Thursday, July 30, 2009

Oops, there goes another....

We've been checking out small beginner bikes all summer, starting Trobairitz on a Honda Nighthawk 250 then taking a big jump to a Ninja 650R. We considered starting off on something in between but there just isn't a whole lot available in the 500cc range of bikes. When I started riding in the 1980s, a 750cc bike was a big bike and there were plenty of 500cc bikes to be had, but not so much today. In fact when I opened the front cover of this month's Rider magazine I learned of one less 500 in the world.

Here is the 2010 Buell Blast

I am disappointed because I am all for introducing new riders to the sport and there aren't many choices for beginner bikes available. What bothers me more is that Eric Buell's decision to discontinue the Blast and turn his back on his future customer base, may end the Rider's Edge® New Rider Program.
Will they now train on Harley Davidson 883 Sportsters?

We can only hope that other manufacturers see this as an opportunity to fill a void in the new rider, small bike category and create a new line up of 400cc to 500cc bikes.

Come on Kawasaki bring back the KZ440

or the KZ550

Here's your chance Honda, that CB450 was a nice bike.

Suzuki even had a great bike, I used to have a GS550 like this one and sold it to a new rider.

Isn't about time the big bike era fades into memory? At least share the limelight with smaller entry level bikes, or there won't be any new riders to graduate up to the big behemoths.



  1. Bradley:

    I agree with you. I had owned Suzuki GS400, GS550L, honda CB350, Nighthawk 450. Lots of choices in the good " ole days ". Now you have to jump from 250 to 600cc. All the major manufacturers have 400's available everywhere else in the world, they just don't bring them over to North America. Perhaps it is the mentality of bigger is better. Smaller machines are more accepted elsewhere

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  2. Honda will never make a small displacement standard available in the US. In fact, they've painted themselves so far into the "factory custom cruiser" market that I fear they'll never dig themselves out.

    It must be working: Harley's "new models" for 2010 takes a page right out of the Honda playbook. Yay for new paint and swapping some parts around!

    I thought it would be amusing if Rider's Edge ended up being taught on Suzuki TU250s. Oh, the irony!

  3. And before someone mentions the Nighthawk: I believe it's been discontinued. And, Honda's been pricing it right out of the market compared to new Rebel 250s.

    Too bad: I've heard the 599 is a great bike!

  4. Agree with you , there is certainly a market segment out there that would actually use what I would call medium sized machines. I rode a Honda CB400 from Singapore to Northern Thailand just on the Vietnam border and back and it was looked like the CB450 you show, except that it actuall was a 400...very confortable, extremely manouevrable and a plesant ride.

  5. A beginner's bike and a training bike are two distinctly creatures. I just hope the training bikes in the Riders Edge don't get bumped up in displacement. There have already been several fatalities on the Blast. I believe 8 is the last number I've heard. That's the last place in the world you'd expect to die on a bike, isn't it?

    Between the bikes and the way the instructors are hobbled, it's not a good program except to put people in showrooms.

    I like Stacy's idea of the Suzuki, actually. In Oregon we teach the program for Harley on our training bikes. It works out really well and the dealership still gets the PR.

  6. The big bikes do seem strange to me but as I eavesdrop at dealerships it seems as if that's what the buyers aspire to own. I was recently talking to a guy who was trading his one year old Bonneville for a larger Triumph cruiser. He referred to the Bonneville as a starter bike and said he wanted to have a bike with more power.

    When I asked why he needed more power he didn't have an answer. I think he wanted to say "because". But he remembered then that he wasn't 5 years old.

    I find the machines under 750cc in size to be great rides. But then I think a scooter is a great ride.

    Spent the weekend with the Triumph Street Triple and it had so much power that I can't imagine what a person would do with more. Legally anyways.

    You've pointed out a lot of great bikes from the ole days but I am not going to hold my breath that we will see any modern return of these vintage machines...

    Steve Williams
    Scooter in the Sticks

  7. I have to agree. I did quite a bit of research before I bought my bike, and there is a distinct lack of support for the 400-500cc range of bikes.

    However, I think that what's really happening is that those models didn't sell as well as the slightly smaller 250s or the slightly large 600-700 ranges.

    I ended up getting a 650, but I heard from a number of people that I should get a larger bike. Maybe I'll post up about this topic myself... I feel inspired :D


Comments are more than welcome, however, thanks to an increase in anonymous spammers of late, you now must be a registered user to comment.

Thank you spammers!