November 24, 2008 In its past reincarnation, Italian motorcycle company Bimota built a reputation around its ability to take the great Japanese and Italian engines of the time and put them into a chassis package that would actually handle - but when the brand relaunched in 2003, many wondered what relevance Bimota would have in an era when the vast majority of modern sportsbikes handle brilliantly straight out of the crate. But it seems there's still room at the top end of the market for bespoke chassis designers, which is a good thing because otherwise we'd never see revolutionary designs like the center-hub steered TESI 3D or the magnificent DB7 Oronero, which boasts one of the first all-carbon fiber frame, subframe and swingarm packages ever to grace a production bike. A truly pornographic piece of motorcycle art, the Oronero also promises breathtaking performance with a weight of just 164 kilograms being propelled by the 164-horsepower Ducati 1098 powerplant.

While carbon fiber bodywork might be reasonably common on top-end motorcycles, it takes a true bespoke company like Bimota to take the material through to its logical conclusions. Inspired by Forumla One and military aircraft chassis design, Bimota crafted the Oronero's frame and swingarm to share the original DB7's geometry while saving weight and allowing much more precise frame stress control. The seat and tail unit is entirely carbon fiber, and supports itself without a subframe. The fairings, clutch cover and even the tank are also carbon - the rearsets, shock and exhaust provide accents of billet aluminum and titanium to add some flash to the otherwise brutal and stealthy look.

The digital dash is one of the most advanced computers ever mounted on a production sportsbike, and it features inbuilt GPS and datalogging - the GPS can recognize a racetrack that you're riding on, automatically record laptimes and record your sessions for later visual playback and analysis.

The hammering 164-horsepower Ducati 1098 engine rattles up a storm in neutral thanks to a semi-exposed dry clutch. It's re-tuned for more midrange in the DB7 than it made in the 1098, but that was hardly necessary; the 1098 happily lifted the front wheel in third gear with no such additional grunt. With all the weight savings the Oronero makes through its use of carbon fiber, the bike ends up with a hair-raising 1:1 horsepower to weight ratio.

The bike is available for pre-purchase now to anyone with the USD$52,000 asking price handy.

More information over at TheBikerGene.

Loz Blain

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