Nembo Super 32 Turns Engine On Its Head

Nembo_Super32_1The so-called ‘backwards’ engine, with the intake at the front and exhaust exiting the rear, has been around for some time and has even been adopted by Yamaha for their latest iteration of the YZ450F motocross machine, among many other bikes which are mostly out of production.

The design is fairly sound, but it has not been accepted well by the buying public (the YZ450F is an obvious exception). What has not been encountered nearly as often in the world of motorcycles is a truly upside-down engine arrangement – with the head pointing downwards at the tarmac and the crankcase directly under the fuel tank. Manufacturer Nembo Motociclette and its owner, project manager and chief designer Daniele ‘Titus’ Sabatini, have now made this reality with the Super 32 Rovescio. Warning: this is not a concept motorcycle…if you can afford it, you can own one yourself.

The Super 32 project was intended to be a high-performance big-bore motorcycle with an extremely light weight and built with the best quality components available. But Sabatini also wanted it to be something rather new, but which still held to a purposely classic style. Sabatini is not a fan of covering a machine with plastic either; he likes a visible engine. That’s how he arrived at a design which looks sort of wrong, and yet so very right.Nembo_Super32_2

The engine is the very center of the Super 32; it acts as a single point which everything else is built around. That centralization of mass is not new, but mounting the air-cooled three-cylinder, single overhead-cam, two valves per cylinder engine upside-down in a motorcycle certainly qualifies as unique and a bit odd.

The displacement can range in size from 1850 to 2100cc – depending on configuration – which translates into anywhere from 160 up to 250 HP. That power is managed using a hybrid chassis consisting of a steel-trellis frame, with the engine cases as a stressed member, though not the cylinders, connected to a carbon fiber swingarm. The final product may range in weight from 140 to 155 kg (309 – 342 lbs) due to the wide selection of component choices, the materials they are made of, and the engine size selected.

At this time only two prototypes are in the process of being assembled, and they will be tested for the first time in February 2011. These will be 1814cc models, but the first small series of customer models produced will see that increase Nembo_Super32_5to 1925cc. Sabatini will build you his/your Nembo Motociclette Super 32 Rovescio upon request, and he will construct it for you in his small shop in his hometown of Rome.

Some money will need to change hands, obviously, but the Super 32 would be a stand-out no matter where you go. No price has been announced as of this writing.

It is still early in the development of the Super 32, but some conclusions can be made. The first thought must go to the designer, Sabatini, for this great transfer of technology and the bravery necessary to launch it into the critical and low-profit-margin world of motorcycling today. Next, just the thrill of what the Super 32 may do for motorcycle design will keep it in the books and magazines for some time. If it works well, Sabatini may have created something significant in designing and building the Super 32 Rovescio. Hopefully we will all get a chance to judge for ourselves.

Written by J.C. Current, Courtesy of