The Bimota Tesi promises to be different from the outset. In reality however once on the move there is little to separate it from any other well-set up motorcycle. The ride is pure racer stuff with a super fat steering resulting from minute inputs via the bars. The slightest nudge has the Tesi on its side and cornering hard
Braking is the one area that does take some getting used to, no matter how hard or aggressive you squeeze the front brake lever the front end hardly moves, the entire braking force is transfer horizontally back into the chassis and never gets up into the headstock area like on a conventional bike. The end result is the suspension is left to get on with its job without the brakes trying the bend the forks back into the engine block and as the front end no longer dives down and sharpen the steering up during this process the steering can be sharp all of the time instead of being a bit lazy when the brakes aren’t on.
Purists would say the front-end lacks feel, holding on to any feedback that the tyre may offer and stopping it making its way to the rider. This would be accurate and a problem addressed in late models of the Tesi but you really do have to be flying around on it to get into this phase of the process. At sane levels of performance the bike is like any other, just a darn sight lighter to the touch and easier to punt around.
The Tesi can trace its roots back to a race machine originally built in the mid 80’s. This was the result of a university degree course completed by Bimota designer Pierluigi Marconi that saw the design used as part of the subject matter. The first tesi ( or thesis) featured radical hydraulically operated steering which although effective in use added to the complexity and weight. The first example also used Honda V-4 power plants that proved both heavy and bulky, causing the frame to be too wide and the engine to be mounted far too high in the chassis. The first road going machine was planned for release in 1987 but the boom and bust of the Italian motorcycle industry saw Bimota doing the latter and the project was shelved in favour of more profitable and financially less risky projects. 3 years down the line and the Tesi resurfaced this time with a Ducati V-Twin power plant that fitted in the Omega chassis as if made for it, the marriage was made in heaven and the Tesi suddenly made sense. The two plate that make up the chassis could now run far closer together while the engine could remain at a reasonable height from the deck keeping the weight low and the C of G as intended when the design was first penned way back in the early 80’s. Everyone agreed the new Tesi looked and went well, the only down fall, as is often the case with Bimota, was the huge price tag attached to bike.
There is nothing quite like the Tesi on the road at least. Even the best of the race tackle fails to come close to the speed and agility of the tesi during the cornering process. Honda has a good go at foring the masses to accept something different with its Elf race project but the only thing of note that came out of that was the idea of mass centralisation and the single sided swing arm as seen on the RC30 and 45, and later licensed to Aprilia for use on the AF1 125. There has been the odd attempt at mass-producing the hub centre steering cause and theory, the most prevalent being the Yamaha GTS1000 first seen in 1992 although this was aimed squarely at the touring market and the price was prohibitive when compared to other production tourers like the VFR750.
With its highly stressed Ducati engine and typically Italian electrics its more a case of what doesn’t go wrong. The Tesi, as it left the factory at least, certainly isn’t a lot of use on a day-to-day basis as faults can be both annoying and commonplace. The most obvious of these is the futuristic digital dash board that give a readout of every vital sign concerning the bikes well being, this can shut down, give temporary erroneous readings or even wipe out the mileage of the odometer forever such is the fragility of the design.
Deeper into the mechanics of the chassis, the pushrods and bearings that make up the steering are also prone to wear and its subsequent effect upon the way the bike handles. Outside of these areas the overall simplicity of the rest of the bike make for an easy life.
Bimota Test 1D Timeline
Pierluigi Marconi pens the design as part of his degree course
The first Tesi unveiled at the Milan show, it had hydraulically operated steering and met with some success on the racetrack
The first road going Tesi was announced but halted due to Bimota being on the brink of bankruptcy
This time it was for real and the Ducati powered Tesi 1D was made available to all with the necessary cash.
Production of the original Tesi was ceased after just 200 units had been assembled
Bimota Test 1D Specifications
- Engine – liquid-cooled 4-stroke V-twin
- Capacity – 904cc
- Bore & stroke – 92 x 64mm
- CarburAtion – 50mm Weber fuel injection
- Max Power – 113bhp @ 8500rpm
- Torque – 62ft-lb @ 6200 rpm
- Ignition – Marelli CDI
- Transmission – 6-speed, wet clutch, chain final drive
- Frame – Omega machined alloy plate
- Suspension – Hub centre steering. Rear monoshock
- Wheels – 120/70 x 17 180/55 x 17
- Brakes – 320 mm discs 4-piston Brembo calipers, 220 mm disc 2-piston Brembo caliper
- Wheelbase – 1410mm
- Weight – 214kgs
- Fuel capacity – 16ltrs
- Top speed – 165mph
Bimota Tesi 1D Gallery
[dmalbum path=”/wp-content/uploads/dm-albums/Tesi 1D/”/]