Motorcycles

The Italian nakedbike that features a 2-liter, 200-hp upside-down engine

The Italian nakedbike that fea...
An inverted engine puts the center of mass closer to the rider, which Nembo says makes for better handling
An inverted engine puts the center of mass closer to the rider, which Nembo says makes for better handling
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The Nembo 32 prototype
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The Nembo 32 prototype
The Nembo 32 weighs as little as 160 kg dry, but packs in a monster 2-liter, 200-hp motor
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The Nembo 32 weighs as little as 160 kg dry, but packs in a monster 2-liter, 200-hp motor
An inverted engine puts the center of mass closer to the rider, which Nembo says makes for better handling
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An inverted engine puts the center of mass closer to the rider, which Nembo says makes for better handling
That single shorty exhaust makes a heck of a racket
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That single shorty exhaust makes a heck of a racket
The 32 is so named because it's a 3-cylinder, 2-liter
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The 32 is so named because it's a 3-cylinder, 2-liter
What's written on the tank translates to "leap, comrades! Unless you want to reveal the eagle to the enemy!" Inspirational, but confusing
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What's written on the tank translates to "leap, comrades! Unless you want to reveal the eagle to the enemy!" Inspirational, but confusing
With a rider on board, you can see how the inverted engine keeps weight in a more central position than a regular one
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With a rider on board, you can see how the inverted engine keeps weight in a more central position than a regular one
The Nembo 32 on track
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The Nembo 32 on track
Two liters of snarling glory in action
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Two liters of snarling glory in action
The headlight looks like a touch of an afterthought
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The headlight looks like a touch of an afterthought
Lifting up the bodywork reveals small bits of trellis frame
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Lifting up the bodywork reveals small bits of trellis frame

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.

What's written on the tank translates to "leap, comrades! Unless you want to reveal the eagle to the enemy!" Inspirational, but confusing
What's written on the tank translates to "leap, comrades! Unless you want to reveal the eagle to the enemy!" Inspirational, but confusing

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.

Lifting up the bodywork reveals small bits of trellis frame
Lifting up the bodywork reveals small bits of trellis frame

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.

Sources: Nembo Indiegogo, Nembo

NEMBO MOTOCICLETTE - THE NEMBO 32 - 2019-2

4 comments
Mzungu_Mkubwa
Interesting... yes keeping the bulk of the mass near the CG is important, but I'd imagine managing the engine oil flow is a challenge? Won't run too well with the cylinders filled with motor oil.
guzmanchinky
Wait, huh, mass low? It looks like it's all up high? I thought you would want the mass down where the center of rotation is for flicking the bike over from turn to turn? Maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about. Bring on electric motorcycles already, Internal Combustion and gears are dead technology.
Martin Hone
Whilst it is true that motorcycles prefer a relatively high CoG and centralised mass ( a la Buell) I cant see the physical size of this engine making for optimal positioning. The reason some aircraft engines are inverted has little to do with CoG and everything to do with thrust line.
possum1
Every (other) motorcycle manufacturer is trying to lower the CoG. All the major manufacturers are pulling 200+ bhp out of ONE litre. All the induction and ignition components are being belted with road debris off the front wheel. Looks like it might be a fun thing for riding on a closed circuit, but not for me.