Just 402 examples of the SB3 were ever built – and only nine of them were in white with red speed blocks. One of those nine was originally sold new to Malcolm Forbes (the publisher of Forbes magazine), and that’s the bike we’ve got up for sale over on Iconic.
The model debuted in 1979, and it was the fastest production bike of its time (149 miles per hour at the Nardo ring). It was initially only sold as a kit – Bimota sent you the bike sans an engine and it was on you to supply the drivetrain. They did this through 1981, selling 336 units. In 1982 and 1983, Bimota sold the bikes ready to go, and there were 66 sold in this configuration.
This example is VIN: BIM0039082, Frame #: 00390, Engine #: GS1000152618. The odometer shows 16,850 miles. The March 1983 issue of American Motorcyclist magazine also makes a note of this bike: “The first of the exotic machines to be sold in the United States was Bimota SB3, equipped with a Suzuki 1000cc engine, and the proud owner is none other than publisher/motorcyclist Malcolm Forbes. Not a bad addition to Malcolm’s already-impressive collection of two wheelers.”
Per the owner, Samsonite made Forbes a custom suitcase with foam inserts molded to the bike which sold separately at auction for $8,000. “It enabled any ground crew to safely load this Bimota into his famous “Capitalist Tool” signature Forbes Green 727 private jet or his 162-foot Highlander yacht. This was the bike he rode all over the world and it was refreshed for him and the Bimota factory while he was in Italy. According to factory reps, years ago the then-owners of Bimota invited Forbes to select any of their newest models as they did not service or restore customer bikes – but he insisted and they relented so he could continue to enjoy his prized personal favorite ride.”
Find this SB3 for sale in Santa Monica, California with bidding up to $4,100 here on Iconic Motorbike Auctions.
Disclosure: Bike-urious is a partner in Iconic Motorbike Auctions.