I don’t quite understand Buell, infact I’m convinced no-one does. The bikes they produce are genuinely surprising and when I hear rumour of a new model, I have absolutely no idea whether it’s going to have the fuel in the mudguard, or if the engine’s going to be mounted on the pillion seat.
Buell are always striving to be radical, but - a bit like your mate who turns up to a fancy dress party looking like he’s just walked off the set of Star Wars – they always appear to try just that little bit too hard. And are therefore you spend most of your evening trying to avoid them.
Buell’s first proper sportsbike was a great example of this; they ditched Harley-Davidson engines in favour of Rotax engines, they kept the fuel in the frame, went for one massive rim-mounted brake disc and traded chains for belt drive. And yet with all this off-the-wall thinking, they forgot to produce a superbike that’s a genuine contender for Ducati, Aprilia and KTM.
So here we have the 1125CR. Essentially it's a stripped down 1125R, no engine mounted on the pillion seat, no fuel in the front mudguard. CR stands for Café Racer and it’s Buell’s take on an classic design. Front on it has the same brutal, bouncer-like stance of Suzuki’s B-King, but side on it ceases to look intimidating. Infact - like the kid at school who wore bottle top glasses and never got picked to play football - I kind of felt sorry for it. The 1125CR’s lines don’t flow, and unlike café racers of old it looks neither savage nor suave. It better be good to ride.
Firing up the 1125CR, the 72-degree V-Twin lumps into life, slightly hesitant, it feels like a blunt hacksaw if, like me, you try and ride it the moment you fire it up. It doesn’t tolerate being ridden from cold. Sat on the bike, you immediately feel the reach to the bars, low and long, the clutch bites when the lever is nearly fully out, which is off-putting at first, especially when you go from nothing to dialling in that entire 1125CR lump, almost in one go.
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