EICMA / Reminder: Kawasaki is now driving in Bimota; The new KB4 should appear at EICMA

I’ve only seen one Bimota in the flesh so to speak, and that was literally decades ago when a local runner with a lot more money than I wowed the locals with a 1990 Tuatara, a miracle machine powered by Yamaha Genesis that seemed to come from a sci-fi future.

Back then, most riders were still on early 1980s UJMs (and older) and a lucky few were on relatively new supersports like the Honda Hurricane, Suzuki GSX-R, Kawasaki Ninja and Yamaha FZR. . The Tuatara featured fuel injection, “upside down” forks, then-monstrous 150bhp power, exotic styling, top speed of 180mph, and a price tag about three times what you would pay for one. new Yamaha FZR1000, which was pretty much the hottest OEM thing on the street at the time. The almost equally exotic Ducati 916 was still four years away, the Honda 9oo Fireblade breakthrough in about two years. The Tuatara was a rarity – and almost $ 20,000, a huge sum at the time. Only about 60 were made.

The big bike makers finally caught up with Bimota, which had to go further and further to differentiate itself, with bikes like the center-hub Tesi and the fabulous failure of the two-stroke V-Due 500. Then it got pretty quiet .

Kawasaki took a 49.9% stake in the brand just before the pandemic, and it looks like they’ll be opting for the (re) launch again with the long-running KB4 retro at this year’s EICMA show in Milan, in Italy, which basically begins today.

The KB4 should be a bit more accessible than the “new” supercharged $ 75,000 Tesi H2 230 hp (below) which debuted with the announcement in 2019 of Kawi’s stake in the brand.

What’s the first thought that comes to your mind? “Beautiful” or “weird”? Or simply “do you want it!” “

The KB4 will likely be powered by a lightly massed 140-horsepower one-liter Kawasaki Ninja inline-four, but the real news is that it will probably almost be. 100 pounds lighter than the donor bike. Expect plenty of carbon fiber and light metals (like magnesium and titanium) to come into play to reduce that weight. As with most diets, expect this athlete to lose a bit of girth overall and end up having a slightly smaller bike than the Ninja.

Additional touches will likely include a smaller frontal area as it looks like the radiator has been moved under the seat. This presents a complex cooling problem that can be solved with innovations in airflow and some fans, in the innovative way. Benelli Tornado Tré of yesteryear. At least your buns will likely stay warm on those cool Sunday morning outings. As for the look, the teaser images seem to indicate a mid-80s style that pays homage to Bimotas that have gone from futuristic to classic over the years, with a single round headlight and a more on-bubble fairing design. than the shark, sometimes the insectoid looks we see today.

Price tag? With a more moderate influence from Kawasaki’s corporate parentage, the KB4 is unlikely to come close to the Tesi H2’s $ 75,000 figure, but that will clearly be a premium over a Ninja 1000. Kawasaki had its own. “Bimota” level bikes with the H2 series before investing in the brand, and advancements in time and technology mean that bimotas are no longer the exotica they were in the days of Tesi and Tuatara . Is Bimota Kawasaki’s Lexus? Stay tuned. KB4 may not be the only Bimota novelty to appear at EICMA.

We will update this story as more events occur at EICMA. Check back for more EICMA coverage as it happens this week.

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