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2010 Buell Blast: First (and Last) Look

You may be a fan of the Buell Blast. You may actively despise the Buell Blast. Or you may not even be aware such a model exists. No matter: The bike is no more, crushed into a 28-inch by 28-inch cube by Erik Buell himself. There are now just eight Buell models in the lineup for 2010, with the $8999 XB9SX the lowest-priced, and aside from minor cosmetic and mechanical upgrades (including LED taillights and new rear turn signals), there are no major changes or new bikes. But why remove the Blast, a reliable, affordable and easy-to-ride bike that has a small following and has trained hundreds of thousands of riders?

“It’s just a solid, fundamental beginner’s bike,” says Erik Buell in a video posted to a clever microsite about the crushing of the Blast. “Not innovative, not breakthrough, not a sportbike, just a nice, simple motorcycle. It actually pulled people away from what Buell does…it’s not what Buell does. It doesn’t fit with the brand.” Referring to Buell’s unique approach-what Erik calls ‘ruthless engineering’, he went on to note that the Blast “wasn’t an example of ruthless engineering….and we can be ruthless about (removing it from the lineup) too. We have the technology,” he says, patting the squished cube of plastic and steel he’s sitting on.

I spoke to a few H-D luminaries about the Blast recently. I heard the Blast will still be manufactured, but only for use in the Rider’s Edge training program, where it does yeoman’s service. Would that motor appear in a future H-D model, to provide an affordable entry-level bike for the youth market, which H-D is eager to sink its corporate teeth into? “Harley-Davidsons are V-Twins,” was the flat and simple response; in other words, no. That’s a shame: a simply-styled, inexpensive, lightweight and fun-to-ride Thumper is the dream of many enthusiasts, judging by the passionate responses we got to our story about the Blast-powered Mac concept. Buell Motorcycles has not yet announced whether there will be a replacement. I’d say don’t hold your breath.

Blast fans can purchase a crushed Blast in three colors (Battle Blue, Sunfire Yellow or Midnight Black), numbered and signed by Erik. “It makes a killer ottoman,” chirps the copy on the site. Thanks, but I have enough crushed stuff already.

* * *

MD Readers Respond:

  • I just read the reader responses to this article and was motivated to
    speak out. I saw the usual negative comments towards Harley-Davidson
    regarding their “niche” market and some impression that they “just
    don’t get it.” Meanwhile, I’m looking at U.S. sales figures from 2007
    that show H-D had 28% of the entire domestic motorcycle market,
    leading all other manufacturers. Honda was 2nd place at 25%. It sure
    seems like H-D is doing something right … Ryan
  • My wife owns a Buell Blast and I bet the value now goes up. Thanks
    Eric. Oh, and by the way, her next bike won’t be a Buell. Way to keep
    your customer base. Nothing like viewing your bike on the company
    website being talked about in a negative light and then crushed.
    Basically it only served to piss us off. Scott
  • The Blast is still being made and you can still buy one. They just removed the Buell name from the gas tank. It is still on the speedo and gas cap though. All that video is Harley PR crap. I like Buells, got a Firebolt it’s advanced and simple at the same time. The worst thing about owning a Buell is going to Harley dealerships. I hope some day they will be allowed to sell them next to other sport bikes. Brian
  • I laugh when I read about how a “fun, lightweight thumper” is the dream of many motorcycling enthusiast. We will see if the highly-reviewed TU250X sets any sales records, or just becomes another Rebel 250 alternative. To hear anyone shed a tear for Mac Motorcycles is even funnier — never has a company whose designs are so beautiful been so obviously DOA.The Blast will still be available, just not under the HD or Buell brand. And good riddance. I had one, and there is no need to associate it with either company. It is a fine bike for what it is, but it is no sportbike, and Buell needs to focus on that core segment. The 1125 engine should give it the platform for a new-excuses liter bike, but styling and reliability missteps mean it has yet to set the world on fire. A ~650cc liquid cooled V-twin is probably on their radar somewhere, an engine that has worked well for other manufacturers. Buell needs to nail liquid-cooled sport bikes before it moves onto anything else. I think their air-cooled bikes are fantastic (have one) but that’s a small niche. The only 600cc thumper production sport bike I can think of is made by KTM. Have never seen one of those on the street in my area. Zanon
  • I certainly hope Buell replaces the blast. Here’s what I’d like to see: a new line of bikes built around one cylinder from the 1125 engine. Bump displacement to a full 600cc, or even 650cc. Give them fuel in the frame and a perimeter front brake, just like every other Buell. Make a supermoto, an enduro and a supermono. The enduro should be capable of carying hard cases and a passenger. Giver them high quality components like fully adjustable suspension. Not only would they make great starter bikes, but they would be engaging and entertaining enough for intermediate and expert riders. Oscar
  • I certainly hope Buell replaces the blast. Here’s what I’d like to see: a new line of bikes built around one cylinder from the 1125 engine. Bump displacement to a full 600cc, or even 650cc. Give them fuel in the frame and a perimeter front brake, just like every other Buell. Make a supermoto, an enduro and a supermono. The enduro should be capable of carying hard cases and a passenger. Giver them high quality components like fully adjustable suspension. Not only would they make great starter bikes, but they would be engaging and entertaining enough for intermediate and expert riders. Oscar
  • Great story. My wife wants to learn to ride. So we looked at beginners bikes like the Ninja 250 etc. My wife felt the most comfortable on the Blast. It’s upright sitting position, low center of gravity and user friendly torque make it a great beginners bike especially for women. Too bad it wasn’t marketed better towards women. K. Paul
  • Sad but true, Harley just doesn’t get it, not everyone wants to ride a cruiser. The Buell Blast could have been the thumper lover’s panacea, the entry level bike and the everyday rider many of us would like to ride. Unfortunately Harley and Buell just don’t see the light when it comes to appealing to anyone but their niche market of cruiser and non conventional standard bike riders. As evidenced by the Mac Motorcycle concept bikes there is alot of interest in single cylinder bikes, just not ones styled like the Blast. Leslie
  • I feel the same way about this as when I see a band smash their instruments.
    I’m not particularly into the Blast, or Buells for that matter, but I don’t
    care if you “have the technology” or the right to destroy your own property
    or whatever – it’s STILL A MOTORCYCLE. One that plenty of people ARE into
    and one that had a niche in the sadly small-bike-deprived USA. Tim
  • The responses from Buell and Harley are solid responses to defending and defining the core values of their brands. The Blast may indeed be a good bike and could sell in numbers, but to offer it with either the H-D or Buell brand attached dilutes the value of those brands. You don’t (or they don’t want you to) think simple, cheap single cylinder learner bike when you think of H-D or Buell.If there are good $$ to be made, or there is a good case that Blast newbies could lead to more future Buell or H-D owners, then most logical next step would be to re-launch the Blast under a completely new brand, and support it through the established H-D or Buell dealership network. Terry
  • I’m really sick of this story by now. Buell illustrates what’s wrong with the American motorcycle market at this point in time.
    What exactly is so bad about a simple, practical motorcycle with the emphasis of transportation rather than posing?
    Obviously Buell wants to focus on making his 1200cc bikes almost as fast as a 600cc import. Meanwhile his only distribution network, Harley Davidson dealerships are dropping the Buell line faster than you can crush Erik’s ego.
    The Buell company is rounding the curve of oblivion and heading for the straightaway of irrelevance. How much longer can The Motor Company’s shrinking margins continue to carry the dead weight? EZ
  • “Harley-Davidsons are V-Twins,” This statement made by Harley execs is not surprising but is in essence why I will most likely never buy a Harley. They certainly have their audience but their smugness shines through. Rick
  • What a freakin’ idiot. If HD wants a future they need to bring a simpler, cheaper bike to the table. I was just talking this morning to someone who would like to buy a beginners bike. He settled on a Rebel 250. Guess who makes that? Kevin
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