I got e-mail from Karen and Neal Johnston this week: "We are in Albuquerque and they are using the Buells for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation class. Neal (my husband) took the pictures...The bike seems to handle very well... there was one person that was very hesitant and the bike was lugging down but never stalled. Looks like they have excellent balance for a beginner and are forgiving. They sounded great..."
They sent me six JPG files. Have a look:
A beautiful parade of light, compact, powerful single-cylinder roadsters. The rider at far right seems to be on one of the 27-inch "low riders".
This seemed to be the best comparison of the seat heights. Motorcycle Consumer News says the wheels are 16-inchers. Check out the rear fender.
Neal's excellent photos were good and sharp, but I couldn't talk him out of the negatives, so I had to enlarge the JPG files - can't see much for detail, but overall it looks like a comfortable, well-balanced motorcycle.
Many thanks to Neal and Karen Johnston for the excellent photos and information.
First I called Chick's H-D/Buell in Albuquerque:
"Hi, I'm running a web page on the Buell Single and I hear you people have got 14 of them there."
"Who told you that?"
"I got it off the Internet."
"I'm really not, um, at liberty to say."
"I hear you-all have a non-disclosure agreement with Buell. Can you disclose if that's true or not?"
"I'm really not at liberty to say at this time, no."
"So I guess you wouldn't want to answer any of these other dozen questions I have here."
"It's not that I wouldn't want to, but I really probably can't."
She sounded like a nice, naturally helpful person being held at gunpoint, so I said "OK. Thanks. 'Bye."
It was getting late back East so I tried Buell next. They referred me to "Public Relations" at Harley headquarters, but apparently if you say the word "Buell" there you're going to Customer Service whether you like it or not. When I told the operator I had questions about the Buell Single, she said "Buell?" and connected me to this recording:
"...please leave a detailed message including your...VIN and a brief description of your concern...we will return your call as soon as possible."
"Wow, great PR", I thought. "A real confidence builder." When their recorder beeped I was laughing so hard I couldn't talk, so I hung up. What else could I do?
I tried the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, got the usual cyborg phone system, and left a message with the New Mexico rep. But I waited forlorn; she never called back.
So there you have it. Only the courage and initiative of dotcommie spies in the Single Cylinder Spy Cooperative can penetrate the corporate Code of Silence. If you're an aspiring spy, or just curious, there's a list of the best questions I could think of below. Don't get caught with 'em! And keep the law in mind - Buell keeps displaying this bike to the public, but they have a right to privacy otherwise; like on a dealer's premises, for instance. It's illegal to abuse priveleged information, and that's only fair.
At the bottom of the page, there are links to Chick's H-D/Buell (for best logo on a T-shirt), and Motorcycle Consumer News, in case you want to review their report on the Buell Single.
Do the MSF students have to sign a non-disclosure agreement?
Are they in target markets for increasing ridership?
Is the engine pushrod, OHC, or DOHC? (If you can get proof it's a desmo or a radical entirely new design, you'll get an immediate field promotion to Fearless Leader.)
Horsepower, torque, top speed?
Oil carried in the frame tube?
What's the scoop on a race kit?
Production number planned for Y2K?
Price; does it include freight and prep?
Good luck. If you are caught, gazette9 will disavow any knowledge of your actions. Here's to good riding and sharp shooting.