1997 Buell S3T Thunderbolt

Summary:

Hot-rod hybrid racer dream

Faults:

Nothing.

General Comments:

This bike was previously owned by a motorcycle mechanic.

Has a Vance & Hines exhaust, running synthetic oil, and in pristine condition. Rated at least a 9.

Has been tweeked to 100HP dyno-ed and will hit 145MPH. Fast enough and the mid range torque is phenomenal.

It's a joy to ride and handles well in twisties and esses.

My previous bike was a BMW R1100RS sport touring. The only thing I miss are the ABS brakes on BMW.

I've owned all models of rice burners, Harley, BMW, Motto Guzzi, and must say this hybrid hot rod is a blast. Been riding for 37 years and this bike puts a big smile on my face...

The bike is forest green and a real stunner.

Too early to give quality/maintenance report... just enjoying the ride.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 12th October, 2005

1998 Buell S3T Thunderbolt

Summary:

Fun - if your idea of fun is working on motorcycles

Faults:

Kickstand failed at 800 miles.

Hard bag latches failed at 900, 1500, 1700 and 2000 miles.

Right lower fairing failed at 2500, 6000, 8000, 12000 and 18000 miles.

Rear shock failed at 12000 miles.

Exhaust header failed at 12500 miles.

Rear isolator failed at 14000 miles.

Front motor mount failed at 35000 miles.

Wheel bearings failed at 8000 miles.

General Comments:

This is a wonderful motorcycle for anyone that likes to work on motorcycles constantly, and has a reliable motorcycle to use when the Buell is suffering from design flaws.

Dealer service, parts and support is widely variable with the general level being best described as poor. Although the many design flaws, build quality issues and quirky nature of this motorcycle can be moderated by use of higher quality after market parts, the effect of these modifications is to push a serious value for dollar spent problem well into the completely ridiculous zone.

If you must have a Buell, the reliability is better on the newer "XB" line, and the quality and value are much better on those built before 1997.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 10th March, 2005

26th Jan 2007, 22:49

My 2000 Buell Cyclone had many mechanical problems. The latest one is the alternator splines stripped out and left me stranded out of state. It was 1000 miles out of warranty. The Harley dealer said they would replace the parts, but not the labor.

This is about 1500 miles after the magnets in the alt slipped to one side and caused major vibration. There is too much to list here.

I love my 1972 FLH and wish my Buell was that dependable. I also hope Buell rebuilds their relationships with the owners.

27th Mar 2008, 16:57

What are you people doing to your S-3's?. My '97 S3T has only had its normal scheduled maintenance done, and nothing has gone wrong or failed me. I just turned over 10K. All the recalls were fixed by my dealer but none of these caused me any concerns before they were fixed.

My Amazon Green S3T is definitely a keeper. My favorite out of my 4 bike stable. Now I don't thrash or trash or try to fix things beyond my capabilities, but on the other hand, I don't ride it like a mule either. Maybe all these problems have a root cause that has nothing to do with Buell?

29th Apr 2011, 02:36

I agree. Tuber Buells are great bikes if maintained properly. They are very easy to work on, & there are many quality aftermarket parts available to fully customise your ride.