Couple years back, after my first few rides on my F800S, I lavished praise on it over at BadWeb, calling it “A Buell Done Right”. As expected, that characterisation did not go over well at a Buell board that was then infested with Buell/Harley sales personell. But I was right- The F800S has about the same power as the Buell twins with far less drama, a field changable belt, and a bunch of other refinements.

Such may not have been an accident. Passing the miles yesterday while crossing most of Minnesota, I remembered a snippet from OTL Intel, which used to be a regular feature of the BMW Riders Association’s magazine. They noted how BMW had been studying Buell’s customer demographic, and were targeting them with new BMW models.

So let’s ride the wayback machine back to the early 2000s… Buell is selling around 10,000 bikes a year, half of that outside North America. That’s maybe a fifth of BMW’s sales, but Buell is gaining market share, particularily among younger riders. For 2003 Buell has refreshed their lineup with the XB models that killed off a lot of old Buell bugs and featured some industry leading technology.

So it’s not beyond conjecture that BMW designed the F800 series as a “Buell Done Right” that could do anything a Buell could do… Better!