Armed with a Buell Blast, a corner of his apartment, and a few hand tools, Alex built THIS!
by Joe Appleton
Updated on June 4, 2020. In Motorcycles
This incredible Buell Blast custom was built in a small Chicago apartment. Limited tools, some spare time, and a ton of creativity is all it took to make it happen. We’ve seen Buell’s turned into custom works of art before. This is, however, the first time we’ve seen the entry-level, 492cc single-cylinder Buell Blast machine turned into something that looks as exclusive as one of the Magpul Ronin machines.
This is the story of Alex. A Romanian dental technician with a passion for building dirt trikes and motorcycles in his spare time, who moved to Chicago in search of the American Dream.
Alex took a gamble and booked a flight, after being encouraged by his friends in the USA to move over here. He worked as a carpenter’s assistant by day and as a bedroom-bound bike builder by night. Alex managed to construct this incredible build inside his Chicago apartment.
Is This The World’s Coolest Buell Blast Custom?
After paying his bills, Alex saved up for a TIG welder. He then built himself a small fabrication table in his apartment. Next up, he invested in a selection of appropriate hand tools. This included a handsaw, a hammer, a Dremel, and a vice. He then sourced himself a Buell Blast. It just goes to show that you don’t need expensive tools to make expensive lookin’ things. Hell, you don’t even need the space – you just need a few square meters, oblivious neighbors, and an understanding girlfriend.
To get things in motion, Alex decided to take the Buell Blast apart after hours at his workplace. He then transported the pieces into his apartment. After getting the whole thing in, and eventually settling on a build direction, Alex got to work designing a whole host of small parts. However, since he was new to the country, he sent his designs back home to Romania and had his friends fab them up and mail them to him. He deemed it easier than trying to find out where the best local engineering firms were in the States. Not to mention trying to communicate what he wanted to be made as well.
Then the work truly began. Alex chopped off the rear section of the frame and stripped the remaining front section down. He then relocated the rear shock mounts and began mounting his specially designed brackets. The front end girder unit came from California’s Chassis Design Company, who faithfully recreated Alex’s bold, modernist design. With the front end in place, Alex welded on his own headlight brackets and installed the essentials: a front-wheel from a V-Rod, a Buell XB swing arm, rear wheel, and brake, and a rear shock from a Buell 1125.
Finally, he added a Biltwell seat, a small fuel cell, an electrical cover, and a specially made one-gallon tank – small, but effective. All in all, the only parts of the original Buell Blast that remain are the front section of the frame, the carb, and the engine. The engine wasn’t left alone though… Luckily, the previous owner treated the Buell Blast with a Dynojet Jet Kit. Alex decided to compliment it with a Uni filter and a franken-exhaust which is part custom and part off-the-shelf.
Alex’s final additions to his Buell Blast Custom included Biltwell grips, new handlebars, an LED taillight, and a custom smartphone mount. That is not to overlook the more custom fabricated lugs and machined details than we’d care to count. Talking to BikeExif, Alex explained: “It was fun and somehow frustrating without a garage. Always trying not to disturb the neighbors, and waiting for a day off. And everything taking so much time to do. But it was all worth it in the end, I’ve built the “Franken’Blast” exactly like I wanted to, I didn’t get bored to death and it helped me meet cool people and make friends!”
This isn’t the first Buell Blast custom we’ve seen, and it’s not the first apartment build we’ve seen either. It’s definitely the most impressive of both categories, however!
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