Showing posts with label 1990s Italian Motorcycles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1990s Italian Motorcycles. Show all posts

Moto Guzzi Daytona 1000

Moto Guzzi Daytona 1000 1990s Italian sports bike

It is probably not a bad marketing plan to name a bike after an iconic American circuit. It is one fraught with danger, however. Turn out a machine which does not do justice to that arena ... and you will look a tad daft! No such worries, though, for Moto Guzzi. When the Daytona 1000 was launched - in '92 - its moniker was nothing if not apt. After all, the Daytona was designed by 'Dr John' Wittner. He was an ex-racer/engineer. Indeed - back in the day - he had jacked in dentistry, to go to Guzzi. Not surprising, really. To fans of the brand, Guzzi's Mandello HQ was near-mythical. Dr John successfully campaigned Guzzis in the late '80s. Now, he sought to cement that legacy - in the shape of a road-going superbike.

The Daytona was directly descended from track-based exploits. It was a gimme, then, that it handled beautifully. Of course, the Daytona engine was suitably detuned. That said, it was still fitted with fuel injection - via its four valves per cylinder. 95bhp was duly on tap - equating to a top speed of 150mph. In tandem with that, the V-twin's torque curve was typically steep.

When it comes to motorcycles, Moto Guzzi have honed many a two-wheeled gem over the years. The Daytona 1000 was just the latest in a long line of dependable, attractive products, from the Italian stalwart. In the Daytona 1000, Dr John had dished up a mouth-watering superbike. The ex-dentist's two-wheeled delights would be savoured by bikers for years to come. Many a radiant smile resulted!

Aprilia RSV Mille

Aprilia RSV Mille 1990s Italian superbike

The designers of the Aprilia RSV Mille could never be accused of muddied intent. A lap-timer - fitted to a road bike - told you all you needed to know. Of course, it went without saying that the data would only ever have been examined at track-days! That said, commuting could never have felt more like competing.

The rest of the Mille was pretty purposeful, too. Which is what you would expect from a machine derived from a World Superbike. Its sibling - the Aprilia RS250 - was similarly sourced from the bike that took the 250cc GP title. The Mille's lap-timer was starting to make sense!

Certainly, the Mille's chassis was impeccably race-bred. It was held together by a twin-spar aluminium frame. The engine - a fuel-injected 60° V-twin - produced 128bhp. Aerodynamically, the RSV was about as slippery as it gets. The result was a top speed of 165mph. Not surprisingly, the bike was a great commercial success. All in all, then, the Aprilia RSV Mille had cemented its place in the top stratum of Italian sports bikes.

Ducati 916

Ducati 916 1990s Italian motorcycle

The Ducati 916 took motorcycle visuals to another level. It is ranked among the most beautiful bikes ever built. Launched in '94, its designer was Massimo Tamburini. He had been a co-founder of Bimota - specialist builders extraordinaire.

Tamburini's trademark styling cues were all over the 916. From its seductive snub nose - through the curves of its bodywork - to its pert tail-piece and silencers. It was so slim, it was scary! The tubular steel frame was not one millimetre wider than required. The 916 weighed in at just 429lb ... absurdly light for a bike of its size.

Engine-wise, too, the 916 scaled heights. Its torque-laden 90° V-twin made 114bhp. Top speed was 160mph. The 916's chassis/suspension geometry absorbed corners. Lean it as far as you dare ... you would not find its limits. The bike's single-sided swing-arm said it all - both technically and aesthetically. As you would expect, such a classy package was a raging success, in the showrooms. When it came to the Ducati 916, Tamburini broke the motorbike mould!

MV Agusta 750 F4

MV Agusta 750 F4 1990s Italian motorcycle

The MV Agusta 750 F4 was the work of a master motorcycle designer. His name was Massimo Tamburini. Ducati and Cagiva were other legendary marques for which he picked up a pen. Arguably, the 750 F4 represented the peak of his design perfectionism. A modern-day da Vinci, Tamburini fused Science and Art. With the Serie Oro F4, Tamburini turned alchemist - morphing metal into gold.

The F4's visual prowess was matched only by its technical spec. Its top speed was a heady 165mph. That was down to an output of 126bhp. A dry weight of just 406lb helped, too. 16 radial valves - 4 per cylinder - were key to the power stat. As for the light weight - the F4's bodywork was skinnier than Twiggy's!

Exiting the rarefied air of the design studio - and encountering the rigours of the real world - never phased the F4. Its state of the art cycle parts saw to that. The bike could 'handle' any road surface thrown at it. Surging through the revs was sewing-machine smooth. The bike's brakes shed speed in an instant. It is true that the F4 had rivals, technically. But - clad in its silver and red mantle - it reigned supreme on the styling front. Italian to its core, the MV Agusta 750 F4 radiated elegance. It was, quite simply, one of the most ravishing-looking motorbikes ever made. Massimo Tamburini knew a thing or two about them!

Bimota SB6

Bimota SB6 1990s Italian motorcycle

Without question, the Bimota SB6 was made from the right stuff. For decades, Italian motorbike manufacturers have provided us with unfathomably good-looking products. In an ever-growing array of shapes and sizes, their common denominator has always been style. Many such machines have passed through a certain set of factory gates. They belong to Bimota - based in Rimini.

Over the years, Bimota has 'borrowed' several proprietary powerplants. Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Honda have all bequeathed engines to the Bimota brand. Even rivals Ducati have played ball with Bimota. The high-flying design firm mated the motors with their unique take on bodywork. In turn, specialist cycle parts, too, were sourced. Of course, it did their partners no harm at all to be linked with Bimota's cool creativity. In the case of the SB6, it was Suzuki's GSX-R1100 engine which piled on the coals. Right the way up to 175mph!

The three men who founded the firm were Bianchi, Morri and Tamburini - voilĂ , 'BiMoTa'. It was right that they were recognised. Since '73, Bimota have been pushing motorcycling's envelope. In terms of performance, development and design, they have set two-wheeled trends with the best of them. The Bimota SB6 was proof positive of that!