The Italian nakedbike that features a 2-liter, 200-hp upside-down engine
After some successful prototyping, an Italian company is gearing up to go into production of a bizarre and unique boutique motorcycle. The Nembo 32 is a naked sports machine featuring an upside-down, three-cylinder, 2-liter motor making 200 horsepower.
Why upside down? Well, if you ask the Nembo team, it's inspired by early aircraft engines and done in service of mass centralization. Keeping the center of mass low, in Nembo's estimation, is less important on a motorcycle than keeping it tight. With a rider on board, the best way to keep the bulk of the mass in the smallest possible circle is to flip the motor over and put the crank at the top, with the lighter cylinders below.
We suspect there's an element of "we just want to be different" there too, but that's hardly seen as a bad thing in the motorcycle world, where a goodly proportion of riders love having something that's the center of attention wherever they park it up.
The motor in the two prototypes pictured is a 1,814cc version, but Nembo says all production bikes will feature a redesigned 2,000cc version. Power will be limited to 200 horsepower, torque will peak at an Earth-shaking 210 Nm (158 lb-ft) @ 5500 rpm. The total weight of the bike, depending on specification, can be as low as 160 kg (352 lb), so this thing will go like a bat out of hell. Helping keep the weight low is the fact that the crankcase forms a major part of the frame, augmented with a few trellis bits where required.
The bodywork tilts back from the end of the subframe to reveal a bolted-on tank and airbox above the motor. The swingarm is carbon fiber, as are the rims, the rear of which uses a fairly wide 200-section hoop to help get the power down. Forks are fully adjustable 50-mm Marzocchis, brakes are Brembo, and the eye-catching rear suspension is a Bellapadrona fully adjustable air shock.
The first Nembo prototype was running as far back as 2011, and the company's website still states the production bike is due in 2014 – swing and a miss there, it seems. But creator Daniele Sabatini and his team are turning to crowdfunding in an effort to get their unique machine into production.
An Indiegogo page offers fans of the design a range of perks for contributions, including the ability to put your name down for chassis numbers 1-11 once production begins. Reserving a bike will cost you a minimum of €5,000 (~US$5,700), and the final price won't be known until Nembo knows how many it'll be building.
It's an all-or-nothing fundraising goal, though, requiring a massive €3.2 million (US$3.66 million) in sales before they receive any payments whatsoever. Given that all the expensive perks are one-offs totaling just €162,000 (US$185,200), and the cheaper ones have names like "Nembo special letter of thanks" and "Two Nembo perks" I think we can assume this might be a non-starter too.
We do hope Nembo figures the whole business side of things out, though, because we'd love to hear more of this thing's unique sound, which you can enjoy as it lugs around a racetrack in the video below. Even at idle, it raises the hairs on my arms.