As I was searching for the a great beginner motorcycle to buy for my starter bike, there were two bikes that kept popping up in my list that matched my requirements. The first was the Buell Blast 500 and the second was the Kawasaki Ninja 250. This Buell Blast Review will hopefully give new riders a comprehensive look into this fun little bike.
While I liked the looks of the Ninja, I really wasn’t looking for a true sports bike so I ruled that out right away. After researching a number of other starter bikes, I finally settled on a used 2001 Buell Blast.
I rode the Blast in my Basic Riders Course, so I had an understanding of what it could do and how it felt riding it on the range. While I read a number of reviews on the Buell Blast (both good and bad) during my research, I decided to write a quick review on my 2001 Buell Blast to give my unbiased view of the bike.
Buell Blast Review
First things first, let’s talk about the Buell Blast specs. Not going to go into a great degree of detail on this, as you can find everything you wanted to know on the Blast spec’s right here.
Buell Blast Specs:
- 492cc single-cylinder air-cooled engine
- 34 hp @ 6500 rpm
- 360 lbs dry weight
- 5 speed transmission
- 2.8 gal fuel capacity
- 67 MPG
- 27.5″ standard seat height
Keep in mind, this Buell Blast 500 review is based upon me being a new rider that just completed a basic riders course. The requirements I had of my first bike was as follows:
- One that I could learn on and gain confidence with
- Easy to maneuver and control
- Wasn’t interested in a 250cc bike, but at the same time I didn’t want a bike that had too much power
- Was only interested in a used bike
- Finally, I only planned on keeping the bike for a year or two
Buell Blast Review: The Good
The thing I loved about my 2001 Buell Blast 500 is how easy it was to ride. It doesn’t weigh a lot and is extremely easy to control in low speed situations.
It’s a blast (no pun intended) in the corners. While it doesn’t have a ton of power, it is more than adequate for a first time rider. I’ve had the bike up to 70 MPH and there’s plenty of throttle left for more, although I haven’t had a need to go any faster than that. I can easily cruise at 50 MPH in 4th gear without over revving the engine.
A lot of reviews I’ve read complain about the shake and vibration. While I don’t really have anything to compare the bike to, this isn’t a problem for me and I’ve had no issues with vibration either at cruising or idle. While I haven’t been able to get to the advertised 67 MPG, I have been averaging just over 60 MPH and that’s with some custom mod’s the previous owner has made to increase horsepower.
Oh, and one other thing, basic maintenance is a breeze. Since I’ve never owned a bike before, I’ve obviously never had to change the oil in one. With some quick research, I was able to find everything I needed to know to change the oil on my 2001 Buell Blast, and I accomplished this in just over an hour. Not bad given it was the first time changing the oil in a bike.
Buell Blast Review: The Not So Good
The bike seems to take a bit to warm up. The Buell Blast 500 doesn’t have a choke, well technically it’s an automatic choke, it can seem a little finicky from time to time. I’ve had a few issues with the bike stalling after I’ve initially started it (before my ride), after the automatic choke kicks off, but that seems to only happen on real hot or cold day’s.
The biggest annoyance I have with the bike is the suspension, it’s kind of a rough ride. Ok, it’s a very rough ride. Some of the streets near me are a little old and bumpy and are in need of repair. When I’m riding on these streets, I can feel every bump in the road, so it’s not a very smooth ride at all.
Shifting down to first can also be an adventure. You don’t get that nice little nick you hear on most Japanese bikes, instead it’s a rather loud clunk.
Summing it up
All in all, I’m very happy with my choice of the Buell Blast as my first bike to learn on. I’ve been riding it for just over 2 months, and I haven’t become bored with it yet. It has all the acceleration and speed that I need for my first bike. It would be great if the ride was a little smoother, but it’s something I can easily deal with in the short term since my focus is gaining experience with riding.
Would I recommend this as a first bike to someone, absolutely. Feel free to leave any comments or questions, and I’d be happy to respond. Now I just need to figure out what kind of new bike to get in a year or so. Happy riding!
One more thing that may help you out. If your the type that likes to wrench on your own bike, I have the Buell Blast Service Manual available to view or download.
I also have some real-world stats on what you can expect on gas mileage with the Buell Blast.