride. Call around and see if you can rent one for a weekend. If you're still in love on monday buy it

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Pillion comfort is better, mine is about 5.5 ft. I am 6'3" and she liked it lots better. Big problem is her getting on the bike, the passenger footpeg is in an awkward spot and the mount dismount requires proactice. that stupid looking tail thingy is actually quite useful.


My pillion still prefers the Heritage softtail, she got to pick the colors for the custom paint and she can just hop on. She does look really good on it. thumbsup.gif

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m I correct in saying that you have to manually switch things to see the different readings, such as clock, trip, ETC? I'm not sure if I'll like that.


There is one LCD display, and you need to push a rather small button to toggle between the odo, Trip 1, trip 2, time, and the "fuel trip". The other button resets the two trips or puts the clock into set mode. The R12GS setup with the control button on the handgrip is better than this.


I've got the clock covered with the GPS. I tend to leave it on one of the trip meters for gas stop estimation.


The "Fuel trip" is a neat feature. It's a odometer that starts counting when the fuel light comes on. So say you're gawking at the scenery, you look down and you see the fuel light glowing. How long as that been going on? The "fuel trip" starts counting as soon as the fuel light comes on and tells you how far it's been. It also keeps counting even if the light goes back out again, say you're riding some hills and it's flickering on/off.


I don't find the dash to be too much of a pain. It's pretty basic/simple, but works. Which really is the gist of the bike, simple but works well, for me at least.


Oh, FYI, the rear shock can be rebuilt for $100ish, which is a nice bonus.

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I went to ride one today but it was still being inspected so I rode the Super TT instead. Great motor, good handling but not my bag. I'll stay with the VSTROM and use the briefcase they gave me instead! clap.gif

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I test rode a uly last year. Right side heat and fan noise were my only gripes about it. I liked that it was tall.



I just started noticing the Super TT a week or so ago. Looks like a fun 2nd bike to ride around town.

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The TT was fun, and I think you could almost save enough in front tire wear to pay for the bike if you kept it long enough.


It was awfully hot on the right side and the fan did annoy though...


It was fun to ride though, and made a really glorious intake honk when you twisted the throttle. wHOOOOOOONNKKK!!!!

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The comments regarding the heat from the right side, fan noise, and lack of dealer support are spot on, as are comments regarding how much fun it is to ride. The seat on the Ulysses is really good, perhaps the best OEM seat available.


I grew weary of hauling it 350 miles round trip to the dealer so that minor, yet aggravting issues could be addressed, many of which were not unique to my bike. And I was ready for a change.


I got a 1200GS and have been very pleased with it.

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I have a 2007 Ulysses - and love it. In my opinion, it's the best all around motorcycle on the market today. It's only downside is that it's tall: You'll need a 30 inch inseam to even attempt the 2007 model (the 2006 is out of the question unless it's say 32" or so). As mentioned, some people don't like the fan.


It's a bike that you can jump on and ride across town or across the continent with equal ease. It's light, and well balanced...feels like you could lean it over at a 45 degree angle in a parking lot, go eat lunch, and it would be waiting for you when you got back. Great in the straights, great in the twisties. Reliable - basically just put oil and gas in it. Parts are cheap, accessories are many.


I've found that dealers are freely available in middle America - but like any marque, if you live a couple of hundred miles from the nearest dealer it's a pain in the butt to own. Certainly, the Buell dealer network is far more extensive than the BMW dealer network. For instance, Montana has five Buell dealers, Wyoming has two, evenNorth Dakota has a couple. If you're on a R1200GS that breaks down in any of those states you're probably facing a 300+ mile tow to Sturgis, Denver, Omaha, or Salt Lake City.


While it's true that you won't be able to get a HD dealer without a Buell franchise to do warranty service on a Buell, I've rarely had trouble getting even the most cranky Harley Dealer to do simple stuff on a Buell (oil/filter changes when on the road, for instance).


I'll be riding mine to High River, AB for the Rocky Bow rally at month's end, and then on to Calgary before dropping back down to Washington.

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Buell does have many more dealers than BMW. Not surprising given the extent of the HD network and the fact that many Buell dealers are also Harley's.

According to the Buell website there are more than twice as many Buell dealers as BMW dealers. True, some of the Buell "dealers" didn't service the bikes (again according to thier website), but most do.

Interestingly, more than half of the listed Buell dealer are located in the Large population and riding states; Ca, Fl, NY, NJ, Pa, Il, Mi, Tx, Oh, Wi, NC. These states have 199 of the listed 372 dealerships.

Of course, like BMW, there are states w/out dealerships, and areas that have one on every corner (it would seem grin.gif).

Certainly a lack of dealer support should not deter one from buying a Buell.

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