Bimota DB2Classic Bike Mechaniker Magazine

19 Jan 2015 | Penulis: | Comments Off pada Bimota DB2Classic Bike Mechaniker Magazine

Bimota DB2

Published: 12:24PM Feb 16th, 2011

Part Ducati, part trellis-framed special, the Bimota DB2 is without doubt a latin lovely.

About 20 bertahun-tahun lalu, my older brother had a used Honda 750 four, with the big fuel tank and brown metallic paint. They were still the days where no one wanted them used, so the Hondas were cheap to buy and run as hacks in London. Lovely motor, fast and smooth, but the rest of the bike was awful; it handled like an overweight Sultan racing a shopping trolley around an ice rink, and it had a gravitational pull towards the ground in corners that was almost supernatural.

It was probably a result of years of mechanical neglect and something that could have been remedied if we had more mechanical nous between us, but we were at that stage where we liked to ride our bikes, not fix them.

So the Honda was unfairly labelled Japanese rubbish and swiftly sold on. not long before I read an article in one of the bike mags about a Bimota HB1 that used the same Honda 750 motor, and learned how well it handled and saw in the photos how low and lean it looked too. I was impressed, and the odd name Bimota stuck in my mind, and insists on doing so even more after riding this Bimota DB2; Ducati power and Bimota frame combining to supply pure riding pleasure.

Central to the Bimota phenomenon is Massimo Tamburini, the now retired, but for ever legendary, motorcycle designer and creator of the Ducati 916 and MV Agusta F4. He had learned his metal working skills back in his home town of Rimini, Italia, manufacturing and installing heating and air conditioning units. From bending tubes during the week to racing with his friends on weekends, he then crashed his Honda 750 at Misano, broke several ribs, and spent time recuperating by designing and building his own frame to accommodate the powerful Honda motor.

The HB1 was born, dan masuk 1973, with friends and business partners Bianchi and Morri, Bimota was created, famously using the first two letters of each surname.

Bimota’s fortunes as a company have waxed and waned over the decades, but the original concept of building racing frames around production motorcycle engines has always remained constant, and their motorcycles have always been very special, whether powered by the big four Japanese motors, or more harmoniously in a patriotic sense, Ducati engines.

This DB2 carries a Ducati motor, hence the Ducati Bimota prefix, and was built in Rimini by Bimota in 1997. The plaque fixed to the flush mounted filler cap denotes this machine as number 036 of the Edizione Finale, or Final Edition, which consisted of just 100 bikes. As you might expect, the DB2 followed a DB1 which was designed by Federico Martini, who had replaced Tamburini at Bimota on his move to Cagiva.

The DB1 was the first and, for many, the best looking Bimota to be powered by a Ducati motor; the two-valve 750cc engine. Sixteen-inch wheels and expensive components set the DB1 apart, and it sold well, saving Bimota from imminent financial meltdown.

Bimota went on to develop the Tesi but their customers still desired a traditional and good handling motorcycle, so the DB2 was launched in 93. They sensibly stuck to the theme of using a Ducati engine, as past financial criseshad also been exacerbated by sticking doggedly with Japanese motors, but customers also wanted variety, especially for the high price tags that new Bimotas wear.

The heart of the DB2 is a 900cc two-valve Ducati engine, the same as graced the 900 Super Sport series through the 90s. I owned a 1995 Ducati 900SS, and apart from cylinder studs that snapped like spaghetti and a clutch that rattled like a tin of Tutti Frutti, the Desmo two-valve motor was a beauty, and I could forgive its foibles just to be able to enjoy its lazy torquey ways and heaps of character. From experience, I know not to expect blistering acceleration from the Bimota, but I’m fascinated to experience that motor in a Bimota frame, even though the Ducati was a sweet handling machine in its own right.

Unlike the DB1, which featured all-enveloping bodywork, the chrome molybdenum steel frame is proudly on show, and the manner in which its bright red trellis breaks up the expanse of silver/dark grey bodywork between fairing and fuel tank is striking. DB1 designer Martini had left by the time the DB2 was produced, but it was realised by his protégé Pierluigi Marconi, who went on to also project the Tesi.

I relish how Italian designers love to show off their frames by painting them bright red Lino Tonti did the same with his Guzzi V7 Sport Telaio Rosso, and the red frame has the same effect here, especially as the oval tube cantilever swinging arm is painted in the same red and has the same trellis design as the frame, so the eye can follow an almost unbroken line from top left to bottom right of the Bimota. It’s this kind of attention to detail and ability to design lines and curves that blend effortlessly one into the other that makes the Bimota approach so different, and it’s really no surprise that the Bimota way was so imbued in the Ducati 916; one of most people’s top five most stunning motorcycles ever.

This DB2 is also very good looking, with smooth lines, though I wouldn’t necessarily call it beautiful. Much has been made of the headlamp, which was allegedly sourced from a box of Yamaha FZR spares, but it doesn’t strike me as awful and if anything seems typically 90s. The red of the frame is picked out and continued in the graphics, and the Bimota logo is a classic. The green Paioli forks contrast with just about everything else on the DB2, and look expensive.

Like much of the Bimota, they are personalised with a gold casting with the Bimota logo impressed into it no wonder this was a £14,000 motorcycle when it was new.

The white face Veglia instruments are familar, as is the orange lettered CEV switchgear, but I’m aware that the seating position is quite different to my old SS. On, or more like in, this Bimota, I’m forced slightly more forward by the uncompromising seat unit, which in losing a pillion pad to gain space for the silencers underneath seems to have also squeezed the rider too. The bars seem more or less the same, not too radical but sporty enough to look right and give the rider enough distance from the seat to be able to remain reasonably comfortable.

Starting the Bimota up, I hear the same clunky, lumpy motor below me that I was used to hearing all those years ago, and the mechanical thrashings when running on the choke in collusion with the bag onails clutch rattle don’t really inspire much confidence that this is actually a performance motorcycle in fact I’m sure that many potential Ducati, let alone Bimota owners may even have been put off at this stage.

But after a few minutes riding, once the motor and tyres warm up, the Bimota begins to shine brightly. It feels light and nimble, but most importantly, focused for confidence-inspiring and precise handling. My 900SS also handled beautifully, but the limitations of its Showa suspension was quickly discovered, especially on bumpy roads when the suspension just felt harsh, and there were times when it just got too uncomfortable and downright annoying to ride quickly.

The DB2, in comparison, has top notch components, the 41mm Paioli forks, and a rear Öhlins shock, all adjustable for compression, rebound and damping. The bike is already well set up, and in fact it’s in very good original condition, with only 5000 or so miles on the clock.

Bimota DB 6 R
Bimota DB 6 R

Often Bimotas are bought as second or third collectorsinvestments machines, and this DB2 has probably been kept the same way, so clean is it. Where my SS also served as a London commuter, I couldn’t imagine using the DB2 for the same purpose it wills you to get up into that area between 3000 and 6000rpm, travelling at 50 to 120mph, where these motors excel the most, and are strong and adrenaline-inducing.

Acceleration is brisk and the Bimota is fast enough to excite anyone, yet the handling is stable and easy. A claimed 86bhp at 7000rpm or thereabouts isn’t really a lot, but is six more than the SS, due to a different airbox and the different exhaust system.

The carburettors on both bikes are 38mm Mikunis, and they fuel smoothly from second gear acceleration up into top and sixth gear high speed racing, and without any real glitches, but the Bimota is also lighter than the 900SS, conceding 15kg, or 33lb, of weight and subsequently making it feel a more urgent roadster. The DB2 also has a slightly shorter wheelbase, and a 23.5 degree head angle, and certainly seems to turn quicker than an SS. The DB2 eats up the Suffolk bends that I’m riding along effortlessly, though it still needs to be pushed a little with some rider input on the bars and footrests.

The brakes are from the Brembo Goldline series, and the four-piston calipers and 320mm discs pull the Bimota to a stop whenever required, in an awesome but not particularly progressive manner.

Surprisingly too, the brake master cylinder is a cheapo Ducati item, as is the clutch master cylinder on the opposing bar, and you’d have thought that for a motorcycle out of the financial reach of most, you’d get Brembo kit all round. Other annoyances include mirrors that you can see backwards in but can’t be folded in at all, and the infamous flip-up sidestand that comes courtesy of the Ducati parts bin. Lighter Antera wheels and carbon front mudguard and rear hugger complete the Bimota DB2 makeover.

The true worth of this Bimota comes not in any one individual area of its motor, handling, or pricy parts but in the combination, or the sum of these parts. The sound from those twin exhausts is wonderful; more musical but not any louder than the SS, which was slightly muted through its factory cans. It’s an odd but pleasing sensation to actually sense the Ducati rumble escaping from the motor through tubes just centimetres below your backside!

The frame and its geometry is special and when paired with a V-twin Ducati motor, which isn’t hard to love for all its rough and ready nature, the combination just succeeds like a match made in Italian motorcycling heaven. It’s one of those bikes that are enigmatic and the reasons as to why it should function so pleasurably are just as hard to explain, and sadly, only those with deep pockets could afford to find out when it was new.

Whether you would consider it to be suitable for Classic Motorcycle Mechanics or not is another matter, but I would say without a doubt. The DB1 from the mid-80s is already a collectible classic, for the same reasons that this DB2 final edition, one of only 100 made, is destined to become the same. The fascination with Ducati continues, and any Ducati-engined special, which is what the Bimota DB2 is more or less, will always attract collectors and buyers.

Best of all though, Bimota has its roots in a similar spirit to those builders and visionaries as Paul Dunstall, Fritz Egli, John Britten or Eric Buell, and when the plan works out as well as this, the desirable DB2 can definitely be called a classic motorcycle.

With many thanks to John Fallon for lending us the very clean Bimota

Tel: 01449 612900

kata-kata: James Adam Bolton Photos: Matt Crossick

Bimota DB 6 R
Bimota DB 6 R
Bimota DB 6 R
Bimota DB 6 R

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