Interview with the Legendary Engineer, Pierluigi Marconi. What sets Bimota apart?

Publish Date2022.02.25

Italy’s motorcycle brand Bimota, led by the legendary engineer and COO Pierluigi Marconi, has teamed up with Kawasaki to start its new chapter. As the engineer who created numerous models including “TESI” in the 1990s, what does he envision for motorcycles in the 21st century?

Pierluigi Marconi back in the factory (center of photo). Bimota motorcycles are expertly crafted at the boutique manufacturer’s factory in Rimini.

Q1. What is the meaning behind ‘TESI,’ the first model you created for Bimota?

Pierluigi Marconi

In Italian, TESI means “dissertation,” or the essay that students write to attain their degrees. Some others may translate it as “graduation thesis” or “academic dissertation.”
Roberto Ugolini and I presented a new motorcycle concept as we were graduating from the University of Bologna, which is why we named the first prototype “TESI.”

Designer Pierluigi Marconi’s hub-center steering Bimota TEST 1D presented in 1990. The innovative motorcycle was a sensation within the motorcycle industry.

Q2. What is the importance of Italian craftsmanship to Bimota?

Pierluigi Marconi

Italian craftmanship is appreciated worldwide because of the historical skills of Italian artisans, dating back several thousands of years. Bimota has always been a company centered around craftmanship, because since our origins, we have built the special components needed to create high-performing motorcycles with our own hands. Even when we started to build complete motorcycles, we carried forth the same craftsmanship and accuracy.

The advantage to continue manufacturing this way is that all Bimota motorcycles are made and examined by people, and so their quality can be improved down to the details. Bimota motorcycles are like water drops – they all look the same but each are unique.

Bimota motorcycles are handmade motorcycles that are individually assembled and painted by Italian craftsmen at Rimini. Bimota motorcycles are likened to “jewels” on the road.

Q3. What is the difference between Kawasaki engines and that of other manufacturers?

Pierluigi Marconi

This is a tricky question. The most important difference is that we can start development based on Kawasaki engines which are equipped with optimal electronic devices and advanced technology. All features are truly the best you can find in the motorcycle market, allowing optimal performance on the road.

Q4. You announced the KB4 RC model at EICMA (International Motorcycle and Accessories Exhibition) in 2021. Do you have any plans to release a new version of the TESI H2?

Pierluigi Marconi

As you saw in our concept drawings at EICMA 2021, we are considering many different possibilities. But it is a little too early to discuss specifics. We hope you first enjoy riding the TESI H2 and KB4.

Bimota unveiled KB4 RC at EICMA 2021. KB4 RC is a café racer inspired model nearly identical to the KB4.

Q5. What kind of motorcycles does Bimota intend to make in the future?

Pierluigi Marconi

Bimota would like to enter various motorcycle markets, while always maintaining optimal performance. When we say “performance,” we do not mean that the motorcycle always has to have maximum output. It could mean braking performance, handling, weight, or innovative features like the TESI chassis or simply a race replica chassis.

Q6. Hub-center steering has a number of clear advantages. When and how did you come up with this idea?

Pierluigi Marconi

Since I was young, I never understood why the frame connecting the front and rear wheels has to be almost a meter long! Why couldn’t we make the connection as short as possible? Could we separate the steering and suspension functions? This is how the concept for TESI was born.

The TESI H2 boasts hub-center steering and is powered by the Kawasaki Ninja H2 supercharged engine.

Q7. What do you think makes an “ideal motorcycle?”

Pierluigi Marconi

No matter how the motorcycle performs, the design must be based on technical requirements.

8. Lastly, do you have a message for Bimota fans? 

Pierluigi Marconi

Of course, yes! We are working very hard to make all Bimota fans happy through our new models. With the latest two models, we believe we have surprised them, and our aim is to keep surprising them moving forward. The Bimota revolution continues!!

Chief Operating Officer of Bimota S.p.A.
Pierluigi Marconi
PROFILE

Born in Rimini, Italy. Joined Bimota in 1983. After serving as Technical Director of Bimota, Mr. Marconi was appointed as Project Leader of Aprilia Research Department in 1998, Technical Director of Benelli S.p.A. in 2001, and Vice General Manager of Benelli Q.J. in 2005. He served in several other positions until 2019, when Mr. Marconi was appointed Chief Operating Officer of Bimota S.p.A..

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