I find this news incredibly sad. I don't know anything about Buell's finances, or the politics of how it was assimilated into — and ultimately killed by — Harley-Davidson, but it's never a good thing for the sport when a company goes under.
I'll admit it, I choked up watching the above video.
Maybe some of it is my Wisconsin background; maybe some of it is seeing a man who so clearly loves his work and his company have to give its eulogy.
Buell brought so many things to the sportsbike world; I remember bike show displays that proudly showed off the perimeter floating brake disc, the frame holding fuel, the swingarm holding oil. Like the Buell Blast or not, it got 70mpg — that's better than my XT!
I've ridden a Buell Blast around Wisconsin, a Firebolt XB12R and a Lightning XB12SCG around a track in Nevada, and I've toured with Firebolts and Ulysses.
Rarr, now I've spent minutes of my life trying to find the photos of me at Femmoto riding the Firebolt. I'll upload one later if I find it.
In the meantime, here are my other Buell photos. I never owned one, but I liked riding them. I'm sorry to see them go…and it'll be interesting to see what, if anything, this does to Harley. I think their reason of "needing to focus on the Harley brand" is a bit coy; can you think of a brand less in danger of being forgotten than Harley-Davidson? Ah well, I guess this is why I'm not in PR/marketing.