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Bimota Motorcycle History

The Bimota marque was born more by accident than design, though for superbike enthusiasts the accident was s surprisingly happy event. Massimo Tamburini owned a heating business in the town of Rimini, on the Adriatic coats, an area of Italy which had long been a centre for both racing and motorcycle manufacture. As a hobby, Tamburini modified several local riders' machines to make them not only faster but also lighter and sharper to handle better. His efforts were rewarded with success, and before long his work on one particular bike, the MV Agusta 600 four, had gained the admiration of the entire Italian biking fraternity.

It was an event in the summer of 1972 which was the key to the birth of the Bimota; a routine test session at the Misano circuit where Tamburini, his friend Giuseppe Morri and racer Luigi Anelli were testing a specially framed Honda CB750. A journalist who was present wrote a feature about Tamburini's Honda, creating such a wave of interest that a commercial organisation was established to meet the consequent influx of orders. The company took its name from the three partners who set it up - Bianchi, Morri and Tamburini.

The new venture began trading on 1st January 1973. In addition to the Honda, Tamburini had just completed a pure racing machine powered by a Yamaha TR2 2-stroke engine. This too was an instant success, and in 1975 Johnny Cecotto won the 350cc World Championship on a Bimota-framed TZ Yamaha.

The first real Bimota superbike was the Suzuki GS750-engined SB2 (the SB1 was a racer) which made its debut at the Bologna Show in January 1977. The next development in the evolution of the Bimota street bike came at the 1977 Milan Show in the shape of KB1, housing either a Kawasaki 903 or 1015cc double overhead camshaft 4 cylinder motor.

The publicity and resultant sales success led to yet more mouthwatering superbikes and soon Honda wanted a piece of the action as well, and later Yamaha - all with official support from the respective companies. During this period, Bimota introduced several innovations for production roadsters, including variable steering geometry, the space frame and a standard of workmanship previously unseen.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s the Company boomed. Then came the crunch, at the 1983 Milan Show Bimota was foolish enough to display a prototype of a totally new bike - the futuristic Tesi - which it didn't have ready for sale. The result was no sales and bankruptcy. The Company was saved only by government support and the first ever Ducati powered product, the 1985 DB1. The success of this one motorcycle ensured a comeback wich continues in the late 1990s with Ducati and Yamaha engines, plus Bimota's own water-cooled 500cc 2-stroke street bike.

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