Ringleader: Marty Estes
MSRP (2009): $11,999
Average Fuel Mileage: 37 mpg
Accessories & Modifications: FMF Apex exhaust, Ilmberger Carbonparts windshield
In the early morning hours of October 15, 2009, I watched my computer screen in disbelief as Erik Buell announced that the Buell Motorcycle Company was closing its doors. A short while later, I rode my long-term 1125CR to work and the news slowly sunk in. I took the long way, pushing hard through the canyon roads of the Santa Monica Mountains. Own the corners, right? I'm sad about this situation because Erik was really onto something with this CR. More to the point, I was concerned about the status of my long-term test, but parent company Harley-Davidson has pledged to support Buell products and gave me the green light to finish it up. Onwards and upwards!
FMF's new Apex exhaust looks the part on the 1125CR, thanks to carbon-fiber construction a
The Austrian-built Rotax V-twin is plenty strong in stock trim, but more power is always better, right? To that end, I was one of the first to lay hands on the new FMF carbon-fiber/titanium Apex slip-on ($549.99; www. fmfracing.com). It's a straight-through design with a removable and reversible insert that fits between the muffler and mid-pipe. There are three different ways you can run it, each showing increases in both horsepower and torque on the dyno. Pretty solid bang for the buck, especially when you consider the 15.4 pounds it saves. Not surprisingly, the highest peak horsepower (132.9 bhp, exactly 5 more than stock) is with the diffuser removed altogether. For commuting, I use the most restrictive setting. It still has plenty of bark, but isn't too offensive when creeping through residential areas.
With the Buell accessory tall handlebar kit in place, windblast is an issue at speeds over 75 mph. Looking for a little relief, I installed a German-made Ilmberger Carbonparts Buell windshield ($308 from www. motosupply.com). While the black carbon-fiber screen measures about an inch taller than stock, the difference in wind protection is negligible, making it an aesthetic addition.
The Continental Race Attack tires ($174 front, $222 rear; www.conti-moto.com) I installed previously now have 3400 miles on them and are about done. Not bad for "race-level" radials with a high percentage of canyon miles on them. I've been impressed with the wear, grip and overall performance of these German tires.
With 8700 miles on the clock, the only real problem the 1125CR has had was two blown rear turn signals. That doesn't sound like a big deal, but the LED assemblies retail for nearly $50 a piece. Kinda makes me long for the days of good old-fashioned bulbs...