The big ‘thing’ at the moment with the Ulysses is wheel bearing failures, particularly rear bearings. While bearing failures can (and will) happen to any bike, a fairly consistent trend has been forming with the Uly. Existing owners don’t seem at all put off by the ‘problem’, since in the big picture the Uly is still an excellent and reliable machine. Uly owners setting out on a trans-continental trip nowdays are carrying a spare belt and spare bearings (compare that to the waterpumps carried by KTM owners hahaha).

This has been a hot discussion topic on advrider and badweb for a while now; http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=251723 http://www.badweatherbikers.com/buell/messages/142838/296716.html

So far Buell customer service seem to be taking care of owners very well, in true Buell fashion (NO THANKS to Harley Davidson though). From reports I’ve read on the forums, everything appears to be sorted under warranty.

Noone from Buell has been involved in the bearing discussions on badweb yet, we’re all waiting :D But, there is still lots of knowledge & ideas, including a couple of bearing gurus.

My Buelly… Last weekend while riding with Jacob and Andrew, we noticed a squeeling noise from Buelly while trying to dig my way up a hill… yup, the rear wheel bearings - bugga. Later when I dropped the bike, seemed like a good oppertunity to confirm our suspicions and check for movement… yup, it’s the bearings :) Bugga.

It’s worth noting that only the rear wheel bearings appear to be ‘problematic’, premature wear of other bearings is not being reported.

Detection

  • Raise the rear wheel somehow (so it can spin freely) and try to twist it from side-to-side. There should be NO movement (asside from rotating, duh).
  • With the wheel removed, the bearings should spin smoothly (not easily, but smoothly).
  • Squeeling? I should have checked for movement earlier, but I didn’t, and luckily we noticed the squeeling before the bearings failed completely.

Replacements The bearings are 6006’s (rear) and 6005’s (front), which apparently are an industry standard size (or something along those lines) and available through many manufacturers.

I’ll update this post again when I replace my own bearings and have a better understanding, brands available in Aus, etc.

‘Lowflyer’ has started a Google Spreadsheet to record the bearing failures, which might identify a pattern, or something. Available here: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=p2v-5UmuKDVBlq-OxpYVAaA&gid=0

Note; most conclusions I’ve made are based on the discussions on much smarter people on badweb :) For the full story, owners (or potential owners) should read the discussions there (link is posted above somewhere).