Bimota Tesi ID 906SR

 

 

 

Make Model

Bimota Tesi ID 906SR

Year

1992
Production 144 units

Engine

Four stroke, 90°“L”twin cylinder, DOHC, desmodromic 4 valves per cylinder 
Cooling Liquid

Capacity

904 cc / 55.2 cub. in.
Bore x Stroke 92 x 68 mm
Compression Ratio 10.4:1

Induction

Weber Fuel injection

Ignition 

Starting

Electric

Max Power

84.3 kW/ 113 hp @ 8500 rpm  (rear tyre 73.2 kW / 98.2 hp @ 9700 rpm)

Max Torque

85.3Nm / 8.7 kgf-m / 62.9 lb/ft.@ 8000 rpm

Transmission

6 Speed 

Final Drive

Chain
Frame Pair of upside down boomerang shaped plates that envelope the engine on either side. They are made of aluminium alloy and are machined not cast. The engine, unlike the preceding series, has no load bearing functions. At the far ends of the engine are the hinged swing arms, made of anticordal alloy.

Front Suspension

Swinging arm with Marzocchi single shock stepless preload 10-way compression and 25-way preload damping adjustment

Rear Suspension

Marzocchi single shock stepless preload 10-way compression and 25-way preload damping adjustment
Wheelbase 1410 mm / 55.5 in.

Front Brakes

2x 320mm discs 

Rear Brakes

Single 245mm disc  1 piston calipers

Front Tyre

120/70-17

Rear Tyre

180/55-17

Dry Weight

188 kg / 414.5 lbs

Fuel Capacity

16 Litres / 4.2 gal.

Consumption  average

5.8 l/100 km / 40.2 mpg.

Braking 60 - 0 / 100 - 0

11.9 m / 34.0 m / 39 ft / 111.5 ft.

Standing ¼ Mile  

10.9 sec / 202.2 km/h / 125.6 mph

Top Speed

248.8 km/h / 154.1 mph

THE TESI isn't a motorcycle, it's a party political broadcast by the Monster Raving Loony Party. If the Jap manufacturers are the Conservative grey men in suits trotting out the same party line year after year (in between getting caught with their pants down), then Bimota now, now, Sir Robin, let me finish — are definitely on the political fringe. They're the oddballs. The only ones showing there can be a different, more radical way... even if they do charge silly money for the privilege. And the Tesi is their most different, radical and expensive party statement yet.

Like Honda's corporate jerk-off, one-off NR, the Tesi is Bimota's technological masterpiece (the first production motorcycle with hub-centre steering); their exercise in excess (it has an overbored, fuel-injected Ducati engine too); their gizmo overkill (a boggling, space-age, LCD instrument console). Like the NR it seems like a 'we-can-do-this-you-can't — na, na, na-na na' irrelevence. Like the oval-pistoned wonder there are only a handful of Tesis in existence. Like the NR, each costs as much as a small house.
But there are two crucial differences. Ultimately the NR is a Honda, while the Tesi is a Bimota, an Italian jewel, a Lamborghini of bikes. Ultimately, oval pistons are an unnecessary dead-end street, borne of racing regulations; hub-centre steering, if maybe not in this form, if maybe only for sports bikes, is the way of the future.
If you've never seen a Bimota in the flesh you're missing out.

They manage to be stupendous and stupid all at once. That rear end: stupendous. Marchesini magnesium, three-spoked, pearl white painted wheel; ultra low-profile, ultra wide 180-section Michelin radial rubber; beautifully-crafted aluminium swing-arm; immaculately sculpted hanger plates. But stupid too? Yes. The indicators are so-faired that, side-on, you can't see them.
OK then, a better example: the console/ 'bar area. Stupendous? Fully-adjustable, polished aluminium clip-ons; an LCD digital console with Battlestar Galactica readouts for mph, rpm, mileage, trip, water temp, and remaining fuel; plus that delicious filler cap. So how stupid?

I'll tell you how. LCDs? Think about it. Italians are bad enough at electrics so gawd help their electronics. Would you buy a Ninetendo Game Boy if it was made in, say, Bologna? These have probably come out of a Zanussi washing machine. At the first whiff of a cleaning sponge the speedo went completely monster raving loony: 546mph, 728mph, 371 mph; the mileometer accumulated 400 miles in 40 minutes and my precious mpg figures went to pot. At the first onset of dusk the illuminated figures looked about as bright as Pete Beale on a Sunday morning. While the fuel gauge (which you need to keep an eye on 'cos there's no reserve tap and the tank's only good for around 90 miles) is simply impossible to read ALL the time — unless you stand on the pegs — because it's hidden behind the right clip-on.
Worse. Because it's Ducati-powered, a goodly assortment of the Tesi's ancilliaries are Ducati too. Actually, hang that, make it a motley assortment. The idiot lights are in suitably idiotic place on the front of the tank. Wear a full-face and you can't see them unless you're looking down the filler. The switchgear: Ducati. The indicators aren't self-cancelling, which wouldn't annoy very much if you could see the idiot lights. And because it's Ducati-powered the clutch is heavy and it's damn awkward to find neutral at standstill. But that wouldn't matter very much if you could see the erratic neutral light.

I wish that was the last of my niggly little gripes, but it isn't. The headlight's not bad but, let's face it, I've seen prettier contraptions on a Wartburg. Use it too often or leave it on for a little while and you'll find the battery discharges quicker than a 18-year-old after eight pints of lager and black. Because there's no sidestand cut-out switch, the sidestand is spring-loaded. Which, oh dear, could be expensive. The body panels on our test bike did not fit well. The silencers melted my boots when on tippy-toes and there's not much steering lock. The mirrors are useless.

You might be starting to sense that I'm disappointed, that the Bimota experience, in this case, isn't all it's cracked up to be. And up to a point I am: too many irritating, unnecessary niggles. I was reminded of the lust and loathing the incomplete Norton Fl engenders. Like that, the Tesi allures, excels and is exquisite, but it also sometimes annoys and frustratingly dissappoints. The crucial difference between the two, despite the impression the catalogue of narks above may give, is that the Bimota does it less often. Much less often. The Norton has a Yamaha key with the Yamaha bit scrubbed off. The Bimota has a pukka Bimota key. The Norton has horrid welding here and there, such as the exhaust hanger plate, the Bim has beautiful, one off cast aluminium items. And it's these small details that make all the difference.
And following that party political broadcast by the Miserable Jealous Bastard Party, here's the real news: the Tesi works.
It's a weird sensation riding a bike when you know there's no direct connection between the 'bars and the front wheel. At first it's purely psychological. A matter of confidence, of trust in something unfamiliar. You expect it to be fundamentally different — and it is, but not as much, or in the same ways you might expect.

You expect the steering to be, y'know, different. But, bar an extreme lack of lock when three-pointing about around town, it isn't. In theory, all those rose joints and tic rods in the linkage should translate into either heavy stiction (on a new bike) or vague slackness on one with a good few miles under its belt. Really, it's like a car. People will get used to the idea that this sort of steering, like everything else, needs maintenance. But with our test bike, even though the steering head was noticeably loose at standstill and on the move in a straight line the bars could be nudged marginally without any effect, it never seemed to be a problem.

Only above 125 did a true cause for concern raise its ugly head. At those speeds (and with the 906 engine, the Tesi's good for around 150) the front becomes unnervingly light and a tankslapper threatens to develop. Others have commented on it before and I, along with designers who know far more about this sort of thing, am convinced the frontal aerodynamics are awry. What's more, over ultra-fast rises which lift the front wheel, it seemed the wind was catching under the headlamp and almost threatening to loop the bike. I'm speculating rather, but there is definitely something wrong. Then again, I don't imagine many will be ridden at that sort of lick too often.
The counterpoint, of course, is how the Tesi excels on the brakes. Because the braking forces don't travel through the suspension, there's virtually no dive, no need for extraneous suspension travel and no conventional braking sensation either. It takes a while to get used to. On the one hand, because the suspension's softer, with less travel, the Marzocchi shock transforms average roads into a surface akin to Don-ington Park and pot-holed ones into a harsh, bottoming out, jarring nightmare. On the other, braking hard feels little different from braking gently. A single finger on the massively-massive front Brembos provokes a little dip at the front, a slight raise at the rear and you're left watching the deceleration of the roadside furniture to try to work out how much you've slowed.
Really. There's none of the shoulder-tightening, arm-compressing exertion you normally (but now I realise, subconsciously) use to gauge braking. Instead you learn, slowly at first, to fine tune your senses, totally ignore all previous braking markers and concentrate more and more on synchronising your downshifts and use of the rear brake. It stops, truly, like a two-wheeled car. A two-wheeled car with massive brakes, plenty of rubber and the weight of your average 600.
Once you've discovered this unique adroitness, the Tesi riding experience becomes focussed towards exploiting it your new skill to the full. Things start coming together. The riding position I initially thought cramped, pegs stubby and high, clip-ons low and close, seat wide and sparsely-padded, became compact and perfectly suited to the task. The booming, overbored Ducati engine, which at first seemed at odds with the sleek high-tech sheen of the Tesi's aluminium chassis, now became the ideal motive force to: a) get the low-down Final Final Final Drive out of those newly squa-red-off corners b) get the most out of the Tesi's well balanced, low C of G chuck-ability and c) get all the proles looking at you in the first place.
Suddenly I'd discovered the Tesi's elusive star quality. I started thinking daft thoughts about whether "...in the right conditions, on the right day, on the right road, maybe this is this quickest thing about." I started forgetting about all those unnecessary foibles I carped on about at the beginning. And, for a couple of all too brief, superlative-laden rides I didn't give a moment's thought to the Tesi's price. 'Cos I had it for a few days more. It was mine and everything else was irrelevant.

In a sense it still is. For those who can afford it the price is largely irrelevant. It doesn't really matter what else they could buy with their £26,000 because ultimately, this a Bimota, nothing else is the same and that is what it costs. Call it the Lamborghini syndrome. If you need to know the price, you can't afford it.
For the rest of us, the Tesi, at that price, might seem irrelevant too. "OK," you might think. "So they've built it, it works (up to a point), but so what?"
The 'so what' is that like Monster Raving

Loonies everywhere, Bimota might not have, or even want, popular success, but they have proved their point. Hub-centre steering production hub-centre steering — works; the Tesi displays enough potential to convince that this is the way of the future (speculation over Yamaha's forthcoming hub-centre exup continues). And even if Bimota's design is compromised by an overly-complicated linkage, they were the first, the Tesi remains unique and that is what you're getting for your £26,000. I just wish they hadn't gimmicky-fied it with that LCD malarkey.

Source Bike Magazine 1992