Comparison test Bimota DB 4, Ducati 900 Supersport, Laverda 750 S Formula

Bimota DB 4 test comparison, Ducati 900 Supersport, Laverda 750 S Formula

tingle in the belly

Excitingly different, elaborately made, unusual technical solutions. Italian motorcycles. Bimota, Ducati and Laverda show what the world can look like on two wheels.

The Bimota’s Ducati V2 thunders out of its silencers, takes a deep breath in what is currently the most open airbox in the world, plays a whole symphony of combustion noises. Does the TÜV have it? Si, of course the TÜV has. Passed the noise test in Itala, the country where sound level meters are somehow calibrated differently. What sounds good cannot simply be forbidden. The laws from Brussels? Well, northern Europeans just can’t really enjoy themselves. They don’t have nice weather, no mare, no amore. And no bimota. A bimota has to sound molto. Basta!
And it has to look good. The DB 4 undoubtedly does with its graceful, slim shape, the narrow bench, the clearly designed half paneling and the many little things that catch your eye. Fork bridges, handlebar stubs and footrest holders, an artfully fanned aluminum frame and an elaborately manufactured tubular tubular arm made from solid. Attention to detail that seems almost forgotten nowadays. Bimota DB 4 ?? the return of the Riminese to old values.
Tea Laverda 750 S Formula also reflects on old values. At least as far as its name is concerned, because Formula is a synonym for the sporty top model in the ancestral gallery. The design of the current 750 series is not. Somehow reminiscent of a mixture of Kawasaki ZXR 400 and Yamaha FZR 600. Pretty boring and bland. But when it comes to sound, the Laverda is also one of the outstanding Italian sound wonders. Sounds like oversized, ultra-powerful Suzuki GS 500 E, and really nasty when it competes. Must have been the same sound level meter as the Bimota.
The Ducati trumpets gently like no other from its thick pots. Sounds hoarse rather than exciting. But Ducati also belongs to Americans. And the design? A 900 supersport with rubber? Break in style! What is this black bead on the tank, the two black panels on the side and the headlight mounted in a thick rubber lip? Not for purists, who maintain their old super sports and wait for the next generation.
Which is a shame, because the engine qualities of the current 900 Supersport are inspiring. The Desmo pulls through from 2000 / min to over 9000 / min. Completely without a performance gap. The injection works perfectly, no jerking, no slapping, open the throttle, and the power is there. If Honda built a 900 two-valve Desmo, it would work just like that. Perfect. And measured 86 PS are a word, accelerate the Ducati in a good 16 seconds to 200 km / h and ensure a top speed of 225 km / h. No old supersport can keep up, not even a tuned one.
But the new Bimota DB 4. It has the same engine, but with its own injection, airbox and exhaust system. Makes three HP more at the top and three HP less in the middle. And a lot more fun. The engine goes brutally on the gas, constantly wants to play its horses, irritates and tickles the right palm. You have to hunt him down. In addition, the 90-degree V-Twin in the Bimota vibrates much less than in the Ducati. With her it becomes almost annoying from 7000 rpm.
The Laverda two-cylinder runs even smoother. However, only from 3000 rpm, below that there is a heavy rattle in the drive train, does the whole machine bounce. But then it goes off, the power curve rises up to a wild 95 hp to turn into the limiter at 9400 rpm. Well, compared to the two 900s, the 750 is a bit weak at the bottom, missing up to eight hp. No water cooling and no four-valve head help. But from 7000 rpm the Laverda is ahead. And therefore accelerates one second faster to 200 km / h. A figure for technicians: the highest specific torque is 109 Nm / liter, a peak value for a naturally aspirated engine.
Tea shifting travel of the Laverda is also sensational: the path from one gear to the next has never been so long. Okay, joking aside, but the Formula driver has to concentrate on shifting so as not to let go of the gear lever too early. The first is translated very briefly, so be careful: Full throttle with the engine’s extremely low flywheel mass leads to a front wheel spinning violently upwards. In addition, it is reported that the clutch squeaks more and more violently during the test. Blemishes, hopefully.
Clutch and gearbox work perfectly with Bimota and Ducati. Short, precise shift travel, closely spaced six gears, easy-to-dose clutches, that fits. What doesn’t fit at all: the Bimota’s steering damper. It works so strongly that you eel around corners. So get away with it. The DB 4 doesn’t hit the handlebars anyway. Neither at top speed nor on bumps. A fine thing, on the other hand, is the hand-laminated tank seat paneling, which offers perfect contact with the machine. The sitting position on the comfortably padded bench is very gathered. Footrests fit small and large people, handlebar stubs have to be turned outwards a little. Only the mirrors, which cannot be adjusted, are too small, too close to the cladding. You don’t see anything.
With a full tank, the Bimota weighs just 185 kilograms, the lightest four-stroke road sports car ever. Accordingly, it can be driven playfully at low speeds. It swings with pleasure through tight combinations of curves, fantastic, this handling, this accuracy. A delight to accelerate out of curves, the sheer joy of tackling a tricky combination.
At high speeds, however, the gyroscopic forces of the heavy wheels and generously sized Pirelli tires dominate. Then the DB 4 becomes astonishingly stiff in the steering. Nevertheless, at top speed it appears slightly unstable around the steering axis, whether with or without a steering damper. A consequence of the geometry, which is extremely manageable, with a 67 degree steering angle and only 91 millimeters of caster. The Laverda is even superior to it over the entire speed range. Above 140 km / h, it looks even more manageable and, with its ultra-rigid chassis, ensures an extremely full driving experience. The Formula has a 120/60 at the front, and not a 180 at the back like the Bimota, but a 160/60 Pirelli. Less is clearly more in this case. The Laverda cuts through all kinds of curves like a hot knife through butter.
What is extremely annoying with her: The footrests are mounted too close to the silencers, which gives braised boot soles. And the 750 S driver sits a little too far forward on the thinly padded seat, too close to the handlebars. The complete opposite: the Ducati 900 Supersport. It stretches the driver over a long tank, which is made longer by this superfluous rubber bead. The Ducati cannot offer such beautiful direct contact with the front wheel as with the other two. Not even their playful driving behavior. The SS seems rather tenacious, gives in more slowly, as if paddling down a long river of curves on a tree trunk and is always driven a little out of the current. Despite this stable design, the swing arm of the Ducati seems to be more unstable than that of the Laverda and Bimota at full power. Load changes in an inclined position are clearly noticeable.
When it comes to the extraordinary driving experience of a DB 4 or 750 S Formula, the Ducati cannot keep up. And what about everyday things like consumption? Sensationally low with the Bimota: 3.7 liters / 100 km at a constant 100 km / h, only 4.5 liters on country roads. Ducati and Laverda need one or even one and a half liters more. Range: Bimota clearly ahead. One tank of fuel is enough on the country road for 400 kilometers. Fortunately, because the plastic screw cap sunk into a sharp-edged opening is difficult to open and almost never without trapped fingers. It’s easier with the Laverda’s fuel filler cap under the tailgate, and the easiest way to do it is with the conventional Ducati Stritfass.
The wind protection of the Laverda is better and the Bimota with its wide cut half panel is even better. Adjustment options on the chassis? Exemplary on the Bimota, even the rear height is adjustable. The basic set-up of the Ducati, Laverda with a difficult-to-adjust spring base at the back is very hard. The forks from Bimota and Laverda are difficult to adjust in terms of compression damping. There is only one click that is true. Otherwise they have too little or too much cushioning.
And the brakes? Allegedly all the same Brembos with a 320 mm disc at the forehead and 245 mm rear. Nevertheless, the Ducati only brakes the rear with forceful kicks on the lever. The translation or the coefficient of friction of the linings is wrong. And the 900 Supersport looks strangely blunt at the front too. The Bimota is effective and also controllable here. So, somehow, it’s getting really, really tight for the Ducati. At least as far as this comparison test is concerned.
D.he reality looks different again. Laverda has to be completely renovated, what happens to the brand is written in the stars. Bimota is not currently producing anything. It’s a shame, because the DB 4 is by far the best Bimota in recent years. So Ducati after all? At least they can be bought. And at a better rate than the others. The Americans are not without it, have put production, costs and dealer network on a solid footing. They know their way around marketing. Know how to manage. Can deliver when a model is required. Now all you have to do is take care of one thing again: that tingling sensation in your stomach. Bimota shows how it’s done.

1st place – Bimota DB 4th

It’s great how this Bimota drives! Great engine with brilliant power delivery, sharp chassis, impressive workmanship. Tea best bimota of the last few years and the lightest four-stroke street athlete in the world. The Riminese are finally finding their way back to their roots. In addition, the DB 4 is extremely economical and the price of 25,000 marks for the loving craftsmanship is quite appropriate. A worthy winner. Hopefully Bimota will find new owners.

2nd place – Ducati 900 Supersport

The dictates of large-scale production made the Ducati lose a little of its fascination. Although it looks routine and drives without major mistakes, its concept is clearly showing its age. The Supersport offers solid motorcycle construction, but few highlights. Braking, handling and seating position leave something to be desired that others can fulfillment. The 90-degree V-Twin with its unique desmodromic valve control, on the other hand, still impresses with a wide range of performance.

3rd place – Laverda 750 S Formula

The exotic exotic has a few quirks in the workmanship and design: sometimes cheap-looking attachments and a design that is more reminiscent of the Far East than Italy. In addition, the seating position was not perfect. But the Laverda has a great chassis with excellent handling and the best stability. In addition, there is the strong, robust and unique engine, a solid basis for further development. It’s just a shame that the extremely compact design excludes taller drivers.

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