Here is a time capsule, a zero miles/NOS Bimota Tesi 1D SR that has never had fluids installed. The 1st generation Bimota Tesi is already a bit of unobtanium and something every collector considers so this one is certainly one to take notice of...plus the color scheme is perfect for the holidays.
Thinking back on the late 1990's, it seems safe to say that the manufacturer that best embodied the period ethos of "throw-it-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks" was Bimota. Part of that was due to its small nature/lack of multi-layered governance and part of it was also probably due to it being an Italian firm where a certain level of fla.ir is expected. Regardless, Bimota was willing to bring unproven concepts all the way to market and while some of these never delivered as promised (cough-VDue-cough), the Tesi series actually did what it promised.
The Tesi promise was improved handling via a new suspension feature; hub-centered steering. The Bimota hub centered suspension setup transferred braking force into the frame, not up into the headstock area like on a conventional bike. Without the impact of braking on the forks, the front end was significantly more stable which made handling feather quick and rock stable.
NOTE: A good write up about the concept of hub-centered steering and Tesi can be found here.
At the launch of the Tesi 1D Bimota said the plan was to build 300 but the actual production numbers are a bit vague. According to sources I found, over 400 were produced between its launch and end in 1994 and this number is said to have included about 50 produced with 400cc for Japan as well as some "Final Edition" and SR models which came with a 904cc 851 motor (the seller indicates this is one of the SR editions).
Mounted in Bimota's beautiful "Omega" frame the 904cc Ducati powerplant worked with the hub-center handling improvements to deliver a bike incredibly nimble for its size. So why didn't the the Tesi and it's hub-centered design become the future of motorcycling? The main factor was probably price. When introduced the Tesi was offered at the eye-popping price of $40,000 USD which made it the most expensive motorcycle on the market. Also, the complexity of the bike scared away some owners, especially after reports surfaced that the futuristic electrics and digital dash board could suddenly shut down or give wrong readings.
Now lets look at this particular Tesi 1D. According to the seller, the bike has essentially been a display piece since production. Below is a summary of what the seller has to say:
- Never ridden, never run, properly prepared for long term display.
- Specifically ordered from the distributor without any fluids when new in 1992. Neither the hydraulic brake system front and rear, nor the cooling system nor the original battery have ever been filled with fluids.
- All mechanical components inside the engine are still coated with assembly lube from the Ducati factory. The engine is filled with a light-weight oil to preserve internals, it has never been started or run.
- Kept in a climate controlled environment without UV light present, so there has been no deterioration of any rubber pieces and no discoloration of any painted or coated surfaces. Of course there is no oxidation present on any metal surfaces or fasteners.
- The protective yellow zinc plating on all three cast iron Brembo rotor surfaces is still present, the seat foam on the molded solo seat pad and backrest is still uncompressed. The tires mounted were specified to be racing tires when ordered new. Levers, grips, pegs, chain, sprockets as most everything else on this motorcycle are as new as they were in 1992.
- Comes with all the original ownership documents, customs forms, the owners manual, the warranty booklet, copies of the parts manual and workshop manual and the original Tesi toolkit in duplicate.
- The original early Tesi rear stand, the one off custom front stand (for displaying the bike with both tires off the ground) both mph and km/h dash boards (km dash & computer packed up, mph dash with protective white film still underneath, mounted in the fairing) and two original Weber Marelli P7 ECU computers, one chip'd for regular street use and the other fully open P7 ECU chipped for race use performance, are also included.
- Multiple other original spares come with this bike. Of course the red Bimota cover is present and in its correct Bimota bag.
Note: The seller also provides additional photos via an online photo album here.
Now for the real question - is this bike worth the current asking price of $150,000 USD? Yes, you read that number right - $150,000 USD. That's almost 4 times the original asking price which is a level of increase I don't think we have ever seen on RSBFS before. To be honest, when I saw that asking price I thought this was possibly a test listing by the seller but after communication with them, this is in fact the actual Buy-It-Now asking price. Since in most cases sellers expect offers with 10-15% of the BIN price, its seems safe to say this one is going to cost 6 figures US for any interested parties.
So is a zero miles 1D SR Tesi worth that much? Personally I don't think so but the 1D and 2D series of the Tesi come up for sale so rarely I don't know what the current value is. I do think the current ask price means it won't go to an investment oriented collector but it could draw interest from the zero miles/"crate-bike" crowd. I guess we can only wait and see...but it would sure be a nice way to start the new year with it in your living room.