Mondial, the former ten times world champions are back with a bang. The launch of the radical Piega 1,000cc V-twin confirms their serious intent to produce the very best road going motorcycle that money can buy.
A mere two years after the prototype was first seen, the production model is now ready for sale to the public and Chris Pearson reckons it is pretty near perfect from the word go.
Built around the already well-established Honda SP2 engine package, the engineers at Mondial have taken the design several stages further and the result is a package that far eclipses the Japanese product.
It is rare for Honda to supply engines to an outside manufacturer, and in this case it is
due mainly to the special relationship that the two names have had since the early sixties. The other reason for Honda’s involvement is the seriousness of the Mondial concern, they definitely mean business and have the resources, both financial and technical, to back up their vision of sports motorcycling heaven.
TAILORED TO FIT
Chassis wise, the materials are quite simple, with the main frame and even the swingarm fabricated in an immensely strong steel trellis design. The swingarm is completely shrouded in a carbon fibre outer shell, adding even more structural stability to this already efficient design.
Every single component of the Piega is hand crafted, either by Mondial or especially for them, creating a machine that simply oozes quality. Carbon fibre is used throughout for the bodywork, which for the standard model is adorned with the traditional Mondial silver and blue scheme with an all black/carbon model available at extra cost.
Riding the Piega is a delight with its race bike handling, superb engine management system and awesome Brembo Oro brakes. No corner has been cut in the design brief, it is almost like you have had a one-off, custom-built machine. Every parameter is individually adjustable, from footrest height, brake lever position, to more complex systems like the digital fuel mapping, giving the owner total control over what their machine goes and feels like. The engine management is easily controlled and adjusted by laptop, via a computer port situated just above the left footrest assembly.
The result of all this choice in machine set-up is this; while visually they may be similar, no two Piega’s will ever be mechanically exactly the same, each one being tailor made for and by its owner.
With 140bhp on tap and weighing 179kgs the Piega is very, very quick but also relatively easy to get on with, as the engine control systems unique to Mondial constantly vary the ignition and fuel injection to give optimum performance at all engine revs.
There are no holes or flat spots in this machine´s character; the Mondial software takes complete control of this in a manner that no other manufacturer has thus far managed to get close to. In effect, it feels like a sort of traction control with the bike accelerating strongly from any where in the rev range, the Piega literally punches its way
out of any corner and at any revs.
Allied to this, the throttle response is extremely linear in its operation, as indeed are the brakes with incredible control when hauling the V twin down from max velocity. Under heavy braking, slight rear wheel hop was experienced but due to the near perfect balance of the machine, ( 52% front 48% rear ) it never felt unnerving.
Back on the gas again and the raunchy exhaust noise from the Arrow system is further enhanced by the induction howl, with the long air intake mounted right at the front of the fairing, underneath the piggy back headlights. This in turn feeds the two 54mm injector bodies with a constant velocity air supply.
The Piega’s behaviour on the track is nothing short of superb and it is obvious to all that Mondial intend to go racing with the big twin as soon as is possible. All of the development work has been completed by racers, the technicians, the test riders and even the company boss, Roberto Ziletti are racers through and through. As soon as they feel they are going to be competitive then the world will once again see the name of Mondial on the rostrum.
The three day test was held at the brand new Adria complex situated just a few kilometres south of Venice. This demanding circuit, with its combination of double apex and blind corners, highlighted the hard work that Mondial have put into this machine. With top of the range Ohlins rear suspension, steering damper and titanium nitride, upside down front forks, the Piega never once got out of shape.
PERFECTION IS NEVER CHEAP
With so many things right about this machine no one feature stands out much above the rest, but if anything is particularly noticeable, it is the Piega’s ability to change direction from full lean one way to the other – it really does feel like a top notch 250, not at all like the Honda SP1 or SP2 bikes.
All of this sweet-handling speed is held firmly to the tarmac by a pair of Pirelli Supercorsas, 120/70 front and 180/55 rear, providing the grip to match the handling and power of the Piega. With a planned run of 250 machines a year for the single seat Piega and a list price of 30,000 euros, (about £18,700 at May 10th 2002 rates – Penny Pinching Ed) this will be a bike for the dedicated – and pretty well off – sportsbike rider. But there are plans for a naked two seat version to be introduced later this year. The “Nuda” will be built in greater numbers than the Piega with a correspondingly lower list price but will still reflect a sporty and aggressive look.
Production of the Piega is currently underway at Mondial’s Milan factory with a company showroom also being built a stone´s throw away from the Monza circuit.
Get Carole Nash motorbike insurance for your Mondial Piega V twin.
Engine 4 stroke V twin 8 valves liquid cooled
Bore and stroke 100mm x 63.3mm
Peak power 103kw@9800rpm
Fuel System Mondial Infection
Frame Tig welded steel tube trellis
Front suspension 46mm USD forks fully adjustable
Front Brake 2x 320mm floating discs Brembo 4 pot calipers
Rear susp Mondial spec Ohlins fully adj
Rear brake 220mm disc 2 piston caliper
Front wheel Mondial 5 spoke alloy 3.50 x 17
Rear wheel Mondial 5 spoke alloy 5.50 x 17 ( 5.75 x 17 optional)
Net weight 179kgs
Colours Blue/silver & carbon
Fuel capacity; N/A
Top Speed: 175mph (est)
Buying Info; www.mondialmoto.it
Price £18,700 (Est – May 2002)