• Bimota KB4 Is a Carbon-Clothed Retro Beauty

Kawasaki-engined sports bike is the 1970s brought right up to date

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The second Kawasaki-engined Bimota is a retro-styled beauty of a bike. 140bhp engine from the Ninja 1000SX in a bespoke chassis, clothed in carbon bodywork with full suite of Kawasaki electronics.

Bimota KB4 is Everything You Want from a Sports Bike

Bimota KB4 Is a Carbon-Clothed Retro Beauty
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2022 Bimota KB4
Latest in a long line of production engines in bespoke chassis

When Kawasaki bought a 49.9% stake in the fabled Bimota concern, it heralded a new era of stability for the company, which has had more ups and downs that an elevator.

The first fruits of the partnership was the H2-engined Tesi, with radical hub-centre steering. It cost a small fortune and was clearly not for mere mortals but now Bimota has unveiled the 140bhp, four-cylinder Ninja 1000SX-engined KB4 (Bimota models have always been named after the engine that lurks under the bodywork - SB for Suzuki, DB for Ducati and so on).

Bimota KB4 Is a Carbon-Clothed Retro Beauty
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Kawasaki Engine
140bhp engine from Ninja 1000SX fitted, along with all-Kawasaki electronics. engine forms part of the chassis

It’s not a complete surprise as the model has been hinted at and test mules spied for a couple of years but now it’s official. No-one expected it to be such a retro beauty!

The retro theme is only on the surface, however. Beneath the stunning lines lurks a full suite of up-to-the-minute Kawasaki lean-sensitive electronics, including cornering ABS and traction control, cruise control, power modes, ABS, an up and down quick shifter. The dash and switchgear is also lifted directly from the 1000SX.

Bimota KB4 Is a Carbon-Clothed Retro Beauty
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Rear-Mounted Radiator
Scoops below the headlight feed air to the radiator under the seat

But it is the looks of the bike that will sell the bike. Bimota say that their Kawasaki-engined models from the 1970s/1980s were the inspiration and it is, in a word, stunning. It is functional as well, as the scoops that start under the headlight and run to the rear, feed air to the rear-mounted radiator. The frame is a steel trellis, bolted to the engine, which acts as a stressed member. The swing arm is machined from a billet of aluminium and the whole bike is suspended by manually adjustable Öhlins forks and single shock at the rear. Braking is handled by Brembo, of course!

Bimota KB4 Is a Carbon-Clothed Retro Beauty
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Retro Theme
Beautiful bodywork inspired by Kawasaki-engined Bimotas from the 1970s

A dry weight of 189kg is claimed which, with fluids, should make is a bit lighter than the 238kg of the Ninja 1000SX donor bike.

Sometimes, however, specifications melt into insignificance when a bike looks this good. Retro is all the rage right now but somehow this Bimota KB4 manages to look both modern and retro at the same time.

Bimota KB4 Is a Carbon-Clothed Retro Beauty
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Bimota KB4 RC
Same bike, just shorn of bodywork

Also announced at the same time was the KB4 RC, essentially a naked version of the KB4. While it is less successful visually, it will no doubt become as desirable as the faired version.

Bimota KB4 Is a Carbon-Clothed Retro Beauty
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Naked RC less pretty than faired bike, will no doubt still sell well.
Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
Motorcycling Contributor
Born and raised in England, he has lived in South Africa with his family since 2002. Harry has owned examples of Triumph, Norton, BSA, MV Agusta, Honda, BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Kawasaki and Moto Morini motorcycles. He regrets selling all of them.  Read full bio
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