Two Wheels

Bimota's long-rumored comeback bike is a technological marvel

It's got a supercharged engine and front swing-arms.

Kawasaki has finalized plans to propel moribund Italian motorcycle manufacturer Bimota to its former glory. It purchased a 49.9 percent stake in the storied company, and helped it develop a new, supercharged model named Tesi H2 unveiled at Europe's annual EICMA motorcycle show.

Bimota's first new model since 2014 is a single-seater with an unusual front suspension consisting of double swing arms in lieu of a more conventional telescopic fork. While this feature adds complexity, it improves handling -- especially under heavy braking -- by separating the steering and front suspension systems. The end result is a layout that increases stability, lets riders brake a little bit later, and looks plain cool. It's uncommon, but Bimota has used it before on other Tesi-badged bikes. Out back, the suspension consists of two electronically-adjustable shocks made by Öhlins.

Stylists gave the Tesi H2 a menacing, fighter jet-like design characterized by winglets that add downforce at high speeds, and numerous aluminum components to keep weight in check. Full technical specifications remain under wraps, but the Tesi H2 doesn't honor its predecessors with a Ducati-sourced two-cylinder engine. Motorcycle News learned Bimota's unmuzzled comeback bike is closely related to the Kawasaki Ninja H2. That means power comes from a 998cc, water-cooled straight-four supercharged to develop over 206 horsepower and 95 pound-feet of torque. Like the H2, the Tesi is expected to tip the scales in the vicinity of 525 pounds, so it offers a jaw-dropping power-to-weight ratio and lightning-quick acceleration. It's certainly not a bike for novice riders.

Motorcycle News added Bimota will charge approximately 50,000 euros (about $53,000) for the Tesi H2, though there's no word yet on whether the bike will be sold in the United States. Deliveries in its home country of Italy and in other markets are tentatively scheduled to begin in June 2020.

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