Vyrus 986 M2 Custom Moto2 Racer

Italian boutique motorcycle maker Vyrus and its concept Honda CBR600RR-powered Moto2 racer.

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Perhaps the ultimate expression of the Italian boutique motorcycle marque is Vyrus. Located in Rimini, just a few miles down the road from Bimota, it was founded in 2003 by Ascanio Rodorigo and Giuseppe de Gruttola. To date, the small firm, consisting of five highly skilled craftsmen, has churned out just 120 Ducati-powered, hub-steered motorcycles (a la the Bimota Tesi 2D).

Thanks to his enormous engineering and mechanical experience—first working at Bimota and then running his own tuning shop—Rodorigo has been able to extract the best out of the Tesi concept. Vyrus intends to put the concept back into the limelight with its sophisticated Honda CBR600RR-powered 986 M2, which it plans to race in the Moto2 championship and also offer as a customer version. It will be available in three forms: a "factory-level" Moto2 racebike ($87,800), a street-legal sportbike ($40,470) or in kit form minus engine ($26,800).

Crisp, angular carbon fiber is the first thing that catches your eye; young Japanese designer Yutaka Igarashi and former CRC/MV Agusta specialist Sam Matthews have collaborated on the beautifully sculpted "bodywork." All body components are fabricated from c-f, including the fuel tank, which is integrated into the fairing structure to reduce weight and lower the coefficient of drag.

Vyrus 986 M2 Moto2

Partially hidden underneath the bodywork is a pair of machined billet aluminum-alloy Omega-shaped frame elements, similar to the well-established Bimota Tesi design. The inline-Four engine is used as a structural member. Hung at either end are aluminum swingarms with damping provided by Italian-made Double System shocks (or optional Öhlins units).

Where the 986 M2 differs from previous Vyrus or Bimota hub-steered bikes is that instead of using mechanical steering rods and Heim-joint linkages to actuate the hub’s steering arm, a pair of hydraulic push/pull pistons handles the chore. An adjustable valve, similar to that of a steering damper, allows the rider to alter the resistance at the handlebar to his preference.

Front-end geometry is adjustable by varying the center-to-center length of the tie rods that connect to the uprights of the hub steerer (rake, 18 to 24 degrees; trail, 3.1 to 4.1 in.) without changing the bike’s 52.1-inch wheelbase. Lightweight Marchesini alloy wheels help achieve the M2’s feathery 298-pound dry weight, while Brembo’s best components handle braking.

Vyrus’s success or lack thereof will be out in the open for all the world to see once the lights go green this spring. The 986 M2, however, appears to be immensely more advanced than previous generations of the hub-steered concept’s theoretically superior principles. Hopefully, Vyrus’ persistence will pay off.