Skip to content

Bimota SB8R Sports Motorbike Review

Find By Make/Model

1 of 13
Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Riding
Click to enlarge
Previous image Next image

MCN overall verdict rating is 3

Exotic, ultra-rare and built with a level of attention few manufacturers can match. But unlike the Bimotas of previous decades, the SB8R doesn’t radically out perform Japanese competition of the same time. It does manage to be a little better though and race success backed this up. Lack of dealer back up makes ownership worrying.


MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

The Bimota SB8R's powerplant is a big V-twin borrowed from Suzuki’s TL1000 but hotted up in the Rimini factory. Large throttle bodies up power to 138bhp at the crank (around 124 at the rear wheel) with devastating mid range too. The Bimota SB8R is a delight to use and not for the inexperienced – but not a vast improvement over the original TL1000S and slower than an R1.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4

The Bimota SB8R is hard and track-focused. It seems a shame to take something so carefully crafted and so beautiful then risk cart-wheeling it into a worthless pile of scrap. But if you don’t thrash your Bimota round a track you’re not using it properly. The Bimota SB8R is superb at that but less happy pottering - although it’ll cope.



MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 5

What’s there is generally good enough for the Bimota SB8R to sit in an art gallery. Cost is rarely an issue – getting it right and making it look good are. For example the Bimota SB8R's tail unit has no frame to support it – it's all carbon giving a 2kg weight saving. Plus there's a bespoke aluminium frame made using high-tech techniques. The pegs are high, bars are low. Compare and buy parts for the Bimota SB8R in the MCN Shop.

Bimota SB8R (1999-2000)

Detail Value
Engine size 996 cc
Power 133 bhp
Top speed 170 mph
Insurance group 17 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 3 rating is 4
Engine rating is 4 rating is 4
Ride & Handling rating is 5 rating is 4
Equipment rating is 5 rating is 5
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 3
Value rating is 3 rating is 3

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3

Bimotas are well built but most SB8Rs are track or race motorcycles and few rack up tens of thousands of road miles so few problems are heard of. Quality is high. The biggest problem with ownership will be the lack of dealer back up – at the time of writing there was no importer for Bimota which means proper servicing and spare parts will be hard to come by, although this has now improved slightly.


MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3

The SB8R is cheap for a Bimota (£14,500 in 1999), expensive compared to more mundane rivals. If you’re looking for the best performance per pound, look elsewhere (probably at a GSXR1000). But if you’re after a slice of motorcycling history, a bike with more charm than Terry Thomas and thing of beauty that’ll draw a crowd at any motorcycle meet, it’s worth a look. Find a Bimota SB8R for sale.


Insurance group: 17 of 17

Compare motorcycle insurance quotes now

Model History

1999: Bimota SB8R released January and discontinued November.

Other Versions

Bimota SB8R-S £1200 more when new – which included a matching carbon helmet! Adjustable foot pegs, gold chain, carbon gear change rod, more carbon and special black paint.


Top speed 170 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.8 secs
Max power 133 bhp
Max torque 69 ft-lb
Weight 178 kg
Seat height 810 mm
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Average fuel consumption 37 mpg
Tank range 160 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 17 of 17
Engine size 996 cc
Engine specification 8v V-twin, 6 gears
Frame Aluminium twin spar
Front suspension adjustment Preload, rebound, high/low speed compression
Rear suspension adjustment Preload, rebound, high/low speed compression
Front brakes Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 230mm disc
Front tyre size 120/65 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 3.5(1 review)

  • SB8R - Not an easy relationship!



    Average rating rating is 3.5

    Show Details

    Ride and Handling
    Quality and Reliabilty

    Bought it because I have always liked Bimota's, ever since I used to dream about them at the NEC show in the 90's with their ridiculous price tags! Only buy one if it is going to be a weekend toy, if you think of it as a handbuilt special, then treat it accordingly. I've owned mine for about a year (second Bim, first one was SB6) and the previous owner covered 400 miles in 8 years! As a result I'm still running it in, now up to 660m, so I can't say alot about the performance other than it seems quick enough. Build quality is average, there are a few niggles you need to be aware of: fairing fasteners need rubber washers mounted behind them to stop the vibes from the engine cracking the fairing around the bolt holes; the clutch cover is plastic (TL engine standard feature) so it disorts over time and eventually leaks, best remedy is to buy a billet one which also looks a lot better (especially if it is the window version). The battery is located in the headstock of the frame and looks a right awkward sod to get at, so I would definitely recommend keeping it connected to an Optimate. Oh and the self supporting seat unit can move slightly when ridden which resuls in the rubber washers moving beneath the bolts which hold the exhausts onto the seat unit. You have to untighten them, re-adjust the washer and then tighten up again after every ride. Other than that it's trouble free! Sourcing spares other than the Suzuki running gear can be a challenge, but there appears to be some sellers in Germany that have most things, and joining an enthusiast club is always a good idea. Overall a lovely bike, which looks different compared to most other manufacturers, with some lovely touches such as the carbon frame spars, a totally unique feature on any road bike, only used before on the Cagiva 500 GP Bike. Recommended.

    29 March 2008


Discuss this

Add your comment

There are currently no comments

Most popular

Rate my bike