I could easily believe this, because rather surprisingly, the first thing you're aware of when riding the DB7 at anything other than all-out racing speeds is how clean, linear and progressive the Ducati engine's power delivery is in its DB7 application while accelerating hard to the point where the 9800 rpm shifter light on the dash blinks at you. This isn't to say that the 1098 in stock form is rough and unrefined, but it does suffer from that flat spot in the power curve between 5000 and 6000 rpm so many Ducatis display. The Bimota has no trace of that and, on the contrary, has a noticeably stronger hit of torque from 6000 to 8000 rpm. Coupled with a really responsive pickup from a closed throttle-strong, but not abrupt-this smoother but no less muscular delivery makes the DB7's engine even nicer to use than the Ducati it shares the powerplant with-even if that hit of midrange torque made second-gear power wheelies a fact of life exiting any of Magione's 90-degree turns while hard on the gas.
The weight transfer to the rear while accelerating didn't send the DB7 understeering off toward the kitty litter, another mark of how effective the chassis is. Only in the most aggressive situations would the handlebars briefly wobble in my hands, even without the steering damper. This is a very forgiving and responsive chassis design that once set up properly-as long as customers take the time to do it-holds its line well even under power.
Instead of routing the exhaust...
Instead of routing the exhaust up under the seat like the Ducati, the DB7's exhaust system runs into a collector chamber underneath the engine and then exits into a Zard carbon-fiber-wrapped titanium upswept muffler.
The reason I haven't mentioned the DB7's rear end yet is because it hooked up perfectly from the very beginning. Marrancone had done a good job in setting it up, even for my extra weight compared with a whippersnapper like himself. The multiadjustable Extreme Tech shock delivered pretty good compliance over Magione's many bumps, with what could be considered a fine ride quality for such a hard-edged superbike. It was also the first time I'd tried the new-generation Race Attack tires from Continental, and I have to admit I was impressed. They appeared to have the same fast warmup time and excellent side grip under power as Pirelli Diablo Supercorsas, but customers should take care to inflate them correctly; 30 psi front and 28 psi rear was what we ran with. Any higher and they seemed to lose sensitivity and feedback, and I'd imagine this would be the case on the street, too.
Bimota has pulled off a very difficult trick in creating the DB7 by delivering much more than just a dressed-up designer desmo. This is a true alternative V-twin superbike that not only looks a lot different from the donor bike but is also quite different to ride and, once set up properly, equally (if not more) effective. And that's just with the base-level Ducati motor: Acquaviva confirms that Bimota is already trying to persuade Ducati to furnish supplies of the more potent 1098R engine for a future power-up model. This would likely be fitted with Walbro's own version of traction control, versus the Marelli unit on the stock 1098R. And then of course there's a Tesi 4D on the horizon as well.
Bimota is indeed back where it deserves to be. And let's hope this time it stays there.
'08 Bimota DB7
Type: Liquid-cooled, 90-deg., 4-stroke L-twin
Bore x stroke: 104 x 64.7mm
Compression ratio: 12.5:1
Induction: Marelli EFI, single-valve oval throttle bodies equivalent to 60mm, 1 injector/cyl.
Front tire: 120/70ZR-17 Conti Race Attack
Rear tire: 190/55ZR-17 Conti Race Attack
Rake/trail: 25 deg./100mm (3.9 in.)
Wheelbase: 56.5 in. (1435mm)
Seat height: 31.5 in. (800mm)
Fuel capacity: 4.2 gal. (16L)
Claimed dry weight: 375 lb. (170kg)