Bimota DB7R Diavolo Rosso - The 12 Bikes Of XXXMAS

The Devil Wears Carbon

By Tim Carrithers, Photography by Scott Darough, Adam Campbell

What do you do when Ducati's standard 1198 is painfully ordinary? Your Lhasa Apso's psychologist shows up at Peet's every Saturday morning on a 1098R, and the Gastroenterologist across the street commutes on a Desmosedici RR? It takes something truly special to stand out in the 35 percent tax bracket.

Something like Bimota's standard $40,000 DB7? It might get you noticed, but why take chances? This 2010 DB7R Diavolo Rosso attracts more attention than Valentina Dessi at Tee Ball practice. For $59,500 you get the only load-bearing carbon-fiber frame and swingarm offered for sale to the general public, along with a matching carbon-fiber fuel tank. And that's not all: A GPS dash from GET Electronic Systems provides all the usual data on vital systems, plus lap times, section speeds and a whole lot of other stuff you won't have time to read on the straightaways. Load circuit-specific engine-management data for that next track day at Imola. Plugged into a laptop afterward, it builds a 2-D track map that lets you critique your lines and see how close you are to a theoretical quickest lap, all with no cumbersome beacons or transponders. There's enough storage in there to save data for up to 100 tracks. As if that wasn't enough, it knows when you're back on public pavement and switches the engine's command/control computer back to street mode for the ride home.

For most of us, it's all part of the gaseous, soft-focus stuff dreams are made of. But for those with a verifiable address up in the financial Exosphere, Elias Corey-President of ArthaWorks Solutions in Long Beach, California-makes the process of obtaining such an exceptional tool at least as enjoyable as riding one.

"We find out exactly what a customer wants from the bike and the buying experience, and then develop a program around that," Corey says. "I present five to seven design proposals. We go over component choices and what kind of experience they want. Would they like the bike delivered to their home, or would they like to go to Italy for a day on the track, see the factory, have lunch with the founder of the company and stay in a 17th century castle? We build the entire program and custom-tailor it for them. If they'd like, we sit down in a boardroom with an espresso or a glass of champagne and talk about what they like about Bimota. We had a customer who said he loved the bikes back when they were red and white but couldn't afford one. We delivered a DB7 that looks like it came straight out of the '80s."

Welcome to Bimota's Private Client Program, invented and implemented by Corey to create a buying atmosphere commensurate with the motorcycles and their clientele. Dream up your own idea of the ultimate Bimota or opt for a limited-production creation like the Diavolo Rosso featured here-no more than 10 will ever exist. The entire program is limited to 50 bikes per year. Either way, it will show up at your door or some other exotic locale with a two-year factory warranty. The white-glove treatment doesn't end there. "When a high-profile customer calls to say he has a problem and someone at a dealership says, 'Yes sir, bring it down,' that's not going to work. Our answer is, 'Yes sir, we'll pick it up. Does Tuesday work for you?' If it's a registration issue, we'd have any necessary inspections made on their premises. It's strictly white-glove service from our first meeting for as long as he owns the bike."

By the time it was wheeled into Adam Campbell's palatial photo studio, those white gloves had wiped away any evidence of the Red Devil's trip from its birthplace in Rimini on Italy's Adriatic Coast. Compared to something like a Ducati 1198, the Bimota looks tiny, angular and very, very sharp. Covered in clearcoat instead of red-and-white paint, the carbon-fiber bodywork is flawless. Exquisite even, and that's not a word we just toss around. Instead of the DB7's 50x30mm oval-section chromoly frame members, slide those watering eyes over F1-spec carbon-fiber tubes fanning out from billet-machined 6082 AC 100 aluminum-alloy side-plates. The structural carbon-fiber tail section precludes a normal subframe. That carbon-fiber swingarm is a piece of postmodern art even without the chunks of billet aluminum that connect it with the Extreme Tech shock and Malgatech 10-spoke forged-aluminum rear wheel.

Optimistically rated at 164 horsepower and 164 kilograms (361 pounds) dry for a 1:1 metric power-to-weight ratio, the DB7R puts something like 138 real-deal ponies to the pavement. With 4.7 gallons of super-unleaded in its carbon-fiber fuel tank, the 'Rosso registered 414 lbs. wet on our scales-13 lighter than a proletarian DB7 and 10 less than a 1098R. Admittedly, Bologna's full-house 163-horse Testastretta Evoluzione engine is significantly more muscular, but only because Ducati won't provide Rimini with anything more potent than the standard-issue 1099cc twin. Still, give this devil his due.

Straddling somebody else's $60,000 motorcycle with nothing but zeros on the odometer, discretion is the only part of valor. But with that said, 138 excruciatingly fresh cavalli move our diabolical assemblage of Italian exclusivity down the road just fine, thanks. The Walbro ECU and Magneti-Marelli injectors provide crisp fueling. Even a cautious twist of the throttle gets the front end very light while generating the sort of velocity you might regret in the next corner without those radial-mount Brembo Monobloc front calipers. Steering is immediate, with a refreshing amount of feedback from the front Continental Race Attack tire. Our discrete scrape reveals a couple of problems: Making a U-turn requires nearly two lanes of clear pavement, and the rear-view mirrors are worthless. But the worst thing about Bimota's best is that we're 99.97 percent sure Santa won't be leaving us one this year.

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