1997 Buell S1 Lightning


Torquey and sexy


Vibration caused rear number plate to break - made a new h/d one with 3mm alloy.

Various minor things - apart from rear cylinder marked and needed re-bore.

And oil leaks - get used to it - not a big deal. I ride it hard and it is an old design, so can't expect perfection.

General Comments:

More fun than a bag of ferrets.

Makes you grin. Great sound. Torquey motor means not much gear changing is needed. Surprises blades and such like - on a twisty road can keep up and even pass.

Handles really well. Back brake is crap even with w wavy disc. Servicing & parts are cheap and often DIY.

A real classic. Old school pushrod power and one carb - still does the business. Don't be fooled by the shaking about on tick-over; it soon smoothes out.

The seat is tiny. It is so hard - it's like sitting on a log - but looks good and really makes you feel the road. No way is this a 2-up bike. Not a serious commuters bike.

Needs TLC.

For weekend fun on twisty roads it is hard to beat.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st February, 2008

1998 Buell S1 Lightning


Absolute must have at some point in your life


Exhaust fell off due to vibration.

Rear piston holed due to bad design of the inlet manifold gasket.

Swing arm isolation bushes distort.

Stopped charging due to an electrical system that is the same on old tractors.

Rear light carrier cracked badly due to vibration.

General Comments:

This S1 gets more looks than Jordan.

Handles like a supermoto.

Will not keep up with Japanese bikes at speed, but corners fantastic.

Wheelies are what it is best at.

The seat is designed by a masochist.

Arm wrenching torque.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th May, 2005

14th Feb 2006, 16:10

I could not agree with you more! I have a 1998 Buell S1 Lighting and everything you talked about except for the charging issue has happened to me, but I will never give it up.

The ride you get out of the S1 is just never ending fun. Roll back on the throttle and it still wants to give you more, and the 1200 motor just takes a beating and keeps coming back for more. I don’t think I could ever sell it.