The masters from Rimini were on a roll: From the tube-framed madness from the cusp of the 1980s to the aluminum beams as the 1990s approached, Bimota has always been in the frame game. But unlike many bespoke frame makers who concentrated only on the chassis, these Italian artists disguised as motorcycle makers ensured that their bikes handled the stage of the visceral world as well as the paved one. As such, Bimotas continue to delight with their strong visual presence, coupled with legendary handling and performance. All of this comes at a price, however - making riding a Bimota a relatively exclusive affair.
Introduced in the years following the V-Due debacle, the SB8R returned to Bimota's more successful business plan of stuffing a 3rd-party engine and transmission into a motorcycle of their own design. In this case, power is courtesy of Suzuki's ripping TL1000R v-twin. This Japanese homage to Ducati's 916 mill is well known for being potent across the entire face of the tach, excelling at a high RPM rush not unlike that of inline fours. Devoid of the rest of the TL package (including the funky rotary damper), Bimota engineered a beast of a bike that was lighter and more precise than the Suzuki that donated its guts. It also looked far less porky then the Japanese offering.
From the seller:
This is an excellent original SB8R in the configuration it left the factory with a couple of small modifications (improvements). The light switch was modified so the headlight can be turned off, foot-pegs were replaced with European fixed position pegs, and the fueling system was modified to make it more rideable in street configuration.The fairings have original paint, carbon fiber parts have no cracks, all lights, turn-signals are original and working, tires have little wear, although they are at least 2 years old, so may want to consider replacing. Shocks don't show signs of needing seals, engine has no leaks, runs great, once it warms up (these are cold-blooded beasts). Brakes have plenty of wear left, recommend oil change for the engine, something I intended to do, but haven't made time. Bike is kept on battery tender to keep the (lithium) battery up.This is probably as close a time capsule as you'll find for an SB8R.
More from the seller:
This bike was purchased new from Ducati Bellevue on 3/2/2002. The 1st owner was a local Seattle aerospace engineer who rarely rode the bike. There were only 2 owners prior to my purchasing it in 2015.
The 1st owner made only one modification to this machine. His one mod was having a custom fuel trimmer or potentiometer made to work with the existing wiring harness. These bikes are known to have fueling issues due to the massive throttle bodies and this is where the potentiometer helps out. Unfortunately the potentiometer is old technology and the adjustment range was limited. The second owner installed a PCIII that was tuned by Nels at 2 Wheel Dyno Works in Woodinville, WA.
PCIII was installed by second owner to permanently wash out some of the fueling issues that was typical of the SB8R model and its huge throttle bodies. This bike accelerates easier through the rev range than before. The fuel trimmer that had been installed by the first owner was only finite and could not adjust or reach some of these issues in the rev range. This modification alone makes it rideable if you get stuck in traffic.
Braided steel clutch and brake lines (stock ones were rubber).
As mentioned above, the first owner added an Out-of-production Evoluzione SB8R fuel trimmer provided by a Bimota enthusiast in Colorado. This unit is more precisely calibrated with nearly infinite settings between 0 and 999. The Bimota trimmer has 8 positions total.
The arrow exhaust on the bike has been cored for better performance and sound. The result is outstanding in that it essentially replicates full racing pipes with much better performance and sound.
Always assembled with top-shelf suspension and brakes - Paioli and Brembo in this case - the SB8R reeks of class. From the huge snorkels that force-feed the air box hiding under the tank cover (the actual tank is the back half of that structure and extends downward centering/lowering the mass), to the way the huge exhaust cans poke out of the back seat, to the carbon-composite join plates of the frame to the exquisite swingarm with the embossed logo, everything looks expensive - and indeed it was a far more expensive motorcycle than its Japanese counterpart when new.
This particular bike looks to be in nice shape. With only 5,000 miles under the wheels, it has a reasonable number of miles and has been ridden without having been used/abused/trashed. There is plenty of evidence to know that the TL platform holds up well, making this one barely broken in. The haters will comment on the picture quality which makes it difficult to tell if we are looking at reflection or imperfection in the bodywork, but what we can see looks good. The seller appears to be knowledgeable about the machine and has 100% positive feedback, so I'm sure questions posed by serious buyers would be answered to satisfaction. With an opening ask of only $5,000, this Bimota is starting this auction in the basement. Interested parties should get in on the action now. This is the TL that Suzuki should have made; we're just lucky that the boys from Rimini were still around to give the TL motor some love. Good luck, and be sure and share your thoughts in the comments.