Posts by tag: Bimota

Bimota May 26, 2017 posted by

Gone Too Soon: 1997 Bimota SB6R for Sale

The SB6R could have been Bimota's biggest seller of all time. Certainly the earlier SB6 sold in quantities that nearly qualify as mass production, with nearly 1,200 built. Unfortunately, the utter failure of the overreaching two-stroke V-Due low-sided the company into a crash barrier and the GSX-R1100-powered SB6R was not part of the brand's renewal, killing it after just 600 were made. Sharp styling aside, the SB6's party piece is that absolutely massive-looking aluminum frame that uses Bimota's "Straight Connection Technology" concept to link the steering head stock and the swingarm pivot as directly as possible for optimized handling.

Great idea, but those big slabs of aluminum limit access to a number of important components, including the front sprocket and the alternator drive. This is a problem because the front sprocket will likely need regular replacement, considering the power and torque available, and the alternator drive needs cooling air to keep it from failing. So just what do I mean when I say that the frame "limits access"? Well both components require the engine to be at the very least unbolted from the frame and lowered, something that might deter owners just a bit...

Built during the same era as Ducati's original 916, the Bimota SB6R goes about being a fast motorcycle in almost the opposite way as its Bolognese rival: bulging and stout-looking where the 916 is impossibly slim at the waist, beam frame versus a trellis, and powered by an inline four versus a v-twin. But both featured stump-pulling torque over high horsepower: the GSX-R mill in the SB6R is backed by a five-speed gearbox and I've yet to hear anyone complain that it needs a sixth...

That engine is a bit like the small-block Chevy of the motorcycling world, and plenty of folks out there have tuned them to make fairly outrageous horsepower. Today's SB6R looks like it's gone that route: it isn't exactly stock, although the modifications are all under the skin and committed to the pursuit of absolute speed. A wise move, as the bike's aesthetics represent one of the bike's strong points. But is the seller's asking price just one toke over the line?

From the original eBay listing: 1997 Bimota SB6R for Sale

Exotic Italian red handmade superbike.

Bimota SpA (www.bimota.it) was started in 1973 in Rimini, Italy, by Valerio Bianchi, Giuseppe Morri, and Massimo Tamburini (Bi-Mo-Ta). They design and build their own line of exotics, and the company and its people have also been involved with designing/developing Ducati, MV Agusta, and Lamborghini motorcycles. Bimota would study the market to see which drive trains they believed to be best of breed, purchase their components directly from those manufacturers, remanufacture and enhance them to Bimota standards, and then design and build an exotic motorcycle based on the new drive train. Bimota model numbers indicate which drive trains they were based on - SB (Suzuki), DB (Ducati), YB (Yamaha), KB (Kawasaki). Bimota also collaborated with other major brands on special models, and both SB and YB models have won world superbike and other class championships. True to the exotic business model, the company would only build a limited number each year, with very few making it to the U.S. market.

This SB6R was originally purchased new from Bimota by owners of a professional U.S.-based race team in the late 1990's, intending it as one of their anchor bikes.

Prior to race homologation, the principal team owner suffered major injury and the team was closed. Approximately $70,000 had been invested in this SB6R up to that time, but it hadn't yet raced and still remains in street legal configuration. If memory serves correctly, the original owner's dynomometer certificate listed 182 horsepower. This SB6R still has its original Bimota uprated (150+ HP) GSXR 1100 drive train, which was further blueprinted/uprated (to 1200 CC)/race-configured by a professional Suzuki team in the US. This Bimota can essentially be serviced and tuned by a competent professional Suzuki technician.

The second owner of the SB6R was a friend of the original owners and purchased it when the team was closed. He was also a colleague in my area of business (telecom), and I purchased it from him as he was retiring and moving away. The SB6R has always remained in climate controlled indoor storage and is only ridden briefly at the beginning and end of each season to keep it in good operating condition. Both the second owner and I bought the SB6R as collectors, not racers.

The purchaser should appreciate that it is essentially a race vehicle that remains street legal. Response can be startlingly quick and strong across even low RPM ranges due to Bimota's proprietary pressurized air box system. No tricks or gadgets, just simple, beautiful Italian race design on top of bulletproof horsepower.

Though not fully race homologated as intended, it will not ride and handle like a milder/more-comfortable/easier-to-ride street bike. It is designed for one rider of average racer size/weight and has no pillion or pegs for a second passenger. Riding posture and controls are designed for racing. Steering is designed to be more stable at high speeds, rather than more flexible at low speeds, and so is dampened and has less range of motion than normal street bikes. It is jetted for ~5000 feet altitude, and when cold will need to be warmed up patiently with graduated choke adjustments before being initially ridden (~15 minutes). Throttle control should be gentle and moderate, as response is fast and strong. Experienced riders (including me) have been caught by surprise when rolling in too much throttle in ordinary street riding conditions (especially from stops). The transmission is race configured (1-up, 4-down), which is the reverse of what is normal for street bikes (1-down, 4-up), and has a harsher sound and feel because it is heavier duty.

The buyer will arrange and pay for pickup. We've used a few different bike haulers over the years and they've always worked out fine. If the buyer happens to be in the Inland NW United States, I occasionally drive to Spokane or Bozeman for business and may be willing to deliver there or points between if serendipitous.

10% of sale proceeds go to the MARSOC Foundation.

Like many Bimotas of the era, the SB6R handles with aplomb, goes like stink, and looks the business, but the details let the side down: maintenance issues, including a gauge cluster prone to failure, and generally indifferent construction. It is one of my very favorite 1990s exotics, but that doesn't change the fact that the seller's asking price of $25,000 is extremely optimistic. It's very nice, but most SB6Rs are pretty well-preserved, and previous examples haven't gotten higher than around $15,000 before either selling outside eBay or going to the highest bidder. Is the extra attention lavished on the engine worth $10,000, or is it just gilding the lily? If you're a wealthy collector looking for a very nicely prepared, but decidedly non-stock SB6R, this might be just what you're looking for.

-tad

Gone Too Soon: 1997 Bimota SB6R for Sale
Bimota May 7, 2017 posted by

California Dreaming: 1997 Bimota YB11

In the wonderful world of Bimota, the first letter of the bike designation always represents the manufacturer of the engine. In the case of this YB11, it is Yamaha. This is the 11th model of Yamaha-powered Bimotas, one of the most potent bikes Bimota has developed, and the last of the Yamaha-Bimota series ever produced. In the world of Bimota, the Yamaha dials go up to 11, but not to 12.

1997 Bimota YB11 for sale on eBay!

The Yamaha in question is the powerful 1,000cc, five valve per cylinder Genesis evolution. You can expect on the order of 145 HP from this magnificent lump, which has earned Yamaha all sorts of accolades for tractability, reliability and longevity. It's not often that you can heap "power" and "works well for a long time" in the same sentence referring to the same motor, but that is really how good this unit is. Bimota took all that was right with the Thunder Ace power plant, and shaved a significant amount of weight from the similarly powered YZF1000R - some 40 odd pounds wet(!). With an aluminum twin-spar frame derived from the successful YB6, multi-adjustable Paioli-supplied suspension front and rear, Brembo brakes all around, a custom ram-air intake and bespoke four into one exhaust, the performance of the YB11 obliterated the original donor bike from Yamaha by a good margin.

From the seller:
1997 BIMOTA YB11 , NEAR MINT CONDITION ,RUNS EXCELLENT ,EVERYTHING WORKS ,CLEAN CALIFORNIA TITLE ,RECENT SERVICE AND NEW BATTERY

Bimotas of this era are hand-built and lovingly assembled. They are lightweight and horrendously impractical by most standards. The hand-laid fiberglass is impossibly thin and prone to cracking; the move to carbon helps significantly in this area. Access to engine and components for maintenance purposes is marginal at best, tortuous in any case. The riding position is uncompromising and decidedly lacking in the thick padded seat department. But who really cares about that useless stuff? This is the most potent Yamaha-powered liter bike you are going to find from this era; it begs to be ridden hard. The most difficult aspect of owning a bike like this is wiping the smile off of your face every time you ride it, park it, wash it, or simply look at it.

This bike is available in California, where it also happens to be titled. Woo Hoo - score one for the most restrictive DMV state! It has a fair amount of miles on the clock (more so than we normally see for a Bimota), but that is not a problem at all for the running gear. If the bodywork and ancillaries check out, this one is good to go for a long, long time .... and it will probably begin to appreciate in value along the way. Check it out here, and then jump back to the comments and share your thoughts on either the Yamaha five valve motor, or the YB series of Bimotas. Good Luck!!

MI

California Dreaming: 1997 Bimota YB11
Bimota April 21, 2017 posted by

Screaming Deal: 1996 Bimota YB9SR for Sale

This is the first Bimota YB9SR I can remember seeing for sale and the seller unfortunately includes very little information, although the photos are of decent quality. The one detail you might want to keep in mind? The $5,500 asking price which, assuming the bike is mechanically sound, makes it an absolute steal. You probably won't find the YB9 on a short list of classic Bimotas, but bascially every Bimota is rare, fast, and collectible, although "fast" might be pushing things a bit here. The "9" has nothing to do with the bike's displacement and simply indicates that it's the ninth Bimota powered by a Yamaha engine. It's a bit down on power compared to its stablemates the SB6 and the YB11, which feature the GSX-R1100 and YZF1000R "Thunderace," respectively, since the YB9 actually uses the liquid-cooled inline four and transmission from the YZF600R "Thundercat" [Ho!] with around 100hp and it even uses that bike's stock gauge cluster, nestled in between the carbon air-intake tubes.

Bimota obviously made its reputation wrapping lightweight frames and sexy bodywork around reliable powerplants from Japan, sexy powerplants from Ducati, and even the occasional German powerplant from BMW... Their early offerings used tube-style frames like the Verlicchi part from yesterday's Ducati 750 F1, but by the 1990s they'd moved on to aluminum beam frames as seen here. Access on some beam-frame models for maintenance and repair can be a bit iffy: the massive-looking part used on the SB6 and SB6R is designed to connect the steering head and swingarm pivot directly, but makes access to some parts difficult, like the front sprocket that supposedly requires the engine to be dropped when it needs changing... I've heard no such complaints about the YB11 that uses a very similar frame to the one seen here, which makes a certain amount of sense considering the fact that both use Yamaha engines.

This appears to be the carbureted SR model, not the fuel-injected SRi introduced in 1996: the metal knob at the top of the triple clamp looks like it could be the choke. That's probably no bad thing, as the fuel injection system was exclusive to the Bimota and will probably make maintaining the bike more problematic: with just 651 YB9s built, anything exclusive to the model might be tricky to source. The system did add a few claimed ponies but, like all Bimotas of the period, reviews of the fueling "improvements" varied a bit and I've read both rants and raves. And as easy as it should be to maintain the YZF600 engine and transmission, be aware that bits and seals for those forks and the Paioli rear shock might not be so easy and the bodywork... Let's just say if it were mine, I'd be regularly trolling eBay for panels "just in case."

From the original Craigslist post: 1996 Bimota YB9SR for Sale

2,653 original miles. 2nd owner. All stock, 1 of 3 imported to the US. Email for more info. Available April 19-26 only.

So the listing contains very little information, but mileage is extremely low, and it looks to be in pristine condition from the few photos provided. And the price? A screaming deal at $5,500. I'm under the impression that the seller needs to sell quickly, which might explain a price more in line with a decent used 600cc supersport. Of course the YB9's 600cc engine means a modern 600cc supersport would probably destroy it in any straight-line competition, but handling should still be impressive. Maintenance should be affordable, but bodywork might be very difficult to obtain if you push a bit too hard... I'm not the biggest fan of the yellow color with blue graphics, but this is a great-looking bike and possibly the cheapest way to get into Bimota ownership outside the questionably-styled Mantra.

-tad

Screaming Deal: 1996 Bimota YB9SR for Sale
Bimota March 28, 2017 posted by

Not Quite Stock: 1983 Bimota KB3

One of the all-time classic marriages of Japanese power plant technology with hand-built racing frame know how all wrapped up together in a tailored Italian suit is the little Rimini company of Bimota. Founded by three like-minded individuals who liked to go fast (and look good doing it), Bimota utilized donor engines and transmissions to power new, hybrid creations. During this time, the Japanese had the best engine technology, but their general frame design had not yet evolved beyond the 1960s. Bimota had exquisite frame building techniques, but were not a full-fledged manufacturer of complete motorcycles; they preferred to concentrate on the chassis and bodywork aspects. It is this approach that defined the KB lineup: Bimota frame and bodywork (and sourced suspension) motivated by a Kawasaki power plant. The KB1 was a Z1000 powered machine, the KB2 relied on the GPz550 motor, and the KB3 opted for the bigger, badder GPz1100 lump.

1983 Bimota KB3 for sale on eBay

Today's KB3 is not quite the showroom perfect example one could hope for - it has a highly modified motor and is not entirely in ship-shape condition. Seller notes that it has not been run in a few years, that the rear brake caliper has an issue, and that there are some other bits of concern. Photos are included, but the orientation does not make them easier to decipher the true condition of the bike. Pics have been modified here on RSBFS to help save that crick you get in your neck when trying to view posted photos that are orientated 90 degrees from upright.

From the seller:
Bike was built with one original Kawasaki GPz1100 motor come with bike but has a 1267cc Wiseco motor in it now. Needs rear Brembo caliper rebuilt master is new NOS part. Bike generally in very good condition has not been run for three years as brakes needed work in rear.Has parts to be offered with bike like carbs as well as general engine parts.

Original owner of one of 112 Bimota KB3's produced with a Kawasaki GPz1100 motor as well as an additional stock mostly complete engine. Needs side case on stattor side as well as small other bits clutch rod etc. Need rear caliper rebuilt, speedo working but mileage indicator not working.

The early KB models are rare, rare, rare. They command big bucks, because there were so few manufactured - only 112 were produced. This was likely a kit-built bike, meaning the original owner build it up from the frame kit and a donor GPz. As such, there will always be some variances between two bikes of the same model, and smaller issues like the odometer not working are really quite common. These early Bimotas are as much about the skill of the assembler as they are the quality of the components.

This bike is located in Ontario, Canada - meaning US buyers will need to deal with importation. This is a Buy It Now listing, with the seller looking for $18,000 USD, or best offer. That is big bucks indeed for a bike that cannot be ridden, yet represents fair (if not a little high) money for a KB3 if the anomalies could be rectified without great expense. Check it out here, and share your thoughts on the early Bimotas, KB bikes in general, or KB3s specifically.

MI

Not Quite Stock: 1983 Bimota KB3
Bimota February 10, 2017 posted by

1984 Bimota KB3 in Italy!

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Big Four Japanese motorcycle manufacturers appeared to know little about frame design and its effect on handling. Enter the small shop known as Bimota, formed as a hobby by Valerio Bianchi, Giuseppe Morri and Massimo Tamburini. Using existing motorcycles as a jumping off point, the Rimini firm created stout new frames and sensuous bodywork made to accept a variety of Japanese engines. These were initially offered as kits; buyers received the chassis, bodywork and suspension, to which they affixed the engine, transmission and electrics from a donor cycle. Completed Bimota motorcycles were ridden to rave reviews; razor sharp handling (usually to the compromise of comfort and convenience) was the order of the day.

1984 Bimota KB3 for sale on eBay

This 1984 Bimota KB3 (the 3rd model in the series of Kawasaki-powered Bimotas), shows the company making a massive turning point. Unlike kit-built bikes assembled by amatuers or hired guns, by the early 1980s Bimota was starting to assemble them in their own factory. This tiny company from northern Italy near the Adriatic Sea was making the jump to become a full-fledged manufacturer of motorcycles. And whereas the kit-built bikes were all unique and custom - showing the nature (and skill level) of their builders - this move by Bimota to assemble in house leads to a more consistent offering across the model type. This KB3, powered by a Kawasaki KZ1000 engine, was one of the early Bimotas that could be considered "factory built."

From the seller:
Bimota KB3 1000cc - ONE OF ONLY 30 UNITS FACTORY BUILT
model year 1984
VIN 0051.

Fantastic original preserved shiny conditions, one of only 30 factory built kb3 (not a kit), just 15k kms from new. Perfectly working. Unique opportunity.

Ride and collect!

The KB3 came on the heels of the watershed bike for Bimota, the GPz550-powered KB2 Laser. And whereas the KB2 frame was created using short, straight sections of chrome moly tubing welded in a pyramid matrix to handle loads, the KB3 chassis incorporates longer sections of tubing and novel aluminum stress plates - all of which have been welded, bolted and epoxy bonded together. Billet aluminum sections join upper and lower sections, and provide a base for the swingarm pivot. The sleek bodywork is created from Kevlar - a magical substance of strength and lightweight in 1984. Maximizing stiffness to ensure optimum handling while shaving off an estimated 65 lbs from a standard KZ1000, the KB3 was perhaps the ultimate literbike in existence.

There were only 112 KB3s created, ensuring the rarity of these special bikes. We have seen a few on the pages of RSBFS, and they never fail to enchant. These are bikes that do not come around often, and never in such original condition. This bike is located in Italy (naturally!), appears to be in the best original condition we have seen, and is looking for a new home. When first offered by Bimota, these were very expensive machines ($13k and up). Collector status has done well for these incredible bikes, and while the opening ask on this one was a single US dollar, I expect the final auction result to include a few more zeros. No idea where the reserve is set, so this will be one to watch. Check it out here, and then share your thoughts on your favorite old-school Bimota in our comments section. Good Luck!!

MI

1984 Bimota KB3 in Italy!
Bimota December 14, 2016 posted by

Swede Speed: 1980 Bimota SB3

Do you have the winter blues? Are you hoping for a European getaway? Are you jonesing for some Italian flair? Does one liter power rattle your wok? If so, we have the International combo platter for you! Nestled in a garage near Stockholm sits this beautiful Bimota SB3 - just waiting for an enterprising hero to come save it. While not perfect, the bones appear to be solid. Trim pieces may need to be sourced (or fabricated), but with only some 400 bikes produced over a three year span, this is a rare looker that could be the cornerstone of any collection.

1980 Bimota SB3 for sale in Sweden

What you got when you bought a new Bimota SB3: Chrome-moly frame by the sublime Rimini artists at the Bimota factory. Marzocchi suspenders with Bimota aluminum triple clamps, novel rising-rate single shock rear swing arm (a big deal back in 1980), Brembo binders, and miles of hand-laid, thin & lightweight fiberglass. And that's it. YOU needed to supply the donor Suzuki GS1000 for engine, trans and electrical. And you needed to put it all together. You see, back in 1980, Bimota produced motorcycle kits. As a result, no two early Bimotas are ever exactly the same.

From the seller:
Up for sale is an old collectable sport bike. I have owned it since 2000 but it has been standing in my garage the last 7-8 years without touching it sad enough so the miles for 24000 km (Swedish) is probably correct. I don't know remember where I put the back turn signals but I do think it is the same as some piaggio or something.
The bike need TLC but will be worth it big time !! It was a really joy riding it. My time is my problem and that is why I decided to eventuality sell it. The bike is in Sweden outside Stockholm and I am able to help loading it if the buyer takes care of the rest.

Italian grace and stunning looks motivated by the very best Hamamatsu had to offer in the day results in the usual RSBFS motorcycle porn. Sure, the pictures could be better - way better in fact. And the seller could have made a better effort to clean up the works to better showcase this Italianese merger of noise and speed. On the other hand, one has to acknowledge the refreshing honesty in providing photos of the bike in situ; you know it has been looked after since it sits indoors, and you don't have to worry about the seller shining it up to make a quick, glossy buck. It is what it is and it is available now. Good luck!

MI

Swede Speed: 1980 Bimota SB3