2009 Buell Lightning Review


Buell Motorcycles, an American motorcycle manufacturer founded by former racer and Harley-Davidson research-and-development staffer Eric Buell, began making racing bikes in 1982. Harley-Davidson acquired a minority interest in the company in 1993 and bought a controlling share five years later; at the end of 2009, Harley-Davidson shut the Buell subsidiary down in response to the global recession, putting an end to the niche motorcycle company’s sport-oriented line. However, before Buell closed its doors, its 2009 (and 2010) line hit the streets. The company introduced its Lightning CityX XB9SX in 2004 when it replaced the XB9S, and the XB12Scg in 2005. The Long XB12Ss was released in 2006 and revised in 2009; the other two models were carryovers.

The CityX XB9SX has a 984cc, air-and-oil-cooled, V-twin four-stroke engine adapted from the Harley-Davidson V-twin. The Long XB12Ss and XB12Scg have1203cc, air/oil-cooled, V-twin four-stroke engines. The engine has a pushrod valve configuration, fuel injection, and a belt final drive. A five-speed manual transmission works with a wet mutli-plate clutch. A Showa inverted fork with adjustable preload and rebound damping and a twin-sided swing arm – which houses the engine’s oil – with a single spring preload adjustable shock and rebound damping offer suspension that is generally described as firm but readily adjusted. Disc brakes provide stopping power in front and back.

All three models offer stripped down streetfighter looks, responsive handling, and agility. The Lightning XB12Scg has the lowest seat position – the ""cg"" designation refers to center of gravity – and a slightly lower suspension than its siblings’. The bikes are well suited to city riding, and the fuel economy is excellent, ranging from about 48 miles per gallon on city streets to around 60 on the highway. Buell offered a long list of accessories to improve the rider’s comfort, from windshields to heated hand grips to a variety of seats, as well as various luggage options.

New For 2009

  • The Lightning Long XB12Ss was revised 2009 and given a longer wheelbase and seat.

2009 Buell Lightning Specs

  • Model: CityX XB9SX; Long XB12Ss; XB12Scg
  • Engine Type: 984cc, air/oil-cooled, V-twin four-stroke (CityX XB9SX); 1203cc, air/oil-cooled, V-twin four-stroke (Long XB12Ss and XB12Scg)
  • Bore and Stroke: 3.5 inches x 3.13 inches (CityX XB9SX); 3.5 inches x 3.81 inches (Long XB12Ss and XB12Scg)
  • Compression ratio: 10.0:1
  • Valve Train: OHV - pushrod
  • Induction: Fuel injected
  • Ignition: Electric
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual
  • Final Drive: Belt
  • Fuel Capacity: 3.8 gallons (CityX XB9SX and XB12Scg); 4.4 gallons (Long XB12Ss)
  • Estimated Fuel Economy: 50 miles per gallon city/65 highway (CityX XB9SX); 48 miles per gallon city/65 highway (Long XB12Ss and XB12Scg)
  • Brakes (Front): 14.8-inch hydraulic disc
  • Brakes (Rear): 9.5-inch hydraulic disc
  • Suspension (Front): Inverted fork with adjustable preload and rebound damping
  • Suspension (Rear): Inverted fork with adjustable preload and rebound damping
  • Wheelbase: 52 inches (CityX XB9SX); 53.7 inches (Long XB12Ss); 51.8 inches (XB12Scg)
  • Rake: 21 degrees
  • Trail: N/A
  • Seat Height: 30.1 inches (CityX XB9SX); 28.6 inches (Long XB12Ss and XB12Scg)
  • Curb Weight: 390 pound dry (CityX XB9SX); 400 pounds dry (Long XB12Ss); 395 pounds (XB12Scg)
  • Tires (Front): 120/70 ZR17
  • Tires (Rear): 180/55 ZR17


  • Buell Tool Kit
  • Carbon Fiber Front Fender
  • Carbon Fiber Heel Protector Kit - Rider
  • Detachable Trunk Bag
  • Frame Pucks
  • Headlight Grille
  • Skyline Seat
  • Streetfighter Seat
  • Traction Hand Grip
  • Wind Deflectors

Key Competitors For The 2009 Buell Lightning

  • 2009 Triumph Speed Triple
  • 2009 Aprilia Tuono
  • Moto Guzzi Breva 1100
  • 2009 Ducati Streetfighter