Retro-inspired Bimota KB4 could feature electronic Öhlins suspension

A side-on render of the Bimota KB4
A side-on render of the Bimota KB4

Italian exotica brand Bimota have revealed fresh details to MCN about their upcoming retro-inspired KB4, claiming it could feature electronically adjustable Öhlins suspension if the production process isn’t too heavily affected by Covid-19.

Despite already posting photos of a manually adjustable unit on their Instagram page, Bimota press officer, Gianluca Galasso, told MCN: "If we don’t get too much delay with the suppliers due to the Coronavirus, we will set-up the Öhlins suspension with the electronic control.

"We got affected by the Coronavirus only because of the lockdown, we had to stop for one month as well as all our suppliers," he continued.

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First revealed to the public as a rendered image in a 17-second YouTube clip last November (visible below), this is the second model to be revealed by the firm, who were resurrected from the ashes in 2019, after Kawasaki purchased a 49.9% stake in the company.

Alongside the electronic springs, Galasso also went on to say that the '70s-esque sportster would also feature a carbon-fibre rear hugger and that the 1043cc, four-cylinder engine would be finished in black.

This engine will come directly from Kawasaki’s Ninja 1000SX and will be wrapped in a striking Bimota trellis chassis. Producing 140bhp, it’s also likely the new machine will come with Kawasaki’s latest ride-by-wire throttle, which allows the SX to have cruise control. 

"The engine will be the same as homologated by Kawasaki, this is a very big advantage for us," he continued. "It will, of course, be Euro5."

Alongside the photos of the Öhlins springs, Bimota also revealed a pair of blurred images, showing the front and rear of a pre-production mule (seen below). Although it’s hard to make out many details, the bike does still appear to be a single-seater like the early drawings suggested and feature a TFT dash – potentially the same unit as that of the Ninja 1000. 

A blurred shot of a pre-production Bimota KB4

Bimota Tesi H2 delayed

Alongside discussing the KB4, Galasso also shed some light on when we might see a finished version of their headline-grabbing supercharged Bimota Tesi H2, which comes with hub-centre steering and the 227bhp powerplant from Kawasaki’s Ninja H2 hyperbike.

Revealed at the Eicma show in 2019, they had planned to launch the bike in July 2020. Due to Coronavirus, this has now said to have been pushed back to September – providing the supply of parts doesn’t change. At present, the KB4 is set to follow between two and three months later, however this remains in discussion.

Pricing of the KB4 is also still not confirmed, however Bimota’s man went on to say: "Retail price is still too far to be decided. I can only tell you that we will keep the KB4 price levelled to the competition."

As always, MCN will bring you more information on both bikes as it becomes available. Keep an eye out for the full reviews... 

Pre-production version of retro-styled Bimota KB4 set for summer 2020 reveal

First published on January 10 by Dan Sutherland

A spokesperson for Italian firm, Bimota, has today confirmed to MCN that the first pre-production version of their retro-inspired KB4 sportsbike could appear as early as summer 2020. 

The second new model to arrive since Kawasaki purchased a 49.9% stake in the company late last year, the bike will feature the latest 1043cc four-cylinder engine, found in the 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX, wrapped within a new Bimota trellis chassis.

Unlike the fully-built Tesi H2 we saw unveiled at Eicma in November 2019, the KB4 has only been seen as a render and a short YouTube video so far.

"The first test prototype is scheduled to be on the road during the spring 2020, so it’s reasonable at the moment to plan a pre-production bike for the summer 2020," Bimota press officer, Gianluca Galasso, said. 

Bimota say the bike will also adopt the Kawasaki’s electronics package, to help the chassis manage the bike’s 140bhp engine. This appears to include Kawasaki’s latest ride-by-wire throttle, which allows the SX to have cruise control and is given away in the imagery by the bulky housing behind the right twist-grip.

Bimota KB4 front end view

"The idea shared by Bimota technicians is to have a 600cc size motorcycle with the power of a torquey 1000cc engine," Galasso added.

"This started at the beginning of the company, during the 70s and 80s, when Bimota’s primary idea for a bike was one the size of a 500cc with the performance of a 1000cc machine." 

The new bike also bears more than a passing resemblance to Bimota’s early KB1, which first appeared in the late 1970s. As well as featuring a similar curved front fairing and single rounded headlight, the KB1 was also powered by a four-cylinder engine taken from Kawasaki’s original Z1000. The same basic 1043cc engine found in the new KB4 has also featured in Kawasaki's modern Z1000, too. 

A side view of the Bimota KB1

The first new Bimota since the BMW S1000RR-powered BB3 in 2014, it features the same supercharged 998cc engine found in the Kawasaki Ninja H2 and is suspended by the firm’s unique front swingarm technology.

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Dan Sutherland

By Dan Sutherland

Senior Writer (motorcycling), sportsbike nut, currently riding a FireBlade