Test: Jeff Ware Photography: Heather Ware
One bike high on my bucket list to test has always been the Pierobon X60R, a super lightweight, compact, GP-style racer with a grunty Ducati Evo motor thrown in.
THE EVO RACING PIEROBON X60R
The kit used is a 2017 X60R frame number 077. It cost around the USD $20k mark and included the 13.8 pound 7020 alloy frame, swingarm, which is hand made from 21-pieces and weighs just 7.9 pounds, the stunning handmade brushed alloy tank, featherweight front and rear alloy sub-frames, stunning carbon-fibre and fiberglass bodywork, stylish racing seat, adjustable billet CNC alloy triple-clamps, adjustable rearsets, everything except the engine, suspension, electrics, wheels and exhaust, which are left to the owner to choose.
The frame kit can be either made for a Supersport, Hypermotard or Sportclassic donor engine/airbox, this one was built using the Hypermotard as a donor engine.
The engine was up-spec’d to produce 115RWHP (standard is 98hp). The cylinder-heads were ported, flowed and 47mm (IN) / 41mm (EX) valves fitted. Camshafts were replaced with Kaema items, pistons with high-comp Pistal slugs, conrods with Pankl Ti units and the crankshaft, which spins in stock cases, was lightened and balanced.
Comp is bumped to 12.5:1, the gearbox is Hypermotard sans top gear set, which is from a 999, and the clutch is an EVR CTS slipper unit with sintered plates and Brembo control. Fuelling is by stock throttle-bodies and PCV, ignition standard and exhaust the ultra-trick Pierobon Termignoni.
The owner, Nick, who happens to be an Andreani trained suspension expert, went with the Ohlins steering damper, Woodcraft ‘bars, Ohlins FGRT20 3 43mm forks running 9.0kg springs, an Ohlins DU235 shock with 19 pound spring and the 7020 box-section swingarm with progressive cantilever.
Each end rolls on trick Magnesium Marchesini wheels wearing Pirelli slicks and braking is partly adopted from the Panigale, with Brembo M50 radial-mount calipers up front squeezing MetalGear rotors via Brembo Z04 pads and a Brembo RCS radial-pull master-cylinder. The rear rotor is by Braking, with a small Brembo caliper and master-cylinder. Fluid is delivered by Hel brake lines.
The bodywork is Pierobon X60R fibreglass kit with carbon-fibre tail, along with the seat unit and the tank as mentioned is the stunning brushed alloy handmade kit one. I have to admit, it is one stunning racebike.
THE RIDE - EVO RACING PIEROBON X60R
We took the bike to our old proving ground, The Farm, as mentioned, as it has a perfect mix of fast and tight, flowing and sharp corners and a long enough chute for the 1100 to stretch its legs…
The racer in me comes back immediately and I start to feel butterflies in my stomach as the loud Termi booms crack after crack of high comp piston and big cammy large valve combustion explosions. It sounds as mega as it looks and feels a tad intimidating initially.
I pull in the firm Brembo controlled dry clutch, pop it up to first with a thud and roll out onto the tarmac, short-shifting my way into my out lap…
I reckon that the torque is monster and flatter than the Bonneville Salt Flats. Definitely no need for traction control, it’s built into the engine delivery…
Nick has warned me that the brakes are, in his words, ‘retina detaching’ and I take heed of his warning, as the first time I use them, as I brake hard into a left hairpin, I almost go straight over the clip-ons, landing on the edge of the tank and that was one finger. Jesus it has big anchors…
Just as I start getting a little cocky, I almost lose it again as I brake into a left-hand downhill off-camber blind entry. The bike is deceivingly quick thanks to the flat power and those brakes got me again, this time with the rear of the bike about a foot in the air.
The Pierobon was telling me to calm down and give it some respect and a bit of space. I was already trying to grab it by the ‘bars and lead it around my way but this is not the right way to ride this bike. I soon settle into a rhythm, slow down to speed up and before I know it I’m in the zone and truly appreciating this motorcycle.
The engine is so sweet and throttle pickup is spot on once we remove the noise-limiting bung from the muffler. Whether cracked from low or high rpm on run-in, it picks up and doesn’t unsettle the bike at all. Also, the monster torque is delivered in such a way that is forgiving on the balance of the bike and on me, the rider, as I’m not even getting tired.
Shift is hit and miss, while the ignition kill of the quickshifter too broad, making for clunky progress on the way up the gearbox. On the way down, I’m becoming addicted to the sound of the bike blipping down the ‘box and I’m grinning each lap I enter the esses. It sounds awesome. Engine braking, for my liking, is a little overly engaged and I experience some speed hindering rear wheel hop into turns, no doubt due to my extra weight on the front of the bike and the way I am seated.
I love rear brakes and I’d usually be doing my best to burn these pads up on the Pierobon, however, with the engine braking I’ve hardly touched the rear lever.
Handling is sublime, a large step above most current production bikes, with lightweight agility, high-end Ohlins, magnesium wheels and lots of sticky Pirelli on the tarmac it is a match made in heaven when all tied together with the sweet Pierobon frame and swingarm.
I’m not privy to Evo Racing’s geometry setup on the bike but it’s purposeful and racey. Initial turn-in is fast, accurate and effortless on or off the brakes, fall-in is predictable and neutral enough given the layout of the bike and once on its side, line holding is superb.
When pushing at full lean through the esses, the front did want to push, or be driven wide, by the rear but it is predictable and there is plenty of confident feedback through the ‘bars and shape of the tank. The rear of the bike hooks up amazingly and is controlled and also inspires confidence, with loads of grip from the fat rear Pirelli slick.
As I pulled up after my test I was grinning and felt honoured to have had the opportunity to ride a Pierobon, particularly the X60R. For a bike chassis that is close to 20-years young now, it sure does perform well. The big factories haven’t caught up yet…
EVO RACING PIEROBON X60R SPECIFICATIONS
ENGINE: Ducati Hypermotard 1100 Evo (2010 – 2013), 98 x 71.5mm bore x stroke, 1078cc, 12.5:1 compression ratio, Pistal high-comp pistons, Pankl Titanium conrods, lightened and balanced crankshaft, Kaemna camshafts, 47mm (IN) and 41mm (EX) valves, Kaemna ported and flowed cylinder-heads, standard crankcases, 1198 oil cooler with additional Earls 13-row upper cooler with oil supplied to heads via cam covers, standard ignition, Power Commander V tuned by Serco on 98 PULP, 996 bellmouths, MWR filter, custom Termignoni exhaust system, stock Hypermotard gearbox with lower top gear, race pattern with reverse quickshifter, 15/39 gearing as tested, EVR CTS slipper clutch with sintered plates, Brembo RCS slave / master-cylinder.
CHASSIS: 2017 Pierobon X60R frame, Pierobon triple-clamps, billet alloy headstock and swingarm pivot points, box-section alloy Pierobon swingarm, Ohlins DU235 shock with progressive cantilever and 8.5kg spring, Ohlins FGRT203 43mm forks, 9.0kg springs, 150mm oil height, standard internals, Brembo M50 front calipers, MetalGear rotors, Brembo Z04 brake pads, Brembo RCS master-cylinder, Hel brake lines, Braking rear rotor, Brembo caliper and master-cylinder, Marchesini Magnesium wheels – 17 x 3.5in (f) and 17 x 5.5in (r), Pirelli SC2 slicks, Woodcraft 57mm handlebars
BODYWORK: Pierobon fairing kit in fibreglass, carbon-fibre tail, handmade aluminium fuel tank, Pierobon seat.
PERFORMANCE:115RWHP, 136kg dry.