Bimota DB1

White/red/green Bimota DB1 1980s Italian superbike

The Bimota DB1 was a double dose of Italiana. It was the first Bimota to feature a Ducati engine. As such, the DB1 combined a deliciously torquey powerplant with the kind of looks that could only have been fashioned in Rimini. Unsurprisingly, then, the DB1 was a Bimota best-seller. It came at a critical juncture for the style-obsessed Italian marque. 'Arty' to its core, business was never Bimota's strong suit. Prior to the '86 release of the DB1, financially, the firm was in decline. But, with its long list of virtues - and a reasonable price-tag attached - the DB1 stopped, and then reversed, the downward spiral.

The Ducati factor in the DB1 was a desmo V-twin. A sohc 90° affair, it made 76bhp. Designed more for mid-range grunt than throttle-to-the-stop velocity, Ducati's output gave a top speed of 130mph. If that stat was underwhelming - at least, in superbike terms - the way the DB1 arrived at it was not. Suffice to say, acceleration was fierce! On top of Ducati's long-stroke motor, the DB1's tech-spec further fueled its fast-revving fire. For a start, it weighed a skeletal 354lb. As well as that, Federico Martini - Bimota's lead engineer - had blended the bike's fairing, petrol tank and seat unit into a single, streamlined shape.

Acrobatic handling was icing on the cake. Suspension was by Marzocchi. Brakes by Brembo. Pirelli brought low-profile tyres - on 16″ wheels - to the DB1's bend-swinging party. And - especially if you were short of stature - Bimota built the bike to be comfortably compact. It is true that - as 750cc machines go - it was not the most blistering bike on the block. But, for its overall strengths - and the Italianate cut of its jib - the Bimota DB1 takes its place at the top table of the world's superbikes!

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