Aggressive new equipment like the 1125RR-and cubic dollars pumped into an AMA Pro Racing program-are not the only evidence that Buell is dead-serious about repositioning itself as a performance brand. As a symbolic gesture, Buell has also deleted the entry-level Blast single from its lineup.
Without putting too fine a point on it, Buell posted a page on its website showing a 2x2-foot cube of scrap metal where the 2010 Blast should have appeared. The same page includes two videos showing Erik Buell himself joyfully lowering a perfectly good Blast into the crusher.
"The Buell Blast was a cute little motorcycle," Buell is quoted as saying. "It just never made much of a sportbike. There's nothing cute about racing or riding a sportbike the way it was meant to be ridden."
We get it: Buell is a serious sportbike manufacturer that will no longer be distracted building pedestrian people-movers for noobs who don't know their ass from an apex. It's a bold statement on Buell's part, in keeping with the company's "Ruthless Engineering" rebranding strategy. But it's a risky statement, too. How will Blast owners-most of whom remain loyal and enthusiastic-respond to their chosen bike being publicly ridiculed by its creator via viral video? Especially for Buell, a company carried through so many tough times (remember those endless product recalls?) on loyalty alone, turning on its own customers could be dicey.