Bimota SB2

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Bimota SB2

Chasing the setting sun to get the SB2 home before dark provided an excuse for a last, fast ride—and the perfect opportunity for the Bimota to show its class. It carved through the narrow, winding lanes with great H e. Then, when the road opened out, the bike showed its pure H id, pushing me back in the single seat as it stormed toward a H speed of over 130 mph (209 km/h). The miles flew past and H i the SB2 was back with its owner, just as the sun dipped below the horizon. Such performance is nothing special by modern standards, but m: .reveling was very different in 1977, when this Bimota was Ht Back then such speed and agility from a roadgoing superbike He just a dream—unless you were one of the fortunate few owner of an SB2. Created with pure performance its only criterion, that Bimota was the most exotic and advanced sporting roadster of the SB2's brilliance is more easy to understand when you realize i-is, the first ever Bimota streetbike, was designed by none other than Massimo Tamburini, architect of the Ducati 916 and MV Agusta 750 F4. Tamburini was then the "Ta" of Bimota, the Rimini firm that he had founded in 1966 (initially to make heating and air-conditioning units) with Messrs Bianchi and Morri. The maestro's signature is plain in the SB2.

The Bimota's styling is as dramatic, if less sleek, as that of the 916 and F4. And like those bikes, the SB2, powered by the four-cylinder engine from Suzuki's GS750, backs up its radical look with a beautiful and advanced chassis incorporating steel frame tubes, state-of-the-art cycle parts, and an abundance of stylish details. Chassis engineering was Bimota's specialty from its earliest motorcycling days. The first ever Bimota bike, the HB1 of 1972, was a Honda CB750-powered machine built for that year's Imola 200-mile (322 km) race. The firm provided the chassis for the Yamaha on which Johnny Cecotto won the 350cc world championship in 1975, and the Harley-Davidsons that Walter Villa rode to both 250 and 350cc titles in the following season.

Bimota SB2 in Blue

Tamburini's SB2 frame was made of chrome-molybdenum steel tubing of varying diameters. It had a heavily braced steering head area, used the engine as a stressed member, weighed just 10 kg (22 lb), and featured conical couplings that enabled the front and rear frame sections to be split, allowing rapid engine removal. Steering geometry could be adjusted by rotating eccentric bearings in the yokes.

The Bimota also held its fork legs at a different angle to the steering head (28 degrees the forks, 24 the head) to reduce the change in trail under braking. Bold engineering was equally in evidence at the rear of the chassis, where the Bimota was among the first roadbikes to use a single-shock rear suspension system. The swingarm was a long, box-section steel structure that curved outward to pivot concentric with the final drive sprocket, maintaining constant chain tension. Fork yokes, foot controls, and rear brake caliper carrier were machined from aircraft-grade aluminum alloy.

Tamburini also spared no expense in his specification for the cycle parts, which included 35 mm Ceriani forks with internals modified by Bimota, five-spoke magnesium wheels in 18-inch diameters, drilled Brembo discs gripped by twin-piston calipers, and a De Carbon rear shock. If the Bimota's chassis was advanced, then its sculpted tank/seat unit was no less so. In the style of a modern grand prix racebike, the SB2's rear section is self-supporting, requiring no subframe.

Bimota SB2

Release two rubber straps, unplug an electrical connector and the fuel pipe, and it can be lifted off, its weight giving away the fact that it's made not of carbon fiber but of fiberglass lined with aluminum. Even so, the Bimota weighed just 198 kg (436 lb) with an empty tank—almost 30 kg (66 lb) less than the standard GS750. This bike also had considerably more power, thanks to tuning modifications that were typical of the time. Unfiltered, 29 mm Mikuni carbs replaced the standard 26 mm units; the exhaust system was a free-breathing four-into-one.

The motor was bored out to 850cc and fitted with high-compression Yoshimura pistons. A gas-flowed cylinder head and Yoshimura Stage 3 camshafts helped increase rear-wheel output to a dyno-tested peak of 78 BHP at 9000 RPM, compared to about 60 BHP from the standard Suzuki. It was the SB2's chassis that made the most vivid impression, though, from the moment I threw a leg over the brown suede seat. The Bimota is compact by Seventies standards, with a short wheelbase, low clip-on bars, and high, rear-set footrests. Even with its headstock in the steeper of its two positions, the SB2 was not quick-steering by modern standards, but it flicked through a left-right sequence given only moderate pressure on the dip-ons. The response was very neutral, and the Bimota's firm, well-controlled suspension kept the bike stable as the pace got hotter. Braking from the pair of drilled front Brembos was good, too, albeit lacking the power of most modern systems.

This bike wore Dunlop K391 Endurance tires, which gave plenty of grip when I began exploring the generous ground clearance that Tamburini provided by raising its engine 25 mm higher than in the standard GS750. The modified Suzuki motor provided enough punch to make life interesting on the straights, too. Power output dipped at around 5000 RPM, but once into its stride the Yoshimura-tuned engine sent the Bimota howling forward. An indicated 100 mph (160 km/h) was effortless, thanks partly to the efficient fairing. On a twisty road it was easy to keep the SB2 pulling hard by flicking through the five-speed gearbox. Sadly for enthusiasts in 1977, the Bimota's price matched its performance and exotic nature all too well. It cost as much as three standard GS750s, with the result that fewer than 70 SB2s were built.

Subsequent Bimota roadsters, notably the 21000-engined KB1 released a year later, featured plainer bodywork a slightly less elaborate chassis to reduce costs. All of which only goes to make this, the first and most outrageous Bimota Sportster of all, even more special. It's doubt whether Massimo Tamburini or anyone else has ever created roadster with quite such a purposeful nature as the SB2.


Bimota SB2
Production 1978
Class Sport Bike
air/oil-cooled, four-stroke, transverse four cylinder, 2 valves per cylinder
Bore / Stroke 68.6mm x 68.6mm
Compression ratio 10.5:1
Horsepower 74.96 HP (55.9 KW) @ 8700RPM
Torque 42.04 ft/lbs (57.0 Nm) @ 8250RPM
Transmission Gear box: 5-speed, manual

Final Drive: Chain

Clutch: Wet multi-disc, manual
Suspension Front: 35mm Ceriani telescopic fork
Rear: Corte & Cosso adjustable mono-shock
Brakes Front: Dual 280mm discs
Rear: Single 260mm disc
Front Tire 3.00-19
Rear Tire 130/80 H18
Weight 206.0 kg (wet)
Manuals Service Manual

The Bimota SB2 was a air/oil-cooled, four-stroke, transverse four cylinder, 2 valves per cylinder Sport Bike motorcycle produced by Bimota in 1978. Max torque was 42.04 ft/lbs (57.0 Nm) @ 8250 RPM. Claimed horsepower was 74.96 HP (55.9 KW) @ 8700 RPM.

Engine[edit | edit source]

A 68.6mm bore x 68.6mm stroke result in a displacement of just 743.0 cubic centimeters.

Drive[edit | edit source]

The bike has a 5-speed, manual transmission. Power was moderated via the Wet multi-disc, manual.

Chassis[edit | edit source]

It came with a 3.00-19 front tire and a 130/80 H18 rear tire. Stopping was achieved via Dual 280mm discs in the front and a Single 260mm disc in the rear. The front suspension was a 35mm Ceriani telescopic fork while the rear was equipped with a Corte & Cosso adjustable mono-shock.

1978 Bimota SB2[edit | edit source]

1978 Bimota SB2 1978 Bimota SB2 1978 Bimota SB2 1978 Bimota SB2 1978 Bimota SB2

The 1978 MY Bimota SB2 has, at its heart, an air/oil-cooled, four-stroke, 743cc, transverse four cylinder powerplant paired to a five-speed manual transmission, and can produce 75 horsepower and 57 Nm of torque.

Standard features include a 35mm Ceriani telescopic fork, a Corte & Cosso single shock absorber, Brembo brakes with dual discs and a single disc in the front and rear, respectively, a full-fairing with a large windscreen, cast-aluminum wheels, a dual exhaust system and an analogue instrument cluster.