Buell Blast For The Harley Hesitant

24 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Buell Blast For The Harley Hesitant
Buell Blast

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Buell Blast for the Harley-Hesitant

I’ll begin my story in 2004 with an ‘04 – Sportster Custom 1200; the first year Harley-Davidson rubber-mounted the Sportster motor. Feeling very confident with my new motorcycle license proudly placed in my wallet, I hopped on this bike and was ready to cruise the West Coast. I made it around one corner and dumped it on the next.

I didn’t give up, got back on and rode a few more times, dumping it again. It had too much power in my opinion, with nothing to compare it to, as a novice rider. I rode it because it was my only option.

It fit good, not too tall for my 5’ 5” frame; great reach but hard to hang on to and maneuver.That power thing. I hadn’t worked out in a while and my body weight of 135 lbs. didn’t seem to handle the weight of the bike. With a busy schedule, a rainy winter and intimidation, I didn’t get much riding done in the next year to come.

In January of 2005 I had the opportunity to ride four different low-model, 2005 Harley-Davidsons. The Sportster 883L Roadster, Softail Deluxe, Dyna Low Rider and the Buell Lightning XB12SCG. I practiced for two-weeks on my Sportster prior to the arrival of these bikes and when the time came, I rode all day long switching off on all bikes. My favorite was the Softail Custom.

Even though the Softail was heavy, it was very low to the ground and very easy to ride. If I could afford one, I would have one. The Buell Lightning was by far the easiest of the four to ride. Cost wise, you can pick up a Buell for under $5000 dollars.

A Sportster for $12,000, and cruise out of your favorite dealership on a Softail Deluxe for between $17,000 to $20,000.

Fast forward two years and after many modifications to the Sportster, it looks good, runs good but chocked only 500 miles, of which I contributed about 100. I never really settled in to that bike so basically it sat, unless someone else rode it. Don’t take me wrong, that is one nice bike; however I just don’t feel ready for it, yet.

A couple of friends, Dr. Hamster, who is a veteran rider and whose daily cruiser is a Harley bagger, loved the feel, power and handling of the Sportster. Mailman, who also rides a bagger and races Harley’s absolutely loved the spunk and handling.

He said he could ride it all day. Standing at 5’ 10”, it fit his frame to a tee.

Summer of ’06, I really felt the urge to ride again. I was rusty and intimidated. In the last two years we moved to a new location, began major rennovations, business was busy, kids needed attention, all the distractions possible, kept me from riding.

I’d go out and look at the Sportster, sit on it, pull it out of the garage, go around the block and then return home.

2005 Buell Blast

I felt I needed a smaller bike for practice. Something inexpensive and light sounded good and with some knowledge of Buells, I decided on the Blast. Buell calls it their entry level motorcycle.

I say it’s cute.

Here is a little comparison between the Buell Blast, and the Sportster 1200 Custom. I am only doing a comparison to show the difference in weight and power. Not that one is better than the other, but it’s info for anyone, like me, looking for lighter, easier ride.

It is personal preference, of course.

The Buell Blast weighs 360 lbs. – Sportster 1200 Custom weighs in at 554 lbs. That’s 194 pound difference that you’ll appreciate if you’re picking one up from off the ground. The Sportster is about a foot longer than the Buell. Seat height on the Buell is 27.5 inches tall with an option of being 25.5 if you change to the low profile seat.

Sportster seat is 28.3 unladen (un-mounted) and 26.5 laden (mounted).

Low Profile seat for Buell Blast Part # M0127.TA

Match ride-height to comfort level.

Easy to install.

25.5 overall seat height.

Fits ’00-later Blast® models.

As far as power goes, the Sportster is of course 1200cc with an Evolution based v-twin engine, (dual cylinders). It has 79 ft-lb. Of torque @ 3500 rpm. The Buell has a 492cc single cylinder engine, 30-ft-lb Of torque @3200 rpm.

The conclusion is obviously that the Sportster is twice the power of the Buell, which matters if you have a need for speed. If becoming comfortable with riding is a priority, the Buell does just fine. They both have five-speed transmissions.

Side note: I always wondered about motorcycle terminology but never took the time to ask, and didn’t want to seem stupid, so I did a little research.

RPM or Revolutions per minute is a unit of frequency, commonly used to measure rotational speed, in particular in the case of rotation around a fixed axis. It represents the number of full rotations something makes in one minute.

Ft-lb or Foot pounds is unit of work equal to the work done by a force of one pound acting through a distance of one foot in the direction of the force.

CC – Cubic Centimeter. For an example – the Sportster Custom 1200, means 1200cc engine. You would divide the 1200 by 16 to get your cubic inch size of the engine. Just an off-topic thought. That would make the Sportster a 75-inch motor, the Buell a 30.75-inch motor.

Right now Bandit built a bike with an Accurate Engineering 120-inch motor. Now that is a lot power.

Back to the Buell Blast. Bottom line is I like the way it feels, the way it rides and the cost. Sorta like finding a pair of shoes that just fit. You can wear heels that look good, but don’t feel right, and you never want to wear them, or find some comfortable shoes and wear them everyday.

Buell Blast

Sure it’s a small bike but I’m not a die-hard cruiser. Taking a run to the gym or post office, or a cruise along the coast on a Sunday is perfect on the Buell Blast. If I was a Highway Honey and planned attending all cross-country events, I would get use to a larger bike and go for it.

At this point in my life I just want to cruise around town with something I know I can handle alone.

The only complaint I have with the Buell Blast is that it does tend to vibrate the mirrors out of place every time you ride it. They are lightweight and flexible. Aside from that you can purchase a tank bag and/or saddle bags, making it easy to pack a few things.

Saddlebag Part # 90420-00Y -Two removable fabric bags. Easily installs over tail section. Constructed of black, 600 denier, water-resistant poly-nylon. Bags feature zip top closure, with Pegasus embroidered icon and reflectors.

Bags attach under seat and do not interfere with passenger seating area.

Capacity: 7.87 liters

Dimensions: 15.25L X 8W X 5.5H.

Max load: 7 lbs.

Fits ’00-later Blast® models.

Metro Tank Bag Part # 94776-00Y 1,000 denier black, water-resistant nylon bag features removable map pocket, side and inner mesh pockets, and Pegasus embroidery.

Tough-Tek® non-skid rubberized bottom won’t scratch the tank.

Metro Tank Bag mounts to tank with simple 3 point mounting system.

Handy carrying strap.

Capacity: 4.87 liters

Dimensions: 11L X 6W X 4.5H

Bottom line is personal preference, and I prefer to putt around on a Buell Blast until I’m ready to rock the freeways of California and beyond on bigger bike. Buell’s are simple bikes to maintain and every rider should be able to take care of their own bike. I ride with confidence, and every time I get on it I feel closer to my ultimate goal of one-day taking over Bandit’s Road King. In the meantime, Bandit still laughs at me, every time I pull out of the driveway.

John jokes about riding a sewing machine, but I’m smiling and riding, and that’s all that counts.

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