Fast Orange: Buell XB12 “Delila”

Buell XB12 Custom

FabMan Creations creates a streamlined “Buelligan”… 

In the early 2000s, the Buell XB12S Lightning was a welcome, if atypical, addition to the motorcycle market, combining elements from the cruiser, sport, and streetfighter worlds:

“An antique, character-rich engine in a stubby street-fighter motorcycle chassis dripping technical innovation….a very individual motorcycle and hugely enjoyable to ride. Easy to love if hard to justify.” —MCN

Buell XB12 Custom

The engine, of course, was a 1203cc Evo V-twin much like the one in the Harley-Davidson Sportster of the time, though it had Buell Thunderstorm heads, fuel injection, and an ECM-controlled exhaust, helping it to pump out 103 horsepower and 84 foot-pounds of torque.

Buell XB12 Custom

That almost prehistoric engine design was mated to a space-age chassis, with features like fuel in the frame, oil in the swingarm, a toothed kevlar belt drive, and a giant front perimeter disc brake. The stubby 1320mm wheelbase made the front wheel ready for liftoff with a slightest twist of the wrist, and the bike could blast down the 1/4-mile in a respectable 12.2 seconds.

Buell XB12 Custom

While that dragstrip time might not frighten the 1000cc superbikes of the era, the Buell had something harder to come by — character — and it tended to draw more attention than the latest Ninja or Fireblade:

“This Buell isn’t a bike for shrinking violets. People will look and point, and it will draw a crowd when you park up. And it isn’t even a little bit boring. Or conventional. Or characterless. Or uncomfortable. Or unusable. It is, however, great fun, as practical as it can be, stuffed full of character, great in traffic and it sounds like two flatulent skeletons in a dustbin…” —Motorbikes Today

Buell XB12 Custom

Recently, we heard from Wayne Buys of South Africa’s FabMan Creations (FMC), whose KTM 950 Desert Sled we featured back in 2020. Wayne is a millwright with more than 30 years’ experience, who specializes in hand-fabricated motorcycle tanks, seat pans, skid plates, stainless exhaust systems, and more.

Buell XB12 Custom

For this build, Wayne had a wide open design brief, allowing him to follow his vision with little constraint:

“I was given free rein by client, and was looking to do a build with clean lines.”

Buell XB12 Custom

Most of the bodywork is handmade, including the vast aluminum top cover and tail, belly pan, air scoops, and headlight / speedometer housing — all of which combine to give the bike a smooth, streamlined monocoque look. The seat and subframe are custom, as is the stainless silencer — mated to modified headers — and Wayne laid down the paint himself.

Nicknamed “Delila,” the finished bike seems to streamline the silhouette of the Buell machine, rather than reinventing it.  Below, we talk to Wayne for more details on the build.

Buell XB12 Custom: Builder Interview

Buell XB12 Custom

• Why was this bike built?

Commissioned by a client.

Buell XB12 Custom

• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?

I was given free rein by client, and was looking to do a build with clean lines.

Buell XB12 Custom

• What’s the story behind the nickname “Delila”?

Lack of imagination ;-). Delila sounded cool.

Buell XB12 Custom

• What’s it like to ride?

An absolute blast.

Buell XB12 Custom

Build Sheet

– Modified header pipes and built a new stainless silencer.
– Handmade aluminium top cover, belly pan, scoops and new light/Speedo housing.
– Changed frame lines to match up with top cover.
– Built and covered seat
– Installed Kustom Tech hand controls on mx bars
– Shortened stock front fender
– Powder coated wheels
– Laid down some paint
– I thank the Lord for my blessings and give Him all the Glory for this build.

Build Process Shots

Follow the Builder



  1. Stunning. I like these Buells but in the US, Harleys dealerships don’t want to touch them.

  2. Kevin Olsen

    Looks cool. I’ve had a couple and they are the best combination of power, handling, strength and feel good factors with a sound unmatched for attention.

  3. Jeremy Lobdell

    Don’t own a Buell if you don’t like attention. If you go ksd be prepared for some conversation. I loved my 05 sb9sx. It had character and soul.

  4. Just bought my first Buell XB9 & can’t wait to ride it. Should be interesting after my original XLCR cafe racer acquired in 1980. Just waiting for insurance to come through then Happy days.

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