Comparison test of a sporty two-cylinder

Comparison test of a sporty two-cylinder

Double hearts

Does the exclusive Bimota-DB 4 chassis make more of a Duc-Twin than that of the in-house 900 SS i.e.? Is the inexpensive Yamaha TRX 850 superior to both? Answer questions.

Plumplumplum, a rhythmic bubbling, accompanied by all kinds of buzzing, ticking and hissing overtones and undertones. Objectively speaking, the sound of an engine caused by explosions and metal and plastic surfaces swaying in time. Subjectively perceived a symphony, played by the two pistons of a two-cylinder, whose connecting rods oscillate on a crank pin and which fiddle a pair of right-angled cylinders up and down and sing the song of the mixed explosions from the silencers. Nobody knows why, but the sound of a 90-degree V-Twin just turns on.
The super-compact Bimota DB 4 with the firing order of its air-oil-cooled Ducati 900 SS-V-2 is placed in the aluminum truss frame with this emotional background noise. However, the elegant curves of the brand new, exclusive and not exactly cheap single-seater enclose the previous generation of the current engine.
This is true in the tubular mesh of the Ducati 900 SS i.e. Nuda offers rich tones. The Ducati, which is also not very inexpensive, has lost some of its elegance compared to its predecessor. The Nuda looks aggressive and rough, but also a bit pieced together.
On the other hand, the Yamaha TRX 850, which also carries a trellis tube, is completely different, whose somewhat pragmatic charm only becomes apparent on closer inspection. Actually, your parallel twin couldn’t sing along in the choir of the V brothers, had it not been for the clever designers to give it a crank pin offset of 270 degrees. This makes a complex mass balancing necessary, but lets the twin sound with a full V-2 voice from the proudly raised silencers. The heart laughs, the thunderstorm sound of the three candidates beguiles the senses.
Mechanically, the young drifts from Bimota and Ducati are similar except for a few small things. Changed valve timing and increased valve lifts freshen up the valve train of the 900 SS, a longer geared primary drive sets the gear wheels in faster rotation. Above all, a modern Marelli engine management system breathes life into it, while the slightly graying Bimota heart breathes its mixture of constant pressure carburetors. The almost twins behave correspondingly differently.
On the country road, the old engine accelerates the Bimota from low speeds without choking. He spontaneously hangs on the gas, does not pull brutally, but with high torque on the chain, as long as the gas cock is opened courageously. If the pilot is hesitant to tap the tap and the low outside and oil temperatures make working conditions difficult, the Bimota reacts with an angry jerk. No fun in the cold, wet stop-and-go traffic, especially since DB 4 demands some patience from its driver in the start and warm-up phase. However, it was absolutely not designed for city traffic. Nevertheless, it remains a mystery why Bimota does not install the modern injection engine at this high price.
The V2 of the Duc is not only much stronger, but also much more sophisticated. No jerking, no twitching, but a hearty bite and significantly more lard than in the previous one. Regardless of load, speed and operating temperature, the SS i.e. spontaneous and powerful, always purring smoothly and gurgling beguilingly from the airbox. A successful set-up, if it weren’t for the great thirst, probably caused by the idea of ​​having a rich mixture rather than risking engine damage with too lean. Tea fuel of the i.e. but becomes a nuisance especially in combination with the tiny 16-liter tank. DB 4 and especially TRX pour themselves a lot less.
In any case, the water-cooled five-valve engine of the Yamaha defends the honor of Japanese engineering through the best manners of the test trio. Without fuss, just like that. Jerking? A little, but always within the framework. Swallow? Never at all Granted, the SS i.e. is not much worse, but the TRX behaves even more cultivated, pour unspectacularly full power and fat torque in every situation, and also saves a lot of inspection costs. It’s just a shame that the twin, which is lubricated with dry sumps, transmits its power via a gearbox that not only has an incomprehensibly long gear ratio, but, in contrast to the Duc gear trains, only signals successful gear changes with a loud crack after an emphatic foot command. Sure, the gearbox with the shafts arranged one above the other does it, but it is far from the functional elegance of the Italo switch boxes.
One can argue about the different seats of the candidates. The often cited ergonomic triangle, formed from the three sides of the handlebar-seat, seat-footrest and footrest-handlebar, provides objective information. The Ducatist stretches for a long time over the tank, which is nicely narrow in the knee area, to the moderately deep stub – not a moped for little drivers. The footrests, on the other hand, put the feet in front of you further than expected, which is why the angle between the thigh and the upper body bent forward is quite sharp. AT compromised between sporty and comfortable that takes some getting used to, which does not necessarily facilitate active physical activity. The Yamaha consistently puts the touring character at the top, not without spicing it up with a pinch of sport. Short tank, clamped up handlebars, quite deep footrests. Most of them will find happiness even with the rather spongy seat cushion.
Sports purists, on the other hand, prefer the Bimota. So small, so extreme, and unexpectedly comfortable when driving. Thanks to the super short tank, the upper body remains fairly upright despite the deeply placed stubs. However, the footrest and pedal position pays tribute to the tiny size of the DB 4. Tall drivers sometimes have difficulty accommodating their feet.
After all, the notches of the DB 4 are enthroned so high that problems with the ground clearance should hardly arise even with slick tires. The Ducati also has a lot of leeway for inclined drifting, maybe touching down with the side stand at the bottom. The more moderate TRX limits the angles earlier, but offers enough for swinging on the country road, especially since the standard-mounted Michelin Macadam 90 are not exactly among the grip miracles. On the other hand, thanks to their modest dimensions, in addition to neutral cornering behavior and good handling, they cause only little erecting moment, be it when braking in an inclined position or when crossing a bump at an angle. Unfortunately, the TRX brakes a bit dull and not as effective.
In addition to the tires, the comfort-oriented suspension elements of the Yamaha set limits to all too brisk activity. Not that the TRX would just slouch around, but it simply conveys the least feeling for its tires and sometimes gets stuck when the two Europeans iron over it unimpressed. A discipline well mastered by the Showa-tamed chassis of the Ducati, great by the Paioli-Ohlins mix of the Bimota. The boot countries also offer the greater voting reservations, with the bimota again leading the way. In general, driving the Bimota! Once the pilot has got used to the peculiarities of handling – the DB 4 steers a little sluggishly, probably because of its heavy wheels (see box), despite its ultra-handy geometry and wants to be steered with a lot of gymnastics – so the DB 4 celebrates with gentle Curves and almost outrageous aesthetics are the radii in the forest of curves. It lies unswervingly in inclined positions at all angles, direct precisely to the desired line, as if made to swing away the stress of everyday life on lonely streets. This time the Brembo brakes, the latest generation of the Bimo with brake disc adapters made of aluminum and thicker steel discs, played along well.
The Ducati Brembos do it a bit better, interestingly with the traditional discs, the same hydraulic transmission and exactly the same pads. In general, the Ducati deserves good grades in driving behavior: the 900 SS i.e. is more light-footed than the Bimota and also extremely curvy and stable. the way through the meandering. She is a little less fed up and sometimes twitches the handlebars, but her chassis does not have any real weaknesses. for whom? The Bimota clearly for the wealthy connoisseur, for whom emotions are more important than facts. The Yamaha for all those who are looking for Japanese perfection with a strong character. And the Duc for hot spurs who, despite all their enthusiasm, do not want to forego functionality.

Bimota DB 4 – 3rd place

Small, extreme, extravagant. Tea exclusive Bimota DB 4 is too uncompromising to land further ahead. But that is precisely what makes it so attractive. The beautiful Italian circles the radii with incomparable elegance and is recommended for well-heeled bikers as a pleasure for their favorite evening lap or simply to look at in the wintry garage. The current injection engine of the SS i.e. would not look bad on her, however.

Ducati 900 SS i.e. Nuda – 1st place

The Ducati 900 SS i.e. wins this test as a robust driving machine with a pleasantly independent character. Opinions differ on the styling, but functionally there is little to be dubbed! The Desmo-V2 is cultivated and strong with engine management, the brakes deserve praise, the ground clearance is huge. For the rather high price, the elongated 900 SS should come along a bit more noble.

Yamaha TRX 850 – 2nd place

It doesn’t stand out in anything, it hardly has any weaknesses. The Yamaha TRX 850, cut with Japanese perfection, was developed for a wide range of buyers. As a result, many bikers can find their happiness with it, especially since they can acquire the two-cylinder character for little money. This leaves you with monetary leeway to build a dream TRX. It’s just a shame that it will disappear from the shop windows next year.


Short wheelbase, short caster, large steering head angle. Actually, the Bimota DB 4 should fall quickly into the corners. Alone, it doesn’t do it, is not unwieldy, but more sluggish than the similarly built Duc. How come? Not only the geometry, but also, for example, the height of the center of gravity and its distance to the steering axis (with driver), the tire widths and outlines or the inertia of the rotating masses have an influence on the handling of a motorcycle. the wheels must have a great influence. In fact, the Bimota’s Pirelli MTR 01 / MTR 02 are known for slower handling than the Ducati Michelin TX 15 N / TX 25. In addition, the Bimota wheels weigh almost 1.5 kilograms more, so that the higher mass moment of inertia with increasing wheel speed makes it more difficult to deflect in an inclined position.

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