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Custom Buell Lightning XB9S “La Corta” Looks Darker Than the Farthest Cosmic Abyss

Modified Buells are an extremely rare occurrence, but they do have the potential to be stunning!
Buell Lightning XB9S “La Corta” 12 photos
Photo: North East Custom
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Diego Coppiello can trace his love of two-wheelers all the way back to the age of twelve, when he was gifted a humble scooter by his grandfather. From that moment on, the young Italian spent countless afternoons riding around with his friends, and it wasn’t long before they started tinkering with their machines to make them go faster.

The lad’s younger brother Riccardo (aka Riki) had soon followed in his footsteps, thus laying the groundwork for a thriving partnership hinged on the two siblings’ common passion. They’ve dedicated the following years to honing their skills on Vespas, with Diego handling all manner of fabrication and welding-related affairs, while Riccardo focused on the mechanical aspect.

Later on, the Coppiellos found themselves employed at a go-kart engine tuning shop named F&M Racing, which is where you could say their knowledge really escalated to new heights. Meanwhile, the one-off side projects tackled by Diego and Riki had also shifted gears, and motorcycle-oriented exploits began replacing the Vespa scooters.

Buell Lightning XB9S “La Corta”
Photo: North East Custom
This whole customization ordeal remained nothing but a mere hobby for some time, though it was bound to cross into professional territory as of 2014. The brothers joined forces to establish North East Custom (NEC) in Padua – a bustling city located roughly 26 miles (42 km) away from Venice. Now, if you’ve been keeping an eye on the European bike-modding community, then it’s probably not the first time you read about NEC’s fascinating work.

We’ve already featured a couple of their two-wheeled showstoppers on autoevolution in the past, but our favorite build from North East’s entire portfolio has to be this ominous Buell Lightning XB9S (dubbed “La Corta”)! As the 2003 MY donor had been involved in an accident, the Coppiello brothers began by removing any pieces of damaged hardware they could find, including the bike’s stock headlights, subframe and fake gas tank.

Then, it was time for the custom sorcery to take off in earnest. Diego and Riccardo busied themselves with manufacturing a simple loop-style subframe from scratch, and they’ve attached it to the motorcycle’s main fuel-bearing skeleton via the standard mounting points. We notice a stunning leather saddle sitting atop the new rear-end setup, which is also equipped with integrated LED lighting at the tip.

You will now find the electrical components stashed underneath a fiberglass cover where the fake tank had once sat. They draw power from an aftermarket lithium-ion battery that’s been discretely mounted just ahead of the OEM rear wheel. At the front end, there’s a tiny fender replacing the chunky factory item, as well as a round LED headlamp fitted on custom brackets.

Buell Lightning XB9S “La Corta”
Photo: North East Custom
Moving on to the performance side of things, La Corta prides itself with a premium air filter and a free-flowing Buell Pro-Series exhaust system. With these modules installed, the NEC duo wasted no time recalibrating the ECU to suit the enhanced airflow, then they’ve turned their attention to the Lightning’s suspension.

Its inverted Showa forks were beefed up using top-shelf internals, while the original monoshock has been replaced with a Hyperpro alternative. Both the front and rear hoops are hugged by track-ready Power Cup Evo tires from Michelin’s inventory. Since the donor’s brakes can deliver oodles of stopping power in stock form, Riki and Diego were quite happy to leave them untouched.

Last but not least, we arrive at the cockpit area, where you’ll be greeted by digital Motogadget instrumentation and the repurposed handlebar of a Honda CB400SS. This unit carries bar-end turn signals, inconspicuous switches and black rubber grips developed by Tommaselli. To round everything out, the Italians wrapped most of the bike’s garments in a sinister coat of black paint, and the only specks of color are present on the forks and saddle.
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About the author: Silvian Secara
Silvian Secara profile photo

A bit of an artist himself, Silvian sees two- and four-wheeled machines as a form of art, especially restomods and custom rides. Oh, and if you come across a cafe racer article on our website, it’s most likely his doing.
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