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Remembering The 1997 Buell M2 Cyclone

1997 Buell M2 Cyclone

The 1997 Buell M2 Cyclone was a funky-looking motorcycle that struggled to win over traditional Harley and Japanese retro bike owners. It was powered by a 1203cc pushrod V-twin engine that made 86bhp and had a 5-speed gearbox. The bike had decent Showa suspension, brakes, and wheels, but the motor was seen as its weak point. Reliability wasn't outstanding either, with the Buells being known to suffer from various issues. Nevertheless, the M2 Cyclone was a capable machine on twisty roads and would make an excellent used buy for a Buell enthusiast today.

1997 Buell M2 Cyclone Overview

The Buell M2 Cyclone was a naked roadster motorcycle produced by the American company Buell Motorcycles from 1997 to 2002. The company was founded in 1983 by motorcycle enthusiast and engineer Erik Buell, who was then working as a race mechanic for the Harley-Davidson factory racing team. The M2 Cyclone was the second model in the Buell range, after the original RW750 race bike. It was based on the same platform as the earlier model but with several changes and improvements. These included a new frame, suspension, engine, and bodywork. The bike was well received by the motorcycle press, with many praising its handling and performance. However, it was not a commercial success and was discontinued after just five years in production. The M2 Cyclone has remained a popular bike among motorcycle enthusiasts and is considered a modern classic. It is often praised for its unique design, performance, and handling. The Buell M2 Cyclone is remembered as a bike ahead of its time, a unique and innovative motorcycle that unfortunately did not find commercial success. However, it remains a popular choice among those who appreciate its many qualities, and it is sure to be a classic for years to come.

Engine and Performance

The bike was powered by a 1203cc V-twin engine powerful enough to produce 93 bhp. It had a top speed of 135 mph and could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds. According to, its engine was mated to a 5-speed, constant mesh transmission and had a wheelbase of 55 inches. The bike weighed 435lbs and had a seat height of 29.5 inches. The front suspension was preload, rebound adjustable, while the rear suspension was also preload, rebound adjustable. The front brake was a single 340mm disc with two-piston calipers, while the rear brake was a 230mm disc with single-piston calipers. Overall, the bike was quite well balanced and handled very well for a bike of its size. The 1997 Buell M2 Cyclone was a great all-around bike that performed well both on and off the road. It was comfortable, efficient, and had plenty of power to get you where you needed to go. It's one of those early bikes considered a classic modern today.

Design and Styling

The Buell M2 Cyclone was a naked roadster motorcycle with a unique and distinctive design. It was based on the same platform as the earlier model but with some changes and improvements. These included a new frame, suspension, engine, and bodywork. The fuel tank was located under the seat, which helped lower the center of gravity and improved handling. The bike weighed in at just over 200kg and had a wheelbase of 1410mm as stated by The styling of the M2 Cyclone was unique and unlike any other motorcycle on the market at the time. The bike featured a small fairing, which housed the headlight and instruments. The tank and seat were integrated into a single unit, which gave the bike a sleek and slim look. The bike's rear was clean and uncluttered, with just a tiny mudguard and taillight. Overall, this bike has the classic vibe of a genuine roadster motorcycle.

Ride and Handling

The 1997 Buell M2 Cyclone is a great bike to ride. The handling is superb, and the bike is very responsive. The suspension is firm but not too stiff, and the bike feels very well balanced. The brakes are excellent, and the bike stops on a dime. The power delivery is smooth and linear, with plenty of power on tap. The bike is very comfortable to ride, and the seat is perfect for long journeys. The bike is also very stable at high speeds. According to Motor Cycle News, the 1997 Buell M2 Cyclone is an excellent bike and an excellent choice for anyone looking for a powerful and comfortable ride. It's a great machine for those who love twin-cylinder engines and don't mind getting their hands dirty with a little bit of essential maintenance. But for many riders, the Buell will be too old-fashioned and difficult to live with daily. However, for a particular type of rider, the Buell M2 Cyclone is a true classic.

What Could Be Better?

The M2 is a great all-around motorcycle, but it’s not without its faults. First off, the bike is rather tall. At 6’1” with a 32” inseam, most critics argued it felt very comfortable, but those of shorter stature may have trouble flat-footing both feet at stops. Also, the M2’s steering can be relatively light at slow speeds and in parking lot maneuvers, but once underway, it firms up nicely. Some found the front brake a bit too touchy, while others felt it was just right. The new Brembo calipers offer excellent stopping power but may take some getting used to for those accustomed to other brands. Finally, the M2’s lack of wind protection may turn off some would-be buyers, but others may find the minimalist fairing adds to the bike’s charm.


  • 1203cc, air/oil-cooled, DOHC, 48-degree V-Twin engine
  • 5-speed transmission
  • 105lb-ft of torque at 4000rpm
  • Single front disc brake with 4-piston caliper
  • Rear disc brake with single-piston caliper
  • Fuel injection
  • 59hp at 6000rpm
  • Hydraulic clutch actuation
  • 6.3-gallon fuel tank
  • 43mm Showa telescopic fork with 5.9 inches of travel
  • Dual Showa rear shocks with 5.5 inches of travel
  • Aluminum frame

The Bottom Line

The 1997 Buell M2 Cyclone was one of those bikes that would be great if it were just a little bit better. It was comfortable, efficient, and had plenty of power, but it was let down by its tall stature, light steering, and touchy front brakes. However, the M2 was a tremendous all-around motorcycle that offered a unique and distinctive riding experience for those who could look past these faults.

Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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