Erik Buell announces 2010 Buell Blast: a crushed cube of metal
The Buell Blast was a friendly motorcycle, a beginner's bike and a favorite of US-based rider training organizations. Its 500cc air-cooled single was reliable, simple and unintimidating, its low seat height made it great for shorties and lady riders, its unassuming looks made it a bike that you didn't have to be a rev-head to ride. But the unassuming Blast wasn't exactly a sales hit, and worse, Erik Buell was finding that it was giving young riders the wrong impression about the Buell range - so, in a commitment to balls-out sportsbiking, he canceled the bike for 2010, and stuck a few of his remaining stock into a crusher. Next year's Blast, it seems, will have an exceptionally short wheelbase and highly centralized mass.
It's quite a publicity stunt - Buell has put up a pretty humorous website for the 2010 Blast, showing video of the bikes going through the crusher with head honcho Erik Buell pushing the final button.
It might seem like a fairly extreme gesture - to literally trash your own bikes for the world to see - but the Blast wasn't the sort of bike to inspire rabid fanatics, and while it did fill a void in the entry level segment, it was a bit of a contradiction with the rest of the Buell range.
So this is Buell's way of turning a fairly flaccid product line into a PR hit, saying the Blast isn't fast enough, scary enough, innovative enough or tough enough to wear the brand's badge. As the site says, "The Buell Blast was a cute little motorcycle. It just never made much of a sportbike. But, as luck would have it, it makes a killer ottoman. Or end table. Or art piece. Through an innovative process known as crushing, we’ve turned a limited number of Blasts into colorful metal cubes, each numbered and signed by Erik Buell himself."
PR disaster or masterstroke... Probably neither, but it's certainly a notable little development in the motorcycle world!