Text by the crew at Race Werks Motorsports.
Rewind 5 years back and you might recall the Bimota Tesi 3D landing in our shores. In 2009, it was the one and only Bimota Tesi 3D in Singapore, today, it is still the only one registered in Singapore. Brought in by Norman of Race Werks Motorsports, the Bimota Tesi 3D with the hub-center steering is one of the most exotic motorcycles in the world. Very few production bikes today use the hub-center steering. It has not caught on with the other manufacturers hence the Bimota Tesi 3D remains an exotic machine that will essentially blow your mind once you see it. To-date, the Bimota Tesi 3D remains relatively unchanged equipped with an air and oil cooled Ducati 1100 DS engine with a displacement of 1079cc, but shedding undertails for a side exhaust.
Now fast forward to 2014 and a new exotica emerges to add color to the motorcycling scene in Singapore thanks once again to the team in Race Werks. The Vyrus 985 C3 4V has arrived, 1 out of 25 in the world. The road to getting this work of art homologated for Singapore was no easy task. Before any work started, the first challenge was that Vyrus was not even a manufacturer/brand recognized by the Land Transport Authority. It took well over a year with close coordination with the Vehicle Engineering team in LTA before the bike was green-lighted. One look at the machine and you would wonder how this bike would ever be approved for Singapore roads – but it did – and we thank the folks at LTA to allow this beautifully crafted piece of engineering to ply our roads and make the local motorcycling scene a little more interesting. In fact, Singapore is the first country to have a Vyrus 985 in Asia. We hope the LTA would continue to adopt an approach that will encourage more interesting motorcycles to come to Singapore.
Vyrus is a tiny Italian motorcycle manufacturer headed up by Ascanio Rodorigo, a man who worked with the famed Massimo Tamburini at Bimota in the early ’80s. Vyrus is so exclusive, they make Bimota look like a big bike manufacturer. If you do some research online, you will notice that the predecessor of the Bimota Tesi 3D, the 2D looks just like the Vyrus 984, a model earlier than the Vyrus 985. While the 2D was announced, presented and promoted as a Bimota, Rodorigo and his Vyrus brand were credited with the design, which was being licensed to Bimota.
If you are seeing a Vyrus motorcycle for the first time, you may find yourself looking at it for at least a few seconds more. Maybe it’s because you might not have seen such a machine in your life yet. You might even get confused to identify immediately which is the front and the rear of the motorcycle. The Vyrus 985 is about as radical as it gets when it comes to modern motorcycles. The Vyrus is a spectacular industrial beauty that wears its mechanical bits on the outside for all to see.
Vyrus has decreed: beautiful double Omega frames machined from solid blocks of aluminium to solidify the machine’s rigidity and reliability. The braking of the machine with Brembo monoblocks is absolutely fabulous. The Vyrus 985 is extremely light with its weight at 157kg dry. This puts it essentially in the same weight category of the Ducati 1199 Panigale R Superlegerra. Helping Vyrus achieve that ludicrous figure is the Vyrus’ copious usage of carbon fibre and Alutex. A large part of this weight savings is the front portion of the machine entirely built from carbon fibre, which like the Ducati 1199 Panigale, builds directly off the engine cylinder heads, and serves double-duty as the motorcycle’s airbox. Power comes from a Testastretta liquid-cooled engine taken from a Ducati 999R that is further reworked and retuned to churn out a respectable 155hp.
How does it ride? The design allows the bike to be very stable, undisturbed by dive or squat, and generally very impressive to ride once you got used to the characteristics. The riding position is very similar to that of Bimota Tesi 3D we tested years ago. Initially, you will find the seating position relatively awkward. Further, as the bike was built around each owner of the bike, anyone else riding it may find the bike’s seating position uncomfortable. The seat’s only got a thin racing padding and along with high foot pegs I am pushed forward into a race bike position. The 985 is as minimal as designs go whilst at the same time rich in state of the art technology. One of the gripes with hub-centre steering is the lack of feel at the handlebars. Somehow though, Vyrus has been able to build their system to provide good feedback and feel from the front end, which is high praise for a hub centre design. The only issue was the limited steering angle due to the narrow width of the front swingarm.
Acceleration is massive and brutal as the 999R Testastretta engine pours out torque and horsepower like a bat out of hell. The braking forces from the massively powerful Brembo monoblocks gripping from the bottom of the floating discs are separated from the suspension action. Hence you can just stay on those brakes whilst the front swingarm and Italian made racing Mupo shocks handles the bumps independently. On the 985 you can concentrate more on your braking without the physics of a diving fork to consider. Everything is fully adjustable – suspension, steering angle, trail, foot pegs. The Vyrus 985 breathes out of a set of custom Zard underseat exhaust silencers with a little one-piece carbon fiber creation on top. This is believed to be the only production bike with an OEM street-legal Zard exhaust system in Singapore. The sound is pure orgasm.
Purchasing a Vyrus is unlike any other automobile buying experience you would encounter. When you own the Vyrus, you will be gaining a new family with the CEO of the company personally attending to you. You will have the CEO’s mobile number and email address and even friends with him on Facebook. In fact, when the Vyrus 985 was first registered in Singapore, the Asciano Rodorigo personally prepared a welcome video and emailed it to the new owner congratulating him on the successful homologation of the bike. The moment you place your order, you will be flown to Rimini, Italy to meet the builder who would be personally build your machine – a process that takes roughly 3-9 months. Options are limitless and every machine is built to order, in consultation with the owner. Rodorigo will personally guide the buyer through the available options, Vyrus will even custom map the engine to suit your riding style (and skill level). Every single element of the bike is customizable, so no two bikes are the same and every machine is tailored to suit the owner. How is that for VIP service? How often does one meet the CEO and engineer building the car or bike they purchased. According to the owner of the first Vyrus here, that experience is priceless.
While the price of the bike has not been announced, it is rumored to come close to the Ducati Panigale R Superlegerra, a sum past the 100 grand mark. It’s a lot of money for a bike, but when you consider the experience in purchasing, the exclusivity of owning the bike, when you witness the quality involved – you will understand why some people are willing to spend on such an exotic piece of engineering marvel. Many serious bike riders in Singapore own more than one bike, usually even three to five bikes. So if you consider that this bike could be the one bike to replace all your bikes, you’ll suddenly realize, one of the most exotic bikes in the world, your dream bike, is in fact within reach – unlike a rare super car in Singapore which is probably something most people can dream of forever but never come close to owning.
Rodorigo is proud to say every single metal component – nuts, bolts, assemblies, axles – are CNC milled from solid. The company is proud of its Italian heritage and coordinates with over hundreds of Italian suppliers as part of building the bike. Everything about the bike is a work of art and it looks like it is a prop from a futuristic science fiction movie. The design is not for everyone though. Some people might even think it’s ugly, unsure which way the bike rolls and looking like an insect from certain angles – but anyone with an eye for detail, that truly appreciates mechanical works of art, will be utterly mesmerized by the Vyrus.