Jeff Zani takes us through the halls of EICMA with a differrent point of view, plus his camera... Words & Pics: Jeffrey Zani
My friend was right, at the end of the EICMA show you feel like somebody put a pot on your head and hit it repeatedly with a ladle. Motorcycles, ebikes, three-wheelers, info, photos, press conferences, night parties, world premieres, distracting models, good food, MotoGP and SBK stars giving interviews and so on it goes.
EICMA goes for days and days, spanning November 6 to 11, with 1200 brands representing 42 countries involved, and 100,000 square meters you’ll walk through infinite times. At the end you’re at the same time exhausted and thankful, because it’s demanding but always a great experience. A tradition, an institution in the motorcycling world.
This year was the 76th edition of an event that showcased the best stuff with two wheels and an engine between them. Here’s my list of what stood out during the event. Focusing on sometimes small but also important details.
2019 BMW S 1000 RR – New eyes
The previous model appeared as a cartoon version of a character making a particular expression, with one eye wide open in sign of surprise and the other, a thin line, showing suspicion. Now the BMW S 1000 RR (link to update overview) goes symmetric and offers the most intriguing front light design of EICMA 2018.
From a confrontational position, the bike stares at you like the velociraptors in the movie Jurassic Park. Only, this beast is not planning to eat you, rather inviting you to jump on the seat and go for a ride.
You will then discover the character of the 207hp engine, screaming up to over 14000rpm, and the handling of a model that has a slimmer and lighter chassis in comparison to the previous version, contributing to a loss of 11kg, going from 208 to 197kg. Another interesting feature is the ShiftCam Technology, which alters the valve timing and lift, on the move.
2019 Yamaha YZF-R1 GYTR – Track only Limited Edition
The livery of this track-only bike is a double tribute to the first Yamaha R1 and the 2018 win of the Japanese manufacturer at the Suzuka 8 Hour race. It is difficult to replicate the impact two decades ago that this four-cylinder brought on open roads, in close circuits and to the market.
But the history carried by this new two-wheeler is a promise of performance and value, also thanks to parts branded with the name “Genuine Yamaha Technology Racing”, which means business.
Of course the 2019 Yamaha YZF-R1 GYTR (link to update overview) is not provided with the lights that are needed to ride on the road, but as is common in the World Superbike series, it presents itself with stickers that fake the front lights of the road model. Necessary? Not sure about that. Once it was street bikes that tried to look like a race motorcycle, now it’s the other way around. The world changes.
2019 Yamaha XSR700 XTribute – Tank & badging
The XSR is inspired by the 1981 Yamaha XT500, an iconic four-stroke air-cooled single that offered good riding on all kinds of terrain, whether it be tarmac, sand, mud, whatever. Not by chance this one is called XTribute and pays homage to the classic half-liter with golden wheels, a white front fender and, mainly, the stunning tank that continues with the scrambler style seat – a flat profile that respects the design of the original XT.
A wide handlebar and fork gaiters contribute to the retro look, but what stands out is the letters on that tank, with the same design of the old bike. Tech spec are not fundamental here – if it goes 20km/h faster or weights 10kg less, who cares? That’s not the reason you pick such a bike.
2019 Ducati Hypermotard 950 – Display
A pure white surface, contrasted by black, sticky and cheeky prints of rubber left by somebody supposedly doing donuts on the new Ducati Hypermotard 950. The instigator may be a grown man that, as a young boy, used to walk with dirty shoes where his mom had just mopped.
The Hypermotard stand exudes an aura of transgression mixed with wild fun. And it’s the ideal set-up to present the new 950 from the Italian factory. Aggressively styled, the bike features a new frame and new riding position thanks to a wider handlebar, different seat and slimmer side fairings.
Speaking of the infamous L-twin engine, Ducati clams 114hp and 80 percent of its peak torque at 3000rpm. That should make it very easy to ride. But what about leaving those black marks on the tarmac by playing with the throttle?
Aprilia RS 660 Concept – Chassis
Shiny, shiny, shiny, just like some of those 250 Grand Prix bikes that delivered around 100hp and won a long list of world titles. It’s the chassis of the Aprilia Concept RS 660 however that catches the eye, combined with a parallel twin engine derived from the units of the Tuono V4 and RSV4 Factory.
Not only beautiful shaped, but also reduced to the bare minimum, the engine acts as a stressed member. The result is a very compact middle-weight supersports machine of great design. We’ll have to wait and see how things develop and when it will be on the market.
Moto Guzzi V7 Trofeo – Racer Series
Moto Guzzi V7 III goes racing. How? With the support of the Italian Motorcycle Federation. When? In 2019. Why? To offer an opportunity to people that want to have fun in a one-hour endurance formula that will involve two riders for each team, with one bike updated with the same kit for everybody, which was developed by Guareschi Moto, the dealership owned by a certain Vittoriano and his brother.
Remember him? He was team manager at Ducati during the Valentino Rossi years. For now the initiative seems to be confined to Italy, where it should be held in tracks such as Misano and Vallelunga. But who knows, maybe somebody in Australia will think this is a good idea.
Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 Aero Concept – Front fender
Modern design, with heavy inspiration from the past, and a clever look to the future. The Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 Aero concept is very similar to the full naked version, with a retro style fairing that adds a more sporty taste.
The fender may not be an important part of it, but it plays its role perfectly combining with the WP front fork and the Brembo caliper. Another interesting feature is the lenticular rear wheel, another experiment taken from the past era of racing and recently experimented in MotoGP by Ducati, with no apparent success.
It may not work in terms of performance, but it does in terms of character. Approved.
2019 Ducati Scrambler Cafè Racer – Livery
A blue frame, with silver as the main color, recalls the Grand Prix 125 Desmo from the late ‘50s, and also the 750 that Paul Smart rode to the victory in the first edition of the 200 Miles of Imola, in 1972, even though that one had a special light grey metallic paint.
The three stripes that go from intense to light blue can also evoke the Gauloises sponsored Yamaha TZ the French-man Christian Sarron rode in the 350 class in 1977. In other words, this bike can evoke its link to vintage racing, and that is a big plus, isn’t it?
The Kawasaki Z900 – Vintage collection
From 1972 to 1976, five Kawasaki 900s show the Japanese manufacturer has known how to design and build good bikes for a lengthy period. Their classy and evergreen look, made mainly of metal parts, stands apart among the hundreds of new models that show so much plastic or carbon-fibre on them.
The green brand did not revolutionise its Z900, but instead revealed at EICMA the new Z400 (link to update overview), a naked version of the Ninja of the same capacity. It’s a sort of stripped version, with no fairing and no clip-on handlebars, but the same engine and chassis. Nearly 50hp and 167kg of weight mean no more Z300 in the Kawasaki catalogue. This joins the Z125 and Ninja 125 that the brand expect to make an impact in Europe.
2019 Triumph Bonneville T120 Diamond Edition – Chromed
Well, put on your sunglasses, because this gem can send you blind [No, not like that!]. Triumph dressed its stock T120 up to remember the 1959 model and decided that this stuff was so good only a select number of people deserve it – 900 to be precise.
These lucky owners will be the ones who take home the bike and a certificate of authenticity signed by Triumph CEO, Nick Bloor. White and silver union flag paint job, chrome four-bar tank badge, engine cover rims, grab rail, chain guard, exhausts and badging offer a unique special edition.
Good to ride wearing your oldest pair of brown leather boots, a pair of comfortable jeans, a Barbour coat and an open helmet – so you can smoke a cigar while you ride at a slow pace.
2020 Suzuki Katana – Reissued
Another modern retro. Technically in the 1980s the Katana was a very similar version of the GSX1100E and today this is the GSX-S1000 dressed in a different way. The differences, apart from the bodywork with the characteristic pointy nose, are mainly in the new body position.
The interpretation is sober, but nice and it works. The four-cylinder unit delivers nearly 150hp and weight is 215kg. Looks like the aesthetic inspiration for bikes, citing the ‘60s and ‘70s, is moving on to the 80s. Good? Bad? De gustibus non est disputandum. Check out the run down on the Suzuki Katana here.
2019 Honda CB650R Neo Sports Cafè Concept – Cylinder-head cover
Bright red for the cylinder head cover of the CB650R Neo Sports Cafè in a particularly super-sporty version with slick tyres, solo seat and an aggressive four-into-one-into-two SC Project exhaust that, frontally, transmits the armoury of a pipe organ.
This concept is strictly linked to the new CB650R, which unfortunately doesn’t share the colour of the cylinder head cover. Compared to the previous F version, though, it has a new frame, fuel tank and other cycle parts that contribute to a 6kg diet. Power is increased five per cent, reaching 93hp.
2019 Ducati Panigale V4R – Winglets
After all the talking and the doing in MotoGP, where they were introduced, and then banned, and then reappeared again with a new shape, here are winglets on a street bike. And of course from the brand that re-presented them in the racing circus – Ducati.
The Italian factory thinks you’ll need them, because keeping the front of the 2019 Ducati Panigale V4 R (link to new model overview) on the ground is not an easy task. The claimed power is around 220hp, but even more is available, with the racing kit the quote reaches about 235 hp. Scary, isn’t it?
EICMA 2018 Wrap Up
Apart from the models featured here there’s also a number of other new and interesting displays and reveals, from Benelli’s Leoncino being unveiled as a new 800cc prototype version, as the brand sets out to further increase their market share with some larger capacity offerings, Yamaha’s new Tenere 700 (link to update overview) which finally reaches production after a few years in the prototype stage as the T7, through to KTM’s 790 Adventure. Check out the pics below: