Bimota Tesi 3D tested around Brands Hatch

If you’ve never ridden a Tesi and never wanted to, now is the time to re-adjust your head and embrace weirdness

Click to read: Bimota Tesi 3D owners reviews, Bimota Tesi 3D specs and to see the Bimota Tesi 3D image gallery.

My prejudice stems from the early nineties. I vividly remember chasing Alan Cathcart during qualifying at Brands Hatch. I don’t know who was the most frightened me or Sir Al. His 888-engined factory Tesi was blindingly (sub-50 second) fast, but so unstable that, from behind, I could see both sides of his fairing down the straights it was snaking so much.

So I had both eyes wide open as I trundled down Brands Hatch pitlane last week on a brand new Bimota Tesi.

For starters, the rider’s eye view is king-size weird. Without the visual security of a pair of fork tops and beefy triple clamps the front end of the Tesi looks and feels like it’ll snap, it’s so minimalist. Obviously this is just a visual trick of the light but it’s disconcerting at first.

My first laps were extremely tentative. As the first man out I had the job of warming the cold tyres and learning the feedback from a bike with no front forks.

Three or four laps in and I started to up the pace a bit and, you know what? I was amazed how normal it felt when you start to push it harder. To ride Brands short circuit well needs a weird mix of aggressive and smooth. You need to be pin-point accurate everywhere but not only in terms of positioning but also in throttle, gear and braking technique. It’s a pretty smooth lap in terms of surface condition with the exception of some fairly pronounced bumps mid-corner at Clark Curve. At this point on the short circuit you’re on the right hand edge of the tyres with an initially neutral but gradually opening throttle as you exit. And there are the bumps. Right where you don’t want them.

The Tesi was set up road-bike soft in terms of spring and damping but it coped really well with this mid-corner intrusion.

Ask any hub-centre steering afficionado and they’ll bore you to death about how this steering system separates bump and steering forces. They’re right of course. It’s in situations like the middle of Clark Curve where you can actually feel this happening on the Tesi – you’re actually conscious of the weight of the front wheel moving up and down even though the handlebars don’t budge an inch. Very weird. Not a bad feeling, just an alien one. It’s here that you also notice how susceptible the Tesi is to changing its line on an open or closed throttle. On the way into Clark you feel you’re going to run wide on the way to the apex and as soon as you’re on a positive throttle the line miraculously tightens. This changes the way you have to ride it to avoid a fully closed throttle at corner entry.

It’s the following part of the lap where I really did think I was going to be riding over Sir Alan and his wobbling Tesi. As you leave Clark Curve the track dips down and then back up as you enter the Brabham straight through a very fast right hand kink. It’s not bumpy in the traditional sense but the tarmac undulates in a wave-like pattern that can make most bikes wheelie while you’re still cornering.

It goes without saying that at 130mph over this kind of irregularity an unstable bike will turn itself into a bucking bronco. A combination of heavily squatted rear suspension, tight throttle cables and barely any weight on the front wheel while leant over hard right is never a good recipe for stability. By the end of my twenty lap session on the Tesi I couldn’t make it misbehave here. Should be mega on British roads.

23,800 Euros is a lot of money for a bike with an old air-cooled Ducati engine in it, particularly when you consider that doesn’t include any delivery, VAT or on the road charges. But, I have to say, it is a fantastic thing to behold (and ride) – the kind of bike you could just stare at for hours. Bimota has a new importer in the UK. They’ve appointed a raft of top-notch Ducati dealers to provide sales and after sales care. Good call. They’re called AMV Motorcycles and you can call them on 01825 733867

Bimota Tesi 3D

Price £25,000 approx
Top speed
147mph (est)
1079cc, air/oil-cooled, L twin, 90-degree crank
95bhp @ 7500rpm Torque 75ft/lb @ 5750rpm
Bore & stroke
98 x 71.5mm Compression ratio 11.0:1
Front suspension
115mm monoshock forks, fully adjustable preload, rebound and compression damping
Rear suspension
monoshock, fully adjustable preload, rebound and compression damping
Front brake
double 320mm discs, four-piston callipers
Rear brake
single 220mm disc, 2-piston calliper
Wet weight
178kg Seat height 31.5in Fuel capacity 16-litres
Colour options
red/white, carbon