1975 Bimota 970cc HB1
Frame no. 357588
Engine no. CB750E-2426888
In the 1970s and 1980s, the fact that Japan's motorcycle frame design lagged behind that of its engines meant that anyone wishing to exploit a motor's full potential had little option but to opt for a bespoke chassis. A number of specialist firms sprang up to satisfy this demand, among them Moto Martin and Segale in France, Nico Bakker in Holland and Fritz Egli in Switzerland, while in the UK, Harris and Spondon joined the already established Rickman and Seeley. But at the very pinnacle of this exalted group was and still is the Italian firm of Bimota. Founded in the mid-1960s, Bimota manufactured heating and ventilation ducting before the enthusiasm of two of its motorcyclist founders - Giuseppe Morri and Massimo Tamburini - saw it turn to motorcycle production in the early 1970s. The intervening 30-plus years has seen Bimota established as one of the world's foremost producers of exclusive, limited edition, high performance motorcycles with a reputation for quality second to none. Technical innovation too has long been a Bimota hallmark, as exemplified by the hub centre-steered Tesi models, while on the world's racetracks Bimota-framed machines have won hundreds of races and numerous championships, including the 350cc World title in 1980. Equipped with nothing less than the very best suspension and brakes, Bimotas were necessarily expensive but then, like George Brough, it was never the firm's intention to build anything compromised by budgetary restrictions.
Morri and Tamburini's first complete motorcycle was a racer, built to house a 750cc Honda four, which was first tested by Luigi Anelli at Misano in the summer of 1972. The resulting publicity encouraged them to go into production to meet the unexpected demand for replicas. At this early stage, Bimota were not interested in supplying complete machines, and apart from the prototype racer all HB1s (Honda Bimota 1) were supplied as frame kits for completion by the customer. The HB1 kit consisted of a tubular steel frame, box-section swinging arm, Ceriani front fork, Marzocchi rear suspension units, alloy wheels, triple disc brakes, oil cooler, glassfibre fuel tank, seat and mudguards, clip-on handlebars and rear-set footrests. Even if the customer left the CB750 engine standard, the result was a motorcycle vastly superior to the Honda original. Nine complete kits were produced, which together with original racer made a total of only ten HB1s. Given this strictly limited production, it is hardly surprising that this first Bimota is one of the most sought after of the Rimini factory's products.
This particular Bimota HB1 was purchased new as a kit from Sport Auto Moto Equipment SA of Magliaso, Switzerland by Louis Garneret, proprietor of a motorcycle shop in Porrentruy, Switzerland. In his accompanying letter of authentication, Mr Garneret states that the kit consisted of a frame, saddle, tank, oil cooler, mudguards, battery tray, handlebar controls, shock absorbers and bolts. The HB1 kit was assembled and sold to one Michel Georges of Épinal in the Vosges region of north eastern France, who fitted a Honda CB750 engine. Bizarrely, its owner chose to register his new motorcycle as a 'Georges' rather than a Bimota! The machine is still registered in France as a 'Georges'.
In 1977 the HB1 was sold to a new owner (name unknown) and then in 1978 passed to one Bernard Delung (see copy of Carte Grise on file). The current owner purchased the machine from Bernard Delung in June 2010 and it was then reregistered as 'AR-573-TG'. Prepared by Bernard Delung, the engine is fitted with a Japauto VX1000 big-bore cylinder block manufactured by JPX. The motor has been rebuilt, including new pistons, and the cycle parts mechanically refurbished but left cosmetically un-restored in the interests of preserving the machine's original patina (see bills on file). Offered with a substantial file of history and current French Carte Grise, this ultra-rare HB1 represents a possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire an original example of Bimota's very first model.