Used on every Harley Davidson “Riders Edge” training course in the naughties (2000-2009) and beyond until the arrival of the new HD Street 500 & 750, the Blast is a sturdy little bike with a determination that may just make you smile.
The Specs (via Wikipedia.org):
|Manufacturer||Buell Motorcycle Company|
|Parent company||Harley-Davidson Inc.|
|Engine||492 cc air cooled OHV single|
|Power||34 bhp (25 kW) @ 6,500 rpm|
|Torque||30 ft·lbf (41 N·m) @ 6,500 rpm|
|Suspension||Front: telescopic fork
Rear: swingarm with single coil-over-shock unit.
|Tires||Front: 100/80-16M/CTL 50T
Rear: 120/80-16M/CTL 60T
|Rake, trail||25.0° / 3.4 in (86 mm)|
|Wheelbase||55.0 in (1,400 mm)|
|Dimensions||L: 77.8 in (1,980 mm)
W: 29.3 in (740 mm)
|Seat height||Standard: 27.5 in (700 mm)
Low profile: 25.5 in (650 mm)
|Weight||360 lb (163 kg) (dry)
399 lb (181 kg) (wet)
|Fuel capacity||2.80 US gal (10.6 l; 2.33 imp gal)|
|Oil capacity||2.0 US qt (1,900 ml)|
|Fuel consumption||64 miles per US gallon (3.7 L/100 km; 77 mpg-imp)|
The Case For The Blast:
Praised for its friendliness for beginner riders and reviled by Eric Buell himself, the Blast occupies a bizarre little niche in the beginner rider scene. Tough as nails, the Buell can take a beating and keep on running. Generally chosen (at the time it came out) by beginning riders for being the only other American bike available aside from the Sportster offered by Buell’s parent company, Harley Davidson. Often the “gateway drug” bike for the rest of the Buell line of American sport bikes, the Blast is a rough-and-tumble starter with no apologies.
Some people criticize the bike for its “built down to a price” feeling, but for what you’re paying for it, it’s remarkably good for beginner riders because it can take the ham-fisted inputs of complete novices and somehow still manage to make the rider look good. I’ve personally sat on one and found it to feel tiny beneath me, and that seems to be a general feeling of most average-sized American male riders. It shakes, vibrates, rattles, and putters around town without any real drama, however it does lack the style and flair of most other beginner bikes, but for what it is, it’s not too bad at all.
Despite the love/hate relationship most people have with this bike, it holds its value quite well, generally staying between $1,500 to $2,000 for one in good condition, with battered examples going for much less. There’s a host of recommended modifications to help civilize the bike a bit more, like a Buell intake breather, altering the stock exhaust, beefing up the suspension, and a host of other mods that are recommended for optimum performance or rider enjoyment.
The Blast really is a case of “it is what you make of it”. If you treat it badly, try to repaint the polymer plastics (don’t do this, paint won’t stick very well to it; buy alternate colored plastics), fail to maintain it, or in general treat it like crap, you’re going to have a bad experience with it. If you accept its limitations, treat it nicely, and take care of it, it will last you a very long time indeed.
It’s a Loveable Little Oddball:
I personally like the Blast. Though it feels tiny beneath me, I like what it’s trying to be: a no-frills beginner bike made in America. It’s not perfect, true, but put it against some of the other competing bikes and it will definitely surprise you.