If you think you’ve been to a big motorcycle show, you haven’t. EICMA, the annual collection of all things motorcycle on the outskirts of Milan, Italy, is so large and so comprehensive that you can spend days there and never see everything. You’ll find motorcycles (and scooters, which are especially popular in southern Europe) from every brand known to man. There are bikes, helmets, leathers and gloves from companies you’ve never heard of. There are race bikes and sometimes racers; Kevin Schwantz and Giacomo Agostini were there at the start of the week, Ben Spies at the end of the week. And one of Spies’ Yamaha YZR-M1 show bikes was there in the Yamaha display. How many Valentino Rossi Ducati Marlboro Desmosedicis were at various displays? Hard to say…they seemed to multiply.
By the numbers, this year’s 69th EICMA show covered 58,000 square meters; roughly 624,000 square feet, or about nine times the area of this year’s opening International Motorcycle Show in San Mateo, California. You need that much space for 1462 exhibitors from 43 countries spread over nine pavilions that line a kilometer-long promenade. The attendance for this year’s six-day show, two for exhibitors and media, four for consumers, was about 450,000.
Ducati CEO Gabriele Del Torchio...
Ducati CEO Gabriele Del Torchio unveils the new 1199 Panigale Tricolore with Italian actress Serena Auteiri.
The buzz began building well in advance and this year it was all about Ducati. The marque from down the road in Borgo Panigale unveiled the 1199 Panigale in three iterations, all certain to be best-sellers. Ducati got a jump on the festivities by hosting the assembled media in the Dal Verme Teatro on the eve of the show. The presentation began with Ducati President and CEO Gabriele Del Torchio giving a status update on the state of the company. With about 42,800 bike sales projected for 2011, Ducati is back to pre-crisis levels. The facts relevant to the U.S. market are these: According to Ducati, the overall over-500cc market has declined by nine percent year-to-date through October, while Ducati is up a staggering 44 percent.
As you'd expect, Ducati had...
As you'd expect, Ducati had an extensive display at EICMA dedicated to its new 1199, including this cutaway engine.
“We have a totally re-engineered engine and we have a new frame, so frame plus engine have been totally restyled and re-engineered,” Ducati Corse CEO Claudio Domenicali said of the all-new 1199. Domenicali’s technical presentation was exhaustive, and by the time it was over, it was a mad rush to get to the Honda intro.
Not nearly as slick or as photogenic, Honda managed to capture everyone’s attention with some new models and some interesting updates. Most notable of the new models was the Crosstourer, an adventure-tourer that was a concept model only a year ago. The Crosstourer uses the 1200cc V-four engine from Honda’s VFR1200F combined with long-travel suspension, an upright riding position, Honda’s Traction Control System, Combined ABS and an optional Dual Clutch Transmission. Also new is the Integra, a large scooter with the Dual Clutch Transmission standard and a 670cc engine. There was also an upgraded 1800cc Gold Wing and a 20th anniversary CBR1000RR, branded as the Fireblade in most markets outside the U.S.
Kawasaki released its new...
Kawasaki released its new Versys 1000 in Europe (not for American consumption, unfortunately) using a retuned version of the 1043cc engine from the Z1000/Ninja 1000.
Tuesday is the busiest day at EICMA for new model presentations. Starting at 9:00 a.m. with BMW unveiling two new scooters, and some other impressive updates, there were intros every half hour until 6:00 p.m. Kawasaki showed its new Versys 1000, powered by the 1043cc mill from the Z1000/Ninja 1000; unfortunately it isn’t headed Stateside…yet. The day was interrupted by the official opening press conference for EICMA, which most of the specialist press skipped, but most of the Italian press attended. It didn’t hurt that world champions Giacomo Agostini and Kevin Schwantz showed up.
Triumph's iconic Speed Triple...
Triumph's iconic Speed Triple finally gains a racier R cousin in the new Speed Triple R, with Ohlins suspension, lighter wheels, Brembo monoblocs, etc.
Triumph showed three new models: the Speed Triple R, the Tiger Explorer adventure-tourer, and a Steve McQueen Edition 865cc air-cooled parallel twin based on the Triumph Bonneville T100. The Speed Triple R was the most interesting, with the company’s best-selling bike finally getting an R version like the rest of its sporting cousins in the Triumph lineup. Öhlins’ NIX 30 fork and TTX shock, Brembo monobloc calipers, and forged aluminum wheels upgrade the Speed Triple R’s performance.
Moto Guzzi unveiled a cool-looking...
Moto Guzzi unveiled a cool-looking retro cafe racer appropriately called the V7 Racer.
The Piaggio Group drew the biggest crowd of the day. Most important to the dealers were the new Vespa scooters, which dominate the Italian streets. Moto Guzzi shared the stage by adding the V7 Racer to the earlier V7 and V7 Special. Once the show opened, the V7 Racer rarely went a minute without someone wanting to have his picture taken on it.
Dainese’s presentation of the D-Air Street apparel lineup attracted Dainese rider Schwantz, who wanted to know how it worked before going off to the VR46 booth to sign autographs and merchandise. Later in the week fellow Texan Ben Spies would show up, along with other riders including Marco Melandri, Randy de Puniet and Randy Mamola.
MV Agusta revealed a new Brutale...
MV Agusta revealed a new Brutale RR 1090 naked bike, with an "America" version motif. Pretty cool-lookin', we thought.
Who didn’t have splashy intros? MV Agusta and Bimota, both of whom had interesting new motorcycles. The MV Agusta display was like none other, laid out like a museum, with a surprise around every corner.
Thursday the doors opened to the public and they came by the thousands. And why not? There’s nothing else like it in the world.