Buell crushes Blast

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Buell_Blast_crushed.jpgDry weight: 360lbs. Horsepower/torque: zero. Engine: smashed. Erik Buell has made a big show out of crushing a few Buell Blasts, but what does it all mean? Listening to Erik talk in this video, it sounds like the Blast has been discontinued, but the official Buell 2010 model year press release appears to indicate that the Blast is a continuing model, albeit lacking updates. Which is it? Either way, it’s weird.

Update: the official word from Buell below.
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As Erik states, the Blast is an anachronism with no evident link to the
rest of Buell’s range. Having said that, being unique can be good, the
Blast is probably the best street-legal learner bike around and
provides a cheap entry into the Buell brand.

If it has been killed off, then the question is: Why didn’t Buell
update it? It could have formed an easy basis for a seriously cool
entry-level cafe racer, finally giving new riders an appealing first
bike.

If it hasn’t been killed, then why crush it? Surely Erik’s outright
dismissal of it in this video will put off future buyers.

Or maybe they’ll just keep it around for Rider’s Edge. What does this mean for Mac Motorcycles? We’re waiting to hear back from Buell.

The official word from Buell is: “The Blast will continue to be produced in MY2010 primarily for the purposes of supporting the Harley-Davidson Rider’s Edge training program. These motorcycles will be branded Blast, with primary Buell badging removed.”

Buell

  • sam

    yup i followed that link in the last post and couldnt make heads nor tails of it. erik buell must be high

  • Damion

    I like this guys humor, it will be a fun introduction to a new entry level bike.

  • zanon

    Buell just got Crispin Porter + Bogusky as their new ad agency. I can imagine them killing the Blast, over the weekend, letting the internet go nuts, and then introducing a midweight liquid cooled replacement, like the SV650, on Monday.

    We will see.

  • generic1776

    I don’t think I have ever seen a video of Eric quite like that before.

    He looked like he just euthanized his child, who wasn’t even sick.

    After viewing the video, there are a series of four interviews from last year, on the history of Buell and introduction of the 1125R. It was pretty telling on how he feels about the relationship between HD and Buell, with the “I have 51% controlling of Buell, but HD has 2 of 3 board seats; not exactly a very strong 51%”.

    So the current mode of thought is “in order to be a serious Sport Bike company, we can’t make an entry level motorcycle”.

    I can not recall a single manufacturer that agrees with this mode of thought. Even Ducati knows the cornerstone of the high-end Superbikes they produce is the Monster series.

    Even MV Augusta has Cagiva…. (If HD didn’t totally kill that business as well…. yet)

    But to say to divorce entry level cash cows in the dream of chasing high-end dollars is a failure to succeed in a down economy.

    Besides, if the Blast motor isn’t available, how are we going to see more innovation out of it like the Mac Motorcycles?

    • vic

      “”Even MV Augusta has Cagiva…. (If HD didn’t totally kill that business as well…. yet)”"
      i expect a demolition video popping up on youtube with some fat harley guys doing a circle jerk around a crushed mito

  • Mitch

    ^ Well said, some interesting points there. I was also going to comment, that since Buell exists under the umbrella of H-D, the recent implosion of that company’s profits may have left Buell with no budget at all for anything new. The excision of the Blast may be a cost cutting measure, or maybe a hint of a directional change to Bombardier powered machines.

  • johnny

    the Blast should’ve been crushed long ago, when he saw the first prototype

  • http://www.fetherston.tumblr.com fetherston

    Buell also is sporting a new logo and tagline (Ruthless Engineering). They seem to be strongly pushing the “back to basics” approach. I guess trying to cut back other projects and refocus on building an American sportbike.

  • Matt

    Does anyone know when the new models will be hitting the dealerships? This looks so much better than last year’s model!

  • Ben

    If you compare the Blast to the entry level sport/performance models from most manufacturers, it’s laughable. Suzuki has the SVs and Gladius. Kawasaki has their range of 650s. Honda has nothing. Yamaha has the FZ6R and FZ6. Ducati has the Monster 696. Ugh. I can see the Blast II using an eased-up XB9SX engine – say around 75 hp, 55 ft lbs torque. It’d spare the hassle of building a new engine, maintain the brand identity, and be a standout amongst the entry level models of other manufacturers without being overwhelming. Theoretically, at least. That, or they just keep rocking the de-branded Blast and live it up. :P

    Overall, I see this as a potential positive – there could be a significant gain from potential Harley shoppers looking for a particular image and seeing a balls-out Buell for the same price as a Sportster. Particularly if rode back to back, where the performance differences are easily noticeable.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      All of those bikes are pretty hefty for learners, which is why the Blast is in a class of one in this country. In Europe there’s all sorts of learners bikes ranging from the CBR125 to the CBF500 etc. I guess there’s the Ninja 250.

      Instead of every company acting like followers and chasing the Boomers looking to spend mega bucks, it’d be great to see a company like Buell choose to be a leader and instead pursue a new audience with high spec, small capacity bikes.

      • Jordan

        Agree’d.

        Less (Capacity) equals more (corner speed) for most mortal riders.

        I wish companies would take that fact and run with it.

      • DoctorNine

        I have to agree. The Blast isn’t a successful design in many ways. Because Buell is so good at minimalist and innovative design, it has seemed a bit of an anomaly that he has retained it for so long. Hopefully this just portends a better design…

      • Ben

        The bikes listed are a major stretch for a beginner bike. In the real world, though, that’s what a lot of beginners are looking at based on poor guidance or judgement. Heck, that’s how a lot of them are advertised in the industry mags. When the Blast is compared to those, it’s awful. Then again, it takes a beating compared to the Ninja 250, as well.

        I agree with the hope of a rockin’ capable small bike. I’d be surprised if they took that approach, though. Just like the V4s, here’s to hoping for a pleasant surprise.

  • Telekom

    It’s often hard to understand what people are saying when they have their head up their arse. Most bike makers quietly phase out an older model when they update it with something new. This is more marketing-led pish.

  • Oscar

    How about a new line of bikes based on a single cylinder from the 1125 engine? Build an enduro, a supermoto and a cafe racer all using the same engine and frame. That would be cool.

  • Marshall

    It’s simply a very controversial marketing tactic… I think is smart none the less. They got the internet roaring WTF Buell’s crushing their own motorcycles. Its just a way for them to reinforce “here’s what were all about” Performance bikes.. and this little blast does not fit in with “our philosophy as a company” It was a clever tactic and they’re marketing the crap out of it.

    Marketing tactics aside- I think all manufacturers should have a cool entry level bike like get in Europe.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Is it really that clever? It’s a pretty weak statement that simultaneously devalues a model that they’ll still be producing. A much more powerful statement would have been building an incredibly appealing new entry-level model.

      • area_educator

        They’ll still be making it, but pretty much just for Harley’s education program– fleet sales.

        The Blast doesn’t fit with what Buell (the company) has been trying to do for the last 6 to 7 years (since the introduction of the fuel-in-frame bikes) and Buell (the man) has been trying to do for 20 years longer.

        It’s understandable that they’d like to distance themselves from it– not that they should decry it as a bad bike, but as a bad fit for Buell and where they’re headed.

        I agree, though, that it’ll be more powerful and more effective if they do bring forth a replacement entry-level bike, that fits better. Maybe a fuel-in-frame bike with a Rotax developed single.

  • zanon

    Wes: Got to disagree. I’ve worked at many companies, and the hardest thing is to kill a product that’s doing OK because it is outside your core strategy.

    Focus is hard. Cutting is hard. Dreaming up new stuff (which will always be “incredibly appealing” — until it isn’t) is easy.

  • dave

    its a very nice bacic daily driver
    BUT most hard core Harley riders would not be seen riding one —they would walk first.or just flat do with out a bike
    i find it to be a refreshing change even though
    it has a lot of reused hd parts

    i would have bought one but handle bars would
    need changed they set about 3 inches to close
    for my long arms

    my hope is if they replace it they do a nice
    water cooled 450cc motor in a street bike
    and flat track race the crap out of it
    if its a winner they will sell a bunch of them
    dave

  • http://www.farrst.blogspot.com Stew

    WTF Eric – you have lost it man.
    The blast was a cool bike. Just like the old XB12S/R……
    What you doing is trying to rebuild the old shit you used to make/race/fail …. all over again.
    This is why Harley had to buy you last time – are you going to take them down with you this time?

    In a time when the world is screaming out for cafe/scrabler/thumper bikes – and you scrap you only one.
    The japanese are going to be laughing all the way to the bank on this.

    • 129CBRider

      I agree completely with Stew.

      A long time ago I said to myself that if HD ever made a 500 again I would buy it. I didn’t even know about the Blast until it was 3 years old and immediatelly went out and found a used one a lady had outgrown and bought it for $1500. She had just bought a new
      ZX-14 !!!

      I put dirt bike bars and real tires on the Blast, trimmed off all the odd looking plastic and continue to ride the heck out of it all the time. It’s a Blast to ride, corners like a paint stripe on the road, starts every time, and is a fun alternative to my other 8 bikes, some of which are bigger sport bikes.

      Getting completely rid of it is stupid since you would only have to upgrade the bars, seat, and tires to make it a very sellable model.

  • Tom

    Since this article, Harley has pulled the plug on the Buell company and has Eric Buell sitting in the corner making funny noises.The irony is that Harley has continued the production of the Blast because without it they have no bike to use in the Riders Edge program. They are badged as “Blast” and wear neither the Harley or Buell brand. Sorry,Eric, the little beast lives on regardless of your desire to crush it. (P.S.– I own a Blast and have over 22,000 miles on it and it is a fun and very reliable bike in spite of what you read on the web–mostly from people who have never ridden one)