Bimota HB3


Make Model

Bimota HB3


1983  (production 101)


101 units


Four stroke, transverse four cylinder, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder.


1062 cc / 64.8 cub. in.
Bore x Stroke 70 x 69 mm / 2.75 x 2.71 in.
Compression Ratio 9.7:1
Cooling System Air / oil cooled


4x 33mm Keihin carbs.





Max Power

85.8 kW / 115 hp @ 8500 rpm

Max Torque

100 Nm / 10.2 kgf-m / 73.4 lb-ft. @ 7500 rpm


5 speed

Final Drive

Frame Formed from four parts. The main part linked with the steering tube with the rear shock absorber crossbar. Then there is a lower cradle with two connecting plates made of machined avionic steel .

Front Suspension

Italia 40 mm with 8 settings with magnesium tubes

Rear Suspension

Slightly backward facing De Carbon shock absorber with 10 settings. The swing arm is made of chrome-molybdenum steel.

Front Brakes

2x 280mm discs

Rear Brakes

Single 280mm disc

Front Tyre

3.5 x 16

Rear Tyre

4.24 x 16


 239 kg / 526.9 lbs
Top Speed 235 km/h / 146 mph

Road Test

Motorrad  HB2 HB3 KB3 SB3

Motorrad 1983

Motosprint 1983

Motociclismo HB2 HB3


Some people will go to any length in the purist if excellence. They will devote their lives to excelling at a sport or a profession, spend a hundred grand on a car lay out enough money on a painting to keep a third world country in rice for half a year. Once in a while, one of them will even spend £8500 on a motorcycle - for which fact Bimota are very grateful. As far as motorcycles are concerned, the Italian Company has been producing the very definition of two-wheeled excellence for 10 years. The reputation for unbeatable handling built up right from the time of the first frame kits hit the street and the race tracks of Europe has developed into a legend, and their exclusivity has been guaranteed by prices beyond the reach of average motorcyclists. In percentage terms, the increase levied by new Bimota concessionaires FCL Italian Imports Ltd of Cranleigh, near Guilford in Surrey, does not amount to a lot. In real terms a few hundred quid has been tacked onto each model, making the CB1100F Honda powered HB3 Britain's most expensive street bike at £8495.

 That is an awful lot of money to lay on the line of someone else's reputation. It is also going to make sure that Bimota's seldom venture out of the role of rich mans toy, something to park beside the Ferrari for the odd blast on a Sunday afternoon. I find this irritating because a few days aboard FCL's HB3 demonstrator has convinced me that I would very much like to own one. Speaking objectively, it is the best high-speed handler I have ever come across. That reputation for immaculate steering, tenacious line holding and amazing stability at speed is well founded. The chassis is state of the art, something even recognized by Yamaha whose "Lateral Frame Concept" as introduced on the FJ1100 is a direct rip off from Bimota's heavily triangulated steering head, where the frame tubes extend beyond the headstock and the way in which the top tubes sweep out and around the top of the motor. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and Yamaha has even adopted Bimota's 16 inch wheels - even the tyre sizes are identical, and the Dunlop tyre look unashamed copies of Bimota's Michelin rubber. But the FJ1100 is an all round motorcycle, adept in heavy traffic, two up touring and balls out sports riding. The HB3 is good at one thing - going very fast indeed. If you are after a comfortable all rounder, look the other way. The Bimota looks like a racing machine and provides about as many creature comforts as your average RG500. Forget about carrying the girl friend around, because the seta is built for one person only. Riding Bimota's is a solitary pleasure, and we all know what Freund said about that. Half an inch of foam is all that separates bum from fibreglass.

The riding position is pure boy racer, head down but fortunately, due to the HB3's low seat height, not arse up. Footrests are high and set well back, and the legacy of riding a Bimota across London in peak hour traffic is aching shoulders and sore wrists. Luckily the bike is so compact that the stretch across the wide flat tank to those lovely alloy clip ons is not painful. And although I found myself automatically putting my feet on the pillion pegs of other bikes after getting off the Bimota, the HB3's rear seats do not lead to cramp in the knees for anyone other than Harlem Globetrotter look-alikes. But you would not be criticize a powerboat that could not handle a swamp, and once out on the open road the Bimota redeems itself. Beyond the speed limit enough breeze curves around the screen to take the weight off the arms, the bum stop on the seat lets you brace yourself against the hefty acceleration pumped out by the 1062cc Honda engine and thighs fit neatly into their homes in the scalloped tank. That engine, by the by, is a rarity within these shores. It is from the Honda CB1100F, a bike that went to most of the world except England last year. Based on the CB900 engine, the 70x69mm unit has the same dimensions as the CB1100R lump with not as much grunt but more smoothness. Honda claims 115 bhp at 8400 rpm, enough to fling the HB3's 457lbs along at 150 mph plus. The thing is top speed is not strictly relevant on the HB3.

There are faster bikes around, but the difference lies in the fact that you can use the Bimota's top end in circumstances that would have you praying for divine intervention on most other big bore machinery. It hugs the road like a mobile limpet, and the merest glimmer of intent will guide it round sweepers and bends at speeds that would have your life passing before you on lesser machinery. The unfussed and natural way in which the HB3 achieves these navigational feats is the biggest surprise. Steering feels slightly insecure at low speeds, the bike seeming to roll over on the fat Michelin's into slow corners and the front end strangely unresponsive. The 40mm diameter Forcella Italia legs are solidly sprung and harshly damped, bringing a feeling of skittishness to the otherwise immaculate chassis on bumpy low speed corners. Playing with the seven damping adjustments on the fork crown did not make much difference. The rear De Carbon monoshock will give the rider a hard kick up the backside at low speeds, but like the front end becomes better the faster you go. It takes a while to realise just how fast this combination of light weight, high chassis rigidity and race bred suspension will let you go, and time after time I found myself braking too hard for corners and the pootling around them at half the bikes potential. Unlike some Japanese superbikes you do not have to hang off like a slow mans Freddie Spencer to get it to hold a line around a bend you have just taken too fast, just point it where you want it to go and you are there without almost any conscious effort. Taking a sweeper at well over the ton, toe grazing the tarmac, body tucked in tight behind the that beautiful fairing and knowing the bike could do it 10 mph faster without displaying the slightest twitchiness, come close to the Bikers version of Nirvana.

The biggest problem is adjusting your mental attitude to suit the bike, because your notion of "fast" lags somewhat behind the Bimota ideal. It is that kind of bike, that will have you going quicker through corners you ever thought possible. Fitted to Bimota's own aluminum rims, a wide MT 3.25x16 front and an even fatter 4.24x16 rear are a set of A48/M48 Michelin's of softer compound than seen on previous Bimota's. They showed no signs of misbehaviour in the dry. But still, it is a small niggle in the context of everyth9ing that is good about the HB3. Its instruments are straight off the CB1100F, as are the levers and switchgear.

They are simple to use, but they look so ……… Japanese. Even the front brake master cylinder is a Honda item, and if I were paying so much money for something so exotic I would expect ancillaries a bit more in keeping with the rest of the bike than Jap gear. Still, they do the job. And although the Honda engine is a solid and powerful unit, the gearbox is noisy and clunky in true Honda style; it does tale some excitement away. It is notchy and jumped out of top gear a couple of times during the test. While we are quibbling, surely Bimota could unbend their rigid sporting principles enough to provide more storage space in that tailpiece. There is enough room for a packet of fags and a couple of speeding tickets and that is about that. With no provision for strapping on luggage, even waterproofs have to be carried in a shoulder bag. No toolkit either - buy your own Allen keys to take the fairing and tank / seat unit off. And even the purists will laugh at this, how about some indicators? There is enough room in the fairing to incorporate them and they could easily be "glassed" into the tailpiece without spoiling the lovely lines. When it comes down to it, the only people who are going to buy a Bimota are well-heeled ego trippers or wealthy motorcycle enthusiasts. But you can take your ego on a lot of trips for eight grand and the rest, and the numbers of rich hard riding dedicated motorcyclist who are prepared to pay a hefty price for their thrills are few. And because there are other machines around that will come close to the Bimota ideal without ever reaching it, but at a fraction of the cost, Bimota's are destined to remain the property of the few and the envy of many. Are they worth the money? Ask me again when I have made my first million.

Source Motorcycling Weekly May 1984