News

October 2012

It has been five months since I updated this News column and a lot has changed. Most notably, Bimota has announced a number of new models that seem to be selling well in the rest of the world, but we are not getting them in the USA. I have spoken many times to Bimota management in Italy and we have agreed upon a plan, but nothing is happening! The situation is a shame because reasonable worldwide sales of the DB8, DB9 and DB10 proves that they must be very good motorcycles—and these models could expand the categories in which enthusiasts could enjoy the well-known characteristics that make Bimota motorcycles unique—but not in America...yet!

To close the Bimota discussion, parts are still arriving—albeit much slower than I would like. The factory is very understaffed and managing all of the worldwide distributor/dealer parts sales is a part-time activity for one person. There is not much that we can do other than be persistent and patient—parts supplies for current parts (post 2004) are excellent, older parts seem to be slowly drying up!

Vyrus

So with Bimota activity slowing down, I am turning my energy to Vyrus. With a direct link to the Bimota Tesi lineage and modern designs pushing the technology forward—the Vyrus team is trying hard to prove the performance superiority of hub-steering for motorcycles. And they must be doing something right, because worldwide demand is far outweighing their ability to produce motorcycles.

In my last report I showed photos of my first 986M2 (Moto2) Replica kit that I took at the factory in Rimini. I received my first two kits in late spring and quickly sourced most of the OEM Honda parts that I needed to build the first complete motorcycle. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to dedicate sufficient time to build the first bike from start to finish, so I had to work on it in small chunks of time.

Let me first say that building these bikes is not work—it is pure pleasure—just handling the parts is more like being a jeweler than a mechanic—the surface finishes are extraordinary, the welding is fine art, many of the connections are doweled and then screwed, the hardware is tapered-headed stainless steel, the aluminum parts have inserts for screws—it is a high construction level that I have never seen used so extensively. I have a set of drawings that describes every fastener with a torque spec and special notes for either lubrication or Loctite!

Let's begin—the kits arrived fully assembled in crates. I removed the bodywork and sent it off to my painter. I broke down the chassis into three major assemblies—front and rear suspensions and "engine attachment." I built a fixture to support the Honda engine (from drawings supplied by Vyrus) and began assembling the omega frames, shocks, exhaust header pipes and cooling radiators. Next came the two suspension sub-assemblies and the bike was now on swingarm stands. I sourced high-end Brembo brakes and installed them. Wiring was the most complicated procedure in the assembly. First of all, when I built two of these bikes in Italy for training—we did not do the wiring so I lacked experience. And secondly, there are a number of design differences between the Honda wiring schemes for Europe and the USA—and I had to sleuth out these changes as I went along. The Vyrus team in Italy was great! I sent questions at the end of my day, maybe with a few photos, and while I slept they answered my questions, maybe with a few photos, for me to keep going the next day— all in all, it worked very well. Once that was done, I added the seat support and fuel tank and fired the bike up—before I covered everything with carbon fiber. I must say that I flipped the ignition switch, watched the dashboard do its dance, hit the starter button and it fired and idled immediately—you've got to love a Honda engine! I then put on the rest of the bodywork—and this is the only place that I "might" complain a bit—for the most part it went together perfectly, but there were a few fasteners that I had to pull and stretch the carbon panels to get the holes to line up—these are, after all, handmade parts and very early in the process (chassis numbers 010 and 013)—hopefully they will gradually improve in this area. But that said, once together the panels blend together perfectly and the resulting motorcycle is extraordinarily beautiful!

Here is a chronology of photos showing the assembly process:

(Click a thumbnail to view an image, then use your mouse wheel to scroll through the gallery.) Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail Assembly Clickable Thumbnail

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"The proof of the pudding is in the tasting." So what does riding a Vyrus 986M2 feel like? For me the experience begins when I approach the bike and just look at what I am going to ride—I put a lot of value on what a motorcycle looks like— and this one is spectacular—aggressive, beautifully finished, high tech, unique— it passes all of the visual tests. Literally a touch of the starter button later, it fires right up and as I rev the engine it roars. I have been a "twin" man since I sold my Honda 750 for a Moto Guzzi V7 Sport in 1974, but I have to say that this engine with its high revving "scream" is scintillating! The aural connection to what my wrist is doing is direct! And the tonal quality of the exhaust note is purely Italian— it is one of the things that they do best!!! As you get on the bike, the ergonomics are fairly normal by modern sportbike standards—the seat height is on the taller end of normal, but it is very narrow at the front and I can place both feet flat on the ground. The reach to the bars is fairly normal too. The footpeg position is adjustable, but I was in a hurry to go riding so left it as it came, which was quite acceptable (I will play with this some in the future to optimize it for myself).

The ride began with a typical Honda "click" into gear. The clutch was smooth, a touch heavy, and the fuel-injection was spot on. When I got onto the tarmac I grabbed a handful of throttle and got my first surprise—the bike accelerated as I expected it to—actually a bit stronger than I expected from a 600—but the surprise was when I sub-consciously grabbed the sides of the tank with my thighs and the thin carbon fiber offered no resistance—it was like squeezing air— I had nothing to grab on to! This felt very strange. I quickly got back to riding, short shifting at about 10 grand (red line is 15,000) to get used to the bike, but even this was extremely exhilarating—the rush of speed and the exhaust scream far exceeded my expectations!!! I found the Vyrus to feel both extremely light and well-planted. There was very little vibration and the exhaust note was outstanding—it sounded like a military fighter jet! I became a bit concerned as the bike was not yet legal and this exhaust scream was quite conspicuous! I headed for my twisty section of road anyway and the bike felt very natural—it just went where I wanted it to go—changed direction effortlessly and felt very stable. The braking from the high-end Brembos was overkill due to the lightness of the bike. I didn't push the brakes on my first trip, but stability and confidence under braking is where I hope that the hub-steered Vyrus will really shine. After one circuit, I returned to the shop and checked as many fasteners as I could get to—to be sure that nothing had loosened up and quickly headed out for another lap. The second one was even better than the first—just more comfortable due to familiarity.

So what are my impressions?—first of all—this is a racebike! It has an aggressive stance and ergonomics, and an engine and exhaust that want to be run hard. The bike is tight and the suspension is stiff (although I plan to work on dialing that in as I go forward—both ends are very adjustable.) The bike feels very light, that amplifies the ample power to provide strong, smooth acceleration. Yet the bike is docile and civilized—it starts at the touch of a button and idles perfectly—much like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde...in this case, the best of both worlds! Overall I am very pleased and impressed. Now I just need to personalize the ergonomics and suspension to fit me, deal with the DMV, and start racking up the miles. I'll start building the second Vyrus tomorrow.

Here are some photos of the finished product just before the first test run:

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May 2012 - the best part of being in the Italian motorcycle business is that there is a "plausible need" to go to Italy regularly to conduct business with our suppliers. I just returned from a very nice trip to both the Vyrus and Bimota factories and have taken quite a few photos to share with you.

Vyrus factory

This time I will start with the Vyrus factory for a couple of reasons—firstly—I am so excited about getting our first two 986M2 kits—I saw them in Italy and they are being shipped as I write this! The photos of the motorcycle without the engine are of the first kit coming to America. This bike is going to be spectacular. The design is extraordinary and Vyrus has taken the exotic craftsmanship that Bimota is known for—and raised it a few notches—the physical pieces that make up these bikes are truly works of art—the quality is unbelievable. Secondly, I spent a full day at the factory disassembling and reassembling a complete bike so that when we start to build the bikes here the process will be familiar and therefore go smoothly. I can't wait to get started. I am currently building assembly fixtures, we have the two Honda CBR600RR engines ready, and we are just waiting for the kits to arrive. I will take some assembly photos of our process and post them next month. Then we plan to take the first bike to a local racetrack to get the feel of it—look for a report of our first impressions sometime in June.

Here are some photos—the first kit coming to America, the naked engine and chassis, a trackbike, and a complete streetbike heading to Japan. Enjoy!

(Click a thumbnail to view an image, then use your mouse wheel to scroll through the gallery.) Vyrus 01 Clickable Thumbnail Vyrus 02 Clickable Thumbnail Vyrus 03 Clickable Thumbnail Vyrus 04 Clickable Thumbnail Vyrus 05 Clickable Thumbnail Vyrus 06 Clickable Thumbnail Vyrus 07 Clickable Thumbnail Vyrus 08 Clickable Thumbnail Vyrus 09 Clickable Thumbnail Vyrus 10 Clickable Thumbnail Vyrus 11 Clickable Thumbnail Vyrus 12 Clickable Thumbnail Vyrus 13 Clickable Thumbnail Vyrus 14 Clickable Thumbnail Vyrus 15 Clickable Thumbnail Vyrus 16 Clickable Thumbnail Vyrus 13 Clickable Thumbnail Scuderia 01 Clickable Thumbnail Scuderia 02 Clickable Thumbnail Scuderia 03 Clickable Thumbnail

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Bimota factory

I actually spent two full days at the Bimota factory—they were extremely hospitable as business is booming—yes, your read that correctly—and I was there to spend my time in the parts mezzanine searching for many "historic" parts as they call them (anything prior to 2003 is considered "historic") for all of the customer requests that pile up (when I send the part numbers to Italy, the folks there are not familiar with many of these parts and tell me that they don't have them)—I would say that I found about 50% of what I was looking for, and that is making many customers quite happy!

I also got to see the new models—the pre-production DB10 (BiMoTard)—production is just about to start, and the DB9 Brivido—who many call the best looking Diavel on the market. Production of the DB9 Brivido is in full swing and there were many in the assembly area—completed and being shipped. As a matter of fact—the whole floor was full! I got to sit on both bikes and they are extremely comfortable—especially for Italian sportbikes!

But how many are coming to America you might ask? As you all probably know, we do not have an official Bimota importer in the USA at the moment, and therefore there is no official company to work with the factory on homologation, forecasting, scheduling, etc. My friend, Joe Tortora (from SuperMoto International in NY) and I convinced the factory that we could certainly commit to enough bikes to justify homologation of the DB8, DB9 and DB10, and they agreed to proceed. So it seems that in the next month we should have the bureaucracy taken care of and then we can begin to get motorcycles. As many of you also know, Bimota dealers have suffered in the recent past by having too many bikes imported and sold at steeply discounted prices to get them out into the market. This is not sustainable—nobody is making any money (the factory nor the dealers) and many dealers have given up on Bimota—it is impossible to stay in business losing money no matter how passionate you may be about the product. So my plan is to order a couple of bikes to demo and show to customers, and then order motorcycles from the factory as they are sold—this will match supply and demand, and with air shipment, delivery time should be less than four weeks—we'll see how this goes! If anyone reading this is seriously interested in one of the new models, please contact me at: info@bimotaspirit.com and we can get started—I have brochures and specifications as well as more photos than I am posting here. This is your chance to have one of a very limited number of examples in the USA.

So here are some photos of the factory from last week—as you can see, even though we don't see it here in the USA, Bimota is staying very busy shipping motorcycles to the rest of the world!

(Click a thumbnail to view an image, then use your mouse wheel to scroll through the gallery.) Bimota 01 Clickable Thumbnail Bimota 02 Clickable Thumbnail Bimota 03 Clickable Thumbnail Bimota 04 Clickable Thumbnail Bimota 05 Clickable Thumbnail Bimota 06 Clickable Thumbnail Bimota 07 Clickable Thumbnail Bimota 08 Clickable Thumbnail Bimota 09 Clickable Thumbnail Bimota 10 Clickable Thumbnail Bimota 11 Clickable Thumbnail Bimota 12 Clickable Thumbnail Bimota 13 Clickable Thumbnail Bimota 14 Clickable Thumbnail

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November 2011 - summertime is always busy—so the News Updates often get delayed—to catch up, this month I have a double espresso—two news items—reports from my visits to both the Bimota and Vyrus factories last week.

Bimota factory

First stop was Bimota. As many of you know, the importation management of Bimota products into the USA has been inconsistent since the emergence of the new Bimota company in 2003. We have had two official importers and both are now gone. I have been dealing directly with the factory for a year now, with mixed results—but after this recent trip—I am optimistic that things will run more smoothly. There is one thing for sure—if they are not improved, it will not be for the lack of trying—the current staff in Italy is really trying to satisfy demand for motorcycles, parts and information from around the world, but are considerably understaffed—so they do the best that they can, as they can—clearly an unfortunate result of the tough global economic situation.

I wanted to have a meeting with the staff before the EICMA Milan Motorcycle show (November 8-13)—because during the show everyone is so busy that it is difficult to find enough time to have meaningful discussions and resolve particular matters. The downside, of course, is that I didn't get to see the show. I do have some very good news though—Bimota will introduce some new models at the show next week! I can't say more, but I was lucky, Ralf Franzen, the Sales Director for Europe, showed me renderings of the new models—so be sure to watch the Internet November 8th for the unveiling!

Many people want to know what is going on within the company. I can tell you that they seem to be alive and well! I saw motorcycles being built, I saw motorcycles being grouped for shipment to many countries around the world, and in general, the company seemed to be functioning normally, albeit with volumes down from their peaks due to the general economic malaise. Here are some photos from last week.

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One final note—when I returned to the USA this week, I found a large box of Bimota parts waiting for me! I know that some of you have been waiting patiently, so hopefully I will be contacting you soon to tell you of your shipment!

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Vyrus factory

The second stop was to the Vyrus factory, just down the road from Bimota. In the spring I mentioned that I would be importing the Vyrus 986 M2—Moto 2 Replica Kits into the USA. This visit was to see the bikes with my own eyes—and I can tell you that they look fantastic. The factory has been developing the bikes continuously on racetracks for about 9 months and has gotten the design to the point where they are getting excellent results, and as such, they are firming up the design and ordering parts in quantities. I saw volumes of many parts and two complete motorcycles getting prepared to be shipped to their owners—I also saw photos of bikes already in their owners' possession—this was exciting for me to see the real hardware! We are now negotiating how quickly we can get the first bike into the USA. Stay tuned, as I hope to know in the next couple of weeks. As with Bimota, I took some photos of the bikes in the shop and also got them to give me some images of previously delivered customer bikes—so please enjoy seeing the first production Vyrus 986M2s!

(Click a thumbnail to view an image, then use your mouse wheel to scroll through the gallery.) vyrus01.jpg Clickable Thumbnail vyrus02.jpg Clickable Thumbnail vyrus03.jpg Clickable Thumbnail vyrus04.jpg Clickable Thumbnail vyrus05.jpg Clickable Thumbnail vyrus06.jpg Clickable Thumbnail vyrus07.jpg Clickable Thumbnail vyrus08.jpg Clickable Thumbnail vyrus09.jpg Clickable Thumbnail vyrus10.jpg Clickable Thumbnail vyrus11.jpg Clickable Thumbnail vyrus12.jpg Clickable Thumbnail vyrus13.jpg Clickable Thumbnail vyrus14.jpg Clickable Thumbnail vyrus15.jpg Clickable Thumbnail vyrus16.jpg Clickable Thumbnail

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April 2011 - Does anybody out there want a full-on, race developed, "Tesi-style" track bike...or "home-built" street bike?

Many of you, I am sure, have seen the Vyrus 986 M2 Moto2 Replica on the web in many news reports. Gorgeous and very intriguing! And what group of motorcycle enthusiasts would appreciate this project more than Bimotisti?

Vyrus was started by Ascanio Rodorigo, who worked for Bimota during one of their golden eras—the late 1980s and early 1990s—during the development and production of the revolutionary first Tesi. When Bimota decided to abandon this platform, Ascanio left with a few other Bimota employees and started building stripped-down, Tesi-based racebikes. After achieving racing success, they started building copies of these racebikes for customers and the Vyrus boutique motorcycle company was founded.

When the new Bimota company was opened in 2003, they wanted to get products to the market as quickly as possible—without waiting for the normal new product development cycle. They were aware of the Tesi-like Vyrus, which clearly has Bimota DNA, and commissioned Vyrus to produce a small quantity (25 were built worldwide) of the highly distinctive 984 C3 V2 model, with unique Bimota paint schemes and badged them Bimota Tesi 2Ds (the natural follow-on to the 1D).

In parallel, Vyrus continued to expand and developed the 985 C3 V4, a new design using the Ducati 999 4-valve Superbike engine, featuring not only hub-steering but a structural carbon fiber front sub-frame/air intake/airbox—extraordinarily innovative! They are now developing a supercharged Ducati 1198cc Superbike-engined motorcycle (987 C3 V4), the most powerful street bike available on the market at 211hp, and weighing only 339 pounds!

As tempting as these newer 4-valve models are—they have been unavailable in the USA (until very recently) because of governmental homologation rules—it is very expensive to get motorcycle models certified, and those costs have to be amortized over the quantity imported—in this case—very few units—which can take the final price to consumers out of reach (unless you are someone like the actor Tom Cruise, who can reach as far as he wants to—and is very passionate about his 985 C3 V4!)

We at Bimota Spirit have been associated with Vyrus for a number of years in support of the Bimota Tesi 2Ds that we have sold, and they are most helpful with tuning and maintenance of their bikes! We have lusted after the 4-valve models but our government issues have always gotten in the way. Now, however, we have a golden opportunity to get access to a very coveted new Vyrus product—one of the most beautiful and functional motorcycles developed in many years! Back to the opening question—"Does anybody out there want a full-on, race developed, "Tesi-style" track bike...or "home-built" street bike?"

Vyrus has just completed the design of a bike to race in the Grand Prix Moto2 category—based on in-line, four cylinder prototype engines from Honda –

http://www.cycleworld.com/first_motorcycle_ride/special_features_articles/11q2/vyrus_986_m2_moto2_racer_-_special_feature

and they are offering "chassis kits" for sale—to be used with Honda streetbike running gear (CBR600RR – 2008-2010). Does this scenario sound familiar? It is exactly the way that Bimota entered the streetbike market back in 1976 with the KB1 and SB2 kits. Customers or dealers purchased kits from Bimota that included the frame, suspension, wheels, exhaust system and bodywork; and then found donor KZ1000s or GS750s (usually low mileage wrecks) for the engines, wiring harnesses and instruments—and built their own superbikes.

Now, we can do the same thing – build custom bikes to our own specifications—there are a lot of Honda CBR600RR performance parts and engine builders out there, as well as custom painters! The kits are available without lights for track day purposes and with lights to be registered as "home-builts" or as "Hondas" (using the donor bike title) depending on which provision is available in your state.

I am so excited about building my own track bike (as is my "second" customer) that we have the first two Vyrus 986 M2 kits on order from the factory. I hope to post updates on the construction of my bike over the next few months. If anyone out there would like more information about these kits, please contact me at: info@bimotaspirit.com.

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January 2011 - Bimota Spirit Parts Support

As many Bimotisti are aware, the supply of Bimota motorcycles and parts and support for our precious vehicles has been a bit dodgy lately. This is the result of a change in importer to the USA in mid-2009, and many legal confrontations that absorbed energy and diverted focus away from customer support. On the bright side, I believe that we were able to supply everyone that wanted a new Bimota, and despite the trying economic situation, we at Bimota Spirit had the best year in our history in 2010!

To me personally, the most frustrating aspect of poor customer support is the very slow supply of spare parts, that is in part due to the lack of personnel at Bimota Americas and a reduced staff in the parts department back at the factory in Rimini. I am very pleased to announce that we have worked out an arrangement with Bimota Americas to manage the Bimota parts business for the USA. We will support all constituencies—Bimota owners, Bimota Dealers, and repair shops. We have a new e-mail address dedicated to parts-related inquiries and orders—parts@bimotaspirit.com—and plan to aggregate orders and place them with the factory every two weeks—on the first and third Sunday of every month. We also plan to stock a limited supply of commonly requested parts in North Carolina for immediate distribution.

We have also requested an inventory list of vintage Bimota parts that are currently available at the factory (pre-2003 models) so we should be able to respond more quickly as to the availability of these older parts. We also recently purchased the entire NOS Bimota parts inventory that was in the USA prior to 2003, so we have a fair stock of NOS parts available for immediate distribution.

I hope that all of this investment in time, organization and money will result in much better Bimota parts service as we go forward—I look forward to receiving your inquiries and helping our Bimota community preserve and maintain our extraordinary vehicles!

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January 2010

We don't have much to report this month as motorcycle activity has become somewhat dormant in the eastern half of the USA for winter, but we were able to get the three Racing Collection dossiers—that I referred to last month—completed and posted. Please visit our Racing Collection and see the YB1, YB3-Rougerie, and YB4e.i.-Galasso. I hope that you enjoy them. Trying to stay focused on racing motorcycles, I hope to have the HDB2 ready in the next few weeks.

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December 2009 - Fall Events

We have been so busy starting to seriously document our Bimota Collection and getting out and sharing our passion for Bimotas that I have not had time to update the website for months. I have three new dossiers in final edit for our Racing Collection—YB1, YB3-Rougerie, and YB4e.i.-Galasso; with some focus, I hope to get them posted in the next few weeks. For now, I will share how we have been out promoting Bimota at three significant events.

Historic Moto Grand Prix - VIR

In July, I mentioned that we planned to attend a Historic Moto Grand Prix event at Virginia International Raceway. We did attend and had a wonderful time. I took four Bimotas with me—our crown jewel, the YB4-R on which Virginio Ferrari won the 1987 TT F1 World Championship; a 1981 KB1 TT1 racebike that Graziano Rossi (Valentino's father) rode in a 1981 100 Miglia race at Imola; a very early 1977 SB2 Corsa (VIN 00005); and a 1991 YB10 Dieci Superbike that was raced by the Human Race Team in the USA with sponsorship from Roscetti Corporation, the Bimota importer during the early 1990s, and then later restored and raced to a WMRRA Vintage Superbike Championship by Tim Keane, our Bimota List moderator. We displayed the four Bimotas along with about 40 other vintage racebikes and got to do some "demonstration" laps at the end of each lunch break and as the last session of each of the three days of the AMA Superbike weekend. My son, Sean, was with me helping out and as he doesn't get many chances to ride on the track being a full-time college student, I let him be our rider and ride the Dieci—he really put it through its paces! Here are some photographs taken at the event.

Sean Steinbugler at HMGP 01

Historic Moto Grand Prix 02

Historic Moto Grand Prix 03

Historic Moto Grand Prix 04

Sean Steinbugler at HMGP 02

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Historic Moto Grand Prix - Savannah

In late October, I joined the same Historic Moto Grand Prix folks at an event in Savannah, Georgia, on Hutchinson Island in the mouth of the Savannah River. It was a combined event with the Historic Sports Car Racing Club—the Savannah/Hilton Head Speed Classic and ran at the Savannah Harbor Race Course (an ill-fated Indy Car track that hosted one Indy Lights race in the early 1990s and went bankrupt—it is now re-opened for special events). For this event, I took some of the Bimotas that are my real passion—the two-stroke Grand Prix bikes. To display – I took a 1974 YB1, a 1979 YB3 and a 1976 SB1, and to ride on the track – I took my latest V-due—a carbureted racing model with Jolly Moto racing exhaust, new ignition map, and BST Carbon fiber wheels—the non plus ultra of V-dues (I hope to do a short dossier on it in the coming months). Again we had a wonderful time, including a police-escorted parade into Historic Downtown Savannah for an outdoor Champagne Reception on the piazza, and an event-ending outdoor banquet at the 5-star Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa on Hutchinson Island—with our cars and motorcycles parked on their Riverwalk for atmosphere and conversation. The event, receptions, and fellow HMGP motorcycle enthusiasts (as well as getting to spend some time with my buddy George Hecht who helped me for the event) would have made it a wonderful weekend, but what made it an exceptional time is that I got to ride a V-due on a racetrack for the first time. It was a bit difficult at first—I am old, I am rusty, I have some joints that don't work any more, I had never seen the track before, the track is lined with concrete walls and ARMCO barriers, and I had to figure out the power band of the V-due, because if you let it drop below 6,000 rpm—you might as well hop off and push it! But that said—we had plenty of track time and by the middle of the second day I was having a complete blast—it was optimum fun! As a matter of fact—the whole weekend was just great! Here are a few photographs that show off the Bimotas.

Historic Moto Grand Prix - Savannah 01

Historic Moto Grand Prix - Savannah 02

Historic Moto Grand Prix - Savannah 03

Historic Moto Grand Prix - Savannah 04

Historic Moto Grand Prix - Savannah 05

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Festivals of Speed - Miami

And to complete the Bimota trips, in mid-November I took a representative sample of the current Bimota product range and a couple of vintage Bimotas to display at the Festivals of Speed event, in Miami, Florida. This event was one of the best that I have ever attended. It was essentially a charity Concours d'elegance, and displayed the finest automobiles, yachts, and motorcycles available in the world today. I have never seen so many Rolls Royces, Bentleys, Aston Martins, Ferraris, Maseratis, and Lamborghinis in one place, but my favorite automobiles were the Bugatti Vyron, the Koenigsegg, the vintage cars, and the many one-offs from small designers and manufacturers that I was not even aware existed. As impressed as I was by the automobiles, the yachts blew me away—I have never seen such attention to every detail as they deliver in modern high-end boats today—just extraordinary. And of course, to represent motorcycles in this crowd, we took our Bimotas—a new 2009 DB7 (Red/White/Gold), a 2008 Tesi 3D Limited Edition, and a DB6 Azzurro Limited Edition—they represented the new, and to provide an historical context, a very original 1977 SB2—one of the truly exceptional motorcycle designs of all time, and a 1975 SB1—to show the beginnings of Bimota as a custom producer of Grand Prix Racing Chassis'. We were the only Brand invited to display motorcycles, and deservedly so, as I believe that Bimota is the only brand that has the combination of style, exclusivity, and performance to complement Bugatti and Riva.

The event included a Rooftop Reception (which featured our Bimotas for atmosphere because they couldn't get any cars up to the 15th Floor of the Viceroy Hotel!), a "Yacht Hop Reception (including a preview selection of the finest vehicles—on the lawn next to the Waterway)," and the Concours d'elegance at the Bayfront Park. We displayed our vintage Bimotas at the Rooftop Reception and the current motorcycles at the Yacht Hop Reception. At the Concours, we had a Bimota tent with all of the motorcycles on display and had many visitors—despite most of the event attendees being "car guys (and girls)" and not motorcycle enthusiasts. An overwhelming majority of our visitors were intrigued by the Tesi 3D and its unique architecture, and whose innovation was appreciated by one and all.

All in all, it was a tremendous event. It took a lot of work in preparation, 15 hours each way to drive there, and a lot of schlepping our bikes from one venue to another (great thanks to my friend Ron Smith who helped me out all weekend)—but to be in the company of such extraordinarily exotic machinery, and to be a proud contributor, made it all worthwhile—not to mention a glass of champagne or two! We were too busy working to take many photographs, but here are a few to give you an idea of the event—November in Miami—80 degrees and sunshine!

Bob Steinbugler at Festivals of Speed 01

Festivals of Speed 02

Festivals of Speed 03

Festivals of Speed 04

Festivals of Speed 05

Festivals of Speed 06

Festivals of Speed 07

Festivals of Speed 09

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August 2009 - Happy New Customer

Some people consider Bimotas to be investments, like art or fine jewelry—which they are, but they are also machines that are very competent at what they were designed to do. I have a new customer, Steve Morton, who is a recent convert from the "other side" (Harley Davidson), and who wanted a sport bike with some unique character. After doing extensive research and coming to my showroom to see all of the current Bimotas in person, he became enamored by the Tesi 3D—and two weeks later, he was featured as one of the "Highlights of the Week," at www.us129photos.com. He and his Tesi were captured at Deal's Gap in North Carolina, doing what the Tesi does best.

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July 2009 - VIR AMA Superbike Weekend: August 14,15, and 16

I am very excited to be joining a group of other enthusiastic Vintage Racebike Owners/Riders, known as the Historic Moto Grand Prix—at the VIR round of the AMA Superbike Championship. About 20 – 30 folks will take 40 – 50 significant former racebikes to the track for display, some track riding, and a Vintage "race" on Sunday—as a colorful addition to the Pro-Racing Program. I plan to take a classic KB1 allegedly ridden by Graziano Rossi, Vale's father, an SB2 racebike (VIN 005), Virginio Ferrari's Go to YB4R - Ferrari GalleryYB4-R that won the last TT Formula 1 World Championship in 1987 (before it became the World Superbike Championship) (see the bike feature under Racing Collection), and one other—to be determined, as I have room for four—maybe a Grand Prix bike like an SB1! The bikes will be displayed in "The Barn" when not on the track for practice and Sunday's mock race. Any reader in possession of a significant racebike that would like to join us—please contact me.

I have just finished the "Ultimate V-due" and will have a feature ready for next month—please stop back!

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May 2009 - Bimota one-hour feature on the Discovery HD Theater

Many motorcycle enthusiasts have watched the 4 short segments about Bimota in the "Twist the Throttle" series on the Discovery Channel or YouTube. Now, after being tantalized for months, the full one-hour version is finished and will air for the first time on the Discovery HD Theater, on the evening of May 18 (check your local listings for exact time.) As I mentioned last year, I had the pleasure of working with Milt Weiss and his son Dylan on this documentary, and I think that it provides a good overview of the legacy of innovation that Bimota has created in its more than thirty year history.

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November 2008 - Bike Sale

November is here and even in North Carolina—it gets cold! Couple that with a tough financial climate and I expect motorcycle sales to slow down—so what to do? To minimize the interest that I have to pay the bank every month for the bikes that I have in my showroom—I am going to have a WINTER INVENVTORY REDUCTION SALE—all of the new Bimotas that I have in stock will be included—at prices BELOW MY DEALER COST!—no reasonable offer will be refused—but I did say "reasonable." Please visit the For Sale section of the website to see my current inventory—I will attempt to keep it current. Please contact me at info@bimotaspirit.com with any questions or to purchase one of these truly remarkable new Bimotas.

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May 2008 - Bimota KB1 Café Racer

I am happy to report that I just finished a pet project of mine—one that I have been thinking about and working on intermittently for several years—a Bimota KB1 Café Racer! The KB1 is one of my favorite Bimotas for several reasons—it was one of the first models ever built by the company (concurrently with the SB2), designed, of course, by Massimo Tamburini. Secondly, it has a great engine—the Kawasaki KZ1000. And lastly, it has an absolutely beautiful frame. The frame is not only chrome-moly tubes in a trellis design, but all of the tubes are bent and sculpted around the engine—fantastic! This point being the incentive to build a Café Racer version—so that the world can enjoy seeing the frame. There were a few hurdles to overcome. First was the battery. On the original bike, the batteries (2 six-volt wired in series) were mounted in fiberglass pockets in the fairing. I made a nice aluminum battery box for a modern 12 volt battery and tucked it under the left foot peg and shift controls. Secondly, the headlight was mounted rigidly to the frame, as is common with full-fairing motorcycles. I got some aluminum headlight brackets and then made some extensions to space out the headlight to clear the frame, and also incorporate tachometer, indicator lights and ignition switch mounts. The rest of the bike is as it came from the factory. It is just wonderful to ride—it is comfortable and makes a fantastic sound out of its 4 into 1 exhaust! Here are a few photographs—I hope that you like it!

KB1 Café Racer 01

KB1 Café Racer 02

KB1 Café Racer 03

KB1 Café Racer 04

KB1 Café Racer 05

KB1 Café Racer 06

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March 2008 - Discovery Channel On-line Twist the Throttle series

When I was at the Bimota Factory in April of last year I had the privilege of working with Milt Weiss and his son Dylan, two freelance video journalists, who were making a set of short videos about Bimota. They needed an English speaking historian who could tell the basic Bimota story – so I volunteered. The result is now on the web at turbo.discovery.com.

Go to videosGo to videos »

The videos are short and only have time for a very high level glimpse into the Bimota story, but they do get us some "airtime" and convey the hand-built uniqueness and quality of the current model range.

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January 2008 - Milan Motorcycle Show

A few weeks ago I visited the famous Milan Motorcycle Show and saw the unveiling of the fabulous new DB7. This is the company's response to all of those potential customers who really wanted one of the new Bimotas but felt that they needed a more powerful Ducati 4-valve engine to have the ultimate Italian motorcycle. The DB7 is based on the Ducati 1098 engine and housed in a super-lightweight chassis with styling that extends Bimota's current direction to new heights. The DB7 will complement the Tesi 3D at the top of the offering list from Bimota, one bike emphasizing unique engineering and the ultimate in handling, and the other emphasizing massive engine performance. The DB7 is due in America in June of 2008. I will keep visitors to this site updated on progress. Here are some photos that I took of the new bike.

2008 DB7

2008 DB7

2008 DB7

2008 DB7

2008 DB7

2008 DB7

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