Additional photos of this Bimota SB8RS are available here for your perusal.
First introduced at EICMA 1997, the Bimota SB8R was a cutting edge sport bike produced for only two years. At the heart of the model was the liquid-cooled, 996cc, four-stroke, DOHC, 8V, 90-degree V-Twin from the Suzuki TL1000R with fuel-injection, a wet-sump, and a six-speed transmission. Built by Bimota with the intention of campaigning the Japanese V-Twin-powered two-wheeler in the 2000 WSBK Championship, the Italian outfit only produced around 150 units in order to satisfy homologation rules. The SB8R’s crown jewel was its wildly trick chassis; an aluminum twin-spar unit with carbon fiber composite reinforcements (the first production road-bike of its kind). Looking to shave off weight from wherever possible, the engineers in Rimini decided to delete the rear subframe entirely, and instead had the rider perched on a self-supporting full carbon fiber tail section that by itself eliminated 4.5lbs of bulk. The frame also allowed for the rake to be set at either 23 or 24-degrees, thanks to a 916-style reversible steering-head insert.
The sophisticated new frame also enabled Bimota to position the rear suspension underneath the air-box, ridding the bike of the overheating problem the TLR’s rear suspension suffered from. The Bimota’s frame also remedied the Suzuki’s other main issue which was its hefty weight — a feat helped along by excessive use of carbon fiber throughout, resulting in a dry weight of less than 380lbs dry, more than 40lbs less than the TL1KR. Additional weight savings came in the form of 17-inch cast aluminum Antera wheels as well.
In typical Bimota fashion, the SB8R was loaded with top-shelf componentry. Suspension was comprised of 46mm inverted Paioli forks and an Ohlins rear shock, both of which were adjustable for Preload, rebound, and high/low speed compression damping. Stopping duties went to dual 320mm discs bit by Brembo four-pot calipers aided by a single disc out back.
Bimota also lightly modified Suzuki’s engine, resulting in the V-Twin putting down 74ft-lbs of torque (at 8,500rpm) and 134hp (at 9,500rpm) at the rear wheel — which is roughly what the TLR made at the crank. Tipping the scales at 436.5lbs at the curb, the SB8R was capable of achieving a top speed of around 170mph, partially thanks to its slippery, Italian-designed bodywork. Thanks to top-of-the-line suspension and and a svelte weight, the SB8R was also extremely nimble on the track. With a wheelbase of only 1,390mm (54.7”), the SB8R was shorter than not only the TL1000R but also Yamaha’s benchmark-setting YZF-R1.
Of the 150 units produced, Bimota reportedly produced a small number of built-to-order SB8RS (or SB8R Special) models that took the already-very-swanky twin to the next level. Sold for $1,500 over the base model (which translates to closer to $2.5K today with inflation), the main element differentiating the S-spec from the base model was its full exposed carbon fiber front fairing – like the rest of the carbon on the SB8R(S), the material was sourced from the same outfit that supplies Ferrari with its carbon fiber.
Other distinguishing features of the Special included blacked-out rims, a carbon fiber gear shift rod, Ergal engine screws, gold-anodized adjustable billet rearsets and brackets (with carbon heel guards), and a gold-anodized aluminum chain sprocket.
While it generated the same power figures as the standard SB8R, the SB8RS also knocked another 5lbs off of the base model’s dry weight, making it almost 50lbs lighter than the Suzuki that it shared a powertrain with. Speaking of the powertrain, the SB8R Special came from the factory with 59mm throttle bodies and WM Corse fuel-injection with tunable MicroTech fuel maps. Like the standard spec, the Special still boasted the full carbon tail section, carbon fenders fore and aft, carbon frame covers, intake ducts, and instrument housing.
It’s been sitting with us for a few months, but we recently brought in a couple of certified Ducati techs and thought it’d be fun to make these runners again. So that’s exactly what Angel did – please see the video up top!