Bimota's new DB7 ... powered by a Ducati 1098 lump
YOU'RE LOOKING at the new Bimota DB7 - a Ducati 1098-powered superbike, which the company hope will secure their future in the high-end sportsbike market.
The liquid-cooled Testastretta Evoluzione engine fitted with a new injection system that combines Magneti Marelli 12-hole injectors with a tuneable ECU from Bologna-based specialist Walbro.
Bimota also designed the new exhaust system. It's of similar length to the 1098's but features header pipes of slightly narrower diameter (52mm instead of 54mm), a larger chamber for the catalyser below the engine, and an oval-section titanium silencer mounted diagonally on the right. Peak power output of 160bhp at 9750rpm is unchanged but Bimota claim that their injection and exhaust changes add 4-9bhp between 5000 and 7000rpm.
Frame design is unique and elegant, combining a top section of oval-section chrome-molybdenum steel tube with side-plates machined from billet aluminium. There's no rear subframe; just a self-supporting carbon-fibre seat unit. As with the 1098, the engine is a stressed member of the chassis. The swing-arm uses a similar blend of oval steel tubes and aluminium forgings, and works the vertical shock via a rising-rate linkage.
All bodywork is carbon-fibre, as are parts including the chainguard and the cover of the dry clutch. Along with neatly machined billet aluminium pieces including the footrest assemblies and control levers they make for a beautifully detailed machine, though when examining it in the Misano pit-lane I couldn't help thinking that the fairing's integrated screen, which incorporates round holes for the twin headlights, looked like a bit of an afterthought.
There was certainly no lack of top-end horsepower from this Bimota, which charged forward at every opportunity, accompanied by a deep V-twin bark from the silencer behind my right boot. Misano's new direction means that the fastest part of the circuit is now immediately before that bottle-testingly rapid kink, by which point the DB7 was into fifth gear and still stampeding towards a likely top speed approaching 190mph.
Not that I had time to glance down and check its speed, or even to notice the flashing over-rev light on the new dashboard that combines digital speedo with analogue tacho (and incorporates a lap-timer and data recorder). Such was the desmo motor's midrange strength that I didn't need to cane it to the 10,500rpm redline through the gears. There was always smooth grunt on tap; enough even from below 6000rpm to send the DB7 barrelling forward when I'd entered an unfamiliar turn in too high a gear.
The new DB7's exclusive, expensive yet achingly beautiful on the eye. If only I'd opened that high-interest savings account...
PRICE: £20,000 plus (dealers and price to be confirmed)