The story of my Bimota Vdue

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Bimota always borrowed someone elses engine, put it in their own design and ended up with something special. A few years ago they wanted to build a GP replica bike and decided on something quite spectacular. A GP replica powered by their own 500 cc two stroke fuel injected engine. The result was, on the face of it, purely spectacular. It weighed the same as an Aprilia RS250 but with twice the power and looked the business. The downside was that it didn’t work, literally. Owners complained about everything from peaky performance to intermittent power, dodgy electrics, plug fouling, weak cranks etc. The owners demanded a full refund. Bimota obliged and subsequently went bankrupt.

The V due engineer (Piero Caronni) for Bimota ended up buying all of the bikes, spares and legal rights and set up on his own. Many bikes were given the full overhaul to fix including binning the direct fuel injection system in place of a set of dellorto carbs. This worked to a certain extent and can still be bought today. Good results have been obtained with retaining the direct injection system and upgrading the rest of the internals. The injection bikes are of course more inkeeping with the original idea from Bimota and carbs were a quick fix with limited success.

Bearing all of the above in mind I am a true two-stroke nut and wanted one from day one. The downsides are as follows:

  • You buy it blind from a stranger in Italy who speaks little English.
  • You have to choose from an original bike with no modifications, a carburettor bike or an injection bike with some problems fixed.
  • They cost the earth and they come with no warranty.
  • You cant ride one in your local dealership to see what it rides or fits like.
  • The factory in Italy openly admit the bikes are fraught with problems.
  • They are unreliable and spares are a costly nightmare.
  • On full power they only do 15 miles to the gallon they drink fully synthetic two stroke oil at £15.00 a litre like its going out of fashion.
  • It is subject to 17.5% VAT duty at the point of registration in the UK.
  • It has to be put through the UK SVA test which it may or may not pass and it has to be road registered at DVLA and may go on a P plate as bike made in 1997.
  • The delivery man speaks even less English.
  • Belly pan cracks after several miles of riding.
  • Engine needs total strip and rebuild by a two- stroke expert prior to ever riding due to set up at factory being very poor, then it needs full rebuilds approximately every 3K miles.
  • It may never arrive.
  • It may never run.

 The good points speak for themselves though:

  • It is a 500CC two stroke that looks the business and weighs very little.
  • If you have always wanted a big two stroke your options are limited. Its either buy a 350 LC and tune it to the max, buy an RGV 250 or Aprilia rs 250 type machine and bore the engine out, buy an RD or RG 500 and ride it as is or update the bike overall or start a 500cc special project like an RGV 500.
  • If  you want a modern 500cc two stroke with modern extras, modern handling and looks there is only the Vdue.
  • There are only a handful in the UK and most are track day bikes only. The remaining bikes are unlikely to meet in the same place at the same time- although that would be a sight.

I saw one advertised years ago and I wanted it, but couldn’t afford it. I read they were unreliable, owners sent them back and they were bankrupt, I was gutted. I read that someone had bought the rights to them and was selling them off. They were still too expensive though.

I bought an RD350 instead and rode it till it blew. I bought an Aprilia RS250 and loved it so much I bought another. I owned everything from a fireblade to a Ducati 851 to a GSXR 1100… and everything in between. I still wanted a Vdue, but couldn’t afford one.

I looked at building a 500 cc special via BDK racing, who specialise in RGV 250/500 conversions, but built up bikes were circa £6000 plus. I also looked at buying an RG or RD 500 and updating it. But it was too expensive given the poor quality finish and unreliability. So I decided to buy a Vdue.

I looked for a Vdue carb version and found the only one in the country (already road registered) was for sale. Whilst negotiating around the £10K marker it was sold to someone else. Gutted, I contacted the factory in Italy directly and swapped lots of emails.

In the end I decided on an injected bike with electrics, lubrication and crank problems solved. Only issue with the bike is that it oils up the plugs constantly causing poor jerky running, intermittent power delivery and plugs need replacing after every trip. Great.

I Agreed a price in Euros with factory. Deposit wired to his account in Italy. Delivered via Belgium in a van to bike dealer in Norfolk. Euros sent by post to pay the balance. Delivered to me at home a month later.

Luckily for me I had a very good raport with an owner called Paul Clarke from London who steered me in the right direction with regards to problems encountered.
I put the bike through SVA test in the UK and it passed first time- although it wasn’t running.

It ran like a pig, then overheated , then stopped. So I sent to a man in the know- 2 stroke god Mark Brown from Nottingham, to be adapted to have oil injectors moved to the throttle bodies to run like a normal two stroke. Mark Brown completely sorted the bike from top to bottom. I also had the water cooling system adapted to stop it over heating, changed the ECU units as faulty ones came with bike, swapped the fuel pump as it was gunged up and not working correctly and put 3 different speedos on it until I found one that worked.

I’ve never looked back since… best bike in the world. Hassle factor 10 out of 10, Enjoyment/pose factor 1 million. What a treat!!!

mark rothwell

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By mark rothwell