1998 Bimota 500 Vdue

Another memorable motorcycle from the Italian masters of cool

Posted: 4 January 2013
by Ben Cope

How could you not love Bimota's 500 Vdue. Launched in 1998 at a cost of £14,500 it didn't so much come with a list of optional extras, more a lottery list of factory-spec problems, longer than the accessories list on a 1200GS.

To me, it sums up Bimota perfectly: ambitious, exotic, problematic and almost impossible to justify and because of this: addictive and alluring.

The fuel-injected 500 fouled its plugs in a matter of miles and that was if you were one of the lucky few owners who got one that ran at all. After a barrage of complaints, Bimota recalled the 500, which was one of the larger nails in their bankruptcy coffin.

Despite all the issues, Piero Caronni, the engineer behind the 500 Vdue bought the spares and rights to the bike off the failed company and set about addressing the issue. Some bikes were hastily converted to carbs and although they ran, this didn't solve the problem of weak and poorly designed engine internals. The real gems were fully sorted fuel-injected bikes with revised engine internals. When I say gem, I mean a bike that runs but still fouls the plugs, causing the peaky two-stroke delivery to become even peakier and slightly more strokier.

A few years back we panned the Vdue in this piece (I hasten to add I didn't write it): To the crusher: Bimota V-Due but now, perhaps with rose-tinted specs in place, I look at the Vdue and see the most desirable Bimota of the last decade. It's like asking that really fit girl on a date, knowing she's likely to laugh off your advances or worse, actually take you up on it and lead you on a wild, highly strung head-wrecking relationship before leaving you just as you start to see a future with her.

I've seen them sell recently for as little as £7,000 and as much as £12,000.

If you had a Vdue, would you go for carbs or injection, would you ride it or wrap it up?

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Discuss this story

Carbs, and rag the fuck outta it.

Posted: 04/01/2013 at 12:10

Still think that's a fabulous looking bike. Think I'd have to go for the injected version as at least it would utterly fail to run in a more up to date way. I think the question of riding it or not is a bit academic, isn't it? In that it won't give you the option, unless you push it, or completely change the engine for one that, well, works, or get a tow, or live at the top of a very, very big hill.

Posted: 04/01/2013 at 13:00

Stick a CR500 2 stroke motocross engine in it![Honda]
At least it would work and could be used.

Posted: 04/01/2013 at 14:45

Tenchman7 gets the thumbs up!!!

Posted: 04/01/2013 at 16:27

Tenchman7 gets my vote :-)

Posted: 04/01/2013 at 17:52

anyone thinking that this carp has any design merit need visiting Specsevers! that end-can arrangement got to be the worse in two stroke history. if you need inspirational two stroke design please have a look at YZR, NSR or a RGV of the 2T era

Posted: 06/01/2013 at 19:46

i'd bin the injectors, fit some proper bombardier piezo injectors and bin the cat. absolutely sorted.

Posted: 10/01/2013 at 19:33

Considering that in 1998 the MV F4 was being shown (designed by BimoTAmbourini), it was a brave soul that splashed that cash for a Vdue.

Posted: 12/01/2013 at 22:05

I was head of markeing at Aprilia UK at the time, and launched this bike. We only had one or two road ready bikes at the time so sadly I never got to ride one. The media were gagging for it on launch day at the NEC show.

Posted: 16/01/2013 at 12:18

A mate of mine has one properly sorted out. I took a good few years to resolve.. A big problem was the catalytic converter that was added to the mix as an afterthought when the emissions laws became more stringent, basically ruining the precise set up of these machines. Make no mistake they are as specific about their state of tune as a highly strung diva.

To get his running he invested in hand made straight through race tuned pipes which were crafted from the original designs pre-cat (I mean honestly - a catalytic converter on a 2-stroke!!) I can't remember what else he did but I know that it's set-up is very atmosphere specific.. in that if you get it tuned in Italy mid summer and try and run it on an English spring day you may as well forget it.. However when it is set up correctly it is genuinely blinding, as you would expect from what is essentially an old GP bike with lights

Posted: 06/02/2013 at 11:33

Aw: That exhaust design was not the original design as far as I am aware. It was screwed over by changes to emission laws that pretty much meant they could not sell the bike at all unless it had big changes to the emission output. That exhaust system with catalytic converter is the result, and funnily enough it does not really run with that kind of exhaust. Ideally you would want a proper race system manufactured from original design fitted for actually running the bike, and this system for getting it registered in the country in the first place, and possibly MOT. The proper exhaust system is actually quite beautiful

Posted: 08/02/2013 at 11:15

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