The Buell Blast will still be the training bike–but without the “Buell” part

Vstromer has news from the SMSA conference that contradicts Eric Buell’s video:

“Contrary to what the Eric Buell video might lead one to believe, the Blast will continue to be manufactured, continue to be used as a training bike in Rider’s Edge classes, and continue to be offered for sale at H-D/Buell dealerships. It will be badged as a Blast, not a Buell, not a Harley, just Blast. This information comes straight from Tim Becker’s mouth at the SMSA business meeting in Madison, WI, on Friday, 8/21/2009. Tim Becker is employed by H-D, and his title is Manager Rider’s Edge.”

Well, Vstromer, that’s interesting. The Blast–when it was a Buell–sold very badly. Over the past four years, the most Buell Blasts were shipped in 2006–but that was only 1,602 motorcycles. Last year, only 1,177 were shipped–26% less than in 2006. I don’t know how many sites Rider’s Edge has now, but I can’t imagine that they will need many bikes every year and I can only imagine the economies at the scale H-D will be operating at supplying only RE sites.

I find it interesting that rather than import a small MV Augusta that would be an ideal training bike, H-D is going to continue to use the Blast…

I also find it alarming that H-D made a conscious and deliberate decision to continue to use a motorcycle associated with so many more injury and fatal crashes than another other single motorcycle out there. I guess TPTB decided the economies of acceptable loss v. profit were worth it.

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8 Comments on “The Buell Blast will still be the training bike–but without the “Buell” part”

  1. CaptCrash Says:

    Here’s a question:

    Since the Blast is being moved to “training cycle you can buy if you MUST…” What are the odds that the factory ‘detunes’ the Blast for Riders Edge?

    My rationale: if they aren’t really figuring on selling any to the public AND are just making batches for dealers Riders Edge classes wouldn’t this be the ideal time to tweak it and make it more “learnercentric”?

  2. wmoon Says:

    CaptCrash: That’s not the way it works–there’s no percentage (i.e. profit) in putting any more effort into the Blast now that it’s been eliminated from marketability. It’s like the Honda Not-So SMARTrainer–Honda is unwilling to put any more money into making it a decent product because there’s no money in it.

  3. CaptCrash Says:

    Building it at all doesn’t seem to make a great deal of economic sense to me–why run the line for–what? 500 bikes a year? Or are they just selling the surplus from the last line run?

    So many wierd little questions pop up in my head. I can’t imagine keeping it around except for a ‘trainer’…I can’t imagine continuing to produce a training bike without making it a training bike…but then again I can’t imagine part of Motorcycle Training being a fashion show and showroom tour…

  4. gymnast Says:

    In my opinion, the legal department at HD has a hand in this decision. With cases pending, to drop the bike entirely would be fodder to convince a jury that the bike has “flaws” (such as the clutch actuation) and to modify the bike bike to “tame it” and perhaps improve clutch actuation through a “simple redesign” and perhaps “slug” the carb to limit slide travel would be almost an admission of it’s unsuitability as a traing bike for first time riders. It’s not a matter of improvements, it is a question of the suitability in the first place. I think the strategy of HD is to let the bike slowly fade away over the next year or so. After that it’s anyone’s guess as to what they will do. Hopefully they will be smarter about it in the furture than they have been in the past.

  5. wmoon Says:

    It seems logical–and I had wondered the same thing myself–but we’ll never know will we? If it’s true, H-D–to protect itself from a few lawsuits–will doom other students. It’s sickening.

  6. wmoon Says:

    Capt Crash–see Gymnast’s speculation for the reason why H-D would be willing to run the line for 500 bikes a year…


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  8. drago Says:

    I’ve ridden the buell blast. I’ll agree that there’s no reason to have a training bike that’s capable of pulling a small rider to 60 in about 6 seconds.
    But the brakes and clutch.. I don’t find them different than any other bikes.
    I’m not a blast fan, but mostly because its a harley and requires so much maintenance (and its far to small for me). IT sounds as if the description of how dangerous it is comes from a law suit.
    Remember… these are mostly harley riders. They are doing it for fashion. They aren’t motorsport enthusiasts… they aren’t getting their license test out of the course (like msf in some regions). These are the same people that go out and buy an 800 lb 1500cc $18000 motorcycle having never ridden any bike ever. ITs a prada bag to them.


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