EICMA 2008 - Milan Show Wrap-up

Final press day at the EICMA show


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EICMA’s press days have ended. Tomorrow, the Hun-like hordes will invade and ravage the show stands, but until then we have time to reflect and think. At Intermot we reported about the amazing array of new liter weapons ready to do battle in 2009. Now that EICMA is over, we can also confirm that other than these SBK warriors, there was indeed very little new stuff as far as powerplants go. With a worldwide recession in two wheeled sales and plenty of economic uncertainty, makers haven't taken too many risks this year and mostly shuffled around existing engines in new or semi new frames.

On the other hand, the new Sports 1000’s might change our sporting lives forever in 2009. The show is a great place to catch up with the latest gossip and one is that the new R1 with it’s big bang firing order has a very Ducati-like deep sound. Are we really ready for strange sounding multi’s then? Another bit of gossip has it that something REALLY funny might be going on inside the cylinder head of the new BMW SBK contender, something that might explain the exceptional claimed 190 hp. In fact, when you think about it, the Bavarians, in very un-German like fashion, have released preciously little technical info about the bike, so get ready for a biggie. Add to the mix the new RSV4 and you get a 2009 WSBK starting grid that’ll be much more interesting than that of the MotoGP.

At the other end of the scale, we did get plenty of new models that are based on existing hardware this year. Hard not to notice that Ducati’s new Streefighter is technically speaking a naked 1098 (much like Aprilia’s Tuono and Triumph’s Speed Triple). The revamped Bandit 650 is all about new body parts – ditto for the new XJ600, a fairing-less version of the faired model shown at Intermot. You’ve got to admit it, a new model year where all that Honda has to show is a concept model (same as in Koln) and ABS for its sport bikes, is kind of low key. So, with the big names playing it safe, it’s a good occasion to give some screen time to the lesser makes.

Benelli

The interesting 750 Benelli twin missing from Intermot made a guest appearance in Milan. Trouble is that the launch of this fine parallel twin has been postponed now til 2010.

Benelli's 900cc Tre-K is essentially an Italian Triumph Tiger or a three-cylinder Multistrada.

Of more interest was the smaller, 900cc version of the funky Tre-K anyhow which is essentially an Italian Triumph Tiger or three-cylinder Multistrada, depends how you look at it. Regardless it is a scoot I would be happy to live with.

Bigbore Millepercento

Are you a Guzzista at heart but tired of being passed by punks on hopped-up Harleys? Just place an order on your next 1500cc water cooled Bigbore Guzzi Griso and you’ll be sorted right out. The little company made a big splash in 2007 by winning the Daytona Supertwins race with a Guzzi equipped with their 170 hp motor. They apparently thought that it wouldn't be a bad idea to offer it to the public. The engine’s bottom end is based on a standard Guzzi big block, but the need for longer stroke, water cooling and plenty other mods means it’s not really a kit.

A fair bit of American tech lies inside this Italian beauty.

Millepercento will sell only whole bikes, but with 145 hp and monster torque, it could mean the end of your Guzzi power blues. The inner workings owe a lot to NASCAR racing technology, so there’s a fair bit of Americana in this monster goozie.

Bimota

After toying around with exotic creatures powered by air-cooled Ducati twins, the guys from Rimini have finally created a Supersports tool around the 1098 mill.

Bimota aptly gave this bike the name Oro Nero, Italian for Black Gold.

With all its black Carbon fiber bodywork in natural finish and an exorbitant price tag, the bike is aptly called “oro nero”, black gold, that is.

Gilera

MO has the new 75 hp GP800 750cc mega scooter on test right now but that didn’t stop Gilera from releasing a racetrack only 850cc version called the GP850 Corsa.

Gilera's GP850 Corsa is destined for the track.

Big scooter racing is picking up fast in Italy and this would be the ultimate track tool. If the performance of the regular GP800 I am testing now is anything to go by, then this one should be a real killer.

Husqvarna

The first real result of the Husqvarna - BMW merger is this groovy concept bike based on BMW’s new 450cc single pot unit.

The Husqvarna-BMW wedding gave birth to this 450cc baby.

This was quite inspiring since, strong as they might be, racing 450 singles are a pain as a road bike. And then, with such a low seat, I’d be riding with my knees up near my ears. But who cares, looks fun and should make a nice bike for dirt-tracking.

Nipponia

It’s not often that I get carried away by commuter scooters but these guys are different. You can tell it right away from the automotive-like design. The setup itself is kind of surprising. Based in Greece, Nipponia are a well-known name in the local market and now want to venture abroad. A talented automotive designer named Sotiris Kovos has created a full line of medium to large scooters and all these guys need to do is start producing them, the only question is where.

Nipponia's scooter concept model caught Yossef's eye.

Quite exceptional in their look, even the long wheelbase concept model looked ten times more realistic than Honda’s dreamy V4 mock-up.

Pierobon

Wadded your air-cooled Ducati into a small ball lately? Pierobon, a small Italian frame maker can offer you this finely crafted replacement frame kit. Available for racers and now also as a full street bike, the F042 as it’s called, is more minimalist than any bare bones Duc.

Pierobon's F042 is more minimalist than any barebones Ducati.

Not convinced? The cool “curves made easy by Pierobon” slogan sounds believable enough. The friendly people at the stand said I could have it for a test, so don’t crash you air cooled Duc till then.

Related Reading
EICMA 2008 - New Models Unveiled
Intermot 2008 – Full Report
Intermot 2008 - New Models Unveiled

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