Bi­mota is back, along with Buell

Old Bike Australasia - - URBAN MOTO IMPORTS -

Two names that have a chequered his­tory in Aus­tralia are back on the mar­ket, thanks to Mel­bourne-based Ur­ban Moto Im­ports. Edi­tor of our sis­ter magazine Free Wheel­ing, Rennie Scays­brook, spoke to Ur­ban’s CEO Joseph Elas­mar (right) and penned these words. For any­one who has ac­tu­ally seen a mod­ern Bi­mota in the flesh, they know what Joseph Elas­mar is so en­thu­si­as­tic about his com­pany’s line up. There’s in­cred­i­ble at­ten­tion to de­tail in a Bi­mota; touches like bil­let brake levers and an­odised bits and pieces ev­ery­where. Al­most any Bi­mota can be con­sid­ered a rolling work of art, from the ob­scure Tesi 3D to the de­lec­ta­ble DB11 and the soonto-be-re­leased BMW S 1000 RR-pow­ered BB3, which is cur­rently wreck­ing the EVO cat­e­gory of the Su­per­bike World Cham­pi­onship (and is my per­sonal favourite). But it’s not just Bi­mota that Ur­ban Moto Im­ports count as one of their odd­ball brands. Run­ning out of their flag­ship store of FX Pow­er­sports in Brunswick, Vic­to­ria, and the dis­trib­u­tor­ship based in Coburg, Elas­mar has built his busi­ness on a model of in­di­vid­u­al­ity, sign­ing brands no one else would touch or have the balls to. En­ter Erik Buell Rac­ing, or EBR for short. Erik Buell is a man who, like the late New Zealan­der John Brit­ten, has made a ca­reer from think­ing out­side the square. How­ever when own­ers Har­ley David­son pulled the pin on Mr Buell’s fund­ing fol­low­ing the GFC of 2009, many thought that would be the last we saw of the brand. Six months af­ter Buell’s doors were shut, Erik formed a new com­pany, Erik Buell Rac­ing. That led to a meet­ing with In­dia’s Hero Mo­tor Corp, now the largest sin­gle mo­tor­cy­cle man­u­fac­turer in the world (Honda and Yamaha don’t count be­cause they make cars, pi­anos etc, Hero just make bikes). Hero se­cured a 49% share in EBR, and that fresh in­jec­tion of In­dian money has given Erik the cash to de­velop a mouth­wa­ter­ing ar­ray of mod­els, from the 1190 RX Su­per­bike cur­rently rac­ing in the Su­per­bike World Cham­pi­onship, to the ul­tra-col­lectable 1190 RS Car­bon Edi­tion and the soon-to-be re­leased 1190 AX street­fighter.

Fur­ther on in the list of mar­ques in the UBI sta­ble is Benelli, that glo­ri­ous Ital­ian brand and the long­est-run­ning Ital­ian mo­tor­cy­cle man­u­fac­turer around. Benelli started in 1911, and not count­ing pro­duc­tion dis­rup­tions (of which there have been quite a few), Benelli is the com­pany who have been mak­ing Ital­ian mo­tor­cy­cles longer than any­one else. Its re­nais­sance kicked off at the turn of the cen­tury, when the com­pany started re­leas­ing a range of three-cylin­der naked­bikes and su­per­bikes like the Tor­nado Tre 900 and the TNT Café Racer 1130, in part de­vel­oped by for­mer Aus­tralian Su­per­bike Cham­pion, Peter God­dard. Fast for­ward to 2009 and the com­pany was bought by Chi­nese mo­tor­ing gi­ant Qian­jiang from then owner Andrea Meloni, how­ever although the money comes from China, the bikes con­tinue to be con­structed at the plant in Pe­saro, Italy, where it all be­gan back in 1911. Com­plet­ing the UBI line up are two rel­a­tively un­known Amer­i­can brands, Con­fed­er­ate and Viper, with price tags to match their ex­clu­siv­ity. Now, to start sav­ing for my new Bi­mota BB3...

TOP Ur­ban Moto Im­ports CEO Joseph Elas­mar is young and en­er­getic – just the man to head up a com­pany break­ing new ground with some amaz­ing mod­els. LEFT The Benelli TreK 1130 Ama­zonas isn’t as well known in the ad­ven­ture-tour­ing stakes as some of its...

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