2022 Bimota KB4 and KB4RC First Look

John Burns
by John Burns

Just as Valerio Bianchi, Giuseppe Morri, and Massimo Tamburini started doing in Rimini in 1973, Bimota is still cranking out exotic motorcycles to make us swoon, clutch our pearls, and check our 401k balances. If it starts with “K,” then this one must contain an inline Kawasaki engine, and that the KB4 does. This 77 x 56mm, 1043 cc Four is lifted from the current Ninja 1000 SX, which churned out 124 rear-wheel ponies and 75 lb-ft of torque when we had the pleasure of testing one last year. These two, really, since, there’s a standard KB4 and a “Vintage-Inspired” KB4-RC (RaceCafe’).

In the day, the engine was the only thing Bimota sourced from the donor, but things may have changed now that all the world’s OEMs have caught up to what was once exclusive Bimoto frame-making alchemy. The KB4 and KB4RC, they say, are now “based off of an actual Kawasaki platform.” The spec chart does say the frame is “Front frame trellis made by Hi-resistance steel with Aluminum alloy plates billet machined,” though, and yes there are some proprietary steel tubes reaching forward to the steering head. Who knows how much Rimini trickery goes on beneath all that plastic?

Bimota and Kawasaki diverge most when it comes to weight: 517 lbs for our Ninja 1000 SX wet, and a claimed 412 for the KB4, dry. And in things like wheelbase: 56.7 inches for the Ninja and 54.7 for the Bimota. Also in terms of detailing: Kawasaki has come a looong way, but mass production has a hard time keeping up with hand craftsmanship.

The fairing must make this one the KB4 Race Cafe. The big side ducts must be there to aerate the underseat radiator.

Whatever the case may be, nobody would be saddened to find a KB4 or RC under the Christmas tree.

Bimota Press Release:

As announced, the Bimota Kb4, first shown as a concept bike at the last Eicma in Milan, is now on the production line. Together with it Bimota announce the addition of a new model based on the Kb4 project, the “Vintage-Inspired” Kb4-RC (RaceCafe’).

“No other manufacturer has a motorcycle like Kb4 and Kb4RC,” said Pierluigi Marconi, Bimota General Manager. “No one has this much fun and function in one package. The Kb4 & Kb4RC are an attention grabber that will act like a halo for Bimota by attracting further consumer attention to our impressive vehicle lineup.”

Marconi noted that Kb4 is the second major product announcement from Bimota in the past 20 months – both breakthrough vehicles that combine Bimota’s heritage with modern day function and flair. Kb4RC is now completing the Bimota model range for 2022.

Earlier in November 2019 Bimota announced TesiH2 to create a kind of vehicle that’s never been seen before. TesiH2 is part sport-exclusive and part hyper-sport motorcycle, and can be identified to be the latest evolution of innovative Motorcycle chassis design that began in 1982. TesiH2 is actually on display in Bimota’s shop-in-shop since September 2020.

The production Bimota Kb4 & Kb4RC “Vintage Inspired” will be unique by combining the classic design, of the iconic Bimota motorcycles of the 70’s with the function and utility of a modern bike. In the spirit of Bimota, Kb4 & Kb4RC will be contemporary thoroughbreds – 142hp in-line 4-powered, best handling street machine with an innovative high pressure cooling system. The one-piece radiator is neatly stowed, diagonally between the seat and the rear wheel.

“Kb4 & Kb4RC, they both look sleek and fast — just like the process that created it,” said Enrico Borghesan, designer of Bimota. “It went from first sketch to full-size model in few months using computer-aided design — and without missing any of the passion that has made so many Bimota products fun to ride and show off. You ride some bikes because you have to, but you ride these Bimotas because you want to.”

The strong fairing forms are part of Bimota’s rich heritage, but are executed in a very contemporary way. Other Kb4 exterior design features include the full-width windscreen and prominent Bimota logo that currently appear on other Bimotas. The Kb4RC allow the Bimota enthusiasts to enjoy the wind stream on their faces as well as during the glorious past of the CafèRacers bikes. Five-spoke forged alloy sport wheels and performance tires (Pirelli SportEvo) promote the Vintage Inspired Kb4 & Kb4RC look.

“Kb4 & Kb4RC will appeal to enthusiasts of all ages because the design draws you in, and the performance keeps you there,” Borghesan said. “The Bimota Vintage Inspired has the soul for spirited, functional motorcycles. Kb4 & Kb4 RC bring the best of both worlds to the extreme, two spirited Italian Icons with a functional engine and electronic package.”

The more practical side of the Bimota Kb4 & Kb4RC includes a comfortable real leather seat. All the electonic controls are optimized for every condition which the Kb4 & Kb4RC will operate.

“We have been overwhelmed by the positive public and dealer response to the Kb4 concept,” Marconi said. “The collective response from motorcycle’s enthusiasts across the world was beyond our wildest expectations. Bimota will fan the flames of that excitement because our production Kb4 & Kb4RC won’t be watered down; they will look strikingly similar to the concept Kb4 that played to rave reviews.”

The production version of Bimota Kb4 & Kb4RC, to be based off of an actual Kawasaki platform, will conceal behind a Dashboard mounted on a Carbon fiber structure, all controls for riding datas, as well as Kawasaki’s electonics devices.

“Bikers from 6 to 80 will turn their heads when Kb4 & Kb4RC come down their street,” Marconi said, “just as they did with the ’78 Kb1, the ’81 Kb2 and the ’83 Kb3. The kb4 &Kb4RC recall the fun part of Bimota’s proud history. Oozing Bimota heritage, the Kb4 & Kb4RC are destined to become the next heart-pounding Bimota Vintage Inspired.

2022 Bimota KB4 Specifications

Frame TypeFront frame trellis made by Hi-resistance steel with Aluminum alloy plates billet machined
Engine Type / Valve System4 stroke, 4 cyl, DOHC, W/C, 4 valve
Displacement1043 cc
Bore X Stroke77.0 mm × 56.0 mm
Compression Ratio11.8 : 1
Horsepower142 hp at 10,000 rpm (claimed)
Torque81.9 lb-ft. at 8,000 rpm (claimed)
Fuel System38 mm throttle bodies(4), Euro 5
Transmission6 speed
Gear Ratio1° 3.188(51/16); 2° 2.526(48/19); 3° 2.045(45/22); 4° 1.727(38/22); 5° 1.524(32/21); 6° 1.348(31/23)
Primary Reduction Ratio1.627 (83/51)
Final Reduction Ratio2.444(41/15)
ClutchWet, multi-disc
Lubrication SystemForced Lubrication (wet sump)
Front SuspensionÖhlins front fork FG R&T 43 NIX30
Wheel Travel5.1 inches
Rear SuspensionAluminum alloy Swingarm billet with Öhlins ttX 36
Rear Wheel Travel4.8 inches
Front Tire Size120 / 70Z R17
Front Wheel SizeForged J17M/C×MT3.50
Rear Tire Size190/50ZR17
Rear Wheel SizeForged J17M/C×MT6.00
Front DualDisc 320 mm
Rear SingleDisc 220 mm
Rake Angle / Trail24.0°/4.0 inches
Wheelbase54.7 inches
Length79.6 inches
Width30.1 inches
Height45.9 inches
Ground Clearance5.5 inches
Seat Height31.9 inches (+/- 0.3 inches)
Fuel Capacity5.0 gallons
Dry Weight412 pounds (claimed)

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John Burns
John Burns

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2 of 10 comments
  • Larry W Larry W on Nov 25, 2021

    There's got to be a better way to feed air to the under-seat radiator. These would look Bimota good without the giant ducts, which makes the faired version look like an amphibious motorcycle/boat hybrid from the side (at least in pictures).

  • Asg21 Asg21 on Nov 28, 2021

    I'm so old that I can remember when Bimota manufactured bikes that were actually an improvement over what was available from the big factories.