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Old 02-06-2013, 01:06 AM   #1
EmptiMind OP
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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.
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:29 AM   #2
kirb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmptiMind View Post
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.
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:48 AM   #3
HR Puffinstuff
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Do it.
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:10 AM   #4
pancho
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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!
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:40 AM   #5
EmptiMind OP
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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?
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:51 AM   #6
Donkey Hotey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmptiMind View Post
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.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:39 AM   #7
pancho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmptiMind View Post
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?
The engine is very capable of carrying payload, but its the frame and engine mounts that are the Achiles tendon of this beast. You mentioned tandem riding....not well suited to that purpose in my opinion. And yes I had the Race module on mine....very easy to hit 10 grand, but don't forget its a push rod engine.
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by pancho View Post
The engine is very capable of carrying payload, but its the frame and engine mounts that are the Achiles tendon of this beast. You mentioned tandem riding....not well suited to that purpose in my opinion. And yes I had the Race module on mine....very easy to hit 10 grand, but don't forget its a push rod engine.
Bunch of bullshit in this post regarding the chassis and heim joint mounts and especially the rpms.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:06 PM   #9
waveydavey
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Originally Posted by kioti View Post
I agree, especially the 10K rpm,because if so mine would do about 200mph at 10K ,besides the tach only goes to 9K and the motors are short lived if bounced off the oem rev limiter of 6,800 very much.
Well, that's good to hear. For a minute I thought that my 2000 S3 was fucked up cause it would never rev over 6800. I put 65,000 kms on mine with the occasional (hehe) wheeelie and my motor mounts etc were still good. I checked. I put XB rocker boxes on mine and ran a PCV valve, no more leaks and no more oil dripping out of the breathers. I wish I had kept it, I sold it for next to nothing and had another (more expensive) Buell within the year. To the OP, buy it!! I put on a couple of thousand mile days too.
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:01 PM   #10
Donkey Hotey
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Man, to hear you guys tell it, Buells are pieces of crap.

Wanna' hear about my BMW transmission that seized because the factory installed the bearings backwards?

How about the Gold Wing I had for 190K miles? That thing couldn't keep front brake switches on it to save its life. I used to buy two at a time. The rear hub deformed to the point that the bearings were falling out before 25K. The final drive went to hell at 18K miles. It roached a regulator AND stator EVERY 60K, like clockwork. The trunk lid split so many times that I bought three of them before they told me they no longer made them. It ate rear shocks for lunch. They were only $250-300 for a pair but, they were crap and you knew they were only going to last 30K or so.

My ZX11? They are known for blowing 2nd gear and seizing the #2 connecting rod bearing. Mine hasn't done it but, that's what I've read on the internet.

Every damn bike out there has problems. As I posted earlier: the S3 doesn't have any more unusual problems than anything else. This thread is just listing all the areas that COULD cause a problem. Every bike has a list like that.
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:15 PM   #11
waveydavey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkey Hotey View Post
Man, to hear you guys tell it, Buells are pieces of crap.

Wanna' hear about my BMW transmission that seized because the factory installed the bearings backwards?

How about the Gold Wing I had for 190K miles? That thing couldn't keep front brake switches on it to save its life. I used to buy two at a time. The rear hub deformed to the point that the bearings were falling out before 25K. The final drive went to hell at 18K miles. It roached a regulator AND stator EVERY 60K, like clockwork. The trunk lid split so many times that I bought three of them before they told me they no longer made them. It ate rear shocks for lunch. They were only $250-300 for a pair but, they were crap and you knew they were only going to last 30K or so.

My ZX11? They are known for blowing 2nd gear and seizing the #2 connecting rod bearing. Mine hasn't done it but, that's what I've read on the internet.

Every damn bike out there has problems. As I posted earlier: the S3 doesn't have any more unusual problems than anything else. This thread is just listing all the areas that COULD cause a problem. Every bike has a list like that.

I concur. I like Buells. They are not crap.
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:35 AM   #12
EmptiMind OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkey Hotey View Post
Man, to hear you guys tell it, Buells are pieces of crap.

Wanna' hear about my BMW transmission that seized because the factory installed the bearings backwards?

How about the Gold Wing I had for 190K miles? That thing couldn't keep front brake switches on it to save its life. I used to buy two at a time. The rear hub deformed to the point that the bearings were falling out before 25K. The final drive went to hell at 18K miles. It roached a regulator AND stator EVERY 60K, like clockwork. The trunk lid split so many times that I bought three of them before they told me they no longer made them. It ate rear shocks for lunch. They were only $250-300 for a pair but, they were crap and you knew they were only going to last 30K or so.

My ZX11? They are known for blowing 2nd gear and seizing the #2 connecting rod bearing. Mine hasn't done it but, that's what I've read on the internet.

Every damn bike out there has problems. As I posted earlier: the S3 doesn't have any more unusual problems than anything else. This thread is just listing all the areas that COULD cause a problem. Every bike has a list like that.
Oh, I in no way took that as anyone bad talking Buell's. It actually made me more confident about buying it, they were simply telling me the common issues, and I can handle all of them easily. Most of the issues have been ironed out on this bike already, only thing I might consider getting soon for it is a race ecm, and depending on how it handles 2-up and our luggage an aftermarket shock.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:12 AM   #13
X1Glider
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Originally Posted by EmptiMind View Post
only thing I might consider getting soon for it is a race ecm, and depending on how it handles 2-up and our luggage an aftermarket shock.
Good luck finding a Race ECM !!! If you find a source, share it with me please!

That said, the Race ECM is better applicable to the 536 camshafts as that was what the ignition timing was intended for... and the Pro-Series full exhaust. With the stock cams, a Power Commander will suit your needs fine and is actually available.

The Penske 8983 Double clicker shock is about $900 and will suit 2 up with luggage nicely.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:01 AM   #14
pauljr
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Had 2 Buell's, loved both of them but I found 2 up riding 320 lbs with some luggage to be a real problem. Had lots of warranty work generated at the dealership. Once the isolater fails it subjects other parts to stress and causes more failures. I suffered some of the failures that brought on recalls. Love hate relationship. That said I would love to have another at a price like that!
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:29 AM   #15
cascadetiger
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I am the 2nd owner of a 98 S3T with over 60,000 miles. Runs perfect. The motor and transmission are simple but bullet proof. The transmission shifts like a tractor. No need to rev past 5,000 cause all the power is made down low. All day comfort with 200 plus mile range from the gas tank. Belt life is 40,000 miles.

The bad? The hard bag latches come apart and the plastic cracks. Front motor mount is prone to failure, replaced mine with a stronger one, no issues since. Fit and finish is not good and things tend to shake loose over time.

Like any used bike, it comes down to who owned it and what kind of maintenance was done to it. This bike is the most fun bike in my garage and I do not plan to sell it. Will run it until it dies. I do not ride it 2 up, but it would be pretty cramped.
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