Tesi means test or theory in Italian and started life as an engineering exercise back in the 1980’s at Bimota, before appearing to lukewarm praise in the 1990’s.
The bike has been regarded as a something eccentric ever since, but as few manufacturers, other than BMW, have successfully binned off Victorian front forks from the motorbike frame, Bimota deserve some credit for persisting with the dream.
The Tesi Millennium, formally known as the LA Vyrus, could easily be written off as a biking novelty, however this is one formidable motorcycle from a manufacturer already known as one of the very best in the business.
Bimota are famous around the world for their sharp looks and even sharper handling, well this is the razor blade that is just that bit keener than the rest in the packet. Having been developed and tested exclusively in the heat of competition, the V-twin has grown up in the perfect environment for a ground breaking sporting machine. From kindergarten to graduation this bike has either kicked ass or been kicked.
The Ducati Multistrada engine is transformed from its many faceted capability to a power plant could have been especially made for the Tesi, the short stroke allowing a healthy over rev and punchy torque, great in the donor machine but even stronger thanks to Bimota’s fuel injection system, throughout the range.
The lack of radiators, water pumps and other extremities more usually found on leading modern engine designs are not present, saving much weight and creating a slim strong power plant that is as much part of the frame as the rest of the Tesi ethos.
The various forces transmitted through the machine travel low down in the centre of gravity and in very straight lines, the engine unit is no wider than the swing arm pivot, the widest part of the Tesi are actually the front arms, that splay out to clear the front wheel’s 30 degree, side to side movement required for steering.
The Omega frame concept is a bit misleading as the two crescent shaped pieces of milled Avional that form the chassis could never be considered any kind of frame that we are used to, rather they are just other components that form part of a whole, acting as extensions of the engine casings enabling the two swing arms to be comfortably hung off each end. Two further sub frames are added to the engine plates to provide support for the seat and steering unit creating a small and narrow machine that one could never feel sat in. So compact is the design that the lower cylinder only just clears the front tyre while the uppermost pot is level with the steering head.
The three processes usually handled as one by more conventional front ends are treated independently by the Tesi Millennium and this is the sheer beauty of the design as nothing alters or hinders its ability to hold the road. The steering action is unaffected by heavy forks and the impact any suspension movement has upon it creating a feeling through the bars that is both fast and consistent.
At first this feels like a bike with the forks too stiff as the front end refuses to dip when the anchors are applied but pretty soon you start to realise the suspension is not adversely affected and the bumps and texture of the road surface is still being transmitted up through the bars; nothing gets in the way of the front end’s various duties.
The two red tie rods either side of the front wheel are the torque arms for the brake callipers while the single rod on the offside handles the steering via the bell crank just below the steering head. Opposite to the steering mechanism is the complex looking, rising rate front shock set up, actuated by air and fully adjustable.
The handling is faultless with only low speed U turns presenting any problem whatsoever due to the limited angle that the wheel can move within the front swing arm, once on the move nothing that may be presented to the Tesi is a struggle, this gets better the faster you go and doesn’t appear to have any limits. If anything it’s just too good.
USER FRIENDLY HANDLING
Once tipped on its ear the chassis doesn’t flinch. You accelerate, shut off or brake hard, anything… and the composure is unaltered as the front end doesn’t dive in the accepted manner. Instead it just sits there soaking up bumps and ironing out the tarmac ahead for you.
At the rear end is a more conventional rising rate affair but, because the front is not ducking and diving with every movement of the bike, it is set up completely different to the norm and performs with a rock steadiness not usually experienced this far away from a race track.
Completely un-streamlined, were it not for the stylish cockpit fairing, the mechanics of the job are open for all to see. On the dash a large diameter tacho unnecessarily reads out the engine revolutions while a tiny speedo display attempts to hang on to your license for you. A series of lights also informs you when to change gear via a potentiometer mounted on the fascia that alters the point at which the gear shift light will illuminate, as low as tick over or as high as the redline should you wish.
The noises that emanate from the Tesi are, for the rider any way, as unusual as the bikes distinctive looks, the large under slung “Buellesque” silencer exits from the traditionally more quieter end and the air box is so far forward of the rider no intake sounds are perceptible. All this is soon forgotten, as the ride experience is intense and no rock sound track is required for this performance.
In an age when most sports bikes could easily be mistaken and very much look alike, the Tesi stands apart from the crowd. Call it the La Vyrus, the 984 C38 V or the Tesi Millennium, what ever you wish because at the end of the day the bike with three names probably doesn’t need one at all. If in the very near future the masses are not riding similarly equipped bikes to the Tesi then I feel we will have missed the whole point of evolution.
Pricey? Well of course innovation doesn’t generally come cheap but for around 24 very big ones you will get groundbreaking handling and previously unknown head turning ability.
Get Bimota motorcycle insurance for the Tesi Millennium 2004.
|Engine||Ducati 992cc 90-degree mm air cooled|
|Power||87bhp @ 8000rpm|
|Torque||62ftlb @ 5000rpm|
|Bore x Stroke||94mm x 71.5mm|
|Fuel system||Bimota Euro 1 EFI|
|Frame||Bimota Omega Chassis with double swing arms|
|Front suspension||Progressive with double system suspension fully adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Direct double system suspension fully adjustable|
|Front tire size||120 70zr 17 Pirelli Diablo|
|Rear tire size||180 55zr 17 Pirelli Diablo|
|Front brake||Brembo 320mm double floating disk four piston caliper|
|Rear brake||Brembo 210mm single disk twin piston caliper|
|Steering||From 88 to 104|