Described as an American street fighter, Eric Buell introduced his Lightning S1 in 1996; this motorcycle provided the inspiration for the Lightning XB series that debuted eight years later. For 2008, the Lightning comes in five models: XB12S, TT XB12STT, XB12Scg, XB12Ss, and CITYX XB9SX, all with 1203cc Thunderstorm engines. Classified as a naked bike, the Lightning is not the prettiest motorcycle around; in fact, some have called it ""strange looking."" However, the Lightning is powerful, agile, and works like a freight train as soon as it goes off idle, reaching speeds as high as 140 mph in fifth gear.
The Lightning’s street fighter look is enhanced by two round headlights underneath a small fairing. Riders say it is the Lightning’s Thunderstorm engine that makes it such a great bike; without the powerful V-twin, the Lightning would not be worth anything. Riders note the Harley-Davidson (the Buell line is owned by Harley) motor does vibrate a lot. Riders say the Lightning makes a great commuting bike during the week and a nice touring bike for leisure time. Since a detachable trunk bag is available as an option, weekend trips are a definite possibility, especially since other storage accessories include tank and seat tail bags. Underseat storage is available as well. The XB12S also comes with the standard instruments: a speedometer, odometer, tachometer, and fuel warning light. Available colors are cherry, orange, and black. The XB12S weighs 395 pounds and can carry a driver and passenger with a combined weight of 391 pounds.