The White Lightning, also known as the Buell S1W, was the one-year-only,
cream of the crop edition of the S1 Lightning.
Made only in 1998, the White
Lightning took Erik Buell’s concept of what you could build around a Harley
engine to an extreme.
It may also end up being one of the most collectible
bikes from Buell’s run.
When most riders
first encounter the Buell S1 White Lightning, they think it’s something
But in reality, it’s only the latest of a long line of
Harley-Davidson-powered sport machines that former Harley engineer, Erik Buell,
has been building since 1987.
predecessors, and unlike traditional American cruisers, the White Lightning is
a pure sport bike, one built following Erik Buell’s own unique rules of
And unique, it
is! With its hyper-aggressive, junkyard dog styling, it doesn’t look like
anything else on the road.
But rather than distract, its unique lines draw your
eyes to the Buell’s rather novel components.
The frame is
familiar chrome-moly tubing, but follows unconventional lines and uses the
engine itself as part of its structure.
It rides on a set of trick, race-bred
inverted forks up front and a fully-adjustable, but horizontally-mounted, rear
shock that’s designed to extend over bumps rather than compress.
load is carried by a single huge 13.4-inch front disc that’s gripped by a
While the all-American drivetrain delivers power to the fat
rear Dunlop, by way of a kevlar-reinforced belt.
1200cc V-twin engine starts life as the same unit found in Harley’s 1200 Sportster but Mr. Buell then adds free flowing heads, a lightened flywheel, recalibrated
ignition, and bigger exhaust headers. It inhales through this ungainly-looking,
side-mounted airbox and exhales through a stainless steel exhaust system,
notable for the sheer size and efficiency of its muffler, as well as funky
details like the inconsistent weld quality and hardware store hose clamps
attaching the heat shield.
The end result,
measured on the dyno is 100 PK and 120 NM of torque. A huge increase over
This not only
means serious, wheely-pulling bottom end, but massive midrange. And the power
keeps on coming to a very un-Harley-like 7,000 rpm.
the 90’s Buells suffer from some pretty poor reliability issues.
After the Bike came out so
did the recall’s.
If you by a Buell make sure
are the recalls are performed. This bike: RECALLS: