The HB1 was Bimota’s first bike and is unarguably its most rare and valuable motorcycle. The Honda powered two-wheeler was the start to the company’s long history of wrapping proven engines in an advanced frame fitted with trick components while simultaneously resulting in some damn fine looking motorcycles. Despite the CB750-based HB1 being Bimota’s most iconic and coveted bike, the HB1 had a lesser-known little brother that was built around (or rather on) the CB350 and CB400. The smaller kit still includes much of the same sexy tank and bodywork and a slightly shorter list of then-top-shelf components.
The HB1 was forged out of rather interesting circumstances. Massimo Tamburini – the Rimini-born farm boy who became the design legend behind Ducati’s 916 and MV Agusta’s F4 and one third of Bimota, specifically the Ta – was riding his 1970’s CB750 when he wrecked, bad. The Michelangelo of motorcycles (as he was sometimes referred to) felt that the CB750’s engine was too powerful for its frame which resulted in his breaking some bones. While in the hospital recovering, Tamburini started to draw out what would become the HB1, a more advanced frame that could better handle the proven Japanese 750cc powerplant.
Because the CB350 and CB400 didn’t suffer from the same problem of having too much power for their frame to handle, the baby HB1 kit didn’t include a new frame and instead used the stock Honda unit, although an advanced swingarm was still part of the little HB1 kit. As you can imagine this made these kits dramatically cheaper to produce. As a result, the baby HB1 kits sell for much cheaper today, like when new, making this a particularly awesome opportunity for someone like myself who passionately loves the HB1 but lacks the nearly six-figures to throw at the ultra rare Italian scoot.
While more of these rare kits were married to CB400’s – from which there were several to choose from in the early to mid 1970’s – this example utilizes a CB350 as its base/donor bike. With 11,000 miles on the odo, this example isn’t exactly a show-quality bike, granted that could be changed with some hard work and a paycheck or two. The little HB1 also boasts a much more aggressive riding position than the stock ’72’ CB350. This a seldom seen opportunity to buy a piece of motorcycle history that’s as cool as it is rare.
Though the bike is being sold domestically, the seller does say this little HB1 example comes with “British ownership paperwork” as it was imported to the US from Yorkshire. The reason this matters is because unlike the 750 HB1, the baby HB1 is fully street legal with full lighting (head, tail, signals) and license plate holder. As a result this is an HB1 that could actually be realistically ridden and enjoyed on a daily basis, though I imagine this will unfortunately spend more time on display than the road. In addition to the photos of the HB1, the seller appears to also have a pretty solid collection of vintage two-wheelers that are visible in the background of some shots.
You can find this 1973 HB1 Bimota kit on a 1972 CB350 for sale with no reserve out of Reno, Nevada with the bidding up to $2,827.77