On October 21, 2021, the revived Buell Motorcycles announced its new Buellvana online reservation system. Starting on November 1, customers can reserve a production slot for whichever Buell model strikes their fancy. If you do so, you’ll also get a special Buell hat for your trouble.
“We have tested the Buellvana model over the last 3 years and it works flawlessly,” Buell Motorcycle Company CEO Bill Melvin said in a statement. “Customers want an easy transaction and product delivered right to their community. Dealers want satisfied customers, a manufacturer that helps them solve issues, with an opportunity to maintain their profit margin. Buellvana achieves that and will be a model of the future for manufacturers.”
Once you reserve a production slot, Buell says the rest of the process is simple. As your production slot nears (presumably it’s processed in the order received, although Buell didn’t spell that out in specific terms), Buell will contact you to confirm details of which model and options you want. The official release also says that “in addition, your local delivery location and local service dealer will be identified.”
On Buell’s Facebook post announcing its Buellvana program, the dealer network was one of several questions that people had about the new Buell experience. A quick look at the company’s website shows a map with 19 dealers marked, and a list below with 20 dealers currently identified around the country. Strangely, there’s a dealer location star on the map just to the west of Chicago, but zero dealers in Illinois identified on the list. Meanwhile, there’s a Waukesha, Wisconsin dealer on the list that is not marked on the map (in fact, the map shows zero dealers in the entire state of Wisconsin), despite being distinguished as a “Top Dealer” on that list.
Someone asked exactly that question on Buell’s Instagram post about the Buellvana program. They asked “who handles service, do y’all have a list of dealerships available?” The official Buell IG account responded, “Great question. That is the essence of Buellvana...we set up a local service dealer in your local city to take care of you.”
Why all the secrecy? It’s not clear if Buell is still working out its dealer and service connections behind the scenes, or if it just prefers to keep that information as a surprise for those who buy its bikes. In any case, it does seem more likely that more people would be interested if they knew exactly where they could expect to get future service done once they’ve taken delivery.
Having a great motorcycle alone doesn’t necessarily guarantee success—a solid parts and service network also helps. Getting away from a traditional dealer model could be admirable depending on how it’s done, but providing so few details isn’t exactly a huge enticement to hand over your hard-earned money.
Speaking of which, what can you get, and what’s pricing like? The new Carbon Fiber Hammerhead 1190 starts at $18,895, while the Carbon Fiber 1190 SX starts at $17,995. Over on Buell’s Facebook post, some fans wondered why there’s no ABS, and also why an almost eight-year-old design is commanding 2021 prices. Still, the heart wants what it wants, and that’s probably how an awful lot of motorcycles find new homes in general. What do you think?