The impeccable design and unparalleled performance of the T12 Massimo…
When Massimo Tamburini, one of the most influential motorcycle designers in history, ended his tenure at MV Agusta, the iconic Italian builder where he had spent much of his career, one could be forgiven for seeing the move as the retirement of a legend. But Tamburini had other ideas. The man who designed some of history’s most beloved two-wheeled machines, including the Ducati 916 and the MV Agusta F4, had something special in mind. The break with MV Agusta at the end of 2008 provided the veteran Italian designer with the time, and freedom, to begin turning his wildest dream into reality: creating the most extreme, performance-focused, track-only sportbike ever built.
So Massimo set to work, often designing for 12 hours a day. Complying with his noncompete agree- ment with Agusta, he worked independently from any motorcycle brands, sculpting his dream project in his head, and then on a computer with the help of a small team eventually led by his son, Andrea. The result is the T12 Massimo, a true candidate for the most extreme bike on the planet.
“For my father, this wasn’t a job but simply his life,” explains Andrea. “He started forming the idea in his head for the bike that, according to him, should be ‘the best sportbike ever created.’ Once he was freed from the industrial and contractual ties, he could have a free flow of ideas, and put all the experience of his lifetime into his last project, the T12 Massimo.”
But while the project itself was within Massimo’s reach, time wasn’t on his side; the world-renowned designer succumbed to illness in 2014. But that wasn’t the end of Massimo’s dream, or the T12, as Andrea and the assembled team went to work completing the project, even without their leader and source of inspiration.
Their dedication to his vision is evident in the T12 Massimo. A frame of high-tensile steel tubing with cast magnesium plates provides the structure, while a BMW S1000RR SBK engine was chosen as the power plant, supplying in excess of 230 horsepower controlled by a six-speed, quick- shift racing gearbox. Forged magnesium wheels, wrapped in Pirelli Diablo SBK racing tires, are kept glued to the road by front and rear suspensions by Öhlins. Despite a dry weight of a mere 340 pounds, the T12 uses high-performance Brembo brakes for stopping power, providing epic deceleration on a racetrack.
The T12 Massimo is a master class in balance, finding the perfect equilibrium between performance and aesthetic design. Massimo Tamburini left an enduring legacy, and with the help of his family and friends, that legacy now includes one of the most extreme two-wheeled creations the world has ever seen.
“[Massimo] was able to see the entire project in detailed renderings and designs I submitted to him for final approval a few days before his passing,” his son Andrea recalls. “His satisfaction, and the enthusiasm he had when he saw the designs and renderings of the complete bike, with every detail taken care of, has given me, my family, and the entire team a huge sense of satisfaction. We knew we were able to follow his guidelines to build something at an unmatched level of quality.”
BY KEITH GORDON