What bike should I get? Ulysses?

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by theoneandonlybrooks, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. theoneandonlybrooks

    theoneandonlybrooks Adventurer

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    I've tried searching around and reading reviews and other info on bikes here. But I figured someone might have some more specific advice for me.
    I have a 2007 Nightster, Mustang Vintage Solo Seat and forward controls. I'm considering a Buell Ulysses, but I've also thought about another Harley, such as a Wide Glide. I'm 36, 6-3, 250-275 depending on the time of year, and obviously the Sportster is a bit tight. I was never a Harley guy, I actually went to the local Husky/Ducati shop to look at used Multistrada and a used SM6-something. I saw the Nightster, test drove it, fell in love with the engine and the soul of it, and traded in my DRZ400SM on it. I was also looking at a used KLR650 at the time, but test drove it second, and it felt like a riding lawnmower after riding the Nightster. Since getting it, I've wanted to ride further than I used to. This culminated in an afternoon drive from Springfield, Il, to Paducah Ky, with a return trip the following day. By the time I got back, I was hurting bad, especially my butt and back. Now I've also got a kid on the way, my first son, so I probably won't have much time for long trips over the next 18 years or so, but I could still break away for a day or two trip. My typical riding is when I get a day off here or there, just going out on roads I've never been on and wandering around. It would be cool to be able to hit a dirt ride here or there, but there aren't many in Central Il, so not a deal breaker. For some additional background, I've been truly riding since I was in College. I started with an 86 XL250R, which I took on every road I could find, construction sites, railroad right of ways, etc., even my first date with my wife. Since then I've spent some time in the powersports industry at a couple dealerships, and so I've owned a lot of bikes, primarily dirt bikes, sport bikes, and dual sports. From what I've read, the Ulysses seems like my dream bike, but I seem to feel that way before each bike purchase, and I rarely keep them over a year or two. I'm enjoying cruising the roads on the Nightster, but it has virtually no suspension, and kills my back, with me starting to hurt after 30-40 miles. I've been told a Wide Glide is the tall man's Harley, but even it feels like it might not have enough room for me. So what should I do? If I'm trading for another bike, I probably need to do it now, before the son is born, because it will probably be hard to justify the cash.
    #1
  2. paul56

    paul56 Usually gruntled

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    Yeah, try a Uly. It will fit you, it will move you, it will make your face hurt from the silly perma-grin. A real Swiss Army knife on two wheels.
    #2
  3. theoneandonlybrooks

    theoneandonlybrooks Adventurer

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    One strange thing I've noticed when looking at them online, there seems to be a plethora of them with 16,000-18,000 miles. Just coincidence, or is there something that happens to these around these miles?
    #3
  4. Dirty bike

    Dirty bike Eval Innovations Inc

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    That's a lot to take in. :D

    Ask yourself, where do you want to go?

    For guys that like to ride, but don't always have a lot of time, sometimes then end up riding longer hours to get to the new/fun roads and have some fun, then ride home. Range becomes an issue.

    The Uly is a fun bike, but not supported as much as it used to be with no dealers any more. Belt life can be an issue, but not a deal breaker. Finding a shop that can support you may be important.

    OTOH, there are a lot of other bikes out there. If you want to ride street and not sweat the gravel roads, or have urges to go there, bikes like the Wide Glide, Road King, (awesome two up bike), or Ultra Classics have some good appeal.

    But if you want to be versatile, hit gravel roads and interstate, maybe you need to think about what percentage of those you feel you may do, then look at how the big trailies stack up.

    Fair warning, I'm a sick, twisted person. I ride a Yamaha Super Tenere with a fuel cell and am doing the IBR later this year. I have a lot of endurance riding history and like the ability to go anywhere with the big dual-sport, much like the Uly, but with better dealer support, mph and shaft drive, so no belt to worry about.

    If you're going to ride on/off road, lighter is better. The Multistrada is a very fun bike, but more on road oriented than some of the other offerings. The Uly will do off road better than the Multi, imho, but I worry about the lack of support and parts getting harder to find.

    I remember sitting on one just out of the crate in B.C. when they first came out and being impressed with the features, but it's a bit tall too.

    You might want to go taste some bikes in all flavors. From full street to holligan bikes like the XR250X. The Triumph 800XC might fit the middle ground, along with the DR650. From your descriptions, perhaps a middle weight and power bike will better fit the bill than a big trailie?

    Try to ride a bunch of different bikes before you settle on one.
    #4
  5. theoneandonlybrooks

    theoneandonlybrooks Adventurer

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    I like the Tenere, but with the kid on the way, the wife doesn't want me to spend any money on top of the trade, and I've yet to find a used one I could trade even close to even for. I want something that I can ride distance without hurting me and some light dirt ability would be nice, but not absolutely necessary. I have other toys for true dirt duty. My big concern is fitting my size. I've also thought about the BMW 1200's. Are they any good for my size?
    #5
  6. Murf2

    Murf2 Been here awhile

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    Love my Uly. Yes the Super 10 is a better bike but the Uly is such a steal!

    Good Luck!
    Murf
    #6
  7. Dirty bike

    Dirty bike Eval Innovations Inc

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    That kind of puts you in a tight market. $5600-7k, give or take. Not sure you'd find a BMW R1200GS in that price range. Maybe the Suzuki Vstrom 1000?

    The Uly has a lot going for it. Light weight, ok power, fun bike to ride. Downsides are the Sport-Touring size tires, though there are a lot more offerings in 80/10 rubber now and the idle speed is a bit fast in 1st gear, making it harder to go slow off road. The 4.4 gal tank limits range and the belts are expensive and I've heard, harder to find, but you might want to check on that, along with a call to a HD dealer to see if you can find out what the service schedule is and when the major services are due, and cost.

    Just calling your local HD dealers and asking them about working on the Buell might give you some insights. I suspect that the guys that were raving about the Uly in '07/8 have mostly moved on to other bikes now. It might be interesting to PM some of them and ask what made them move on.
    #7
  8. invisible monster

    invisible monster Been here awhile

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    There have been a few crankshaft failures at the 20k mile range on some 2007 model Ulysses reported over at BadWeb.

    My 2008 Ulysses has almost 28k miles on it now and only seems to run smoother as it gets more miles. I wouldn't read anything into the 16-18k mileage on the ones you see for sale unless it is a 2007 model.

    For more info than you could ever absorb regarding the Ulysses, I recommend going here ---> www.badweatherbikers.com
    #8
  9. SStiffler

    SStiffler Been here awhile

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    I don't know where you are located, but there are a couple of nice Ulysses in the Cleveland and Akron/Canton, Ohio craigslist.
    There is a 2007 with 5,200 miles for $5,750. Seeems like a lot of bike for the money.
    I have no interest in these ads, but if I were in the area and was looking for a Ulysses, I would look there. Best of luck with your search.
    #9
  10. theoneandonlybrooks

    theoneandonlybrooks Adventurer

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    Most of what I've found are 06-08. So would the 07 be the year to avoid? Also, I read that the seat is lower after 06, and I'm thinking I wouldn't want that, right?
    #10
  11. panhead_dan

    panhead_dan motorcycle addict

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    The low or high seat will pop right on any of them.
    Fuel range is not an issue at 50 mpg.
    Tenere is too heavy, has electronic complexity as well as water cooling to add to the complexity and is expensive.
    The Uly is a simple machine and is easy to maintain and repair yourself. Do not take it to a shop. If you intend to have someone else work on your bike, do not get a Uly. Very few parts are hard to find. Anything you are likely to need is very available.
    If you do decide on the Uly, make friends over at Badweatherbikers. Those people have all the answers to the questions you will have and be sure to get the factory service manual.

    And what was that comment above about the idle being too high to go slow in first gear? The idle is adjustable and the gear ratio can be changed. I changed mine, have both seats and do my own work to the bike. I would not recommend this bike to someone that takes their bike to a shop for service.
    #11
  12. Dirty bike

    Dirty bike Eval Innovations Inc

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    Well said! :lol3:lol3 And repair it you will.
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  13. SkiFastBadly

    SkiFastBadly A beer? Yes, please

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    I just want to pipe in on the belts. I read "expensive" and I read "hard to find". I call BS. I broke a belt last week, I was able to replace it on the side of the road with a spare I carried, and was back at speed after 30 minutes. I ordered a spare from American Sport Bike, it cost 180, and was in stock. It arrived four days later.
    #13
  14. Dirty bike

    Dirty bike Eval Innovations Inc

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    Good price. Think you could have purchased one locally where the belt broke?

    I may be wrong, but I seem to recall a thread here, (might have been another list serv or forum), where a Uly rider couldn't find a belt at a dealer on online due to back order and was looking at waiting for weeks to get it.

    I know a lot of chain guys that don't carry spare chains. Ditto on a lot of belt guys. HD belts at shops can easily run 225-250, depending where you are and doesn't the Uly take a unique belt size?

    You provide a good lesson to have a spare on hand.:thumb
    #14
  15. invisible monster

    invisible monster Been here awhile

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    From what I have read over on BadWeb I would not buy a 2007 Ulysses based on reports of crankshaft failures around the 20k mile mark. Other years don't seem to be affected by this.

    I have a 29" inseam so I went with the Uly XT for lower seat height. Just depends on what you are comfortable with I guess.

    I agree 100%.

    Agree with this also. Seems like a lot of Uly riders carry a spare belt for emergencies. They are relatively easy to change on the roadside and don't take up much space in your luggage. American SportBike carrys a wide range of Uly parts and accessories and are a great resource to the Buell crowd.
    #15
  16. theoneandonlybrooks

    theoneandonlybrooks Adventurer

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    I do most of the work on my bikes myself, and I do enjoy doing the maintenance. That being said, I'm far more interested in riding than wrenching. So if we're talking about maintenance, I'm fine with that. But if this is an abnormally high repair bike, then I'm not sure. My KTM EXC was high maintenance, primarily just oil changes, because that thing destroyed oil, but as a general rule it just didn't break, and I loved that bike. So what kind of work are we talking? I guess at this point, my other choices are primarily a BMW 1200 or 1150(if I could find one cheap enough), an HD big twin(probably Wide Glide or Street Bob), V-Strom, or maybe even a KLR650.
    #16
  17. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    The Wee strom and S10 are the clear winners for low maintenance, the DL you have to lube the chain now and then, the S10 not - v a big price difference.

    The others - more maintenance :).

    While there are BMW's that get high miles, it's a lottery - generally they tend to be expensive to own and have more things fail than the japanese bikes.

    Try to ride them first, even if it means renting for a day. Maybe one will speak to you, easy decision then.

    Pete
    #17
  18. Murf2

    Murf2 Been here awhile

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    I'll agree with panhead _dan, you can & should do the maintenance your self. It is very easy & there just isn't that much to do. I will disagree on the dealer remark. It just depends on the dealer. The Harley shop near me is great with Buells. A lot of enthusiasts work there. I've never had much of a wait when I've ordered parts either. A lot of dealers have to order your parts nowadays regardless of brand. It's sad but it is just a fact.

    theoneandonlybrooks, you should fill out you stats. If you live close to me you can sure try my Uly if youd like.

    Good Luck
    Murf
    #18
  19. red450

    red450 WEE-A-BOO

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    Go for it! I bought my 06 Uly with 67k miles on the clock. As others have said, it's easy to work on and a blast to ride.
    #19
  20. Prior

    Prior Been here awhile

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    The Uly is a great swiss army bike, not great at any one thing, but overall is reliable and you can do just about anything with them. Maintenance is a breeze, change the oil(s), put plugs on every 10k and put tires on when you wear them out. Yes, the belt can be a headache (broke one last summer when the wife was along and I didn't have a spare), but carry an extra and know how to change it.

    I love my '09- she's been good to me and certainly makes me smile everytime I ride it. I do look for the 'next' bike- really want shaft drive to get away from the belt deal, but Ulys can be had for next to nothing considering the alternatives, and what few spares you might want to carry (belts etc) are relatively cheap and easy to change.

    Ride one. Let your smile decide.
    #20