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Old 12-03-2008, 06:44 AM   #1
scapegoat OP
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Question for the Buell crowd.

Ive been searching for a S3T or S3 for a while and am curious if the choice was upon you to buy either a cherry 95 or 2001 for the same price and condition which would you ride away on?. Probably sounds pretty idiotic but I keep reading nightmareish stories about the Injection systems being bad news.
Im open to others that come up for sale so if any of you here have any leads please fill me in.
Thanks.
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Old 12-03-2008, 10:56 AM   #2
bomber60015
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I would tend to avoid the tuber injected models -- while most of the reported problems seem to be limited to X1s, with an older bike, and the hit and miss service available from HD dealers for Buells, I'd go carb, for certain -- I KNOW I can work through any issues that may arise --

Love my Y2K M2, btw . . . .
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Old 12-03-2008, 12:32 PM   #3
BigIron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scapegoat
Ive been searching for a S3T or S3 for a while and am curious if the choice was upon you to buy either a cherry 95 or 2001 for the same price and condition which would you ride away on?. Probably sounds pretty idiotic but I keep reading nightmareish stories about the Injection systems being bad news.
Im open to others that come up for sale so if any of you here have any leads please fill me in.
Thanks.
I've got a 98 S3T. When I got the bike, it was kind of boring. I put a Mikuni 42 and a SuperTrapp on it, and it pulled like a freight train with no other changes. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't experienced it.

A buddy of mine, who has an independent shop, bought a 2000 with FI. He's going to pull the FI and put on a carb setup to wake it up a bit.

So my take is buy one with a carb if you want to hot-rod it. Buy FI if you just want to ride around.
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Old 12-03-2008, 01:17 PM   #4
Hughlysses
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IIRC the S3/S3T didn't come out until 1997, so a 1995 would be an S2 (which is a better-looking bike in many people's opinion).

The earliest FI models did have some issues but they were cured by 2000. I owned a 2000 S3 for ~3 years and had absolutely no issues with the fuel injection. They stumble a little when cold but the race ECM (still available from Buell for $250) will cure even that niggle. The 2001 S3 includes several upgrades over my 2000 (front muffler mount, heavy duty primary chain adjuster, improved shifter).

For looks- get the 1995. For performance/reliability- get the 2001. (IIRC the S3 is up about 20 HP over the S2 assuming they're both stock.)

Post the question in the "Old School Buell" forum at Badweb if you want more responses.
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Hughlysses screwed with this post 12-03-2008 at 01:23 PM
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:51 PM   #5
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I had a '99 X1 and while it had issues, the fuel injection was great. The best FI on a bike I have experienced. If it is set up and adjusted correctly Buells FI on the tube frame bikes is great. You are not likely to gain anything by ditching it and going to a carb (unless you don't know how to tune an injected bike). Carbs do not add horsepower over FI.
I would go with whichever one seems to be in better shape or you like better. Either one will be a cool and unusual bike that needs little maint. but may need some TLC from time to time.
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Old 12-05-2008, 11:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scapegoat
Ive been searching for a S3T or S3 for a while and am curious if the choice was upon you to buy either a cherry 95 or 2001 for the same price and condition which would you ride away on?. Probably sounds pretty idiotic but I keep reading nightmareish stories about the Injection systems being bad news.
Im open to others that come up for sale so if any of you here have any leads please fill me in.
Thanks.
A '95 would be an S2. Basically a stock 76hp Sportster motor in the nicest tube framed Buell chassis that was produced.

S3's arrived in '97 with the 87hp "Lightning" spec motor improved to 101hp "Thunderstorm" motor for '98. '99 saw FI come to the S3.

Are you handy with electronics troubleshooting? You might need to be with an FI tuber. Mostly you'll trace oxidized ground connections. Not a huge issue if you take care of it properly, but it'll take a bit of time, care and attention.

Apart from that, the S3's are fantastic sport touring bikes that'll take you comfortably across the country or let you scratch with the sporty-bike boys without giving an inch.

I've upgraded a '95 S2 to '98 "Thunderstorm" engine spec and love it to pieces. Good looks, plenty of urge and a completely unflappable sporting chassis that's about as finely suspended as anything on the street. All combined in a package that's comfortable enough for touring.

I really like S2's. They're one of those rare thoroughbreds that were almost completely overlooked by the motorcycle community. That's not an overstatement.

Ride one and see.

ymmv,
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Old 12-06-2008, 12:22 AM   #7
BigIron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lornce
They're one of those rare thoroughbreds that were almost completely overlooked by the motorcycle community. That's not an overstatement.

Agreed. And S2s are, IMHO, one of the prettiest bikes ever. I've seen a couple that were/are jaw-droppers. Something about the lines.

An S2 with a Thunderstorm? Well done, sir.

I'd also agree that an S3 makes a bitchin' sport-tourer. Maybe the most comfortable ergos of any bike that I've owned (it needed a seat, but what doesn't?).
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Old 12-06-2008, 12:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuzziMoto
Carbs do not add horsepower over FI.
Not in theory anyway, but I'd defy anyone to replicate the gains on my carb'd/piped S3 with a fuelie S3. Especially for the $.

My buddy definitely knows HD performance. He's built some VERY quick Harleys. To be fair, he's built some quick fuelies as well, I'm just sayin' that it's "better" to start with a carb in this case.
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Old 12-06-2008, 12:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuzziMoto
Carbs do not add horsepower over FI.
And FI doesn't add power over carbs.
But you end up with a better running unit on a well sorted carb setup than you ever will with FI, but FI is more maintenance free day to day.

Carbs > Open loop FI

Are there much internal differances between Sportster-Lightning-carb'd Thunderstorm motors or is it mostly valvetrain, intake/exhaust tweaks?
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Old 12-06-2008, 05:01 AM   #10
Lornce
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dilligaf0220
Are there much internal differances between Sportster-Lightning-carb'd Thunderstorm motors or is it mostly valvetrain, intake/exhaust tweaks?
Thunderstorm motors share cases and maybe rods with a stock Sportster. Different flywheels, cams, pistons, heads/valves/ports.

Word is Erik found a head in HD's race shop and asked "Is there any reason we can't make molds and cast these for production use?"

There's nothing like revving out a nicely equipped T-Storm motor as it pulls through the effects of that clever port design. It's best experienced through a Buell factory racing exhaust. With gears tall enough to slow things down a bit the feel is mildly turbo-like.

I ain't jokin.

Very sweet motors for street apps. Steer it with the throttle on dry pavement from 3k kind of midrange.

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Old 12-06-2008, 11:19 PM   #11
ulendo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dilligaf0220
And FI doesn't add power over carbs.
my dyno at work would tend to disagree...a carb runs jets, which leave 'holes' in the powerband where the motor is running rich/lean. a few dyno runs to sort out the overall maps, and FI programming runs without the hickups. in theory a carb setup tuned to have the mixture dead on at the exact rpm for peak HP will equal an FI setup, but the FI setup would still have a fatter powerband overall.

we see the local chopper shops, racers, and sport bike guys come through...wouldnt be the first time I've seen a ride come through with carbs, then FI on the same engine, but I have yet to see anyone go the other way and like it.
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Old 12-06-2008, 11:54 PM   #12
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I would certainly not pay the same for a 95 as for a 01.
One's worth 3500, the other 5300.
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Old 12-09-2008, 07:09 PM   #13
GuzziMoto
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[quote=Dilligaf0220]And FI doesn't add power over carbs.
But you end up with a better running unit on a well sorted carb setup than you ever will with FI, but FI is more maintenance free day to day.
No, FI by itself does not add power, but it does allow you to get more power out by pushing other things to the limit, and it compensates for altitude and such so that it always makes max power. Can't say that for carbs.
I used to show up at Buell club dyno shootouts with my fairly stock X1 and beat bikes with carbs. The only bike that beat me with a carb had a turbo.
Again, the FI system on my X1 was more reliable then most of the rest of the bike. Not a slame on Buells, just that their FI system was some of their best engineering.

Carbs > Open loop FI

Good thing Buells are closed loop.
quote]
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:06 PM   #14
Donkey Hotey
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This is the thread where I have to ask my question: why do I not want to buy a 1998 S1 White Lightning (Thunderstorm heads, Vance & Hines exhaust, Corbin Seat)? Please, somebody talk me out of it. Otherwise I'm driving to look at it in the morning, with cash in hand.

I've wanted a Molten Orange / Nuclear Blue X1 for 10 years but, I think I've finally developed a taste for the S1. It seems leaner looking to my eye and I really prefer the bare aluminum engine over the wrinkle finish on the X1.

The White Lightning seems to have the same heads and weight without the fuel injection. I suspect that without the FI, it won't have the instant-on rush I remember from my short X1 test ride back in 2000.

Anybody? Bueller? Bueller?
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Old 03-27-2010, 12:03 AM   #15
xlcr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkey Hotey
The White Lightning seems to have the same heads and weight without the fuel injection. I suspect that without the FI, it won't have the instant-on rush I remember from my short X1 test ride back in 2000.

Anybody? Bueller? Bueller?
You'll need a pair of pliers to pull the WL seat out of your ass.
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