Words & Images by John Arens
Have you ever gone to, or thought of going to a motorcycle show? If yes, then what about the biggest in the world! I’m not sure how many stands there were previous years at EICMA in Italy, but this year there were seven halls open to the public.
Friends and people from the industry alike over the years often told me that I couldn’t imagine how big this show actually was, and even when they tried to explain, it just seemed unbelievable. Then again it is in Europe, where there are not only far more people, but also a more widespread motorcycle and scooter culture than we have in Australia.
This year I finally got the opportunity to see EICMA for myself, and with camera in hand and wife in tow – kicking and screaming, off I went for two solid days of walking and sightseeing. Seeing the venue is one thing, getting from the train station to the start of the venue is a whole different matter!
You see, once you get off the train at the Rho station it will take you around 20 minutes of steady, and I do mean steady, walking just to get to the first hall. The walk from the station to the Show is totally under cover, so there’s no problem if it’s raining, except for a short section where it’s open to the elements.
For the rest it’s covered with an upper and lower section, the top being about 10 metres wide. The top section also has some of those electric walkways like you get in airports and this makes the distance a bit easier and quicker.
Looking down into the inside of the first hall I couldn’t believe the vastness of it all, all I could see were row upon row of display stands and I couldn’t wait to get inside and check it out. According to the brochure, which was more like an 80-page magazine, there were about 120 display stands – in this hall alone.
The first hall also featured a fair few Chinese companies displaying their products, everything from electronics, headlights, carburettors, indicators, all sorts of stuff, if they made it, it was there. Once you go past these small stands they become larger and eventually you come upon some bike manufacturers. Not that I’d never heard of many of these brands, because they were small capacity machines that I suppose would be more suitable for the Asian market, or countries looking for small commuters, normally only about 100 to 150cc.
After cruising through just the first hall you’ll possibly be ready for a well-earned sit down and coffee before heading for the next. Luckily you haven’t got far to go, as most are interconnected and open onto even larger display stands, where everything is of course interesting.
The next hall has even larger stands again, but now with only around 70 in total, and this is where you get to see tyre manufacturers, helmets companies and electric bikes.
It just doesn’t stop however, as in the next halls you get bikes like Norton, Royal Enfield, Yamaha, Moto Guzzi, Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki and then some. Finally the last hall was similar to the first, with many small stands.
As mentioned, the EICMA show is the largest in the world and even though it would be great to have it here in Australia, we just don’t have the population. In a way, maybe that’s a good thing, although the people who run shows here could take inspiration for further improving ours.
So the important question… Is it worth seeing this show? You bet it is and if you do, make sure that you take about three days to do it in, that way you’ll get to see it all. Just make sure you take a camera for those memories and that you have some decent, comfortable footwear, because you’ll need it.
2017 EICMA Gallery