The 1992 Bimota Tesi motorcycle might have been the most exotic model released by the Italian company, but it wasn't the star that Bimota had hoped it would be.
Bimota got its start in the early 1970s by wedding Honda or Kawasaki four-cylinder power with its own exotic chassis and bodywork, taking advantage of the fact that while the Japanese built state-of-the-art engines, the structures that contained them were somewhat underdeveloped.
The marriage resulted in numerous racing victories, and frame kits were soon made available for the street.
The company's first complete motorcycle went on sale in 1977, that being the SB2 powered by a four-cylinder engine from Suzuki's GS750. Compared to the Japanese bike, the SB2 was lighter, faster, and handled better thanks to one of the industry's first monoshock rear suspensions and a lower center of gravity achieved by placing the fuel tank low in the frame.
More potent models followed, powered by Kawasaki twin-cam fours of up to 1015 ccs.
Though Bimota had built up an enviable reputation by the early 1980s, the Japanese manufacturers had themselves begun to focus on handling, narrowing the advantages of the exclusive Italian make. Still exorbitantly expensive, Bimotas lost much of their appeal -- and much of their sales.
Salvation came in the form of the Ducati-powered DB1, an elemental sports machine that proved popular with buyers. It also established a link between the two Italian manufacturers that would continue for many years to come.
But perhaps the most exotic motorcycle to appear from the company known for innovation was the Bimota Tesi, released in the early 1990s.
Joining the Ducati 904-cc V-twin and typical (for Bimota) full body cladding was a hub-center-steered front end that replaced the traditional forks. It used a swingarm similar to that found at the rear with the axle pivoting side-to-side within it.
According to the theory, steering and braking forces could be dealt with more easily, but it didn't turn out to be the great leap forward that Bimota had hoped.
Furthermore, prices were high -- even for a Bimota -- and the complex mechanicals were not without their drawbacks. As a result, sales were slow and the technically advanced Bimota Tesi soon faded away.
See the next page for a variety of pictures of the 1992 Bimota Tesi motorcycle.
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