At EICMA 2011, Bimota unveiled an impressive lineup of new models, including a two-stroke motocross bike that looked totally out of place. When asked about excessive fragmentation of his model line, owner Roberto Comini—a chemical industry tycoon with major business in Cuba and other Central and South America countries—said that all models shared the most basic components, beginning with the most precious parts for the Bimota image: the frame and related rolling gear. Although that may have been only half true, but the synergistic effort could be seen.
This year, at EICMA 2012, Bimota doubled the size of its stand and presented no less than 19 models. The joke going around Milan: If the miniature work force at Bimota were able to manufacture 10 of each model, they’d have their hands full for the whole year! Dig deeply, and you’ll see that many of the bikes are actually 2011 products, with a list that includes the Ducati sohc 1100cc air-cooled V-Twin-powered DB5 and DB6, as well as last year’s DB10 B-Motard and this year’s derivative DBX 1100. There is also an HB4, a racing model developed to compete in the Honda CBR600-powered Moto 2 FIM championship. It did not sell at all, well, despite the efforts of Bimota promoter and former GP and SBK racer Ruben Xaus.
The DB8, a three-year-old model that should have gone out of production, now sports “Italia” graphics. This bike has been superseded by the DB9 and, more appropriately, the DB11, a new model. The DB11 appears to be powered by an 11-degree Ducati 1198cc Testastretta, massaged to 165 hp and a whopping 96 foot-pounds of torque by way of Bimota’s own exhaust system and Athena fuel injection. The chassis retains the DB8-based frame, with a fixed 25-degree rake and the customary Marzocchi 43mm fork and Extreme Tech air shock absorber. The DB11 is offered also in the VLX edition, supercharged by a “twin-screw” positive-displacement supercharger good for 191 hp at 9750 rpm and 105.5 ft.-lb. of torque at 7750 rpm.
I do not want to sound needlessly skeptical, but some of the numbers do not compute, starting from an announced 11.5:1 compression, the same as that of the naturally aspirated version. The supercharger boost must be rather moderate, given the power and torque increases.
Also new is the DB12 B-Tourist, a DB9 derivative aimed at a segment of the market where Bimota has never set foot. The DB12 B-Tourist shares the DB9’s chassis and engine, rated at 162 hp at 9500 rpm and 96 ft.-lb. of torque at 7700 rpm. Again, Bimota product policy appears very much like the flight of a bat, wandering all over place, from off-road to touring.
Mr. Comini’s chemistry business better stay strong if he is to support this wild policy of having his craftsman-size firm build an unusually high number of models. And now comes the announcement of a deal signed with BMW that should grant Bimota access to the superb BMW S1000RR four. At this stage: Why not?