2008 Bimota Tesi 3D:Third Time's A Charm | First Ride

Who says alternative front suspension systems are dead?

First came the DB1-inspired DB5 and DB6 Delirio, and now comes the all-new Tesi 3D, a bike inspired by the original hub-center Tesi of the '80s, created to break the established mold of two-wheeled chassis design of the time.

Designed by first-generation Tesi engineer Andrea Acquaviva, the 3D is in many ways a revised version of the Vyrus C3 984 Desmodue. "I wanted to make something different," says Acquaviva. "The 3D looks similar to the 2D, but isn't. I began with a clean sheet of paper to produce a bike that fixed the 2D's drawbacks: limited steering lock, a repositioned front shock [to clear the rider's knees], a narrower build and a simpler steering system."

First shown at last year's Milan Show, the $35,900 3D will at first be available worldwide in limited-edition livery and specification, before a volume-production model (sporting less-pricey bits) will be offered for considerably less money. Only the top-shelf model is, however, currently slated to be sold stateside.

The 3D employs Ducati's torquier and more powerful 1079cc Dual Spark motor rated at 97 bhp. Acquaviva has wrapped this in a pair of Omega-shaped aluminum spars, which provide mounting points for the front and rear swingarms. A tubular-steel subframe locates the steering head and its carbon-fiber rear counterpart comprises a solo seat. The R&D; team used the Delirio's exhaust, headlight, dash and rear end, and added a hub-center front end with a revised layout. Unlike the Tesi 1D, whose cross-member countershaft took the steering linkage across the frame from the left side of the bike to the right, the 3D retains all its rocker-arm linkage on the left. This helps make the machine more maneuverable and easier to park.

How's it work? Pretty well, though you must absolutely change your thinking to get the most from the bike in a twisty-road environment. The reason for this is the bike's lack of dive when braking for corners. This means you can brake later and not worry about the front end plunging and possibly blowing past its traction limit.

It's a reasonably cramped motorcycle, though its naked street-rod design means it's OK to sit up straight and fling the bike from corner to corner. The engine pushes you forward with enthusiasm, the Grimeca brakes stop you powerfully and controllably, and the suspension systems-anchored by a pair of Italian-made Extreme Tech dampers-keep the wheels in contact with the tarmac. The 3D is also wonderfully stable at triple-digit speeds.

Who says you can't reinvent the wheel-even if has to be a hub-center one?

Tech Spec
Price: $35,900
Engine type: a/o-c, 90-deg. V-twin
Valve train: SOHC, desmo, 2v
Displacement: 1079cc
Transmission: 6-speed
Horsepower: 97 bhp @ 8500 rpm
Torque: NA
Frame: Twin Omega aluminum spars with tubular-steel swingarms
Front suspension: Single shock with adjustable spring preload, rebound and compression damping
Rear suspension: Single shock with adjustable spring preload, rebound and compression damping
Front brake: Dual radial-mount four-piston calipers, 320mm discs
Rear brake: Single twin-piston caliper, 220mm disc
Front tire: 120/70-ZR17 Continental Attack
Rear tire: 190/50-ZR17Continental Attack
Seat height: 31.5 in.
Wheelbase: 54.6 in.
Fuel capacity: 4.2 gal.
Claimed dry weight: 388 lbs.
Contact: www.bimotausa.com

An exceedingly expensive yet thoroughly unique sporting motorcycle that must be approached with a different set of riding skills.