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-   -   Buell S3T? (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=861163)

EmptiMind 02-06-2013 01:06 AM

Buell S3T?
 
Hey folks, I'm thinking of snagging a 1999 1/2 Buell S3T for my touring needs. Found one for $3k with only 13k miles.

I love its look, I love its fit, I'm uncertain about its reliability. I've been scouring the internet, and I've found so many mixed reviews, some saying it'll fall apart under me as I ride, and others saying they've clocked 200k easy miles. I know about the bad weather bikers, but I trust you guys to give me a less biased opinion.

50+ MPG, already has touring bags setup. Going to be 2-up riding with my girl. Several hundred mile days. I just want something that's going to be comfortable, and won't leave me stranded.

Please throw your knowledge at me.

kirb 02-06-2013 05:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EmptiMind (Post 20660660)
Hey folks, I'm thinking of snagging a 1999 1/2 Buell S3T for my touring needs. Found one for $3k with only 13k miles.

I love its look, I love its fit, I'm uncertain about its reliability. I've been scouring the internet, and I've found so many mixed reviews, some saying it'll fall apart under me as I ride, and others saying they've clocked 200k easy miles. I know about the bad weather bikers, but I trust you guys to give me a less biased opinion.

50+ MPG, already has touring bags setup. Going to be 2-up riding with my girl. Several hundred mile days. I just want something that's going to be comfortable, and won't leave me stranded.

Please throw your knowledge at me.

I have owned a 99 Buell M2 for 11 years. The bike required the least work of any bike I have owned...ever. You have to be smart obout things...it shakes at idle, so go over bolts and such on a regular basis. Change oil, add fuel, ride. The bikes are dead simple with great parts support as most of the items giving you issue on the road can be had at any HD dealer (engine is sportster based). Badweb is also an excellent resource.

Tubers rule. I don't think you can go wrong.

HR Puffinstuff 02-06-2013 05:48 AM

Do it.

pancho 02-06-2013 07:10 AM

I enjoyed owning a 97 and 98 S3T. It was a terrific touring bike. 5.5 gal tank with 67 mpg at 70 mph. These were carb versions. The 99 is FI . There were some issues with the varying temps between cylinders causing problems with mapping. Another issue is payload. The S3T gets its performance from the light weight platform along with intake and exhaust mods. On the 99 consider carefully your weight limits and tuning of the FI. Just my opinion. These are great bikes. They just do not hold their value well. If you are a true enthusiast...enjoy!

PS The M2 is a carb version and one of the most dependable Buells made! Dito on check your nuts and bolts and belt tension...once you get it down 'life is good." Buells are different by design!

EmptiMind 02-06-2013 07:40 AM

So, sounds like I just need to do a nice pre-ride check, make sure everything is tightened and this Buell will be awesome.

67MPG!? Were you running lean, or should I expect that? I hear the FI is usually easily remedied with a race ECM. I also hear you need to leave the belts a little loose.

I plan on keeping this bike until it becomes more expensive to maintain than to enjoy, been riding a CB750 for 10 years. I've ridden the Buell, since the seller wasn't in a hurry to sell I made sure to do some research before committing, but I love the way it feels.

What are the weight limits on it? I figured with 101 HP and as much torque as it has it'd be able to handle a bit. Was thinking about making it into a hack later in life, would it have issue pulling one?

Donkey Hotey 02-06-2013 07:46 AM

The saddlebags are not super-sturdy. They tried to keep weight down everywhere and that included the thickness of the bags which was a mistake. They are known to crack and break on the mounting areas. Take a good look at the inside of the bags. They may have already been repaired.

I just installed a set on my 2000 last summer and I'm not confident in the latches either. Maybe I'm paranoid. I haven't had one come open but, I also haven't spent much time with them on the bike. I sure wouldn't load them up with heavy gear. Bulky? Yes. Heavy? No.

I specifically bought my Buells (four of them now) BECAUSE they were lower on maintenance than my other bikes. As already stated, air cooled, pushrods and belt drive = simple, minimal maintenance. That's a plus for me. I've never owned a truly trouble-free motorcycle. I can't think of anything that suggests Buells are worse than any other.

http://cifumotorsports.com/ak/buells3/1.jpg

Donkey Hotey 02-06-2013 07:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EmptiMind (Post 20662100)
What are the weight limits on it? I figured with 101 HP and as much torque as it has it'd be able to handle a bit. Was thinking about making it into a hack later in life, would it have issue pulling one?

I get low 50s on mine, whether carbureted or fuel injected (I have four of them). Low speed touring would get higher but, I don't do much of that.

Sidecar? I wouldn't. The engine and swingarm are rubber mounted. It's been done but, I can't imagine it's very good for the engine mounts or the vibration transmitted to the rider. A sidecar would put all kinds of weird loads into the engine mounting system, in directions it's not designed to carry them. Bad ju-ju.

motomike14 02-06-2013 09:27 AM

I had a 2000 S3. Couple things to check:

1) Shock mount recall. Three options; skinny mount (the "bad" ones), the weird looking cone, or the thicker mount.
2) Voltage regulator. Bring a volt meter reader and check at idle, then rev it up. If the volts go way up, regulator could be bad.
3) Last time it had the fuel injection "zeroed."
4) Oil overflow tube into the airbox. If it doesn't have a bottle or something like that on the end, I'd address that. Buell in their infinite wisdom (and the "$1 million airbox"), decided the air filter was a great place to dump oil overflow into.
5) Rocker box seals. Harley went a metal based rocker box seal in like 2001 or 2002, much superior to the older types.

The bikes are reliable as anvils. I put almost 18,000 miles on mine in about 18 months with no problems, sans a voltage regulator that went out. Engine parts are easy to get since it's just a Sportster engine. Any local Harley dealer would be able to help you find parts. I got 55mpg consistently (stock exhaust, K&N filter, just normal riding) and it never let me down. My dad had 3 other Buells and my uncle had an M2 for a number of years. Never had any major problems.

S3 is a great bike. Ample wind protection and an okay seat. I still have an RKA tankbag for an S3 (though, faded).

BigIron 02-06-2013 12:49 PM

I've had my 98 for over a decade, it's just too much fun to ride.

To echo a few comments already made:

I'd do a fresh set of rocker box gaskets just to be sure,
The bags and latches do indeed suck. At least 2x check that they're closed and latched properly.

And don't overfill with oil. The injection point on the oil bag may fail. Don't ask how I know.

Badge320 02-06-2013 01:28 PM

There has been some great information in this thread. I owned a 2002 S3T which I rode to the Harley Homecoming in 2003 and throughout a large part of the U.S. I never had an issue and the bike was dead on reliable. Donkey Hotey is right on with the bag weakness. I overloaded the bags coming back from Milwaukee and cracked mine at the mount.

If you decide to buy the bike I may have a brand new tank mask in the box I'll sell you cheap.

EmptiMind 02-06-2013 05:35 PM

Awesome, I appreciate your input guys. I'm pretty much set on buying it. Called Buell to verify, all recall work has been done on the bike. The seller is a 53 year old Navy guy who is about to be sent over to Italy. He's babied this bike, I haven't seen a crack anywhere, but I didn't check within the bags at the mounts, he used it as a daily commuter, and only stored his riding gear in the bags while at work, so I doubt they'll be too bad. He replaced the VR in 2008 or so, hopefully that means it's got a problem free one in it.

Anyone else thinks of anything else feel free to input.

EmptiMind 02-06-2013 06:36 PM

Another question for you guys about the bags. It wouldn't be hard for me to take off the stock bags and throw on some aluminum panniers, right? The failure of the mount is within the bag itself, not on the bike side, if I'm understanding you guys. Also, does anyone know of a workable top rack, or will I have to fabricate one?

Shooter1 02-06-2013 06:49 PM

S3t
 
I owned a '97 and a '00 S3T, both Amazon green. I've owned over 30 bikes in the last 32 years and can honestly say they were probably the most absolute fun street bikes I ever owned. I don;'t know how I ever kept my DL riding them. My old body finally started protesting the stiff suspension, seat and rigid mounted bars and I sold them. If I won the lottery and could justify a bike to just ride for a couple hours on the weekends, I'd find another. You can pick them up reasonable and they put a non-stop grin on your face. Mine were very reliable. The Sporty motors are solid. I agree, Tubers rule. Buy it.

woodnbow 02-06-2013 07:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EmptiMind (Post 20666740)
Another question for you guys about the bags. It wouldn't be hard for me to take off the stock bags and throw on some aluminum panniers, right? The failure of the mount is within the bag itself, not on the bike side, if I'm understanding you guys. Also, does anyone know of a workable top rack, or will I have to fabricate one?

I had a Ventura top rack and backrest on mine. It was solid and the stock bags held up fine for me over 25,000 miles or so. I had the front motor mount break, replaced it with a billet version from American Sport Bike (they have a website) and also replaced the rear shock once. Stone reliable, fast enough for me, decent handling and that motor/trans is just one of the best smile generators ever devised... :D

anonny 02-07-2013 06:11 AM

Buy it


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