Inspiration from Bimota and MV Agusta | Dream On

New Exotics

Where would motorcycle enthusiasts be without the inspiration of Bimota and MV Agusta, two Italian specialty manufacturers utterly untroubled by mundane concepts such as value or practicality, which seem to exist only to build the most breathtakingly exotic motorcycles possible, no matter what the cost? We'd all be dreaming of Hyosungs-that's where we'd be.

Viva Italia, then! Rimini-based Bimota recently revealed its lustworthy 2008 lineup, led off by its latest superbike, the DB7. Powered by Ducati's 1098cc Testastretta Evoluzione V-twin (upgraded with a new airbox, ECU and performance exhaust), the boldly styled DB7 is built around an oval-tube/ machined-plate trellis frame that has lately become a signature feature. The stunning double-sided swingarm features the same composite construction as the frame, and acts on a proprietary rear shock mounted on Bimota's exclusive SPB progressive linkage. Up front is a fully adjustable Marzocchi Corse inverted fork held by Bimota's own triple clamps and fork lowers, the latter anchoring radial-mount Brembo Monobloc brake calipers. The upper fairing and tail section are both made from structural carbon fiber, eliminating the need for subframes and helping to keep the dry weight down to a claimed 374 pounds.

Bimota also revealed its eagerly awaited Tesi 3D, featuring a refined version of the hub-center-steering mechanism from the 2D prototype. The 3D utilizes trellis-type swingarms front and rear, the front one employing a pull-rod mechanism that acts on a shock located along the lower right side of the engine. Powered by Ducati's latest 1100cc Dual Spark V-twin, the 3D rolls on forged- alloy wheels and slows via Brembo radial brakes. U.S. dealers are taking orders now: $36,000 for the normal Tesi 3D and $4500 more for one of the 29 limited-edition Carbonioversions decked out in-what else?- carbon fiber.

After the misguided V-Due two-stroke debacle almost sunk the company, Bimota has spent the last few years regrouping and focusing on product development. Now that the product line is stable, the company says it will concentrate on aggressively repositioning the brand. Underlining this commitment, Bimota recently hired Dan Van Epps, former Ducati senior manager of product development and director of product marketing, to concentrate on guiding global strategy. Expect big things from this small company in the future.

Italy's other premier exotic outlet, MV Agusta, has released an even more potent version of its F4 312 RR, powered by a largerdisplacement1078cc inline-four derived from last year's ultra-exclusive $120,000 F4CC. Said to be faster than a Boeing 747 at takeoff, the 190-horsepower (claimed) RR features a revised slipper clutch, minor suspension changes and new Brembo racing brakes. For the truly brave-or those with truly exceptional grip strength-MV also inserted the 1078cc engine into the naked Brutale. Retuned for a more street-friendly powerband, the bigger, badder Brutale still pumps out a claimed 154 bhp, and now features Brembo four-piston radial calipers in place of last year's six-pot Nissins. Godspeed.

BMW K46 Superbike
Bavarian 1000cc four will compete in 2009 World Championship!

Forget about BMW's boxer-twinpowered HP2 Sport-this bike, code-named K46, is the real German Gixxer-slayer. Hidden beneath the Yamaha YZF-R6 bodywork is the development mule for BMW's upcoming entry into the World Superbike Championship, as photographed during top-secret testing in Spain. Though it's difficult to make out much in terms of details, eyewitnesses stated that the cylinder bank appeared to slope forward drastically, as on BMW's current K1200 streetbikes, and that the bike appeared very compact for a liter-class racer- supported by the fact that the 1000cc engine fits nicely within the tight confines of the R6 bodywork, massive radiator and all.

Engine aside, the K46 is surprisingly conventional by forward-thinking BMW standards. The twin-spar aluminum frame carries an inverted telescopic fork and rear monoshock, and the power arrives at the rear wheel courtesy of chain final drive-no Telelever or Paralever in sight. Perhaps BMW wants to maximize its chances of success by sticking with proven Superbike chassis technology- either that or this is simply an engine-development mule, and alternative chassis technology will be experimented with at a later date. Regardless, expect BMW to push the limits of technology with highly sophisticated electronic systems, traction control, a semi-automatic quick-shifter (as on the current SportBoxer endurance racer) and perhaps even some manner of ABS.

BMW engineers reportedly set a goal of a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio-190 bhp/190 kg (418 lbs.)-for the K46, and performance, as witnessed at this test session, suggests they're close. The test rider also circulated the Spanish track aboard a race-prepped Yamaha R1, and eyewitnesses reported the K46 lapped at least 1.5 seconds quicker. The prototype reportedly looked very settled and well-balanced entering corners and appeared especially strong at the exits, putting the power down cleanly and pulling hard from the apex onward-suggesting that the traction-control system is already well developed.

We should know more about this exciting new machine very soon. Earlier this year, in an interview with our European Correspondent Alan Cathcart, BMW's Peter Mller (head of future product development) confirmed that the company would enter World Superbike competition in '09 and laid out a timetable that included "testing under race conditions" in '08-as the company's SportBoxer endurance racer and 450 Sport enduro did in '07. In order to satisfy SBK homologation requirements, a race version of the K46 would be manufactured as soon as the end of '08, followed by a customer street version as soon as '09.

"This won't be just a niche product," Mller said. "It will be a volume-production model. It's important that this bike be built in such a volume that all the investment in going racing makes sense." Statements like that sound very promising. Paired with what we see in these spy shots, we're very much looking forward to including a worthy German entry in a future literbike shootout.

Great Guzzis
Two New Models From Italy's Oldest Motorcycle Manufacturer

Building bikes more or less continuously since 1921, Moto Guzzi has until now refrained from entering the retro-standard category that has recently paid big dividends for other historic European marques. Guzzi's entry, aimed at the various Triumph Bonnevilles and Ducati Sport Classics, is dubbed the V7 Classic and features styling roughly based on the firm's early-'70s V7 Sport. Powered by the Breva 750's 50-bhp, two-valve-per-cylinder, air-cooled V-twin set in a tubular-steel cradle frame with twin rear shocks, a single front disc brake and wire-spoked wheels, the V7 Classic should be inexpensive and enticing to mod-minded entry-level riders and veterans alike.

Also new from Guzzi is the Stelvio superenduro, a 1200cc offering that grants the Italian maker entre into the adventure-touring category currently dominated by the BMW R1200GS. Pushed along by the most modern, four-valve-per-cylinder version of Guzzi's transverse V-twin, the Stelvio is said to produce more than 100 bhp and plenty of torque, making it especially suited to this type of riding. The chassis is appropriately updated with an advanced version of Guzzi's antijacking CARC shaft drive, a 50mm inverted fork with Brembo radial calipers up front and 19-inch front/17-inch rear spoked wheels carrying street-biased tires. An adjustable windscreen and three-position saddle address comfort and convenience, while luggage mounts integrated into the frame suggest that touring capacity hasn't been overlooked.

MV Agusta slotted an enlarged, more powerful version of its familiar radial-valve inline-four into two new models: the F4 312 RR (above) and Brutale 1078 (below right).
Brutale 1078
Tesi 3D
Bimota is back on the boil with two of the sexiest bikes we've seen: above, the Ducati-1098-powered DB7.
V7 Classic