Ownership Report: How is the Bimota SB6R after one year in the garage?
Bought my first Bimota a year ago. What do I think about the bike? What have I learned? What would I recommend? What would you like to know?
The other day a social media platform reminded me that one year ago I had purchased my first Bimota, an SB6R. The Suzuki GSXR1100 powered Italian exotic had been on my radar for a while. I have always gravitated to special framed bikes. This example came to me with about 3,000 miles on it. It has been on display for a few years in a private collection. Bike was stock, with the Corse exhaust and had been loved throughout the years.
Being as I am a rider, and not a older collector it was clear to me that I would need to service the bike from the top to bottom. Nothing out of the ordinary, just a little of everything. Cleaned the carbs, corrected some jetting issues, replaced the tires, rebuilt the brakes, changed the oil and flushed the coolant. All and all there were no major stumbling blocks.
I am slightly glossing over how much of a pain tuning the carbs were. That was more to do with packaging, the whole tail has to come off of the bike to get to carbs. It sounds more complicated then it really is. After doing it a few times you learn a couple of tricks. I can get the carbs off of this bike in about 15 minutes now.
All of the service parts I needed were basic Suzuki items, to get this bike back on the road I did not have to touch anything Bimota specific.
So cool to see under the skin of a bike like this.
Time was not on my side, the bike took the maiden voyage just in time for winter. The roads were always damp, covered in leaves and generally cold. Not great weather to learn a new superbike on.
I was disappointed I could not get more rides in, but spring would be here in no time.
When the weather broke and I was able to put a couple of miles on the bike my first impressions were that this was going to be a tone of fun. The first word that comes to mind is "darty" That seems to have a negative connotation, and that is unfair. The bike is just SUPER eager to change directions. It begs to be pushed.
The sound from the exhaust is amazing. Not something that is too loud, but it announces you are in the area for sure. The suspension is firm, but the ride is not unbearable. Body position is aggressive, but again not something one can not deal with. Honestly my frame would have never been a consideration anyway.
The details of the carbon work are something I could stare at for hours. Picture do not do the bike justice. This must have been such a game changing bike when it first hit the market. I can not even think of a modern bike with a full carbon tail and no subframe.
I was able to put a couple of hundred miles on the bike this season. A lame number for sure, but I have 7 bikes in the rotation, so nothing racks up that many. Over a couple of rides I got more comfortable with the bike. The darty-ness was exchanged for razor sharp handling. I learned a lot about how to ride a bike of this era.
Joined by friends.
I became even more obsessed with the brand and ended up buying two more Bimota this season.
More people should take the plunge and have this experience. It is simply incredible. Where else can you combine this rarity and performance at this price point? If we were talking about cars we would be well into the six figure range, if not into seven. The other point that sticks with me is how useable this bike is. In the past I had some relatively exotic bikes from the '60s and '70s. In order to take them out for a ride you needed to plan a fair bit. What types of roads were on the route? Zero reason to try to take a freeway. Would there be stops along the way to either fuel up, or check things out?
Enter the Bimota. While I am sure a new V4R is faster on a race track, I feel that the SB6R is past what can responsibly be used on the road. So the delta becomes less and less important. This package can be used on modern roads without hesitation.
Now the pricing. The market for '80s and '90s bikes is on fire at the moment. The newest generation of buyers has a connection to this era. RadWood and other events has put a spot light on this as well. I would expect the market to continue to grow. Right now most buyers are looking at the more common and standard bikes such as the CBRs, and GSXRs. Prices are increasing, but are still within reach for most buyers. Bimota and a few others in this category have not seen a huge rise yet. They were never "cheap", when new the Bimota was 3-4 times more expensive then the Suzuki. That ratio has not stood the test of time. I would be hard pressed to think of a Bimota selling for twice what a mint GSXR is worth.
Last ride of the season.
Owing one of these types of bikes is not an insurmountable thing either. Most of the running parts are standard OEM. Even the Bimota specific parts are not crazy hard to come by. Places like Bimota Classic Parts can supply almost anything at a reasonable rate. The only fear I have is if the bike gets binned. Replacing bodywork would be a monumental task.
Personally I very much value having a unique experience.
All and all I think this is a segment that more enthusiasts should explore. What do you guys think? Anything you would like to know about the experience?