Massimo Tamburini is considered to be the greatest motorcycle designer ever, and it would be something of an utterly extraordinary achievement for anyone to even reach close to what he achieved in his lifetime. We have discussed about Massimo Tamburini and his Story in detail just a few days ago.
Ranking all of Tamburini’s designs would be a tough order, but here we’ve compiled 10 of his masterpieces regardless of that the fact that some of them have been smashing successes, while others could be considered utter failures. But they were all significant in one way or another. Chances are we would have missed on some important ones of Tamburini designs and we would like you all to let us know what we have missed and what you have liked. till then, here are the ones we find to be Massimo's 10 best.
10. Bimota HB1 -
the Bimota HB1 is historically important as it’s the first Bimota. After crashing his Honda CB750, Tamburini realized that the marvellous engines in Japanese motorcycles of the time were enveloped by terrible frames that flexed and twisted. While waiting for three of his ribs to heal after the CB750 crash, he had the idea to transition the Bimota name from making air conditioning ducts to one that would produce high performance frames for existing motorcycle engines.
Tamburini’s crashed CB750 would be the first test mule. After constructing a new frame to house the Honda engine, he went on to essentially build a racebike around it. Thus the HB1 (Honda-Bimota-1) was born. Only 10 examples were ever made, making their value extraordinary.
9. Bimota SB2 -
The trend of less-than-attractive Bimota's continued with the Bimota SB2, but it hardly matters because when it was released in 1977 it was one of the most advanced superbikes of its time. Some may call the bodywork ugly, but it was aerodynamic. Underneath it all was a chromoly tubular chassis, engineered to make removal of the Suzuki GS750 engine easier. The SB2 featured adjustable steering geometry, magnesium wheels, Brembo brakes, and was one of the first sportbikes with a single shock – all of which were highly advanced for the time. No surprise then that the SB2 handled very well, and combined with the potent Suzuki engine, it was a highly capable performer in all aspects.
8. Ducati Paso 750 -
The Paso 750 was the result of Massimo's joining at Ducati after Cagiva have bought it. Named after racer Renzo Pasolini who lost his life in the 1973 Italian GP, the Paso was significant for a number of reasons. First, the Paso incorporated a new design that enclosed all of the motorcycle’s mechanical bits, including the 750cc Twin, underneath the bodywork. It also used a chromoly steel square-tube frame instead of the trellis design Ducati is known for today. The Paso was a departure for motorcycle design of the time, and some might even say it influenced the design Honda copied for its Hurricane line. Unfortunately, this bold new design only saw marginal success on the sales floor.
7. Ducati 851/888 -
The 851/888 cemented Tamburini's arrival at Ducati. Like the Paso before it, Tamburini was more involved with the styling of the 851 rather than the design of the whole motorcycle. With that said, the 851 perfected the fully enclosed motif of the Paso, making it look less bulbous while still leaving the bystander – and competition – wondering what lies beneath that bodywork. The 851/888 also deserves special recognition, as Marco Lucchinelli took it to victory in the newly developed World Superbike series’ first weekend.
6. Cagiva C589 -
Cagiva tried its hand at 500cc grand prix racing. In the 1989 season, the C589, piloted by Randy Mamola and styled by Tamburini, featured such items as a horizontal shock and banana-style swingarm. However, the results were often lackluster, as the Cagiva lacked top-end speed. In an effort to gain some back, Tamburini designed a more aerodynamic fairing. The effort helped, but despite the marginal gains, the C589 was plagued by incorrect weight distribution and poor power delivery. Cagiva carried on in grand prix racing until 1994, when American John Kocinski's relatively consistent finishes (and a win) netted a respectable third-place in the championship.
5. MV Agusta F3 675 -
The last design Tamburini had any influence on, the MV Agusta F3 675, is a landmark motorcycle of sorts for the Varese company. Marking its entry into the middleweight sportbike category, it was clear that cues from the F4 transitioned to its little brother, and yet the F3 has its own distinct personality. F3 seems a rather fitting sign-off for the legendary designer.
4. Bimota KB2 -
Continuing Bimota's theme of creating frames for Japanese engines, the KB series, of which there were three iterations, made a proper handler out of various Kawasaki engines. In the KB2, the Kawasaki GPz550 mill is surrounded by a steel trellis frame and the best suspension components out there, including a single shock. It may not sound like a big deal today, but considering the KB line started in the 70s, this technology was groundbreaking for its time. Then as in today, it’s still a good looking bike, too.
3. MV Agusta Brutale -
A naked bike, by definition, doesn’t consist of very many components, requiring only the bare minimum amount of panels. With this design parameter in place, how in the world did Tamburini design a motorcycle as sexy as the Brutale? The answer is by stylizing every single component from front to back. Sure, the main section looks like a stripped F4, but the angles of the headlight, combined with the curvature of the frame, the dual exhausts, even the single-sided swingarm, all make for beautiful pieces on their own. Put them together and the Brutale is one of the most visually pleasing motorcycles ever.
2. MV Agusta F4 -
Tamburini credits the MV Agusta F4 as his most satisfying motorcycle. Working with a blank sheet on which to revive MV Agusta from scratch, Tamburini became so ill during the early stages of the F4′s design he required hospitalization. As such, he worked frantically, constantly sketching in his notepad as he was worried he might not wake up on the other side of surgery. Of course, he came out the other side just fine, and with newfound vigor, the F4 became his obsession. When it came out in 1997, the F4 dropped jaws. The sharp lines, smooth curves, and distinctive quad exhaust pipes were simply stunning. So much so that even current MV Agusta F4s are just evolutions of Tamburini’s original and iconic design.
1. Ducati 916 -
Simply put, the 916, introduced for the 1994 model year, was unlike anything before it. Elegant and sexy, yet purposeful and aggressive, all at the same time. Underseat exhausts became popular because of this bike, mass centralization be damned. You couldn’t help but follow the exhaust pipe routing to see where it terminated, and in doing so your eyes would momentarily be diverted by the unobstructed rear wheel, made clearly visible thanks to the single-sided swingarm. The 916 showed that even elements like the twin headlights, which until now were either square or round pieces seemingly sourced from the local auto parts store, could be finely sculpted pieces.