The DB1 is now considered, by most sources, to be the most valuable Bimota produced in series production (not including one-offs, racing machines and HB1s.) It was the first model developed by the Giuseppe Morri-Federico Martini management team after Massimo Tamburini left Bimota (Pier Luigi Marconi and Roberto Ugolini did most of the work – the same duo that originated and developed the first Tesi.)
Bimota originally developed the DB1 for Ducati as an external engineering contract, at the request of Gianfranco Castiglioni, co-owner of Ducati. Hence, this became the first Bimota with a Ducati engine. Ducati paid Bimota 50% of the contract as a deposit, and Bimota designed the motorcycle though the prototype phase. Prior to continuing through commercialization, Mr. Morri reviewed the prototype with both the Castiglioni brothers. Claudio Castiglioni, Gianfranco’s brother, and Giuseppe Morri did not like each other, and because of this, Claudio cancelled the project!!! The project was dead and Ducati owned the design. Morri had a lot invested in the design, liked the design, and very much wanted to prove Claudio Castiglioni wrong! Morri contacted Gianfranco and offered to return Ducati’s deposit if Bimota could then own the rights to their design, and Gianfranco agreed. Bimota continued to develop and produce the DB1 and the rest is history, as the Bimota DB1 is one of most successful and beautiful Bimota’s ever produced.
As an interesting side note, when Claudio killed the DB1 as a Ducati, he still needed a new model, so he hurriedly hired Massimo Tamburini to design one for him. The result is the Ducati Paso. This is one of the few examples where a Tamburini design is less beautiful than its competitor – as most will agree that the Bimota DB1 is far more aesthetically pleasing than the Ducati Paso, and if current market values are any indication, a far more significant motorcycle as well.
Our particular DB1 has had a very interesting past. It was purchased directly from the USA importer – Cosmopolitan Motors – in 1986. In 1991 it was stolen! It was recovered in short time but the bodywork had been damaged when it was thrown into the back of a truck during the theft. The owner spent over TWO YEARS trying to buy a set of replacement bodywork – having troubles with multiple dealers, the new USA importer and the factory in Italy – but eventually succeeded. While waiting for the bodywork, he had my former partner, Eric Phillippe, install a Haltech fuel-injection system onto the bike – a similar system to the one that Eric was running on his racing Ducati F1 at the time. By the time the bodywork arrived, the owner had parked the DB1 and moved on to another bike, so the DB1 sat for 23 years! In 2016, the owner contacted my current partner, Johann Keyser (Moto Motivo) after seeing some of the work that we are doing on Bimotas and offered to sell him the bike. We bought it and Johann did a full service on the bike, changed it back to the original carburetors and installed the brand new bodywork that was still in its original bubble pack wrapping from the factory. The result is one of the nicest examples of an original, un-restored Bimota DB1 in existence.