Thursday, August 18, 2016



Right Side Adventure Buell XB12X
The thought of a liquor brand commissioning a bike conjures up images of gaudy, logo-slathered choppers from the West Coast. But  had other ideas when Rebel Yell knocked on their door.
XB12X Dual SportCustom Ulysses XB12X Motor
Revival Cycles took a stock Buell Ulysses XB12X, and transformed it into the dirt-shredding monster you see here. It’s the sort of thing that happens when you give Revival Cycles an open brief.

Buell Scrambler Custom Tank“We have always loved the Ulysses,” says the Texan shop’s Alan Stulberg. “It’s an inexpensive, capable machine with plenty of reliable horsepower and torque on tap at any time.

“Sure…Ulysses S. Grant helped squash the ‘Rebel Yell’ of the Confederates, but we found the irony played out well with our bike of choice.”

The Ulysses is the closest thing to a dual-sport bike that’s ever come out of Milwaukee. But it’s no hard off-roader. Revival’s version—dubbed ‘The Bueller‘—is an entirely different animal.

Left Side Ulysses XB12X Adventure“Our goal for this build was to keep the budget in line, as we didn’t have much room for error,” says Alan, “and to prove that you can properly jump, air and land a bike of this heft.”

“All too often, we see other builders simply putting knobby off-road tires on every street bike out there, from a vintage inline-four Japanese bike to a modern 160 horsepower Ducati superbike,” says Alan.

XB12X Adventure Handlebars“While entertaining and fun to look at, this does not make an off-road bike—or even an ‘adventure’ bike.”

Step one was to strip the Buell right down, ditching all non-critical items and finding places to shave weight. Swapping out the battery helped: The new lithium-ion unit is seven pounds lighter than stock.

The factory subframe is pretty porky too. So Revival designed a new one in CAD, then cut out the sections from heavy gauge aluminum before welding it all up. It’s capped off with an upright, narrow seat that Alan says is still pretty comfortable.

Adventure Scrambler Front ForksRevival saw no need to mess with the Buell’s effective fuel-in-frame design. So they simply ditched the dinky plastic faux tank, and fabricated a better-looking one from aluminum. The airbox (usually located underneath) was replace by a K&N filter.

The ‘tank’ space now houses the battery, a Motogadget m-Unit and all the important electrical bits. It’s a shame it’s all hidden: Revival have become known for their electrical prowess, and we’d love to see one of their rewires up close.

 Buell Ulysses Custom Seat“We sell and install more high-end gadgetry from Motogadget than anyone else in the world,” says Alan. “The tidy nature of the Buell frame, and our reworking of the design, has resulted in a subtle and almost invisible installation of the modern technology.”

There’s even a Buell Racing ECU at work, making for snappy, 115 horsepower acceleration. Pure madness for a dirt bike.

Next on the chopping block were the Buell’s bulky cast wheels. It took extensive work to replace them: Excel rims (F19, R17) were laced to Canyon TT hubs. The hubs are actually made for modern Triumph twins, so Revival had to adapt them to fit, by reworking the axles and spacers.

 Buell XB12X Scrambler Dual LIghtsThey even built a custom front and rear sprocket set, chain tensioner and front sprocket cover to suit the overall design.

Of course, a dirt bike is only as good as its suspension—so Revival got busy. The stock front forks were modified with Aprilia fork lowers. This gave the setup more travel, helped accommodate the spoked wheel, and eliminated the Buell’s perimeter brake setup.

Ulysses Adventure Ulysses Air CleanerA custom front brake rotor adaptor was machined, allowing the team to fit a four-piston Discacciati caliper. That meant less weight, and more stopping power.

Out back, Revival re-sprung and re-valved the stock shock to prepare it for abuse. They also relocated the remote reservoir to tuck it out of harm’s way. The big XB now not only handles better on dirt, but sticks through corners better on asphalt too.

“This dirt bike carves up the street too,” says Alan. “We took it to the Quail Motorcycle Gathering in May of 2016, and it was flogged through hundreds of miles pavement to rave reviews.”

Buell XB12 Scrambler ProjectRevival managed to shed even more pounds by building a stunning new stainless steel exhaust system. The design is an obvious nod to the Harley board trackers of the early 1900s, and Alan tells us it’s not as obnoxious-sounding as you’d imagine.

The skid plate and high-mounted front fender are both custom-made alloy parts—and scrambler essentials. The headlight arrangement is particularly intriguing: it’s an alloy number board, with a dual headlight setup that’s removable via a quick-release system.

Adventure Rear Dirt Wheel“We wanted the new owner of this machine to have the ability to ride all day at the track, or off road, and then ride it home,” says Alan. “So the lighting, license plate mount and street running gear is all tucked and out of harm’s way.”

The turn signals are equally discreet: LEDs built into the rear of the frame that double as a tail light, and small Motogadget m-Blaze pin LEDs alongside the headlights.

The cockpit’s stacked with top-shelf parts: LSL handlebars, a Domino throttle, CRG levers that have been powder-coated bronze, a Brembo master cylinder and Posh grips. The digital, all-in-one gauge—and the handlebar switches—are also from Motogadget.
Buell Scrambler Laps
Revival’s craftsmanship speaks for itself, so the color scheme is minimal. It’s mostly raw metal, with a couple of bronze highlights—including an accent stripe on the seat.

“Although we started this bike as a budget build with what seemed like some very tight parameters,” says Alan, “ultimately The Bueller ended up winning over most guys in the shop, who now have visions of their own Harley-based dirtbike!”

In a world where most ‘scramblers’ are little more than street bikes with knobbies and high bars, it’s refreshing to see a bike that properly lives up to its tires.

Adventure Scrambler Jump

Blue and Yellow Buell Ulysses

Unmodified Original Buell Ulysses
Original Buell Ulysses