Words by Mars York, Pics by Simon Bradley
A face only his mother could love? That's a little harsh, but Ulysses isn't about to win any beauty contests, I suspect...History lesson
Back when the world was flat, the maidens launched ships with their faces and there was a god for everything, Ulysses was the ultimate adventurer. He battled men, monsters and even had a run in with the odd god or two. He was cunning and resourceful; women swooned and enemies fled. To all intents and purposes he was a big old lump in a strong, athletic frame with oceans of torque and cities’ worth of power. And he looked good.
American bike makers Buell have named their “adventure sport tourer” well. Apart from the looks, about which I have my reservations.
At just under a metre and a half long, it’s stubby. And to my taste it looks like a bug. Not an insect, it’s too stocky and compact for lots of legs. But there’s something charming about it. No, charming isn’t the word, it’s more challengingly attractive. But the biggest impression I got, was something far more powerful. It promises. It carries itself as if it’s offering a truly extraordinary experience. If I’d consulted an oracle, it would have told me “today you will be naughty.” Oh yes. Naughty.
This is one naughty bike. It makes you do naughty things; finding gaps that milliseconds before didn’t exist; revving outside old people’s homes just because everyone should get a taste of the range of exhaust notes; accelerating just that little bit too fast and feeling the steering go very light because the front wheel’s left the ground; stopping too hard and feeling that slightly unnerving sense of the back wheel rising up.
With it’s Intuitive Response Chassis, rigidity, balance and, let’s face it, excitability, the XB12XT handles beautifully. It’s so exciting knowing that if you can do it, it most certainly can. I’d been told that it was a bit like having an excited spaniel waiting in your garage, which just wanted to play.