BIMOTA SB8R (1999-2000) Review

Published: 22 November 2006

"Exotic, ultra-rare and built with a level of attention few manufacturers can match"

Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Riding

"Exotic, ultra-rare and built with a level of attention few manufacturers can match"

  • At a glance
  • 996cc  -  133 bhp
  • 37 mpg  -  160 miles range
  • Insurance group: 17 of 17
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  • Medium seat height (810mm)

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

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.

Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5

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.

 

Engine 4 out of 5

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.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

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.

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 5

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.

Equipment 5 out of 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.

Owners' Reviews

1 owner has reviewed their BIMOTA SB8R (1999-2000) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your BIMOTA SB8R (1999-2000)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

SB8R - Not an easy relationship!

29 March 2008 by sevenheaven

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... Read more 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.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
Read all 1 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1999
Year discontinued 2000
Original price -
Used price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 17 of 17
Annual road tax £59
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 133 bhp
Max torque 69 ft-lb
Top speed 170 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.8 secs
Average fuel consumption 37 mpg
Tank range 160 miles
Specification
Engine size 996cc
Engine type 8v V-twin, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Seat height 810mm
Bike weight 178kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound, high/low speed compression
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, high/low speed compression
Front brake Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 230mm disc
Front tyre size 120/65 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

History & Versions

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.

Photo Gallery

  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Front view
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Front view
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Front view
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Bimota SB8R motorcycle review - Front view
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