During a test ata Rijeka thetesi needed to be r run in first before Giancarlo Fala appa could start cutting some hoth laps. I was deputed to acc complish this task, which also gav ve me the chance to get to know th hetesi slowly –- in more senses t that one. Once squee ezed aboard, the first impressions a re one of complete normality – as s on the Bakker QCS, the dummy fork yokes convey the sensation of a conventional motorcycle with tele-forks and clip-ons. I moved off carefully, the dry clutch from theyamaha race kit protesting as I tried without much success to slip it, legs dangling. Surprisingly thetesi behaves just like a normal bike at low speeds.the steering is a bit heavier than on a conventional motorcycle, almost as if you have the steering damper a notch or two too tight. Even at little more than walking pace, there’s lots of control and the response is acceptably fast – exactly the opposite of the originaltesi, which knife-edged in corners quite unpredictably at almost any speed, yet lacked predictable response when it mattered. As subsequent faster laps proved, the newtesi is not only stable at slow speeds, but it gives a remarkable degree of road feel at high ones. Not only could I feel the front Marzocchi compressing and rebounding more or less controllably as I entered and exited Rijeka’s several dips and dives, I could also feel the change in road surface transmitted by the
front tyre, as well as the front end chatter when I totally screwed up my line in the fast, blind right after the pits and had to crank her over extra hard to avoid running onto the grass. Then again later, trying to capitalise on the undoubted braking advantages of a hub-centre design by staying on the stoppers as I cranked into the third gear left-hander after the pits, I could feel the front tyre starting to complain as it objected to having cornering and braking forces fed too violently into it at the same time.this degree of sensibility in a chassis-less centre-hub bike with mechanical steering is something I hadn’t experienced before.theybtesi made a real breakthrough in terms of transmitting road information to the rider. It’s not perfect though, and there were two aspects of the Tesi’s behaviour I definitely didn’t care for. One is almost certainly resolvable with some suspension fine-tuning: the front Marzocchi felt too soft on rebound damping, , so that when you really chuck it into a turn, it pogoes slightly even n if you don’t hit a bump, just an undulation in the road surface such as a dip in the apex. My response would have been to stiffen the rebound, but Falappa felt the same thing and thought it actually derived from a problem at the rear, which was upsetting the front end. Maybe, but there was no mistaking the root cause of the other problem, which I would say is the fundamental aspect of thetesi’s design that I found unsatisfactory – other than reprogramming the rider with a new computer chip for his mental processes rather in the same way as you might alter the Weber/ Marelli Efi/ems on the Bimota’s engine, there’s not a lot that can be done to cure this without completely revamping the steering.
When you enter a fast turn, like the first part of the S-bend behind the Rijeka pits, thetesi can be laid into the corner like a normal bike, without any concern. But then, suddenly, when you’re about halfway round the turn, you get a moment of panic – it seems the bike is understeering dramatically – you’ve turned the bars a lot further than you’d have expected to be necessary, without the appropriate degree of response from the front wheel and the chassis. However, all is well – your response is actually lagging behind the bike’s actions – post ipso facto, no worries mate.t That’s all very well but even a fleeting sense of vagueness and lack of precision in the steering can be unsettling, and that’s what thetesi conveys.you ask yourself ‘is this bike really going where I want it to go?’the answer is yes – you’re just not sure it is. Since the only limits to how late and hard you can brake a bike like thetesi are your own personal margins of bravery, that’s a key factor in getting the most out of the hyper-effective braking potential of this motorcycle.