Innovations 2013: Prototype with compressor: Bimota DB11 VLX

Prototype with compressor: Bimota DB11 VLX

The Bimota DB 11 VLX will be launched at the end of 2013

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From the outside it is hard to tell that a prototype with very special technology is on the road: the Bimota DB11 VLX will be the first series motorcycle with supercharging – with plenty of power, of course.

In front of us is a prototype of Bimota’s latest and undoubtedly most powerful model. The charged one D.B11 VLX aims to be no less than the fastest accelerating production motorcycle when it hits the market towards the end of the year. A massive 142.7 Nm torque at just 7400 rpm – and all of this with the 1198 series engine from the Ducati Diavel, which only delivers 118 Nm at 8000 rpm. How does this work? By installing a compressor and thus increasing the output by a whopping 35 hp. 197 hp are now at 10,200 rpm – that’s even a little more than the 1199 Panigale R can do.

Prototype with compressor: Bimota DB11 VLX

The Bimota DB 11 VLX will be launched at the end of 2013

Provide Bimota, and we would have had to continue using the well-known 1198 engine for the next two years, ”says Bimota chief engineer Andrea Acquaviva. Not really a problem, but Bimota has always wanted to offer its customers the best and most powerful technology. “So we decided to use a compressor. A turbocharger was out of the question because of the problems with installation, the great amount of heat generated and the response behavior, ”says Acquaviva. The advantage of the Sprintex compressor is obvious: the compressed air is cooler and therefore more dense, thus enabling the cylinders to be filled better. The DB11 VLX also doesn’t need a charge air cooler and works with the original cooler from the 1198 engine.

Conscious choices

Now you could actually have taken the unit from the 1198 S and flange-mounted the compressor there, but the engineers made a conscious decision in favor of the Diavel’s tamed engine. A larger centrifugal mass, lower compression and, above all, different timing are better suited for the use of the compressor: the power is easier to control, the response behavior at low speeds is better and the consumption is lower.

Press the start button. The charged engine runs quite loud and rough when idling and in city traffic. The typical howling of the supercharger in the lower speed range swells at higher speeds to an ever-present screeching – a warning to everything and everyone that the beast from Rimini is approaching. Very, very fast and very, very loud. It is unbelievable how spontaneously the compressor converts every tiny twist of the throttle into irrepressible propulsion. The almost 200 HP and the enormous torque are hard to keep in check, because of the easy-to-control power! In the first four gears, the forehead wheel stays only on the ground with difficulty. However, after a little getting used to, the DB11 VLX can be controlled surprisingly well. The chassis has no trouble with the 35 additional horsepower, the fine Brembo stoppers are beyond any doubt anyway. A bit of caution is still required, especially when powering out of tight corners the assembled Michelin left a lot to be desired because it was slow to build up temperature and grip.


The basic price will be 35,000 euros plus additional costs.

In contrast to the grip of the tires, the compressor builds up its boost pressure at lightning speed. This is done as follows: A small belt pulley sits on the stump of the crankshaft and drives the compressor via an intermediate shaft with a large belt pulley. Due to the larger diameter of the disk on the intermediate shaft, the speed of the compressor is four times as high as that of the engine – at 10,000 crankshaft revolutions the compressor rotates 40,000 times and then presses the air into the combustion chambers with a boost pressure of 1.4 bar. The pressure depends on the speed, because the faster the compressor rotates, the more air it presses into the combustion chambers, the more torque is applied – the better the bike accelerates. An Athena engine control unit ensures that the optimum boost pressure is applied in as many situations as possible and varies it depending on the engine speed, throttle valve position and gear engaged.

At the end of the day, the huge torque curve that the Sprintex loader delivers from the very bottom is what remains in the memory. In practice, Newton meters count more than horsepower, only the torque makes tangible acceleration. Whether it will actually be the fastest accelerating production motorcycle remains to be seen until sales start. Out of consideration for the prototype, we didn’t demand everything from the machine.

And of course there is a catch, two in fact. On the one hand, the compressor adds weight – the DB11 VLX has ten kilos more on its ribs. On the other hand, there is the price: Bimota will charge around 35,000 euros for the first production bike with a compressor when it is available from dealers by the end of the year. Incidentally, the frame of the Bimota is just as standard as the base engine from Ducati. If necessary, the compressor can be removed again without major modifications and the engine can be restored to series production. But why should you do such a foolish thing??

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