Buell X1 Lightning by Deus

Buell X1 Lightning
Deus’ Los Angeles outpost is gathering momentum. Design Director Michael Woolaway has now built nine bikes, and this is the latest—an uncompromising reworking of the Buell X1 Lightning, nicknamed ‘Bully.’

Let’s get the name out of the way first. “It’s somewhat to do with its silhouette, somewhat to do with wordplay—take the name Buell and rearrange the letters, and you get close. But it’s really to do with the fact that it just feels like a bully,” says Woolie.

Buell X1 Lightning
The build started with a post-collision wreck. After a trip to Dr. John’s Frame Straightening—the go-to shop in Southern California for frame work—a new chromoly subframe and swingarm were installed. Then Woolie got down to business in his Venice Beach workshop.

Buell X1 Lightning
Using as many US-made parts as he could, Woolie has created a fast and capable café racer. “It feels like a well planted, comfortable and smooth riding bike,” he says, “even at extreme lean angles.” Not bad for a relatively heavy machine like the X1.

Buell X1 Lightning
Pierre Vallaincourt from Works Performance custom-built the underslung rear shock, with a handmade fluid reservoir. And Rizoma USA provided a sprinkling of billet aluminum parts.

The gas tank and seat are both handmade from aluminum, using shapes inspired by the 80s. The tank is a nod to the Yamaha TZ250 racer, and the seat carries hints of 1980s superbike styling. The paint scheme has an unusual provenance: it’s adapted from a pair of Nike high-tops designed by the bike’s owner.

Buell X1 Lightning
The highlight for me, though, is that amazingly sinuous exhaust system, terminating in a single Burns stainless muffler, offset to the right. It took several days of work to make the equal-length piping, which is TIG-welded and features ceramic coating at the front. The oil tank was positioned in the gas tank to create room around the engine to achieve the equal length pipes.

The Buell is obviously a machine with a mission. “When you sit on that thing, it shakes and it thumps and it pulls,” Woolie enthuses.

I’m sold. I wonder what Erik would think of it?

Head over to the Deus USA website to see more of Woolie’s work. You’ll also find the Emporium of Postmodern Activities on Facebook.

Buell X1 Lightning