EICMA 2015 FIRST LOOK: Bimota Tesi 3D Café Racer Carbon

Neo-retro café racer meets high-tech chassis design.

Tiny Rimini, Italy-based motorcycle maker Bimota will forever be associated with its alternative-front-suspension Tesi models. Currently, the company is barely limping along from a financial perspective (as has been the case for decades), but thanks to the dedication of current General Director Pierluigi Marconi and his small but committed staff, Bimota showed off two new models at EICMA including the Tesi 3D Café Racer Carbon and the Impeto.

The latest incarnation of the hub-center-steered Tesi is by far the most refined in terms of chassis technology. As with previous Tesi models, CNC-machined aluminum side plates form the primary structure that the engine is hung from and where the front and rear swingarms attach. Unique to this model are swingarms constructed of aerospace-grade carbon fiber. Öhlins shocks mount to eccentrics at either end allowing ride height to be altered by 9mm in front and a 14mm at rear.

In the past, Bimota depended heavily on Ducati's two-valve, air-cooled 1100cc twin for power, but with that engine no longer in production, Bimota has chosen the much newer 803cc SOHC twin from the Ducati Scrambler. But Bimota made a few tweaks of its own for the application, including replacing the Scrambler's single throttle body with twin units, which improves volumetric efficiency when combined with Bimota's own exhaust design. Horsepower is claimed to be more than 80 (a 5-hp bump compared to the Scrambler). With the Tesi 3D Café Racer Carbon only weighing a claimed 357 pounds dry, performance should be quite good.

As always, Bimota’s designers have pushed the boundaries but have this time shown that it can combine technology and styling and create a neo-retro model that is right in line with current tastes.

Bimota has no U.S. importer, so don’t expect to see this latest version of the Tesi anytime soon. But this company has managed to rise from brink of extinction repeatedly and can hopefully do so again, and maybe even return to the American market in the future.