Buell Blast Review

The Buell Blast is a very good beginner motorcycle, although it is a tad basic compared to other bikes in it's class. Buell is a branch of the Harley Davidson company that makes sport bikes instead of cruisers. People are very passionate about the type of motorcycle they like, usually they either love sports bikes, or they love Harleys. That makes the Buell family of bikes something of an odd duck in the two wheeled world. So how does it measure up when compared to the likes of Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki or Yamaha?

Well before we dive into the review itself we should get the specifications out of the way. The Buell blast is powered by single cylinder, 4-stroke, 492cc (30.02 cubic inches) engine and it produced about 34 horsepower. This makes it less powerful than either the Suzuki GS500 (44 bhp) or the Kawasaki Ninja 500 (52 bhp), even if it happens to be lighter than the two of them. The low power and the light weight of the Blast makes it a good middleman between the Ninja 250 and the Ninja 500. The controls of this motorcycle feel very basic however. Like most cruiser style motorbikes there is no tachometer included in the instrument cluster, just a speedometer. Therefore you will have to guess by engine sound what RPM your motorcycle is doing, and trust yourself not to take it past the invisible red line. The transmission on the motorcycle also feels much more clunky compared to it's Japanese competitors, although you won't have any trouble finding neutral with this bike. Buell's generally are hit or miss when it comes to reliability, and the blast is definitely no exception. Some riders claim they never had any problems with the Blast, while others have spent more time wrenching on the bike than actually riding it. Overall the Buell Blast isn't the best motorcycle, but it is a pretty good motorcycle and can be very fun in the curves because of the it's nimbleness. Pros:

  • Lightweight and nimble.
  • Less powerful than other 500cc bikes, but more powerful than a 250cc motorcycle.

Cons:

  • Hit or miss reliability.
  • Clunky transmission.
  • No tachometer.

Specs:

  • Displacement: 492.00 ccm (30.02 cubic inches)
  • Engine type: Single cylinder
  • Stroke: 4
  • Power: 34.00 HP (24.8 kW)) @ 7500 RPM
  • Torque: 40.68 Nm (4.1 kgf-m or 30.0 ft.lbs) @ 3200 RPM
  • Starter: Electric
  • Cooling system: Air
  • Gearbox: 5-speed
  • Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
  • Fuel capacity: 2.80 gallons
  • Power/weight ratio: 0.2082 HP/kg
  • Dry weight: 360.0 pounds

Comments

It's a completely different animal. I mean the styling and engineering of the thing is very nice and it should make a nice in-town bike with minimal headaches and maintainance, but as far as performance goes the Ninja 250 will spank the Blast.

It's probably a bit more friendlier.. I expect the low-end torque would help make gear changes easy and such. The thing is is that the Ninja can rev so high that it'll stay in a lower gear far longer then the Blast can and thus the Blast dramaticly looses on any torque advantage. I don't know the final gear ratio difference between them.. but when the Blast is lost it's breath at 8000+ rpm the Ninja 250 is just getting warmed up! In other words the Ninja 250 in at higher RPMs in 2nd gear is going to have much better acceleration then the Blast in 3rd.

I suppose the final educated guess on my part (considuring I've ridden neither) is the Blast low-end torque is going to help ridability and performance in lower city traffic situations while the Ninja 250 is going to have a lot more advantage in the 'fun' parts of the drive with better acceleration and handling. Maybe the Blast is more 'urban' and the Ninja 250 is more 'country'?

This is reflected in their respected performance...
It's hard to find timeslips for Buell Blast, but it seems to be (in mph)
0-60 in 7.1 sec
15.75 s @ 85 mph in the 1/4 mile

vs Ninja 250:
0-60 in 5.75 sec
14.6 s @ 88 mph

Although it's obvious from the quarter mile that they both loose effective acceleration around 80mph. It's just he Ninja is a lot quicker at getting to it.

I realy like the Blast though, the design of it is can almost be described as 'minimalist post-modern'. The way the exhaust is setup is just a work of art. However, for it to be a sports bike on par to the Ninja or other Japanese bikes it's going to have to loose the HD hardware, unfortunately. That and probably drop the rubber band and go to chain (which is a lot more efficient; a important thing for these low-displacement bikes even though the trade off is higher maintainance)

(Either that or convince HD to get into gear and start producing modern powerplants and transmissions)

Could you imagine the light-weight and modern Buell chassis mated up to a more modern, more lightweight power plant like what is used in the Hyosung Gt250? Your looking a 300-325 pound bike with a 600cc-like punch. Now THAT would be something to write home about. :)

(Of course then it wouldn't be such a great beginner bike.)

Ninja 250 with 5.75 0-60???

Cycle world just reviewed this bike this month, and the stats for the Ninja 250r were:

Price $3499
Dry weight 352 lb.
Wheelbase 54.9 in.
Seat height 31.0 in.
Fuel mileage 60 mpg
0-60 mph 7.6 sec.
1/4-mile 15.54 sec. @ 82.70 mph
Horsepower 27.2 hp @ 10,770 rpm
Torque 14.3 ft.-lb. @ 9650 rpm
Top speed 96 mph

http://www.cycleworld.com/article.asp?section_id=3&article_id=816

It gets a glowing review there...for a 250. It would seem that if you want performance below 6 seconds. you need to get a 650.

I was hoping for some objective criticism from people who'd actually ridden the bike...oh well.

Maybe not on the newer ones 2007+, but i learned on a Blast and that thing shakes like a leaf under ___ rpm. I couldn't tell you cause they don't include a tach. The review is spot on about the gears. Drop it from Neutral to 1st without holding the brake and you practically jump forward. It's a fun bike but i'd take the new 250R any day.

On September 30th, 2008 Guest (not verified) says:
Maybe not on the newer ones 2007+, but i learned on a Blast and that thing shakes like a leaf under ___ rpm. <<<<< its a THUMPER. It idles on 1 cylinder.. its only cylinder. Nothing balancing it. Same as any other thumper.

I couldn't tell you cause they don't include a tach.<<<<<<<

My girlfriend and I have one of each in the garage. She has the Ninja 250, I have the Blast. We've been riding for a season.

The Blast has a lot of grunt, off the line. The power is delivered in a relatively linear fashion and the exhaust sounds great. Not enough for a power wheelie though - which I suspect is a GOOD thing as a beginning rider. Ripping around downtown, the bike is loud enough to make heads turn, babies, cry and scooter riders tremble. It really does sound great. It generally sounds angry. It's faster than the Ninja 250 without question. It's sporty, but not as 'racy' as the Ninja. It's hard to curl up into the Blast like you can on the Ninja, but the Blast lets you throw the bike around like it’s a toy. The Blast is certainly more stable at low speeds. During rush hour traffic, you can just play with the clultch a move along at a pace slower than a walk quite easily. I ride the Buell comfortably at around 105-110 km's per hour in the slow lane on the highway when conditions allow. The bike feels comfortable in that range and is fine for longer distance riding (250 k's no problem)

The Buell does have a VERY clunky gearbox, which humours me at times. When shifting from neutral to first at a stoplight, people at bus stops will look over to investigate what that loud 'clunk' was. Little do they know it was the tranny of the bike. The Ninja is VERY snick snick as far as the gearbox goes. The Buell also shakes in a way I found hard to believe. Seriously - DO NOT RIDE IT IF YOU HAVE A HEADACHE. When the bike is on the side kickstand and is idling during warmup, you can watch it move backwards about 6 inches or so over the course of 2 minutes idling, leaving a long scrape on the ground from it's movement. They don't call it a thumper for nothing.

The automatic choke is a nice feature on the Buell. You just start and let it sort itself out. No embarrassing racing engine during warm-up. The Ninja takes quite awhile to warm up. I'm ready to ride and the girl is still mucking about with the choke. Her bike has a tach - which is AWESOME. Mine..does not. You get to know the bike and feel where the engine is - ie when to change etc.. but a tach is in my mind pretty important on all manual transmission vehicles The lack of tach bewilders me. Anyways...

Driving the Ninja around is a definite treat. Once you get those revs up, it's like something opens up and the bike begins to scream. At that point - I admit - heads will turn, babies will cry and scooter riders will tremble. The bike is very lackluster up until around 8000 rpm's however. You have to remember though - that running the bike in high RPM's (14,000 redline) probably isn't a great idea - it's a 250 - you don't want to overdo the engine. My girl can keep up at times when her revs are in the zone and we’re getting on it from a constant pace. But she'll never take me off the line and catch me it I keep the gas pinned. Her bike cruises along nicely at 105 as well, as it has a six speed gearbox compare the Buell's five. I have to say, that Ninja is a beautiful machine. When you’re in that zone it goes…FAST. When you’re puttering along the exhaust note isn’t noteworthy. The bike has taken abuse well. The girl dropped it 3 times during the learning process at walking speeds, and other than a few scratches – it’s unaffected. I would highly recommend it for someone of short stature. She is 5’0 and 105 – and she looks fantastic on it. She has a lowered seat and we were lucky to purchase the bike for her from a mechanic who had bought it for his daughter who has since upgraded. The bike is s 2000, with about 35,000 km’s on it. She paid $2,300. My Buell is a 2005, with 3,600 km’s on it. I picked it up for $2000 from a rider training course getting rid of their fleet. It’s virtually brand new. No scratches – perfect condition. I don’t know how I scored such a great deal.

Overall - the bikes are both great and it really depends on you. I mean, I bought the Buell over a Ninja 250 or 500 - but that's just because I like the Buell brand, sound and package. It's more of a 'raw' bike than the refined Ninja line. Honestly - don't worry about which one is faster - it really doesn't matter. Riding isn't about 5 horsepower more or less when we’re at this stage or riding. Remember These are small bikes. They aren't status symbols - they're personality symbols. All it takes is a rider on a 600 at a quarter throttle and we're dust in the wind folks! Just buy what you like don’t worry about what other people think. Both bikes are fine for highway, around town and for conserving fuel. Ride safely! Joe

yea.. wow..

other than the last couple sentences.. (which are OT) why bother.

you're writing a review comparing the buell blast against the kawasaki ninja 250, and you've "ridden neither"???!!

The Buell Blast will spank a Ninja 250 all day in every way - you have to wring the 250 out to keep up with the Blast - and sooner than later that 250 will crap out being maxed out constantly to keep up - seen it time and time again. - lol -
EZ

The Buell Blast will spank a Ninja 250 all day in every way - you have to wring the 250 out to keep up with the Blast - and sooner than later that 250 will crap out being maxed out constantly to keep up - seen it time and time again. - lol -
EZ

The 250 ninja will get to 70 quicker but the buzzing will numb you in an hour or less ( done it) . The Blast hopes around @ low RPM but get pertty smooth @ mid RPM , which it can do 70 MPH in 4th gear. I just wise the Blast had a lower ratio on 1st gear, the motor is lugging at 7 MPH and is hard to get going if your at an uphill stop. That is harder for new riders. I use the 250 to teach start and stops, but the Blast is a better highway bike. Sory about the spelling. LoL. Also, the 250 has issues with its suspention, the bike is not so good on 60 MPH sharp curves, it wiggles. The Blast will ride 2 up at 70 MPH and corner like a pro. Life it good.

I'm a 250 rider and I have not ridden a blast. But, I can just say that you must have ridden a lemon. I rode my 250 on a 3400 mile trip in 8 days and spent much much more than an hour at 75 or 80 mph (freeway) and never had a problem with vibration near the point of fatigue. Also, the bike is a cornering machine, even at high speeds. The suspension is just fine. The only problem is if you keep the crappy stock tires that it comes with. That is where the slope in the lean comes in. With different tires, I impressed a group of buell riders (one of them having an 1125R) with how I could keep up with them while we blazed country windys at 70+ with our knees on the ground. I have nothing to say one way or the other about the blast, other than the fact that it looks like a bike for chicks with dicks. But I love my 250. So much so that I will be keeping it after I pick up a 1098 next month.

Wow... a manly man. If you want to ride a sport bike, get on a bike with an engine. As far as high speeds through the curves, how would you know? a 250 ninja will barely go fast enough to get a speeding ticket!

you're a squidiot.
By your logic.. i guess the only cars worth driving would be ferrari enzos or formula one. The world in its carollas, scions, and civics are all doing something wrong. How stupid of them.. getting back and forth comfortably and efficiently.

turns out that people ride for all different reasons. Not just to be a macho jerk.

" the motor is lugging at 7 MPH and is hard to get going if your at an uphill stop. "
No .. its not. Its called throttle.. twist it.

Im trying to decide between a ninja 250 or a buell blast as a 1st bike. My only concern is stability at low speeds. I dont want anything that is "top-heavy" I rode an 81 Kawasaki 440 a couple times and every time I stopped it fell over. It was under 400lb so im thinking design has more to do with it than weight. I had no problem with the bikes in the basic rider class and I've seen little girls ride bikes B4 so I know its possible. any suggestions?? thanks
Trish

There have been a loooooooooot of improvements in design and technology since 81 ;)

A girl that goes to my school rides a buell blast and she makes it look easy. Both the ninja and blast sit relatively low to the ground which helps the overall center of gravity. I think either one would be fine since you did well with the ones in the class (this suggest that you can actually BALANCE, because I had someone in my class that didnt even know how to ride a bicycle). Like I said, either one is beginner friendly. But I'm partial to ninjas ;)

A good thing to do would be to sit on both of them and test out the ergonomics as they pertain to you.

Hope that helped and good luck!

I have a 2001 Buell Blast and the speedometer stopped working recently. I have seen online that it is pretty common for this to happen, and there might be a quick fix rather than replacing the whole thing, Something about a sensor? Does anyone know what I can do? or where the sensor is?

Thanks-

never heard of that...
in the back of the tranny.

I have a 2003 Blast that I bought new and so far it has been reliable. I usually just ride it back and forth from work. I don't like to ride for more than 30 minutes because my butt starts to hurt. I've put 5000 miles on it so far.

My only complaint is the dealership. I got it at a Harley Davidson dealership about 2 miles from my house. I bought an extended warranty for $500, and shortly afterward, this dealership stopped selling and servicing Buells. I can't even get them to change the oil or replace a turn signal cover. Nothing. I think they should service what they sell or at least refund what I paid for the extended warranty.

I'm almost positive that, by law, they have to either:
A) Return your money
B) Hold their end of the deal up
or
C) Show you were you can get it fixed under your warranty

They cannot offer you a warranty, then stop servicing the bikes, that's extremely unethical. Firstly do some research and find out what you have here.

Be easy.

The blast is an awesome beginning bike, it is a quick 500 ccs, and I have an 07 and the dealership told me that it has 48 hp, and it feels like it. It does lose some power between 60-70mph in 5th gear, but an after market exhaust makes up for it. Then add some more aftermarkey parts(header etc) and then take it to some twisties, and you can run against a 750 ninja and blast it(no pun intended haha). The blast has just so much more control and stability that its really no competition in that situation. Its not hard to get a blast running at 700 ccs with some extra money, and they are so cheap comparatively that putting more money into it is not that big of a deal.

As I am just getting started motoring and don't know much about it I am a little surprised to see this bike hasn't generated a little more buzz/traffic as a beginner bike. Even this review (when compared with the other reviews on the site) is pretty brief and not nearly as comprehensive.

I have often wondered about H-D reliability, quality, and service. Seems like they have such a strong brand and can sell bikes based on that alone that maybe their reliability leaves something to be desired. Guess I will have to hunt around for some more info on this bike before I rule it out or in for sure.

Eric

Not sure about the comparison between the Ninja 250, but I've put about 2000 miles on my Blast so far and haven't had any complaints with power at all. The highway speed limit only gets up 65 on my commutes with it, and I now that the Blast does fine for me cruising at 65-70. If I had a 250 of any kind, I would get nervous of riding at that speed on a daily commute basis. An apples to apples comparison would be to ride both at the most common speed you would be using it for and see how much of an effort each bike has to put out.

One comparison I made when looking at bikes was price vs. power vs. gas mileage. I bought my 2003 Blast used for $2400 and regularly get 65 to the gallon. I commute 40 miles round-trip per week day and only put $5-7 at each fill-up twice a week. The only thing I could find that compared to that was a 250 or under, so, for the price, I chose the more soupy Blast.

The Blast has been appropriately named as a blast to ride, but I can see outgrowing it soon in that I want to travel with my bike as well as just commute. The Blast does fine on short trips, but the vibration does get a bit much after a while. My current plan, if money allows, is to keep the Blast for commuting (power and gas mileage) and get a bigger bike for traveling with.

Downfalls to the Blast would be what you might typically read on other reviews...a clunky transmission and very short friction zone.

i'm thinking about getting a buell blast. what about cost of maintaining the blast? oil changes? is it pretty costly? also, is the vibration only at certain speeds or is it pretty constant regardless of what speeds you're at?

The maintenance is pretty inexpensive on mine, but I've heard that they can be either good or bad with the Blasts. Some Blast owners have no troubles ( www.whereismaggiemae.com ) and others have total lemons. I think it has something to do with whether the bike was properly broken in or not. They can't be ridden hard at all during break-in (first thousand miles) or leaks will happen and that screws up lubrication which screws up everything afterwards. Maggie Mae has put over 51,000 miles on her Blast now, though, with very little maintenance. She's like a walking Buell Blast ad. :o)

update on maggie. Her blast blew up.

I don't know what went wrong. Sounds like a rocker came loose or something.

There are 2 or 3 things that MUST be checked. I bet maggie let her front engine isolator go out and broke her head or something. They also start acting up when the carb coupler fails (every few years)

Is Maggie alright?

I'm a female, 5'5", approximately 125 lbs. We females have such limited options! Grrr... I'm deciding between the ninja 250 or the Buell Blast. I would mainly be using it for commuting approximately 15 miles on the freeway. I've read reviews about the bad vibrations on the Buell but I've also read some scary stories about the windblasts on a 250 going down the freeway. Any help? I need to decide ASAP because one of the dealerships here just got a 250 available because someone's financing fell thru.

Dual posting == bad...

http://www.bestbeginnermotorcycles.com/2008-kawasaki-ninja-250-review-pa...

---
If there's anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now...

--- AFM #998 If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now...

Sorry... I'm trying to get perspectives from both sides!

The vibration on the Buell Blast is only bad at low RPMs. Once at speed on the highway, things are fine. The mirrors are pretty blurry sitting at the intersections though...LOL.

I don't care much for the freeway on my Blast because the weight is just not there for the wind gusts to not shove around, but I would imagine neither the Ninja or the Blast would be good there. One of my coworkers rides a Ninja 500 and he has a problem on the freeway with his legs wanting to fly out on him. I don't have that problem on the Blast, but any light bike will move around with side winds.

For cruising down the highways, the Blast does fine with me. I get wiffed by the trucks as they pass by, but that would be due to the upright riding position of the Blast. The Ninja probably does better in that regard. I would definitely say ride both of them before deciding on either though. I would also ride the Ninja 500 though for a better comparison. A 250 works harder at high speeds than any 500 will, single or twin.

yea.. wind blasts are always a thing. I ride a 1000cc bike. Wind blasts.. wooo.. big woop.

Ever drive an suv or RV in a cross wind. Same thing.

People are scared.. and also want their wives to "sign off" on that bigger bike. I had a 130 lb kid tell me he was selling his blast because it wouldn't do highway speeds .. ergo he needed a cbr600rr. I picked up a blast for my wife. I weigh over 200 lbs. It'll get to 70 toot sweet. It is less prone to wind movement than my 1000 cc bike due to its aerodynamics. Its much lower..

Dual sport bikes of any size get wind issues due to high fenders.. fully faired bikes get wind issues do to giant cross section.

Its not a thing.. don't worry about it. You'll feel the bike following the cracks in the pavement and slithering over steel deck bridges much more.

"I have both
On April 3rd, 2008 Bil (not verified) says:
The 250 ninja will get to 70 quicker but the buzzing will numb you in an hour or less ( done it) . The Blast hopes around @
low RPM but get pertty smooth @ mid RPM , which it can do 70 MPH in 4th gear. I just wise the Blast had a lower ratio on 1st
gear, the motor is lugging at 7 MPH and is hard to get going if your at an uphill stop. That is harder for new riders. I use the
250 to teach start and stops, but the Blast is a better highway bike. Sory about the spelling. LoL. Also, the 250 has issues
with its suspention, the bike is not so good on 60 MPH sharp curves, it wiggles. The Blast will ride 2 up at 70 MPH and
corner like a pro. Life it good."

I too have both and my 250 wiggles when cornering hard. Although I recommend a larger bike, both bikes become quickly boring.

I own a 2008 Ninja 250, and a good friend of mine has a Blast, not sure of the year. We ride together alot and i must say the 250 is faster. The blast is a good starter bike, that is what i started on actually. The Blast is more like a cruiser than a sportbike, very comfortable and a blast to ride. Pardon the pun.

cruiser? with a 24 degree rake? yea....

As he explained dumbass, it feels more like cruiser than a sportbike. Probably because it's easy to ride, has a 30.7 in. seat height and a relatively upright posture, and it doesn't go from 0-60 in under 4 seconds while in 1st gear. Unlike sport bikes, which go very fast, very quickly and has the fuck me up the ass school of riding.

Have you all given a thought to the Suzuki S40 Boulevard? It is a great beginners bike that started as a Suzuki Savage 650 back in, I believe, 1985 or so. My wife went from a Honda 250 Rebel (another great starter bike) to the S40. I have ridden the Blast and the 250 Ninja, both are good bikes that have different characteristics. The old saying that no bike is the perfect bike will always hold true since no human is the same. A 6'5", 400 pound "Bubba" would not fit on these beginner bikes even if he is a beginning rider. So, test them all and decide what is right for you.
What is the "prefect" starter bike? The one that makes you go out to the garage at night and look at it to make sure it is still there for your morning ride!

I love it:
What is the "prefect" starter bike? The one that makes you go out to the garage at night and look at it to make sure it is still there for your morning ride!
I'm trying to decide now......that new 2009 Vulcan 500 would be fun to visit in the garage, but a used one (kind of hard to find) would leave more cash to visit in my bank account!

I would say go ahead and buy a NEW "starter bike" saves the rest of us from having to make that horrible stupid stupid stupid ...
mistake.
Why buy a shiny bike you're going to drop NEW. If I could keep an 80s 250 nighthawk around to teach my friends I would. Its indestructible. Hammer the pegs straight and get back on.

Buy your shiny bike new. I'll buy it off you for 200 bucks in 3 months.

THE BEST starter bike is the one in craigslist that runs.

Best starter bike? I loved the KLr600/650. Takes a lickin.. Good for those of us over 6 foot. I fall down on the blast. can;t get my foot off the peg fast enough. Too small.

heck.. the klr650 has almost the exact same power to weight ratio and does highway a bit easier.

A co-worker wants a motorcycle and my Kawasaki Ninja 250 is too high for her(she is 5'3"). What is the seat height for the Buell Blast?

~25" with the low seat. It squishes a bit once you sit on it. Depends on your leg to torso ratio etc what is good for whom. But 5'3" could probably appreciate the low seat but make it on the regular seat comfortably. Again.. hip width.. leg length.. all being random.

Hello, I was just wondering.... I am about 4'10 and I really like bikes and I am looking into getting one. Which one would be the best for my limited height??

the only one you could even HOPE to straddle would be the blast with a low seat. My wife at 5 even can BARELY flat foot.

The honda rebel would be another option. Or 250 nighthawk or the virago. The ninja is the wrong shape for you.

While I am still in the process of breaking the Buell in, I have gotten as fast as 60 mph, and the bike is awesome!

I have been passed several times by big trucks and trailers and it does wind side swipe you a little, you just have to prepare and manuever over a little to avoid stronger gusts while riding. The wind blasts while riding at 60mph does tend to get sorta difficult and uneasy to control, but its like everything, it just takes some getting used to.

The only problem I have been having is on starting and going. After warming up the bike and getting ready to shift from Nuetral to first gear, I sometimes have a hard time getting it into first gear, like it doesnt want to go into first for some reason. I did read the manual about disengaging the clutch and moving the bike forward and back several times and then putting it in first gear, but to tell you the truth, it doesnt always work.

I was wondering is it bad to keep pressing down into first with the clutch full disengaged till it goes in?, because if it is bad, I dont want to damage the gear shifting mechanism. I did contact my local Harley Davidson dealer and they told me it was part of breaking the bike in, but by now I would have figured it would have stopped doing that by now.

If anyone is having this paticular problem with their New Buell Blast, please let me know and if this problem can get fixed, please let me know too, thanks.

Other then that the Buell is one of the best motorcycles you can buy for commuting and joy riding within a 200 to 300 miles distance, until your butt starts to feel weird(LOL).

I havent riden the Buell very far yet, and have not tested it on the Highway yet due to safety, but eventually will take the next step and try it out on the interstate with other riders.

Another thing I noticed was how loud the bike is still after the engine has warmed up, is that normal or is my timing off on the bike.

In all I am very happy with my New Buell, and highly recommend it to new riders.

-Chuck

The Buell has:

1) A long lasting Kevlar belt drive that doesn't need adjustment or lubrication. Also, no need to replace sprockets like on a chain.
2) Cast wheels. That means no inner tube like spoked wheels and much easier to plug in with a simple kit if you get a flat in the middle of nowhere.
3) "The valvetrain utilizes self-adjusting hydraulic lifters that eliminate any need for mechanical tuning". NO NEED TO PAY FOR ADJUSTMENT!
4) "The carb eliminates both cold-starting woes and the need for a choke knob." NO CHOKE!
5) "The bodywork is made from Surlyn, the same stuff used on the outside of golf balls. So if you whack your Blast with a 7-iron or tip it over, it will come up smiling. "

For about $176, you can get a Vance & Hines exhaust for your Blast that will increase power by 4.5 HP, a 13% increase. This also means a higher top speed. http://www.sportdemon.com/product.asp?item=196443 Also, a K&N filter ($50) and a jet kit ($80) adds a couple more horses and voila! you are near 40HP.

On the lower price end, NO OTHER BIKE, I REPEAT NO OTHER BIKE offers such low maintenance. You got chains on the rest, you have to adjust valves and lube chains AND cruisers have spokes...Enough said....

"1) A long lasting Kevlar belt drive that doesn't need adjustment or lubrication."

It has an auto adjuster. But, that can break down and you should still check adjustments. Plus, a belt can be cut quite easily.

------------

"2) Cast wheels. That means no inner tube like spoked wheels and much easier to plug in with a simple kit if you get a flat in the middle of nowhere."

Cast wheels have nothing to do with inner tubes in tires. You must be referring to "TUBELESS TIRES", which retain air without inner tubes. Like every motorcycle ever made since 1985 has had. Well, all Japanese and British bikes that is.

-----------

3) "The valvetrain utilizes self-adjusting hydraulic lifters that eliminate any need for mechanical tuning". NO NEED TO PAY FOR ADJUSTMENT!

Like the Honda Shadow line. From 1983...

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4) "The carb eliminates both cold-starting woes and the need for a choke knob." NO CHOKE!

It has a choke. It's an auto-choke. But, it has one.

-----------

"On the lower price end, NO OTHER BIKE, I REPEAT NO OTHER BIKE offers such low maintenance. You got chains on the rest, you have to adjust valves and lube chains AND cruisers have spokes...Enough said...."

The Buell Blast is notorious for UNRELIABILITY. Oil leaks anyone? Engines dying. Cheap make. Check online if you think I'm kidding or lying about the Blast being totally unreliable. Not sure if Buell has made more recent years more reliable or not.

The Ninja 250 and Ninja 500 are legendary for reliability. The Honda Shadow 750 is also legendary and has hydraulic lifters and even has a shaft drive. Talk about no maintenance. Just change the shaft drive oil at the same time as the motor oil and it will last forever. And it can't be cut.

The Suzuki S40 is also bulletproof and offers similar power, fuel economy, lower seat height, cheap price, and legendary Suzuki reliability.

'Nuff said.

Americans make shit quality bikes and shit quality cars. That's why they have needed to be protected by tariffs in the 80s and 90s and have had to be bailed out by the government twice now.

They've gotten to be similar quality to the Europeans, but they still lag far behind the Japanese.

Ben needs to do a comparision of the latest available beginner bikes - like Ninja 250 vs Buell Blast vs ..... vs ......

I would worship this site after that!

what! a 750 ninja??? when did this happen

oh just found one...cool!

15.54 quarter mile?? Who was riding the bike??? Are you kidding me and not cornering well. I have over 5000 on my 2008 and its been on the track 14.6 stock and it handles great in the corners even with stock tires. And the syling looks 10 times better. Yes wind gusts can be bad but isnt it like that on all sport bikes you dont have much to protect you from it. I have never experienced a problem with vibration or taking off you just have to know how to ride the bike. Not to mention supposively the bike gets 50 mpg?? No way I've seen 65 just like the buell blast with almost a 4.5 gal tank compared to a 2 gal tank. Not to mention another $1000 or $1500 for a bike with bigger displacement sounds like a joke to me when you can spend $3500 on a 250 and get a much better looking bike.

what the hell is a suposivly?

Wow.. some people ought not review if they have no clue. ( though i have a clue.. I don't have an outline.. sorry)

I'm a 20 year bike veteran and my wife is about 2 years into it and short. So i've had the chance to putt around on both of these bikes. I am not talking about the NEW 250 ninja. The old 250ex. I have not ridden the new one.. but mostly relates anyway.
I personally do not like either of them, they're built cheaply... But if I had to ride one, it'd be the BLAST. If I had to MAINTAIN one It'd be the ninja. The blast has failed me several times. No big deal. But if you're into having other people do what you should be doing. It'll cost you a pretty penny... Harley charges about 30-50% more than other dealers (in my limited experience locally, only fools pay fools to do their work for them). Motor mounts, carb couplers, carb cleaning and such..

The ninja will run for EVER... BUT.. It won't pull me down the road without wringing the hell out of it. I have to wind out every gear to get me to highway speed. I don't mean quickly.. I mean get there. But at the same time, I will definitely give it kudos. Its one of the rare vehicles you can drive to its limits and be within the limits of the law. The road's your race course. Ride it on the edge, its fun. Like ragging out a honda civic. Its about momentum, line, and engine management. Pretty darn exciting.
The buell thumps along at 70 and feels like it could go much faster. In reality it cant, but it feels comfortable at 70 and though performs very nimbly doesn't quite capture the racey feel of the ninja.. though it could probably out perform it in any circumstances. Sitting so upright doesn't make it FEEL racy

Vibration is vibration. This is an argument that goes on all day amongst bike riders. Some hate the thump of a single or twin. Some hate the high speed vibes of a high reving 4 cylinder. I don't like having to check my tachometer to see if the bike is running. I like it to let me know. I like the gentle massage of a twin (or thumper). When you read about people complaining about their buell's vibration read "I lug my engine and shift too much" Let it run up the gears. Its not happy unless its well into 3k rpm or above. Blast owners claim the bikes get better mileage at middle rpms anyway. All that vibration is, after all, wasted energy.

I ONLY ride big twins and thumpers (no harleys... too many a-holes on harleys.. I do own a big buell though) I owned a few 4 cylinder yammies and hondas, but i really don't like that high speed vibration you get cruising at 7-10k rpm. It makes my eyes blur and my wrists hurt. I don't like the sound or the way the power applies. Its totally a personal preference. If anyone asked me what the BEST bike on the road is. I'd immediately say Yamaha (probably an fz6s if someone were to ask what was the best all around anything bike). "but you don't ride a yamaha"... well the best bike out there isn't for me. SO, in my eyes, the 250 is a buzz bomb. Don't like it, neither does my wife (ergo the blast).

The buell with its plastic plate hanger with turn-signals mounted to- transmits a LOT of visible shake. Tune the idle to where you want it or live with it. Its smooth as glass above a few grand. Much smoother than the 250 ninja. But its a matter of taste there.

The blast can be made much shorter than the ninja.... all you dwarves out there....

BOTH bikes have horrible suspensions. They are meant for small riders. If you are not a small rider.. they will bottom out and squirm.

That being said. If you are small. the buell seems more flickable. It feels like a mountain bike really. I play manhole slalom with it and it scoots through the mountains like the ninja wishes it could.

They are a 6 of 1- half dozen of the other type scenario. Both are worth a handful of your own feces after a couple years. Both would be fun and reasonable for decades to the right (smaller) rider.

All that being said. If you can swing your leg over one. Buy a dual sport in the 250-650 range. They are all built better than either of these bikes and handle falling over thousands of times better than the ninja and about the same as the blast. They also open up trail riding and frankly.. are in style now. A suzuki 400 dual sport or SM is a good middle weight. Klr650 is the king ..If you have the cash. A bmw is insanely awesome (for a while till the shine wears off).

THere are good bikes and bad bikes. But the good majority of them are the same when you take away personal preference.
I've gotten around on a 250 super sherpa and an r1200r... doing the same ride in the same way.

Don't let anyone ever tell you that small bikes are for beginners and big bikes are for experienced riders. You are likely as macho as you will ever be on DAY 1. Its not the bike.. its you. Bigger means heavier and SOMETIMES faster. Not really anything more. Small is fun. Big gets worse gas mileage. Almost any bike is as fast as the average passenger car or faster.
Big bikes are heavy. So if you buy a big bike first. Make sure you're ready to drop it in your driveway. otherwise.. knock yourself out. a 1200 cc sportster is about 2/3 the power of a 600 honda.. so.. plan accordingly.

I like the look of the blast and what I hear about it being a good beginner bike
But I m worried i might be a bit too tall for the blast as i am 6' 0"
would I be uncomfortable to the point i should not look into this bike at all?
or is there even a way to like adjust the suspension or something to make the bike a little more manageable?

Well, i have test ridden both bikes. the virbration from the ninja at high speeds is insane. The buell is the exact opposite, casuing my whole body to vibrate at idle. Its a loose loose situtation here. The blast deffinatly gets more stares and comments than the ninja does. I actually got laughed at on the test ride of the ninja by two girls in a Miata. Kinda ruined my life. I got asked about 15 questions just on the test ride of the buell. I test rode theese bikes over the summer. I ended up purchasing a GZ250 (way to damn slow) from Suzuki. But i will be getting my buell Blast in April or May.

Both of these bikes brought me to 100MPH. The buell was a little quicker off the line, but when you get a littler higher speeds the ninja will slowly pull away. Both handle really well, i like the buell with a little more umph through the corners. these bikes are NOT high way cruisers! if your buying these bikes to be a big "badass". Don't. Prepared to get laughed at no matter which bike you are on. Both bikes are slow compared to others. They will carry a passanger but dont expect to fly through town or on the high way on with a chick on the back.

Both get good mileage around 65MPG. The buell is a little more user friendly, With its ease of oil changes and self adjusting valves. The new ninja is a very good looking bike don't get me wrong the full fairing design is gorgeous. If its a 1st time bike buyer. Buy the buell, face it you will drop your bike. Don't say you wont because we all know you will drop it. I said i wouldnt drop mine and the day i got mine i cracked the right fairing. The blast isnt a full fairing bike making it less prone to cracking and braking. Saving you money if the bike is dropped.

Both bikes are fun and inexpensive for a "sports" bike. I honestly wouldnt classify them as sports bike, more of a "standard" bike style. You aren't leaned over at all times making it a bit more comfortable.

I have owned a 2004 Buel Blast for about a year. I bought it used with under 500 miles and now it has 12,000+ miles. I have never ridden a ninja 250, but, like all Jap bikes--I am sure that they are well made. I used to ride motorcycles such as the Honda 450, 750, and Gold-Wing back in the early 70s. Now, after 35+ years, I am back in the saddle with my little Blast. The Blast is the perfect bike for me. It was cheap to buy, the insurance is reasonable and it is not expensive to mantain. I have had to replace the rocker-box gasket and carb boot which are common problems with the blast, but these repairs were not pricey-- even with having the dealer do them. I have upgraded to Vance & Hines pipe, K & N air cleaner and re-jetted the carb all of which have improved the way the bike runs and sounds.( unlike the Ninja 250, there is almost no limit to the aftermarket projects that you can get into with Harley-made Blast) This little bike is famous for the way it handles. It will run on the interstate all day at 70 with no problem. You can park it almost anywhere. It is just a fun bike to just run around on. The Blast has more in common with an old British single than a high speed double-cam four valve injected crotch-rocket. For an old coot like me its all I need.

Bought my used 2002 Buell Blast last week. It has 6800 miles , it was well kept and I paid USD 3500 for it.
Well, just move to US plus I a new rider and I have no idea if I have paid too much for it but I very comfortable riding it. Guess I have made the right choice here as a beginner. I have read some good and bad review about it but so far... so good .. only thing I found that to drop down to first gear a bit tricky. I really need to "hammer" my foot down if not.. I end up with Netural !!!!

Beside that the only thing I found about blast is that .. it sound like a "lawn mower " LOL but hey as long I comfortable and got my training on it.

Happy Rider
Rose

I am an extreme novice to motorcycling and am taking a motorcycle safety course that begins in a couple of days. They use the Blast for their class. I have been pricing used ones and they are pretty inexpensive to purchase. However, I am concerned that a guy my size (6'0 and 250 pounds) might look a little silly on this sized bike. I am just looking for something manageable to learn and practice riding on. Would this bike work for me as I really like the look of it?

Well what can I say here.... I'm 6'1" and about 300lbs and I use a Buell Blast as a work bike. Being that I live fairly close to my job it's the perfect option for me. I'll give you a few reasons why:

Its high torque motor gets my heavy @ss moving fairly quickly from stop light to stop light.

It's cheap on gas, even on heavy riding weeks I only spend about $5.00 to $10.00 on gas.

You can park it anywhere, in my state motorcycles are stolen every day but because the Blast is a cheap starter bike there isn't much of a market for stolen parts and joy riders usually want to steal something a little faster.

Here are the cons I ran into with my Blast over the course of the last 4 years.

All of the shocks I can find for it are made for riders under 225lbs so expect a sore @ss on long rides if you are 250+lbs.

Yes the bike is a bit small, although only one person actually came out and said something to me about it in the past 4 years, I think his exact words were "Braddah U Need One Biggah Bike" of course he was about 400lbs himself driving an import truck and I couldn't help but think he could use a bigger truck as well.

The Blast eats oil; I'd recommend checking your fluid levels weekly.

The carb to manifold (rubber) coupler is a weak link, it will crack and cause an air leak in your intake about every two years or so. It's cheap to replace but inconvenient at best when it breaks down. If your bike starts to run rough all of a sudden for no apparent reason this is probably the problem.

Head gasket can fail at about 7,000 miles, at least mine did and I've read elsewhere that this is kind of common.

Tranny is noisy.

All that being said I've turned down a few offers already when people have offered to buy it from me. It will take me to about 75 miles per hour on the freeway and the only mods I have done to it was Vance & Hines; K&N; and re-jetted the carb.

I wouldn't recommend using this bike for long distance rides or riding two up if you are over 250lbs but for short trips it's great for around town. Sort of like a moped on steroids. For long rides I usually jump on my Fatboy, now there's a bike for a big guy!!!

Good luck I hope this helps.

Well grow 6 more inches and you will be walking in my shoes! Before I got my bike i sat on everything I could get butt on in the dealership till I found something comfortable. It's your first bike so go with comfort over looks! No biker will think any less of you that I have met, as they all seem to just appreciate getting out there and riding.

I picked up a used '06 Blast as my first bike, and overall, it's been a great choice and a wonderful beginner bike. As the main review and others have pointed out, it has its quirks, but overall, the package works IF you keep in mind its basic purpose, which is to get you into motorcycling w/o killing yourself.

Like most Buells, it defies easy categorization, has a bunch of love 'em/hate 'em features and will definitely generate conversation...as with pretty much every Buell, it's very much the contrarian bike. As one of the magazines put it, if the Blast at all appeals to you, you'll be happy with it; if not, don't bother.

I'm not going to address all of the standard pros/cons, as others have already done so much more eloquently. But will offer some of my personal experiences in case it helps anyone in their decision.

I like its primitive nature...I enjoy having a first bike that's so rudimentary; it forces me to concentrate on my skills rather than its features/abilities. For instance, as a beginner, you feel like you've accomplished something when for the first time you flip the fuel supply valve to reserve when you run out of gas, all while still moving/without crashing.

Pulls strongly from lights, but loses steam at higher speeds (55+)...of course, by that point the wind is hammering you so much you'll be thinking about switching to a back road. Power delivery is very manageable...it's hard to do anything to really overwhelm youself. Brakes are great, and combined with the low weight, they'll stop the Blast in a hurry (in fact, really in a hurry...when first on the road, I was finding myself coming to a stop about 20 feet from lights, as I was applying the brakes at the point where I would in a car). Clutch is fine, but the shifter is "Harley grade"...you won't be hearing any "snick snick". I love the nimble handling, but I'm already scrapping the footpegs (positioned midway between the cruiser frontward and sportbike rearset) in turns.

On sizing, I'm 6' and about 190, and while it's not the perfect height for me (w/the standard seat, there's about 2 inches of clearance between my crotch and the seat if I stand up), it is doable. The upright riding position makes it pretty comfortable for about an hour or so, but after that, I usually feel a need to get off and stretch.

Riding a Blast definitely generates a lot of interest, mostly in the "what is that?!" vein. I've had both "what model Ducati is that?" (cool) and "couldn't afford a Harley?" (ugh). But most experienced riders I've met seem to accept it for what it is, and don't really look down on it; riding a Blast will assuredly get you waves from other motorcyclists (except perhaps the suburbanite-tough-guy-on-a-Harley crowd).

I'm already looking forward to my next bike, but will always have a soft spot in my heart for my Blast.

So what about me? I'm 52, I've never ridden anything with two wheels more sporty that my old banana seat bike with a sissy bar when I was 12. I would not dream of riding anything until I take an MSF course or the Riders Edge (ie Buy a Lifestyle) course for twice the price as an MSF.

What should I look to start on? I am 5'9'', 230 lbs. I commute up to 2 hours one way and into Washington DC traffic. (Okay, let's nix the idea of commuting into DC on a bike. I really need my old F-150 to be competitive, there.) I have one place that is nice, wide roads (wide to accommodate the Amish buggies in Southern Maryland) that i commute on once a week.

I imagine I would like look and handle like a 100 pound coffee sack on a pogo stick on something like a 250cc bike, assuming i did not burn up the clutch breaking inertia. I have not read a sane article yet, I guess, that proposes learning on somethuing akin to a 600+ cc bike, except for, perhaps one of the thumpers.

After I take a course, and get all the gear, what's a good fatboy bike..and I suppose it might be a Fatboy, but I am not ready for that, yet.

W3KI

Your post will likely get more attention and better response if you post it in the "introductions" area.

My quick advice: don't sweat the weight -- there a lot of folks packing far more pounds than you who ride and post on this forum. Take the course and see if it starts to give you a better picture of how you'll ride during your first year or so. The bike recommendations for a 2 hour commute into DC will likely be different from those for a weekly cruise among the Amish. Then go sit on a bunch of bike; sport, cruiser, dual. Just sitting on them and feeling the ergos and how your body feels (even in the showroom) will start you on the path of finding the right style. And more than likely, it will not be aFatboy.

Cheers

Since it's been awhile since we've had any new information on the Blast posted here, a quick summary of the latest, for anyone considering one:

- Buell motorcycles the company is closing down. Parent HD is not faring well in the economic downturn, and so is refocusing on its core Harley products...goodbye Buell.

- The Blast however is still going to be produced, but not as a Buell (obviously, now) or as a Harley...just as a "Blast". It will be available through HD dealerships and used in the HD "riders edge" course.

- There will be plenty of parts for any Blast for a long time to come. Most of the major stuff is HD anyway, so don't be concerned about availability.

As the one Blast owner regular on this site, I was sad when Buell discontinued the bike, and am devastated that Buell is dead. I was hoping to buy one of the big Buells in a few years, once my skills were good enough.

Jacktrade, thanks for your thoughts. The Blast has been a consideration of mine for sometime now, along with the Ninja 250-500 line. I haven't riden any of the three yet, but I'm partial to the styling the Blast offers. I've always been a fan of the Cafe style, or late 70's early 80's styled bikes. I'm going to swing by the local dealer this week and take a look. Might just have to find one locally to purchase if it fit's my needs.
Thanks for being honest with your review's.

I read about the guy talking about the two women in the Miata laughing at him because of his Buell Blast. Upon thinking about his comments I really pondered the motorcycle as a reflection of culture. As I ponder this subject I think that there are several cultures that motorcycles reflect. If you are a sports kind of guy, then a sport bike culture may be what attracts you. If you are more of a blue-collar kind of guy then the bad guy Harley style culture (complete with skull images, maltese cross shaped mirrors, painted flames on your gas tank, etc.) may be more of what you identify with. If you've gone to college and drink wine, perhaps BMW culture might well reflect your culture ID. If you are student at a college or an executive in a company, perhaps a culture ID may be reflected in a scooter or maxiscooter. Of course culture is alot of what we are and what we were raised with so, you can have a mix that is not common (the accountant who got his college education but was raised by a truck driver father, and more relates to skulls and maltese crosses than BMWs) but in a general sense we fall into predictable patterns of culture. So, after all of this having been said, I would ask the fellow who felt laughed at by the girls, which culture do the girls belong to and which culute do you belong to? If the girls are cigarette smoking, tatooed women who don't know their pronouns and you are the same, then take their response seriously, if belonging to the culture is important to you. If they are not of your culture (and of your values), I would just consider the source and see their comments as predictable for the culture that they belong to (and disreguard their comments.) If fitting in with a social group of a certain social culture in high on your priority list, then your selection of a motorcycle should take into account what the people of your culture will think of your choice of bikes. If however, you are truly independent, it really doesn't matter which culture you are part of. You can make your choice based on your own criteria. By the way, I suspect that the fellow who thinks that he was laughed at, really is very concerned about what others think of him. I'd recommend finding the bike that fits him, and disreguarding the need to fit in.

MD

Oooops, I meant to refer to the Ninja. However, you all get the point.

MD

I have owned an '03 Blast for four years now. I used it when I first was learning to ride, and return to it when I just want to play. My wife also used this as her first bike. Despite what most people say, the Blast can be used for more than just the local commuter. With the addition of a windscreen, you can use this bike to travel anywhere. Two years ago, my wife and I traveled over 2,900 miles from Dallas through the mountains of Colorado and back in eight days. She rode the Blast while I rode my Ultra. Our longest day was just over 540 miles, which was about 110 miles farther than I wanted to ride that day, but my wife wanted to make Colorado Springs. Although the Blast did not have a lot of power in the higher elevations and steeper grades of the Rocky Mountans, it was a solid performer. Average travel speed of 65-70 miles an hour was no problem for the Blast. We traveled to the top of Mt. Evans ( 14,130' msl ), where we encountered snow in mid July. I now ride an Ultra Classic, and my wife rides a 1200 Custom, but we both enjoy playing on the blast. My daughter, who is just starting to learn to ride, is having a blast and can't wait to take her first trip on the bike.

It's stories like yours that make the ignominious end to the Buell Blast so grating.

Sure, they're not XB12s, but in their own right, they're quite capable bikes with plenty of Buell DNA.

I can see why Erik Buell might have wanted to get away from them to focus more on the up-end, but to make that video that mocks a decent machine that he put his name on really gets me. I've more or less forgiven him myself (after what HD did to his company), but your story reminds me of how what he did vis a vis the Blast was a slap in the face to those of us that bought 'em and like 'em.

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