Motorcycles

T12 Massimo: Tamburini's last project takes to the track

T12 Massimo: Tamburini's last ...
The Tamburini T12 Massimo in action
The Tamburini T12 Massimo in action
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The Tamburini T12 Massimo has been designed exclusively with the race track in mind
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The Tamburini T12 Massimo has been designed exclusively with the race track in mind
Aluminum plates binding together the steel frame and the magnesium swing arm of the Tamburini T12 Massimo
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Aluminum plates binding together the steel frame and the magnesium swing arm of the Tamburini T12 Massimo
The whole tail section of the Tamburini T12 Massimo sits on the carbon fuel tank self-supporting structure
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The whole tail section of the Tamburini T12 Massimo sits on the carbon fuel tank self-supporting structure
The four-cylinder engine that sits within the fairings of the Tamburini T12 Massimo produces at least 230 hp in the most potent version one can buy from BMW
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The four-cylinder engine that sits within the fairings of the Tamburini T12 Massimo produces at least 230 hp in the most potent version one can buy from BMW
These Ohlins GP forks and the Monobloc Brembos are commonly seen in GP and WSBK motorcycles
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These Ohlins GP forks and the Monobloc Brembos are commonly seen in GP and WSBK motorcycles
This actuator with the mysterious inscription could be the adjuster for the frame rigidity. An identical button sits symmetrically on the other side of the Tamburini T12 Massimo
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This actuator with the mysterious inscription could be the adjuster for the frame rigidity. An identical button sits symmetrically on the other side of the Tamburini T12 Massimo
The cockpit of the Tamburini T12 Massimo adopts a factory racing look
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The cockpit of the Tamburini T12 Massimo adopts a factory racing look
Massimo Tamburini managed to create a very narrow motorcycle
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Massimo Tamburini managed to create a very narrow motorcycle
The bar end on the business side of the Tamburini T12 Massimo's steering
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The bar end on the business side of the Tamburini T12 Massimo's steering
The custom-made adjustable foot pegs of the Tamburini T12 Massimo
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The custom-made adjustable foot pegs of the Tamburini T12 Massimo
The Tamburini T12 Massimo's tail adorns the standard BMW lines with angular details for a more dramatic and aggressive feel
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The Tamburini T12 Massimo's tail adorns the standard BMW lines with angular details for a more dramatic and aggressive feel
Custom-made full exhaust system by Arrow, tucked away within the fairings of the Tamburini T12 Massimo
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Custom-made full exhaust system by Arrow, tucked away within the fairings of the Tamburini T12 Massimo
The Tamburini T12 Massimo is a strikingly impressive motorcycle
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The Tamburini T12 Massimo is a strikingly impressive motorcycle
Tamburini selected Pirelli's Diablo SBK tires for the T12 Massimo
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Tamburini selected Pirelli's Diablo SBK tires for the T12 Massimo
The rear Ohlins shock absorber is not a typical off the shelf part, having been specifically designed and set-up for the Tamburini T12 Massimo
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The rear Ohlins shock absorber is not a typical off the shelf part, having been specifically designed and set-up for the Tamburini T12 Massimo
The rear Diablo Corsa SBK of the Tamburini T12 Massimo is a 200/60-17 racing slick
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The rear Diablo Corsa SBK of the Tamburini T12 Massimo is a 200/60-17 racing slick
Elegant vents on the fairings of the Tamburini T12 Massimo
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Elegant vents on the fairings of the Tamburini T12 Massimo
Three air intakes dominate the front of the Tamburini T12 Massimo
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Three air intakes dominate the front of the Tamburini T12 Massimo
The carbon fairings of the Tamburini T12 Massimo have been given a special treatment for a glossy finish with discreet green sparkles
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The carbon fairings of the Tamburini T12 Massimo have been given a special treatment for a glossy finish with discreet green sparkles
A coveted logo on the prototype Tamburini T12 Massimo
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A coveted logo on the prototype Tamburini T12 Massimo
Tire-warming gear appropriate for the Tamburini T12 Massimo
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Tire-warming gear appropriate for the Tamburini T12 Massimo
This inscription on the top of the fuel tank is testament to the exclusivity of the Tamburini T12 Massimo
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This inscription on the top of the fuel tank is testament to the exclusivity of the Tamburini T12 Massimo
Without the fairings we get a cleaner view of the steel trelis frame
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Without the fairings we get a cleaner view of the steel trelis frame
The Tamburini T12 Massimo in preparation for an action video shoot
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The Tamburini T12 Massimo in preparation for an action video shoot
The Tamburini T12 Massimo in action
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The Tamburini T12 Massimo in action
The Tamburini T12 Massimo in action
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The Tamburini T12 Massimo in action
The Tamburini T12 Massimo in action
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The Tamburini T12 Massimo in action
The Tamburini T12 Massimo in action
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The Tamburini T12 Massimo in action
The Tamburini T12 Massimo in action
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The Tamburini T12 Massimo in action
The Tamburini T12 Massimo in action
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The Tamburini T12 Massimo in action
The Tamburini T12 Massimo in action
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The Tamburini T12 Massimo in action
Curling up the whole exhaust system under the engine and near the center of mass is possible when there's no need for a road-legal silencer and catalyst
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Curling up the whole exhaust system under the engine and near the center of mass is possible when there's no need for a road-legal silencer and catalyst
Many would dream of a road-legal version of the Tamburini T12 Massimo, but it will probably not happen
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Many would dream of a road-legal version of the Tamburini T12 Massimo, but it will probably not happen
View gallery - 33 images

Two years after his untimely passing, Massimo Tamburini's family has unveiled the motorcycle project the great Italian designer devoted his last years to. Built around a superbike-spec BMW engine, the T12 Massimo features an array of elite equipment in a unique hand-made frame.

Tamburini made a reputation for himself by transforming standard MV Agustas into amazing sport or race bikes, an ability that eventually led him up to GP racing level in the mid-eighties. Massimo Tamburini had already added his name permanently on the world atlas of motorcycling in 1973 when the first two letters of his surname supplied the last syllable in Bimota – the other two coming from Valerio Bianchi and Giuseppe Morri.

In his post-Bimota years Tamburini rose to legendary status with his most iconic design, the Ducati 916, before embarking on a new adventure with MV Agusta; the F4 750, F3 675 and Brutale all hail from his design genius. After leaving MV Agusta in 2008, Tamburini went into a contractual three-year hiatus. This gave him time to focus on his dream bike, a pure track racer, freed of the legal and financial restrictions of mass production.

Curling up the whole exhaust system under the engine and near the center of mass is possible when there's no need for a road-legal silencer and catalyst
Curling up the whole exhaust system under the engine and near the center of mass is possible when there's no need for a road-legal silencer and catalyst

Handled by a close-knit team of experts, the project T12 evolved around the four-cylinder powerplant of the BMW S 1000 RR. Factory equipped with the HP race engine kit 3 to World Superbike spec, it unleashes an excess of 230 hp (171.5 kW) – compared to the 199 hp of the road-legal BMW.

Decades' worth of experience in designing motorcycles for the road and race track forged Tamburini's belief that sport bikes do not need excessive power; low weight and its optimal distribution are far more influential in delivering the best results. All his motorcycles revolve around the steel trellis frame design, consistently featuring very narrow silhouettes.

At first glance the T12's frame appears to be a typical stainless steel trellis, bound with the swing arm by two aluminum alloy side plates – Tamburini's signature MV Agusta design. Hand-welded by the man himself in the first prototype version, it has all the perks a motorcycle racer would ask for, being adjustable in steering angle and offset – but there's also a twist. Via a patented mechanism, you can adjust the degree of frame flex without the need to replace any part.

Aluminum plates binding together the steel frame and the magnesium swing arm of the Tamburini T12 Massimo
Aluminum plates binding together the steel frame and the magnesium swing arm of the Tamburini T12 Massimo

There's no shortage of rare and expensive metals in the T12 Massimo - which incidentally means Maximum in Italian. The swing arm, inner steering tube, triple clamps and rear wheel hub, as well as both Marchesini wheels, are made of magnesium alloy. The custom-made Arrow exhaust system adds a touch of titanium, and the rest of the bike's gear (levers, footlegs, handlebars etc) is CNC machined from billet aluminum.

The target for this motorcycle was minimal weight and dimensions, and apparently the result is spot-on. Although its spacial dimensions are not disclosed, visually the T12 looks very compact. The dry weight is 154.5 kg (340.6 lb), which indeed constitutes a very generous leap from the 180 kg (397 lb) of the stock model's claimed dry value. Actually it's a leap right into World Superbike territory.

The T12 is equipped with the best gear that money can buy, including Ohlins suspension and Brembo Monobloc brakes straight from the Grand Prix or Superbike paddocks. A lightweight Motec digital display adds minimalistic functionality to a track bike stripped down to its essentials.

These Ohlins GP forks and the Monobloc Brembos are commonly seen in GP and WSBK motorcycles
These Ohlins GP forks and the Monobloc Brembos are commonly seen in GP and WSBK motorcycles

Just like the frame, the fairings of the T12 were developed personally by Tamburini. Carbon fiber is employed exclusively, including the airbox with its inlets, and the fuel tank (of unknown capacity). This last item is based on a very interesting self-supporting design, incorporated in the frame structure and providing the support for the tail section.

It goes without saying that this motorcycle is not meant for the masses. With a starting price of €300,000 (approximately US$341,000) the track-only T12 aspires to become either the weapon of choice of a professional racing team, or a very rare collectible toy for those with a fervent disposition for high-speed entertainment. Plans for a road-going version do not exist ... for now at least.

Hear the T12 Massimo howl in the following video.

T12 Massimo - Il video in pista / track day

Source: Tamburini

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1 comment
NavrozeEnduro
I met Massimo Tamburini in 2005 in his fabled office. To be in the presence of a 'master' who's work I have admired for decades was a humbling experience.