insidebikes spoke recently with Graham Manchester, from AMV Motorcycles in Sussex. AMV are putting the final touches to their import operation, which will bring the Bimota brand back into the UK, with a 12-strong dealer network offering service and warranty work, whilst new bike sales will be via AMV and factory tours.
insidebikes; How can an expensive machine like the the Italian Bimota sell during the worst motorcycle recession in 15 years?
Graham; I don’t think we aim to sell 10,000 units, but we know there is a market here. All bikers know Bimota as a low volume, high price brand, but I don’t see that as a problem, in fact I think that the motorcycle market is changing and fewer new models, with longer life spans for the bikes, plus higher RRP prices are inevitable.
insidebikes; Everyone has seen the Japanese brands getting pricier and machines like the new BMW S1000RR taking market share from them, do you think this trend helps Bimota, and possibly other brands like the Vyrus for example?
Graham; Yeah definitely. I think the Japanese makers have a fantastic product, but they are now facing up to selling them at the same price as `luxury’ European brands, basically because their production, distribution and marketing costs are same. If you look at the big four, you see Yamaha are maybe quite vulnerable at the moment and I can foresee a time when flagship sports or touring bikes from Japanese companies will cost maybe £20K to £25K. The BMW is a great case of a brand taking its time to develop a bike properly; test it, race it and make it really stand out. Hats off to them, but someone else will be along in a few years time to raise the sportbike game, it’s the way of things.
insidebikes; That brand could be Italian maybe?
Graham; Who knows? The latest statistics show that 43% of the UK new bike market now is European. The great thing about the Italian industry is that engineering and design really matters, performance too. Passion is a bit of a cliche, but the Italians have a lifelong enthusiasm for making fantastic motorbikes.
insidebikes; How will a UK buyer get to test ride a Bimota, and which models will be coming over?
Graham; At present we reckon the DB6/7/8 models, plus the Tesi will be with us late May. The DB5 we’re not sure about, we also hope to showcase the Moto 2 GP Bimota bike this summer, but we’re obviously liaising with the factory over the exact UK bike line-up. The Tesi is the one everyone wants to ride, I guess it is just so different. A customer will have two ways to test ride; one we can transport a machine of their choice to one of our service and warranty centres around the UK, or we can arrange a trip to Rimini, flights and accommodation, plus a test ride – if the customer places a deposit on that trip, we will refund the expenses. We think this will appeal to Bimota fans.