Buell S3 Thunderbolt

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Buell Thunderbolt
Also called S3 Thunderbolt, S3T Thunderbolt
Production 1997 - 2002
Class Naked
Predecessor Buell S2
v2, four-stroke
Bore / Stroke 88.8mm x 96.8mm
Compression ratio 10.0:1
Top Speed 129 mph (208 km/h)
Horsepower 98.83 HP (73.7 KW) @ 6000RPM
Torque 89.99 ft/lbs (122.0 Nm) @ 5500RPM
Spark Plug NGK DCPR7E '98-02
Battery YUASA YTX20L-BS '98-02
Transmission Gear box: 5-speed

Final Drive: belt

Clutch: wet multi-disc, manual
Final Drive Belt `98-02[1]
Suspension Front: 40mm Showa adjustable upside-down fork
Rear: Showa adjustable mono-shock
Brakes Front: single disc
Rear: single disc
Front Tire 120/70-zr17
Rear Tire 170/60-zr17
Wheelbase 55.0 inches (1397 mm)
Seat Height 31.5 inches (800 mm)
Weight 465.18 pounds (211.0 Kg) (dry), 235.0 kg (wet)
Fuel Capacity 5.39 Gallon (20.40 Liters)
Fuel Consumption 0.59 liters/100 km (169.5 km/l or 398.68 mpg)
Manuals Service Manual

The Buell S3T Thunderbolt was a v2, four-stroke Naked motorcycle produced by Buell between 1997 and 2002. It could reach a top speed of 129 mph (208 km/h). Max torque was 89.99 ft/lbs (122.0 Nm) @ 5500 RPM. Claimed horsepower was 98.83 HP (73.7 KW) @ 6000 RPM.

History[edit | edit source]

The Buell S3 Thunderbolt sport-touring model was produced from 1997 through 2002, along with a mechanically identical S3T "Touring" model that ran through model year 2000. The 1,203 cc air cooled V-Twin engine was mounted as a stressed member in a tubular frame. The powerplant output 91hp in 1997 and jumped to 101hp in the following years due to revised cam profiles and the new "Thunderstorm" cylinder heads. While the bike's overall look was the same throughout the model run, there were significant changes made in 1999 that set it, and later models, apart from the 1997 and 1998 bikes. The early bikes used a rectangular section steel rear swingarm, WP Suspension front forks and rear shock, a Keihin 40 mm CV carburetor, and a Performance Machine six-piston front brake caliper. Beginning in 1999 a new cast aluminum rear swingarm was utilized along with Showa front suspension forks and rear shock. The front brake caliper, while still a six-piston unit, was now made by Nissin. The most technological change came in the new Dynamic Digital Fuel Injection (DDFI) system, replacing the old carburetor.

The S3 featured a half faring that surrounded the headlight and gave decent wind protection for the riders' torso. The S3T model then added lower faring extensions that gave good wind protection to the rider's legs. The S3T also featured hard saddlebags that could be color matched to the bike color and were available in either "wide" for maximum storage, or "narrow" for a lighter feel. In addition to the lower fairings and the saddlebags, the S3T also came with a taller handlebar for a more upright, relaxed riding position. Each of the parts that set the S3T apart were available as accessories for the standard S3 model. The S3T is still claimed by many Buell riders to be one of the most comfortable sport-touring bikes ever offered by Buell.

Engine[edit | edit source]

The engine was a air cooled v2, four-stroke. A 88.8mm bore x 96.8mm stroke result in a displacement of just 1203.0 cubic centimeters.

Drive[edit | edit source]

The bike has a 5-speed transmission. Power was moderated via the wet multi-disc, manual.

Chassis[edit | edit source]

It came with a 120/70-zr17 front tire and a 170/60-zr17 rear tire. Stopping was achieved via single disc in the front and a single disc in the rear. The front suspension was a 40mm Showa adjustable upside-down fork while the rear was equipped with a Showa adjustable mono-shock. The S3T Thunderbolt was fitted with a 5.39 Gallon (20.40 Liters) fuel tank. The bike weighed just 465.18 pounds (211.0 Kg). The wheelbase was 55.0 inches (1397 mm) long.

1997 Buell S3T Thunderbolt[edit | edit source]

1997 Buell S3T Thunderbolt 1997 Buell S3T Thunderbolt

The 1997 MY Buell S3T Thunderbolt is the long-haul oriented version of the naked machine, and comes, unlike the base model, standard with color-matching side panniers, fairing lowers, touring handlebars and touring foot pegs. The engine and the innards of the machine remain the same as the base model.

At its heart lies an air-cooled, four-stroke, 1203cc, 45-degree V-Twin powerplant paired to a five-speed manual transmission with a low-maintenance, Kevlar-reinforced belt drive, that can reach a maximum power output of 101 horsepower and 90 Nm of torque.

1997 Buell S3 Thunderbolt[edit | edit source]

1997 Buell S3 Thunderbolt

The S3 Thunderbolt from American manufacturer Buell is a powerful naked machine that is mainly addressed for riders who expect high levels of performance from their machine. It comes with a half-fairing with a small windscreen, die-cast aluminum wheels, an under-belly exhaust system, an one-piece, dual seat, an analogue and digital instrument cluster, a 40mm Showa adjustable upside-down fork coupled to a Showa adjustable mono-shock in the rear and a large, 340mm front disc brake with a 6-piston caliper.

Also, it boasts a maximum power output of 101 horsepower and 90 Nm of torque from its air-cooled, four-stroke, 1203cc, 45-degree V-Twin powerplant that is mated to a five-speed manual transmission with a Kevlar-reinforced belt final drive.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 2019 Western Power Sports Catalog. Western Power Sports. 2019.