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The Bounce Back Bimota

In July 1984 Bimota went bust, blame pointed at overexpansion and the loss of Massimo Tamburini to Ducati. Under Italian law co-founders Valerio Bianchi and Giuseppe Morri were left with two years to rebuild Bimota: after that, creditors would be allowed to strip the company bare. That left two years to design, build and sell a motorcycle that would save the factory. Luckily the Bimota DB1 was special enough to do just that

Ironically Tamburini was replaced at Bimota by Ducati’s Federico Martini. Martini didn’t just bring experience of things like designing trellis frames, but his contacts allowed him to build Bimota’s latest confection around the new 748cc Ducati engine that debuted in the 1985 750F1

So alongside the Ducati 750F1 Bimota introduced the DB1, wrapped in a design which was the first to use fully enclosed bodywork since the Vincent Black Prince and Black Knight. Other pioneering features included the 16” wheels and radial tyres, but the most revolutionary thing about the DB1 was that it represented Bimota’s first bike that could be homologated worldwide. In contrast to Ducati’s F1 the DB1 featured silencers and an air filter, allowing the DB1 to be sold in Switzerland and all US states, and allowed 75% of all DB1s built went to go to Japan. Sadly it also meant the DB1 was down on power compared to the Ducati F1, road tests getting as little as 51bhp although just removing the plastic tubes between the carbs and airbox (with rejetting) gave a 12% more power. So Bimota offered four versions of the DB1 during the 1985-‘87 production span - the standard, the S with larger carburettors and freer-flowing exhausts; and the SR/RS with tweaks aimed at Battle of the Twins racing. There were also a handful of factory racers, labelled DB1R

Issue 8 is a Bimota DB1 fest with memories of the bike's history and tales from those who were involved in racing them. I thought it was sold out, but a few have been found behind a virtual sofa. Buy it in the shop, with photos such as this one by Phil Aynsley



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