Taverne Motorcycle builds one wild Cyclone…
Between 1983 and 2009, Buell Motorcycles produced some of the most innovative and distinctive motorbikes of the modern era. Erik Buell’s designs married the old-school character of the Harley-Davidson V-twin with new-school chassis, suspension, and brake technology. Though the bikes were never a huge sales success, they garnered a cult following and were probably just a bit too far ahead of their time.
Introduced in 1997, the M2 Cyclone was positioned between the uncompromising S1 Lightning and the heavier, more comfortable S3 Thunderbolt. The V-twin roadster drew praise for its fat powerband and solid handling:
“Its midrange power is so stout that you want to twist the throttle just to feel that solid lunge forward—a lunge that turns into a long-range pull as the revs climb.” —Cycle World
We see fewer of these machines on the road or in custom workshops than we’d like, so we were thrilled to come across this ’99 Buell M2 “Project X” from Taverne Motorcycle of southern France. Flo Taverne and Chris Kling do all kinds of service and repair out of the workshop, founded in 2015, but their specialty is customization.
In this case, they picked up a ’99 Buell M2 as a bare frame, intending to build a bike that would show off their skills:
“We wanted to realize this project without the constraints imposed by a client…. Often bikes are arranged in this or that style, so we wanted to show something new, and I think the bet succeeded.”
They ended up calling the bike “Project X” after the 2021 comedy of the same name, in which the epic party of three high school friends spirals out of control, becoming ever larger and wilder. That’s because the project did the same thing, with the level of customization becoming more and more involved.
The bike is rocking Aprilia RSV4 wheels, Triumph 955i forks, a Buell X1 swingarm, a 1200 Sportster V-twin engine, bespoke Beringer brakes, and Shock Factory suspension. The tank was handmade in aluminum, the Buell X1 swingarm extended, the engine cases engraved…the list goes on.
While this Buell is admittedly a show bike, Flo says it’s still a hoot to ride:
“The riding position is extreme like a dragster, the tank is only two gallons, but it is a supreme pleasure between the sound, the brakes, and the precision of the frame!”
Below, we talk to Flo for the full story on the build, along with more photos from @grafizm_prod.
Buell M2 Cyclone Cafe Racer: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
Our motorcycle garage which is called “Taverne Motorcycle” was founded in 2015. We are two multi-skilled partners, and we perform all types of work on motorcycles: maintenance, repair, electricity, welding. But our specialty is of course customization. Café racer, scrambler, bobber…
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
The base of this bike is a 1999 Buell M2.
• Why was this bike built?
We wanted to create a showcase for our garage that illustrates our know-how between the worlds of customs and cafe racers. We wanted to realize this project without the constraints imposed by a client.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The project started only with the frame, which we bought naked. From there we bought or made everything else according to our wishes. Often the bikes are arranged in this or that style, so we wanted to show something new and I think the bet succeeded.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Almost the entire bike is custom made. The main parts that have been purchased are:
- The frame
- RSV4 wheels
- Buell X1 swingarm
- 955i speed forks
- 1200 Sportster engine
- Beringer brakes (made to measure)
- Shock Factory shock absorber (made to measure)
- Mikuni HSR carburetor
- Motogadget tachometer
The rest is handmade, like the aluminium tank, the exhaust, etc.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
“Project X” like the movie, because this project spun out of control like in the movie. At the beginning, we didn’t want to do so many things on this bike.
• Any idea of horsepower, weight, and/or performance numbers?
The stock engine is aproximately 70HP. With the big free pipe exhaust, the HSR 42, and the Dyna 2000 ignition, maybe we have aproximately 80-90HP.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
Lol this bike is a showbike but it is rideable. The riding position is extreme like a dragster, the tank is only two gallons, but it is a supreme pleasure between the sound, the brakes, and the precision of the frame!
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The most remarkable is the saddle. The tank was handmade in aluminium, and the swingarm extension was machined and welded so that it’s invisible (I am sure you haven’t noticed its abnormal length!).
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Photo Credits: @grafizm_prod