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IntroductionThe Buell Lightning series is a family of motorcycles with a strong strain of American Streetfighter DNA. Packing a one-two combination of V-Twin muscle and innovative engineering, the Lightning is a motorcycle designed to excel in the real world, where torque trumps horsepower and credibility is earned on the streets and backroads.
Wide, flat handlebars and athletic ergonomics put the Lightning rider in control of any situation. A broad, V-Twin powerband means thrust is always just a twist of the throttle away. The Thunderstorm 1203 features electronic fuel injection and dry-sump oiling, and is equipped with the Buell InterActive Exhaust system, which utilizes a valve in the dual-chamber muffler that is controlled by the ECM and adjusts exhaust flow according to riding conditions to smooth torque delivery and optimize engine power.
A short wheelbase and stiff chassis – the pure application of the Buell Trilogy of Technology philosophy – produce a motorcycle that is agile and intuitively responsive to rider input. There are five Buell Lightning models for 2008.
BUELL BRIEFING - The History of a DreamAt the heart of any motorcycle purist, resides the soul of a dreamer. No matter how big or small, within each of us is a desire to color outside the lines and to dream the impossible. The difference though between the dreamers and achievers is the added ability to risk it all, and to not only reach your dream, but to never stop dreaming of more.
For most dreamers of the two-wheeled variety, having your namesake emblazoned on the fuel tank of an American built streetfighter motorcycle you spent years creating, massaging, failing, succeeding and more importantly dreaming of, would be reason enough to smile, sit back and call it a day. But for Erik Buell, the man behind this classic American success story, the dream has only just begun.
Case in point. On Feb. 19, 1998, Erik Buell completed the sale of almost all of his interest in the Buell Motorcycle Company to his business partner, Harley-Davidson, Inc. Harley-Davidson had been a minority partner in the Buell Motorcycle Company since 1993, and a behind the scenes player prior. As part of the acquisition, Erik was named Chairman and Chief Technical Officer Buell.
According to Erik, the acquisition was a strong signal of Harley-Davidson’s continued commitment to Buell as a separate and distinct product and brand. "I knew with Harley-Davidson’s expanded level of support, Buell could move forward with plans for growth which were nothing more than mere dreams before," Erik said.
The acquisition was yet another chapter in the remarkable story of Buell Motorcycles. It was major event in the life of company founder, Erik Buell, and a signpost along the ongoing 18 year dream of creating a world-class American sportbike.

BUELLOGRAPHY - It Starts with OneThe first motorcycle Erik designed and built under his company name ’Pittsburgh Performance Products,’ was the RW750 in 1983. This 750cc, two-stroke, "square-four," rotary valve racing machine was designed specifically to compete in the AMA Formula One road racing class. The first prototype RW750 hit the track for its debut that same summer in the AMA National at Pocono Speedway. Buell continued extensive testing and development work on the bike throughout the summer and into the fall. His success was measured during testing at Talladega, Alabama, where it was clocked at a top speed of 178 mph.
Development on the RW750 continued through 1984, and a production version was released in the fall. Just one RW750 was sold to the American Machinists Racing Team before the AMA announced that 1985 would be the last year of Formula One racing. Superbike would now occupy the premier race class in 1986, effectively eliminating any market for the RW750.
Crushing news as that may have been to lesser builders, Erik viewed the rule change simply as a setback. He went back to work, refocusing his dream and this time aiming squarely at the goal of creating the first world-class sportbike designed and assembled in the USA. Tapping his knowledge of what works on the racetrack and his experience as a Harley-Davidson engineer, Erik designed his first entry into the sportbike market, the RR1000. Powered by the Harley-Davidson XR1000 engine, the rigid and lightweight chassis incorporated a rubber-mounting design which became a patented engineering feature of Buell sport bikes.
Buell motorcycles also utilized the engine as a fully stressed member of the frame, and the use of a rear suspension mounted beneath the motor with a shock operating in reverse of conventional compression-rebound practice, capped off the first ever all-American sportbike. A total of 50 RR1000 models were produced under the name of Buell Motor Company during the 1987-88 season depleting the remaining XR1000 engines.
Erik saw the new 1203cc Harley-Davidson Evolution engine as an opportunity to continue.


Buell Thunderstorm 1203 V-Twin engine 103 peak hp @ 6800 rpm (per SAE J607) 84 ft. lbs. peak torque @ 6000 rpm (per SAE J607) Buell InterActive Exhaust New DDFI 3 Electronic Fuel Injection ECM New eight-row oil cooler with Jiffy-tite fittings Fully adjustable 43 mm Showa inverted fork Fully adjustable Showa rear shock absorber Buell ZTL front brake Goodyear Hibrex drive belt with Flexten Plus technology Dry Weight: 395 pounds Wheelbase: 52 inches Seat height: 28.6 inches New Cosmetic Frame Protectors New Pre-Wired for Accessory Heated Grips New Instrument Panel Graphics Pirelli Diablo T tires Available with Translucid bodywork Commemorative Buell 25th Anniversary badge

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