With centre hub steering and Kawasaki engine technology, the Bimota Tesi H2 arrives as a premium superbike you’ll likely never see.
There might come a time when your run of the mill supercharged motorcycle just doesn’t have the cache it once did. It is said that familiarity may lead to contempt but that is a skeptical view of the world. We will acknowledge some truth in the statement that the same old, same old gets mundane—for example a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch, day after quarantined day.
But that your 228-horsepower superbike would ever get mundane is an incredulous proposition. Be that as it may be, there is always someone willing to plan for the remotest of possibilities. And some of those people include the executives at Kawasaki as the company late last year purchased a 49.9 per cent stake in Bimota.
Kawasaki has high hopes for the partnership and in keeping Bimota true to its roots while injecting much needed capital and the probability of an extended range of bikes.
At the announcement of the partnership, Hiroshi Ito of Kawasaki Industries stated:
“I was convinced our project will make a great success and we can make new history. Bimota is Italian premium motorcycle brand born and grown in Rimini, Italy and has been passionately loved by motorcycle enthusiasts all over the world who really understand value. Bimota is a jewel of Italy. So it must be based in Rimini, Italy.
“It must be designed by Italian designers. And it must be built by Italian craftsmen otherwise it will lose its value. So, our mission is clear, we will support Sig. Marconi and his team will make new legendary history of Bimota with Kawasaki’s legendary engines! We’d like to declare now Bimota is here as most premium motorcycle in the world.”
The name Bimota may ring a bell as the Italian company has been building bikes in some capacity since 1973 while focusing with an Eric Buell laser-like intensity on engineering a better motorcycle based on scientific principles.
Bimota’s new flagship Tesi H2 uses a stock Kawasaki H2 motor as a performance staple around which to create the model. The Tesi H2’s most obvious attribute is the complex centre hub steering system at the front end.
Aside from Bimota, which has been down this road before with the Tesi 3D, not since the 1990s Yamaha GTS has the centre hub played such a relevant role in a production motorcycle. The GTS was criticized for being heavy and the bike never saw the success, which at the time might have seemed imminent. There hasn’t been a broad embrace of the idea since.
In the simplest of terms, centre hub steering eliminates the multiple functions of traditional forks. Under braking forks will dive which in turn changes the geometry and steering characteristics of a motorcycle while using some of the suspension travel that would otherwise keep the front tire firmly connected to the pavement.
Centre hub steering’s fundamental principles change that by redirecting those forces. The concept of centre hub steering has been around for a long time as a tempting ideal while in the meantime modern forks have become thicker, inverted and coated with new, slippery materials and attached to more robust steering heads to address the concerns associated with flex and geometry.
The rest of the Tesi H2 is a complex recipe of carbon fibre, winglets and angular styling and is reported to be significantly lighter than the H2. Interestingly, Kawasaki appears to be keeping the ultimate prize of the track-only H2R motor’s 300-plus horsepower for itself. Releasing that motor would be like giving away the crown. The Tesi H2 will make do with 228.
The odds of ever seeing a Tesi H2 on the street are slim as the 2020 production run is very small and the price steep, reportedly approaching six figures. In comparison a Kawasaki H2 Carbon in Canada carries a $36,500 sticker while the even more exclusive 2020 H2R goes for $61,200.
John Molony Canadian Biker Issue #347