“The Bueller”Buell XB12X by Revival Cycles


Revival Cycles had one clear goal: to prove that you could jump, air, and land this Buell XB12X. It was an ambitious goal, but they managed to achieve the feat. Here’s how!

Our final goal for this build was definitely to keep the budget in line, as we didn’t have much room for error, but to prove that you could properly jump, air and land a bike of this heft. We undoubtedly achieved that goal.

We started by completely disassembling the machine and ditching every single piece that wasn’t critical and then went about shaving weight by replacing known heavy items. The heavy lead acid battery was tossed in favor of an anti-gravity Lithium-Ion one. The weight savings on the battery alone was almost 7 lbs. Then we ditched the heavy factory rear subframe in favor of something much much lighter. We built a model for the new subframe in CAD and then cut out the 3 piece panels from heavy gauge aluminum. It was then all welded together giving the rider a stout, thin, upright and comfortable seat that makes this dirt bike capable of being ridden all day on or off road.

Since the fuel is wisely and efficiently carried in the frame, no custom fuel tank was needed, so we also built a custom alloy body panel to take the place of the shoddy plastic unit that came with the factory bike. This also allowed us the opportunity to make room just above the engine for the battery, Motogadget M-unit and all of the wiring. Revival has become known for our electronic and electrical expertise and our ability to integrate it into our custom bikes and this build was no different. We sell and install more high end gadgetry from Motogadget than anyone else in the world and the tidy nature of the Buell frame coupled with our reworking of the overall design resulted in a subtle and almost invisible installation of the modern technology at work here. We utilized a factory Buell Racing ECU and the snap can be felt when this machine puts all 115hp to the dirt!

We wanted the new owner of this machine to have the ability to ride all day at the track or off road and then still ride it home, so the lighting, license plate mount and street running gear is all tucked and out of harm’s way. Even the dual headlight unit is easily removed with a custom machined quick-release system we designed and built that can be stowed away for full track action and even more weight savings.

One of the things we hated about the factory Ulysses was the ugly and heavy cast wheels that also would limit our choices for knobby tires. So…we took on the difficult task of replacing them with spoked Excel alloy wheels laced up to machined alloy Canyon TT hubs that are actually made for the modern Triumph twins. We adapted them to work with the Buell setup by reworking the axles and spacers and even building a custom front and rear sprocket set, chain tensioner and front sprocket cover to suit the overall design. We also constructed a custom alloy skid plate to keep the rocks from tearing up the bottom of the engine along with a high-mount front steel fender and carefully mounted stainless twin outlet exhaust system that ended up weighing some 20 lbs.+ less than the factory unit and surprisingly effective at keep the engine noise to a reasonable level. It’s obvious the exhaust is very much inspired by the board track racing Harleys of the early 1900’s.

Quite a few of the custom pieces on this machine are subtle and almost hidden from site. We didn’t want to give up functionality for form, so we hid much of the working gear. For instance, this bike still has very effective turn signals in the form of super bright LED rear sections built into the tail and Motogadget M-blaze pin LED signals mounted along with the headlight. There’s also a full gauge assembly built into one tiny Motogadget Motoscope Pro gauge that is mounted just ahead of the handlebars. This integrates seamlessly with the style of the bike so that you can keep track of everything technical at a glance and still not have the bulk of a factory gauge set.

With the design and form details worked out it was time to tackle the most important part, the suspension. We utilized the Buell XB12X front forks and modified them by using Aprilia fork lowers for longer travel, non-perimeter brake caliper mounting and to allow the spoke wheel conversion as well. We then custom machined a front brake rotor adapter to allow us to install a 4-piston Discacciati front brake caliper. This not only saved weight, but made a big difference in stopping power.

We then set about to make the rear suspension stack up to the front. We re-sprung and re-valved the factory rear shock for MX duty. We also relocated the remote reservoir to keep it out of harm’s way. The result of all this suspension work is a MUCH more capable off road machine that handles surprisingly well on asphalt in the twisting roads of northern California. We took the machine to the Quail Motorcycle Gathering in May of 2016 and it was flogged through hundreds of miles pavement to rave reviews. This dirt bike carves up the street too.

Although we started this bike as a budget build with what seemed like some very tight parameters, ultimately The Bueller ended up winning over most guys in the shop who now have visions of their own Harley-based dirtbike!

Source Revival Cycles