The Bimota KB4 is here, and it is beautiful

Photo: Bimota

Bimota took the wraps off the KB4 neo-retro sportbike at EICMA today, along with the KB4RC neo-retro roadster.

These bikes are the latest results of Bimota’s team-up with Kawasaki (well, it was more of a Kawasaki buy-out). They have the same four-cylinder 1043 cc powerplant as the Ninja 1000SX sport-tourer, which makes a little over 140 hp. We haven’t seen an output figure for the Bimota version of this engine, but we’d be surprised if it wasn’t tuned a little hotter.

The Bimota KB4RC model, looking like something from the Lang Hindle era. Photo: Bimota

Bimota cleverly made one big change to the Ninja engine: If you look under the bike’s tailsection, you’ll see Bimota put the radiator under there, with a duct piping cooling air onto the rad. This is an age-old idea, but not one that’s really been proven practical. We’ll see if Bimota’s application works. There’s no doubt it makes for a tidier-looking bike, as the semi-naked KB4RC has an oil cooler mounted over four exhaust headers, looking like a racebike from the golden era of air-cooled fours.

That radiator under the seat was an idea that Harley-Davidson explored all the way back in the early 1980s, but nobody has ever brought to production. Photo: Bimota

Both versions of the KB4 get Ohlins NIX30 forks and TTX36 shock, fully-adjustable by hand clickers. Don’t be surprised if a future edition of this bike comes with electronic semi-active suspension, though.

The frame itself is odd, with front and rear subframes attached to the Kawi-sourced engine, sort of like a modern superbike (Panigale, in particular), but adapted to an older engine design.

Top-shelf running gear should make the KB4 a smashing fun ride in the Euro twisties. Photo: Bimota

With big 320 mm brake discs and Brembo Stylema calipers, the new Bimota should have no trouble slowing down, and there’s a set of Pirelli Supercorsa tires for grip in the twisties. Again, this isn’t a trite styling exercise—Bimota built this bike for a good flogging.

No doubt this machine will only be available to the wealthy, but it’s cool to see someone thinking outside the box, and it’s cool to see Bimota finally bringing some of its ideas to market, now that it has stable funding.

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