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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 01-17-2005, 08:19 PM
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Mutant Buell Donor Bike Article

Hey Guys,

This is an article I put together to help guys looking for a donor bike to start a Buell-based project. It's going to be on our site by the end of the week, but I thought I would post it here on Club Chopper first as I've gotten a ton of questions about donor bike selections the last week or two.

Hope it helps you all out.

Choosing the right donor bike

A lot of folks ask us what year and model Buells make the best donor bikes when they’re looking to build a Redneck Engineering Mutant Buell, MC Worx Streetfighter or any of the other aftermarket “donor” frames. So here’s a quick rundown of what separates good from great when it comes to buying a used Buell.

1. Carburetor vs. Fuel Injection: All Buell tube frame models from 1996 to 1998, as well as 1999-2002 M2 Cyclones were carbureted with standard module ignition systems, while 1999-2002 X1 Lightning and S3 Thunderbolt models came with factory fuel injection. Obviously, in a bare bones chopper or custom the bulk of extra wiring needed to run a fully integrated, closed-loop fuel injection is much more than most folks are looking to try and hide, and a majority of builders will lean toward switching the engine over to a carburetor. This a very simple swap, requiring the purchase of a new carburetor with appropriate fittings and brackets, an intake manifold, as well as an ignition module (either external box or nose cone modules will work in this case) and a new timing rotor cup. This extra investment should be taken into consideration when you’re budgeting your build if you choose one of these late model, fuel injected bikes. If you’ve got any questions on carburetor selection, or ignition applications please feel free to give T.B.C. a call and we’ll be happy to help.

2. Thunderstorm Engines: Buell debuted their “Thunderstorm” engine package in 1998 in the limited production S1W White Lightning. The potent combination of high flow cylinder heads, 10:1 compression ratio pistons, .497 lift cams, hotter ignition timing and a 6800 RPM rev limit was an instant hit, and gave H-D it’s first claimed 100+ horsepower production motorcycle. Of course this 102 horsepower claim was based on power at the crank, whereas most of these bikes averaged 85 ponies to the rear wheel after parasitic losses in the primary, transmission and final drive. Buell went full production with the Thunderstorm package in 1999-2002, with all three models, the X1, S3 and M2 featuring these parts standard. While the X1 and S3 share the same configuration as the original S1W, the M2 was fitted with the milder XL 1200 cams for a torque-heavy combination. If you’re looking for out of the box performance then it’s worth your time to shop around for a Thunderstorm-equipped bike, as the difference in power output is seat-of-the-pants apparent. Keep in mind too though that many other 1996-1998 models were upgraded to the Thunderstorm parts, as Buell offered the package as an all inclusive kit that many, many owners opted for. Easiest way to tell a real set of Thunderstorm heads is color, as every set of Thunderstorm heads has been powder coated solid black, while all the earlier factory Buell heads came in silver. Again, if you have any questions regarding what to look for in a motor get a hold of us at T.B.C., or if you’re looking for a way to make even more power give our friends over at NRHS V-Twin Performance a look online at www.nrhsperformance.com or call them at 303-833-4500. These guys wrote the book on XL and Buell performance, rewriting the Bonneville record books in the process.

3. Inverted Tube Front Ends: All 1996-1998 S1 and S2 as well as 1999-2002 X1 and S3 models came standard with the Showa inverted tube front end, while all 1997-2003 M2 models rolled off the line with a conventional tube and slider fork assembly. This decision is purely one of personal taste and aesthetics, as either set-up is perfectly usable from a function standpoint. Some of course like the heavier, more modern look of the inverted tubes, while other will like the simplicity and classic lines of the standard forks. New inverted fork assemblies are still available from H-D/Buell dealers if you should decide to take and M2 based bike that direction, or if your donor was a wreck with fork damage, but plan on investing a grand by the time you get both tubes and a set of triple trees to match. Both front ends use the same axles as well as the same six-piston Nissen brake calipers, so everything is interchangeable.

4. Price differences: 1997-2002 M2 Cyclone models will generally bring the lowest prices in comparison to other Buells from the same model year, as they were the cheapest new model in each of six years they were built. S1 and S1W Lightnings will generally come next in line, with S1W’s commanding higher prices, based on their fledgling collector status. From there it runs to the 1999-2002 X1 Lightning and S3 Thunderbolt models. These bikes were Buell’s most expensive production models, and the used resale market reflects it. With enough patience and a little hunting around pretty much any Buell model can be had at a fire sale price, just pick the model that best fits your wants and needs and go from there. Some great places to search for used Buells include the bikes for sale classifieds at www.badweatherbikers.com as well old standbys www.ebaymotors.com and www.cycletrader.com. If you’re stumped on the pros and cons of a particular model, or would just like a second opinion on a bike you’re looking at currently, please give T.B.C. a call, as we’re more than happy to help.

How we rate them at Two-Bit Choppers: Basically we look for bikes in this order - No.1 on our list has to be the 1998 S1W White Lightning. It’s got everything we like to incorporate into the mutant in one package: inverted front end, carburetor, standard ignition and the hot-rod Thunderstorm engine. It’s the perfect donor bike. Unfortunately, there aren’t tens of thousands of these things, as less than 5,000 of them were ever built, so finding one period can be difficult and because of their popularity sellers can command a premium price.
No.2 would be the 1999-2002 M2 Cyclone. Thunderstorm heads and pistons, carburetor, standard ignition and standard forks. Some great buys can be had on used Cyclones and depending on what your front end plans are, the standard tubes may be going on the shelf anyway. (Our black bike seen elsewhere on the site started life as a 1999 M2)
No.3 would be 1999-2002 X1 or S3 models. Even though these bikes can run a little higher up front, and can cost even more if you switch out to a carburetor, they still come with a lot of trick bits and are worth a look.

Hopefully this quick rundown on some key points will help you in your search for the perfect donor bike. Basically any tube frame Buell will work, but picking the year and model that gives you the majority of features you’re looking for can save you a lot of time, money and headaches in the long run. Again if you have any questions please give us a call at 970-587-5867 or drop me a line directly at justin@twobitchoppers.com.

If the Price is Right, Chop It!
Justin Schilling
Owner: Two-Bit Choppers
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 01-18-2005, 05:33 AM
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Great article Justin!

Here is a post I made a couple of months ago along the same lines in response to a question on Buell engines' HP's. (I hope it is correct).

Frank


With the new XB Buells the 9's have 92 and the 12's have 103
HP at the crank.

Tube models:
96-98 S1's 91HP
97-98 M2's 83 HP
98 S1W 101 HP
99-02 M2's 91 HP
99-02 X1's 101 HP
98-02 S3's 101 HP

All M2's use stock D grind sportster cams (better torque/less HP)
97-98 Lightning heads
99-02 Thunderstorm heads

All S1's, S1W's, S3's and X1's use Lightning cams (more HP/less TQ)
S1's have Lightning heads
S1W's, S3's and X1's have Thunderstorm heads

99-02 X1's and S3's are fuel injected


I hope this helps.

Frank
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Old 01-18-2005, 05:50 AM
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Dude...that's golden....thanks bro!!
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Last edited by Spaz; 01-18-2005 at 05:53 AM..
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Old 01-18-2005, 06:23 AM
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Hey Frank,

Damn, I kind of completely omitted the "Lightning" motor didn't I?! Oh well. I tried finding that list someone had posted with the actual production numbers of all the tube frames models over on Badweb but couldn't track it down. I figured that would kind of give people an idea of what their odds were of finding a particular model if they knew how many had intially rolled off the showroom floor. Anyway, thanks for the note on engine outputs. I'm planning on posting a whole series of informational and how-to articles over on our website over time to help guys along with their builds. Of course all this gets worked on in my "spare time" so it may take a while!

Later,
Justin @ Two-Bit Choppers
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Old 01-18-2005, 07:51 AM
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Thanks Justin.
I haven't said much (well, actually anything yet) around here, but I've been reading just about everything on these forums for months now. You're a very helpful and knowledgeable guy and your article makes me feel good about the '99 M2 I bought over the weekend. I'm sure you'll be hearing more from me as my project progresses... twobitchoppers is in my bookmarks and seems like everyday I go there and drool over your bike.

Keep up the great work!
Nate
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Old 01-18-2005, 08:45 AM
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The guys at HRHS told me that the best flowing head Harley has ever made for a sportster is not the Thunderstorm head its infact the new 2004-05 head available on the new 1200R(not sure if the 1200c has same heads would love to know if anyone does know) and the Xb12----

Good article--whats your website adress Bro??
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Old 01-18-2005, 09:20 AM
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Popasick,

They were right in saying the new '04-up XL1200/XB heads are the best stock heads H-D has ever come out with. They're a 62cc bathtub-chambered head and are designed to run right at 10:1 compression with a flat top piston and .030" head gasket, making them a very easy retro-fit onto the pre-2004 1200 Sporty motors, as those motors ran flat tops as well. These heads come standard on all 2004-up XL1200 models, including the custom and roadster, as well as the XB12 and XB9 Buells.
A word of caution to those looking to retro-fit these heads onto bikes with aggresive cams though, as the springs they come with are really soft. For reliability I'd run the Screaming Eagle .550 lifts (stock XB cams).

The website's www.twobitchoppers.com

Later,
Justin @ Two-Bit Choppers
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Old 01-18-2005, 12:01 PM
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Good stuff here fallas, Keep it coming.
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Old 01-18-2005, 12:39 PM
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good article. wish I would have had it last month. but it makes me feel good knowing that I picked up a 98 si white lighting with 2000 miles for $4000.
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Old 01-18-2005, 02:53 PM
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Hey Mack,

You made a great buy bro if you got a low-mileage S1W for 4K. I had a guy offer to sell me his in the middle of last winter for $3,000 but money was tight at the time. I should have sold blood, sperm and a kidney to make it happen, but alas I let it slip by.

Enembee,

Congrats on the project! Feel free to email me justin@twobitchoppers.com or post here on Club Chopper if you've got any questions as you move ahead. Check out my gallery here (click the little camara next to my name) as I've got a bunch of better pics of the bike that we took a few weeks back for a feature that's going to be in Ironworks magazine.

Got the new Street Chopper today and they've got a news item about us in their Full Service section along with a pic of my bike! I've got a ton of updates (new parts, tech articles, new show dates, downloadable wallpaper, and god-willing t-shirts) set to launch on the website by the end of the week to hopefully capitalize on the exposure. If you don't subscribe the issue is scheduled to hit newsstands on the 26th of Jan.

Later,
Justin @ Two-Bit Choppers
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Old 01-18-2005, 08:05 PM
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Anybody seen or heard from Memnock? Considering he's damn near cut his hand in two before I'm beginning to become concerned!

Later,
Justin @ Two-Bit Choppers
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Old 01-26-2005, 06:43 PM
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buell question

I have been reading everything I can about buell choppers and am interested in the mutant redneck. I have never built a bike,and am interested in idoing just that, so the artical is very helpfull since i am searching for one now.

A question i have is: do you have any pictures, or know where i can find some, of the two different forks on the mutant?

And in searching for a bike is there anything I should watch out for on any certian models of buell


thanks
-Case
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Old 01-26-2005, 07:20 PM
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you can put any forks on the mutant frame you want,depending on specs of frame you choose the length tubes to install----the other guys posted all kinds of stuff on all the buells,pick one for a doner bike---the thunderbolt(I believe I got it right)is my favorite with the thunderstorm heads----any S1 lightning would be a good start also
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Old 01-27-2005, 05:47 AM
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Hey Case,

My black bike has the Showa inverted tube style front end like those found on the S1, X1 and S3 model Buells.


This bike that Redneck built has the "standard" slider style front end which came of the 1997-2002 M2 Cyclone Models. (click link below)

http://www.redneckengineering.com/im...Buel-05jpg.jpg

Hope this helps bro,
Justin @ Two-Bit Choppers
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Old 01-27-2005, 06:06 PM
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thanks guys,

i have seen an ad for a 2002 M2 with 4700 mi for $4000
i am going to give this guy a call is this a good price?

Justin I hope when I get done it looks as good as that.
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