The million-dollar T12 Massimo is the late Massimo Tamburini's final project. Revealed as a concept in 2016, it became available to an extremely limited, deep-pocketed few earlier this year after a showcase in Monaco at the Top Marques motor show. It's a crowning achievement in sportbike design from a man hailed as the "Michelangelo of the motorcycle," and though it was a clandestinely conceived piece, now that its story is out we can see a history intimately intertwined with that of its creator.

Tamburini is one of the founders of Bimota and its earliest creation, the HB1, featured a Honda CB750 engine housed within an improved tubular steel frame, made to withstand track forces better than the Japanese factory's chassis. Taking an existing engine and giving it the dress it needs for success would become a hallmark of Bimota's business while Tamburini remained a part of the project, and is the same tack taken with the T12.

swingarm and link
The T12 has a similar blend of style and performance. From the GP-spec Brembo brakes and Öhlins suspension to the carbon-fiber bodywork and forged magnesium wheels.Bruno dePrato

Tamburini sourced a BMW S1000RR engine and designed an immaculate high-tensile steel tube frame for the T12. This frame is adjustable also, allowing the rider to change the rigidity of the structure without having to replace parts. The swingarm pivot bolt and linked Öhlins shock are also adjustable so geometry can be further refined.

The 999cc engine is World Superbike spec, which reminds us of another of Tamburini’s successes, the 1994 Ducati 916. It has since been lauded as one of the most gorgeous motorcycles ever created, and it had performance chops to match its aesthetic. Carl Fogarty would win two WorldSBK championships aboard the 916, in ’94 and ’95, and it was one of the most technologically sophisticated racebikes of its day.

massimo T12 gas tank
It’s as light as the most sophisticated racebike available today at 340.6 pounds, thanks to the extensive use of magnesium, carbon fiber, and aluminum alloy.Bruno dePrato

The T12 has a similar blend of style and performance. From the GP-spec Brembo brakes and Öhlins suspension to the carbon-fiber bodywork and forged magnesium wheels, the T12 is a lightweight rocket ship built to turn on a dime and stop in an instant.

And if Tamburini's status as an artist remained at all in question after his time working with Ducati, his F4 and F3 sportbikes for MV Agusta left no doubt. The limited-edition F4 1000 Tamburini is sex on wheels, bosting high-spec materials and lines that leave motorheads drooling. But what made production models like these fall short for the Italian is the obligation he was under to ensure they adhered to road-going laws. The T12, a track-only machine, does away with all that.

massimo T12 profile
The actual development of the T12 started not long after his tenure with MV Agusta ended.Bruno dePrato

It’s as light as the most sophisticated racebike available today at 340.6 pounds, thanks to the extensive use of magnesium, carbon fiber, and aluminum alloy. It’s free of any road-legalizing extras, made only to go fast and turn well on track.

The actual development of the T12 started not long after his tenure with MV Agusta ended. An illuminating article from Bruno dePrato for Cycle World in 2016 revealed that Tamburini worked on the concept and design of the T12 while under a three-year non-compete agreement with MV. His son, Andrea, was one of just a handful of people who knew what was in the works, and after his father passed in 2014, Andrea took up the mantle of completing the project. As we mentioned earlier, the first prototypes were revealed in 2016 and now only 12 are planned for production, each made by hand to purchasers who can pony up the million bucks.

999cc engine
The 999cc engine is World Superbike spec, which reminds us of another of Tamburini’s successes, the 1994 Ducati 916.Bruno dePrato

The T12 is a fascinating magnum opus from Tamburini, with hints of the styling, design, and performance aspects he valued throughout his career. We’re thankful it’s finally come to life.

high-tensile steel tube frame
Tamburini sourced a BMW S1000RR engine and designed an immaculate high-tensile steel tube frame for the T12.Bruno dePrato

Specifications

Engine: BMW S1000RR SBK, 999cc, liquid-cooled 4 valves/cylinder
Bore x stroke: 80.0mm x 49.7mm
Compression ratio: N/A
Distribution: Gear-driven DOHC
Claimed Power: 230+ hp
Claimed Torque: N/A
Electronics: MoTeC M170
Lubrication: Forced, wet sump
Exhaust system: T12 4-into-1 by Arrow
Primary transmission: Gears
Clutch: Oil bath
Gearbox: 6-speed, quickshift race type
Final transmission: chain
Frame: High-tensile steel-tubing trellis w/ cast magnesium plates, adjustable lateral stiffness
Front suspension: Öhlins GP type
Rear suspension: Öhlins GP type
Front brake: Brembo racing
Master cylinder: PR 19-18 GP type
Front calipers: GP type, 4 pistons P4.34/38 monoblock radial mount w/ fluid lines Staubli quick-release connection
Front rotors: 320mm steel
Rear brake: Brembo racing
Master cylinder: PS13 GP type
Rear caliper: GP type, monoblock P2.34
Rear rotor: 218mm steel
Front wheel: Forged magnesium
Rear wheel: Forged magnesium
Front radial: Pirelli Diablo SBK racing, 120/70-17
Rear radial: Pirelli Diablo SBK racing, 200/60-17
Steering axis rake: Adjustable
Tele forks triple-clamp offset: Adjustable
Trail: Adjustable
Wheelbase: N/A
Fuel tank capacity: N/A
Claimed Dry weight: 154.5kg (341 lb.)