The Bimota SB6 is one expensive motorcycle, around $35,000 thank you very much. That is a lot of money when the current crop of Japanese hotshots are so good these days, at half the price.
But if you are thinking Bimota, you will probably be disregarding price as too much of a factor. You will be after an exotic Italian with a bit of flair.
The GSX-R 11 based engine is a gem with useable power from around 2500-rpm and upwards. I dipped the clutch at around 2500-rpm in first gear and the front wheel started rising, it can be kept on the rise by rolling the throttle on as it lifts. A word of warning though – make sure you also know when to roll the throttle back off, or you will be sat on your arse well before the tacho’ reaches it’s 11,600-rpm redline. The Suzuki engine is slightly modified by Bimota with their own cams and exhaust system.
While the GSX-R 11 has low spec suspension and an enormous amount of flab (a bit like me really), the SB6 has a light, straight-connection frame, fully adjustable Ohlins shock and huge Paioli forks. This gives you a hot-rod hybrid with a Latin touch, which adds to it’s exotic flavour.
The gearbox also comes from the GSX-R 11, which has always been one of the best in the business and performed faultlessly on test. The clutch didn’t seem to be up to the same high standards as the big Suzook’s great set-up though.
Brembo stoppers are up to the task but are surpassed by both the R1 and ZX9R in the braking department these days. The SB6 is showing it’s age, where once it could boast unrivalled power and light weight, it is now left behind by the big bore blasters from the land of the rising sun in nearly every area bar street cred’.
The Bim’s 190 kilograms (dry) puts it a bit on the porky side when compared to what we see from the current crop of Japanese sportsbikes in 1999.
The SB6 is Bimota’s most successful model ever, with over 1300 units sold worldwide. I suppose this would be the kind of bike for you if you crave something exotic – but love the screaming rush of a 4-cylinder more than the softer delivery of a twin.
There is also another important edge over the Desmo’ opposition, servicing costs. The SB6 utilizes one of the most common engines seen in motorcycling over the past ten years; this is reflected in the servicing coming out at around a third of the price than that of a 916. The Suzuki engine and gearbox have a record of indestructibility that is the envy of all manufacturers. Another thing it has over the Ducati, by a B-I-G margin.
The SB6 does look better in the flesh than this photo represents, but is no outright stunner. The YB11, which will be featured here shortly, is a much better looking proposition to my dodgy eye.
The twin exhausts exit from under the seat, ALA 916, which makes for a great looking rear end on the bike, while giving you a very hot rear end, and that doesn’t mean a good looking bum either. It is fortunate that the SB6 does not have a pillion seat, I fear a passenger would fry their buns very quickly if it did.
For my money I would take a Blade or GSX-R 1000 – and accompany one of them with the electric start DR400. This would leave enough money remaining to keep the two bikes in tyres and insurance for a year or so.
It has lots of very trick bits which are no doubt very expensive to buy, but I still can’t quite get my head around the purchase price.