2005 Buell Lightning Review


For the 2005 model year, Harley-Davidson, via its Buell subsidiary, put out two models for its Buell Lightning sport bike. Named the XB12s and XB12scg, the models were priced at $10,495, with little to no differences between them.

Each 2005 Buell Lightning is powered by a four-stroke air- or oil-cooled V-twin (two-cylinder) engine that pumps out 103 horsepower at 6,800 RPM and 84 lb-ft of torque at 6,000 RPM. The engine has a bore and stroke of 3.5 x 3.81 inches (88.9 x 96.8 millimeters) and compression ratio of 10 to 1. A 49-mm fuel injector fuels the engine, which can be ignited by the bike""s electric starter.

Hooked up to the engine of the 2005 Buell Lightning is a five-speed manual transmission. Each bike gets a fuel tank that can hold up to 3.7 gallons (14 liters). The fuel economy of the 2005 Lightning is measured at 48 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 65 mpg on the highway.

For braking, the 2005 Buell Lightning uses all-wheel hydraulic disc brakes, with a 14.8-inch (375-mm) one at the front and a 9.5-inch (240-mm) one at the back. A Showa® suspension consisting of a 1.7-inch (43-mm) inverted fork and twin-sided swing arm with shock absorber promotes a smooth and controlled ride.

The engine on the XB9S version of the 2004 Buell Lightning produces 92 horsepower at 7,500 RPM and 70 lb-ft of torque at 5,500RPM. The one on the XB12 generates 103 horsepower at 6,800 RPM and 84 lb-ft of torque at 6,000 RPM. Each engine is paired with a five-speed manual transmission. For superior braking, Harley-Davidson includes disc brakes at the bike""s pair of 17-inch aluminum wheels.

As a ""streetfighter"" sport bike, the 2005 Buell Lightning does not have a fairing. However, it gets front fenders, as well as a spoiler for aerodynamics. Also added are an engine case guard, tank guard, belt guard and fork guards. Harley-Davidson opted for an aluminum frame to reduce the bike""s dry weight while retaining its solid build.

Each 2005 Buell Lightning has a one-piece vinyl seat big enough for two people. However the one on the X12Scg is set at a low height than that of the X12S. At the front of the 2005 Lightning is a digital dashboard that consists of a clock, tachometer, trip odometer, speedometer, and fuel level warning indicator. Also included are halogen lighting and rearview mirrors.

Each 2005 Buell Lighting has a dry weight of 395 lbs. (179 kilograms) and can carry up to 390 lbs. (177 kg). The gross vehicle weight rating, or GVWR, of each bike is estimated at 850 lbs. (386 kg).

The 2005 Buell Lightning, much like its preceding iterations and the model years after it, never stood a chance in the market. Its inflated price due to its high production costs drove away many potential customers, and Harley-Davidson ceased production of the nameplate in 2009. However, this certainly does not mean the 2005 Lightning isn""t a more-than-decent sport bike in its own right.

New For 2005

  • This was the third model year for the XB-series Lightning
  • XB9S models discontinued
  • increased power
  • fuel level warning indicator added on the dashboard.

2005 Buell Lightning Specs

  • Model: Sport (2004 Buell Lightning XB12S and 2004 Buell Lightning XB12Scg)
  • Engine Type: 1,203cc four-stroke air/oil-cooled V-twin (two-cylinder)
  • Bore and Stroke (millimeters/inches): 88.9 / 3.5 x 96.8 / 3.81
  • Compression ratio: 10:1
  • Valve Train: OHV - Pushrod
  • Induction: 49-millimeter fuel injection
  • Ignition: Electric
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual
  • Final Drive: Chain
  • Fuel Capacity (gallons/liters): 3.7 / 14
  • Brakes (Front): 14.8-inch / 375-millimeter hydraulic disc
  • Brakes (Rear): 9.5-inch / 240-millimeter hydraulic disc
  • Suspension (Front): Showa® 1.7-inch / 43-millimeter inverted fork
  • Suspension (Rear): Showa® twin-sided swing arm, with shock absorber
  • Wheelbase (inches/millimeters): 52 / 1320
  • Rake: N/A
  • Trail: N/A
  • Seat Height (inches/millimeters): 30.1 / 765 (XB12S); 28.6 / 726 (XB12Scg)
  • Dry Weight (lbs./kg): 395 / 179
  • Tires (Front): Dunlop 120/70 ZR17 on aluminum wheel
  • Tires (Rear): Dunlop 180/55 ZR17 on aluminum wheel


  • Carbon fiber front fender
  • Traction Passenger / Rider Footpegs
  • Carbon fiber front spoiler
  • Heel protector kit
  • Traction rider / passenger footpegs
  • Carbon fiber front / rear fender

Key Competitors For The 2005 Buell Lightning