Buel Blast?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by ValpoFz, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. ValpoFz

    ValpoFz Been here awhile

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    My friend is looking for a beginner bike and there is a couple of these in her price range locally, Worth the time to go look at? Is there anything I should look for?
    #1
  2. Firebolt

    Firebolt Clemson

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    Some may not like the blast at all. I had for a year and it wasnt to bad. biggest problems on these bikes was the carb boot failing. most who have a blast carry a spare with them. The blast is fairly easy to work on and can last up to 40,000 miles. The rocker box gasket failing is also a common problem. it does burn through rear tires pretty fast (4000ish miles). The biggest complaint is if you are over 5' 10'' it feels like a scooter.
    #2
  3. Jayrod1318

    Jayrod1318 Poster

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    And shakes like a paint shaker. Serious
    #3
  4. willis 2000

    willis 2000 neo-quixote

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    i got one used for my daughter from a guy i worked with. he is over 6 ft, around 220. said it had plenty of power, i thought he was blowing smoke. i got the optional low seat from ebay for my 4'10" daughter.
    she came over to ride it after i did some maintenance and it fit her well. she came right back and said the vibration was intolerable. i told her to go up the rpm scale and things would smooth out. you try it, she said. i rode it and i was impressed. enough power for legal riding and little vibration in the proper rpm range.
    the carb boot deal requires an aftermarket part, and they have niggling issues, but they are simple and easily repaired.
    a real downside is you will likely have to perform maintenance and repairs yourself, not many shops around here would look at them.
    really low seat height for a bike that can keep up with her riding family was why i got it. maybe it would be right for your friend
    there are choices
    #4
  5. C/1/509

    C/1/509 Why?

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    I rode one on a test ride when a local HD/Buell dealer was offering rides, so just a short trip, maybe 15 - 20 minutes. I'm 6'2' and it felt VERY small to me. Probably not an issue for you. Had quite a bit of vibration, but nothing you couldn't deal with I bet. Not a lot of power, but that might be a good thing in a starter bike. All in it was OK, but clearly built to a price point. Keep the best quality tires you can find on it, keep it in a good state of tune and it would probably be OK - if you got it cheap.
    #5
  6. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Long timer

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    I rode one in an MSF class once. It affected me so profoundly that I wrote a poem about it.

    "The Blast" by Jim Moore

    The Blast,
    Sucks ass.
    #6
  7. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    I have one that I fixed and it got stuck at my house (going on 2 years).
    Ugly, vibrates like crazy, clutch is grabby so even though I know that I still spin the rear wheel often, lots of torque, this one is loud as stink, fun to ride in a brutal giant vibrating thumper way.

    If other blasts are like the one I have, the clutch would get new riders in trouble, its REALLY grabby, like an on off switch.

    Not a bad seat, good riding position for low speeds at least, auto choke gizmo.
    The foot peg mount things are a royal pain in the butt to remove and replace, with washers, lock washers and nuts in a place you cant get your hand or tools into, what were they thinking?
    #7
  8. canoeguy

    canoeguy Been here awhile

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    My wife has one to rack up some miles on and get better at riding before switching to her t100.

    It is awesome at being cheap, and short. Just what we needed. As a plus it has more power than I would have ever thought.
    #8
  9. scottrnelson

    scottrnelson Team Orange

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    I find it interesting that there is a discussion going on right now in the Motorcycle Safety Forum regarding the Blast and beginners. There were several injuries with that bike when new riders weren't too good at manipulating the clutch, but the torque of the motor would get them in trouble in a hurry if they happened to open the throttle a bit. There was a two-year lawsuit that just concluded regarding the use of that bike for training.

    I've never ridden one, so I don't have an opinion of how good or bad it is, other than that I doubt that I would recommend that anyone buy one.
    #9
  10. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    My wife had one for three years. I rode it quite a bit (possibly more than she did...riding didn't turn out to be her thing).

    It's not a bad little motorcycle by any means. It is neither a great motorcycle. It does vibrate a lot, but mostly smooths out as the revs pick up. At idle, though, it's comical. The mirrors, plate, fender...even the suspension is bouncing up and down visibly from a distance :lol3.

    The early models had fault rocker box gaskets that would leak oil. This was fixed after 2003 I think? Already mentioned was the carb boot (das boot!) which you should always have a replacement on hand for. SUPER easy to change, but when it cracks, the bike won't run.

    I think very few had some problems with the R/R frying because it's above the rear wheel with minimal shielding, and if it gets caked in mud or something it can overheat.

    The do normally use a bit of oil. They have a dry sump, so you can not check the oil cold, you have to check it hot, and no more than 5 minutes after shut-down. Limited range due to a tiny tank (2.2 gallons or something on that order, but 65-70 MPG)

    Other than that, I thought it was pretty fun to ride. Handled pretty damn well but the lean angle is just a touch limited, and the brakes were actually quite excellent. Front fork wasn't terrible either. Belt drive, no valve adjustments, auto choke...about as maintenance free and hop on and ride away as a carb'd beginner bike gets. It will cruise on the freeway with power to spare. It's also very tough -- my wife threw hers down a couple of times :lol3 In short, I think it's a good beginner bike. Somewhat crude, but very fun.
    #10
  11. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

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    Just helped a female friend of mine get one as a first bike last fall, we got a 2001 with 6k miles from the original owner for $1400 in great shape (slightly bent front brake lever and slight oil seepage from rocker box).

    The vibrations at idle really are comically awful, but as others have stated once the RPMs increase it smooths out. Great torquey thumper with an exhaust note that is much more interesting than a run of the mill small bore twin. My friend's has the optional short seat, I look like a circus bear riding it, but it's so much fun! Super low maintenance is a plus for beginners, and it is designed to tip over with minimal damage. Very thoughtfully engineered: they had the customer (ie inexperienced riders) in mind. Add auto choke to the list of beginner friendly features.

    The short seat height + standard ergos put the Blast in a category of one. The Tu250x comes close, but even that has a slightly higher seat. The standard ergos and rake make low speed maneuvering much easier than a virago 250 or rebel IMO.
    #11
  12. Merckx

    Merckx Adventure Archduke

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    I had one. I rode it to work every day. It was about as much fun as you're going to get for $1200.00.
    #12
  13. mrphotoman

    mrphotoman Long timer

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    You must be a newbie rider, the primative buell blast is a very easy bike to learn on and the clutch is easy to manage. I wouldn't exactly say it has lots of torque either. If you have that much trouble shifting and locking up the rear wheel (must be the case because it is not easy to spin the rear tire on the blast unless you are in gravel) then you may want to take a motorcycle riding class.
    #13
  14. PhilB

    PhilB Long timer

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    It is pretty difficult to buy a modern motorcycle made in a developed country that is actually a bad bike. But it is possible.

    She'd be better off on any Japanese 250.

    I'm not a Harley-basher, and I'm kind of a fan of Buells. But the Blast was a crappy effort.

    PhilB
    #14
  15. jordan325ic

    jordan325ic Been here awhile

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    I rode a friend's for a little while, with the optional low seat.

    Really fun to ride. Shakes, makes a lot of noise, brakes well. Some really funny design elements. I actually really liked the bike overall, and for a beginner it's great.

    What I didn't like:
    Horrendously small if you're 6'5". My legs are so long that they did not fit under the tank, they went around the widest part, so my inner thighs hurt if I was on the highway for more than 10 minutes squeezing my knees against the breeze. And I did 18,000 miles on a 1st gen ninja 250 quite comfortably, so I am no princess when it comes to ergos.

    Auto-choke. I don't like these in general, and with the Blast there is no tachometer so I was never really sure if the idle was settled or what was going on. It didn't seem to work all that well, the idle varied from stoplight to stoplight.

    The exhaust. Apparently the stock, quiet exhaust weighs 40 lbs and is prone to cracking/falling off. The V&H SS2R that was on my blast was incredibly loud/annoying with no apparent options for silencing. A straight pipe really, embarrassing to ride around on. Stock exhausts used to be found for free all day but now seem very rare. The only other option seems to be the $350+ Jardine exhaust, and I'm not even sure they are too much quieter.
    #15
  16. ValpoFz

    ValpoFz Been here awhile

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    SHe has been reading it and at this point is going to try and go look at the one thats local. Thanks Guys for all your input.
    #16
  17. Mr. Magoo

    Mr. Magoo n/a

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    An ugly duckling. The Buell B-Last.
    #17
  18. max384

    max384 Bandaided

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    Here's what Erik Buell had to say about the Blast...

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/JDsu93esQMc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    #18
  19. SoSlow

    SoSlow Having fun

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    We had a bunch of Blasts on the motorcycle safety course here... that is probably the best description of them I've seen. They also had front brakes that seemed to be either full on or completely off.

    To be fair, though, those bikes had probably been beaten hard by hauling prospective riders around day after day...
    #19
  20. Jayrod1318

    Jayrod1318 Poster

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    I spent 10 minutes of my life on one I'll never get back.

    For comparison it made a 70's cb350 seem like a wet dream.:lol3
    #20