EICMA 2008 - New Models Unveiled
New goodies from Aprilia, BMW, Moto Guzzi, KTM, Piaggio, Suzuki and Wakan
Ducati hit the Milan show running yesterday with the debut of its new Streetfighter and the expected 1198cc version of the 1098 superbike. Our buddy Yossef filed the report, and now he brings us coverage from the first full day of the worldly EICMA show in Italy. –Ed.
After hitting hard with the new RSV4 in Koln, there wasn't much news at Aprilia’s stand and yet we had now the time to examine in depth the new GT versions of the mid size V-Twins. The 850 automatic Mana and the 750 Shiver got half fairings that should help them in light turismo duties and look like pretty useful tools. At the other end of the stand was a tracker-chopper of sorts, a rare sight for an Aprilia. Based on the new big Aprilia 1200cc V-Twin motor unveiled last year, it was more of a styling exercise, maybe just to see how people will react to a ’Priller that isn’t that sporty.
(We were surprised not to hear news about the expected 1200cc versions of the Shiver and Dorsoduro. –Ed.)
The street version of the new SS1000R did not materialize, but following Aprilia’s lead, a quite extreme HP2 based tracker-chopper was placed in the center stage. The so-called Lo Rider concept bike is supposed to show the way in “customer interaction” by offering a multitude of options to build it into a pseudo cruiser or a naked Sportster.
“Numerous options including different exhaust systems, seats, headlamp units and paint finish variations allow for a level of customization which is far greater than the familiar individualization by means of special equipment features and accessories,” says a BMW press release. “This means that the entire character of the vehicle can be adapted to the customer’s individual taste: the customer can take full pleasure in assembling a machine just as he wants it – from a cool cruiser to an aggressive muscle bike.
“The bike’s low weight, the powerful and high-torque flat-Twin engine and high-quality chassis technology give it a high level of sporty riding dynamics, while the lowered chassis and the relaxed yet active seating position with the broad handlebars are more of a loan from cruisers and naked bikes.”
All I can say is: nice try, next. Hope it’s not some kind of trend in bike design, but it might actually hit the production lines one day. The reaction it gets at the show might be the deciding factor into whether or not it hits the light of day. Let us know what you think in the Reader Feedback thread.
From BMW: “We wish to use this important Show in Milan to test the response of both the media and the public to this concept motorcycle. And while right now we have no plans to build this machine, we know that if the general response is very positive we might face a positive problem – since then we would have to carefully consider whether such a project might be economically feasible!”
Much more to the point was the fully naked version of the F800, labeled F800R. Meant to go head to head with the European hit-parade kings, the naked four-cylinders Hornet, Fazer, Z750, the new F800R looks clean and purposeful. Seems like a natural to put into production, but BMW hasn’t yet given it the green light.
From BMW: “The F800R has all the features and ingredients required for such success. It is driven by the highest-torque engine in its segment, the parallel-Twin delivering maximum torque of 86 Newton-meters and maximum power of 87 hp. Together with the low weight of the machine and the excellent suspension optimized for supreme handling, our engineers have created an extremely active motorcycle easy and very pleasant to ride.”
The new Stelvio hasn’t exactly set the Euro market on fire, even if in many countries, BMW's R1200GS is a huge seller. Now proposed in a more aggressive key with knobbies, big touring cases and a darker scheme color, I got to say it looks the part at last.
For the milder at heart, the “new” V7 (essentially a redressed Breva 750) gets a sporty “cafe racer seat”. Shame that during my road test of the V7 Classic, I was less than impressed with the meek performance of the under-tuned small-block 750.
The just-launched RC8 now gets an R version with higher spec suspension and a very impressive claimed 165 hp, darn close to Ducati’s 170 hp from the new 1198. Plenty of racy details like carved-from-solid triple clamps, adjustable this, carbon that. Should make a solid performer even better.
Splitting hairs between the macho 990SM and the girly SuperDuke II is the new SMT. A bigger, proper bikini fairing should make it a friendlier proposition than the all-on SM, but it still keeps the narrow supermoto seat.
The V-Twin Adventure range gets an ABS option, some internal engine mods and a deep BNG treatment (bold new graphics).
Piaggio didn’t bring much in the way of big news to the show other than a hybrid-power version of the MP3 but are worth mentioning if only for presenting the sweetest toy in the fair. If this sidecar equipped GT250 doesn't get you running to your nearest Vespa dealer, then you have no soul. I want one, badly. Should make me a hit with the girls.
The GSX-R1000 and Gladius 650 have been already shown in Intermot, but Suzuki still had a small surprise for the naked-crazed Italian market. The Bandit 650 had a big remake just a few years ago, going from oil-air cooling to liquid, but that didn't stop Suzuki from doing a cosmetic redesign to its budget mid-weight. Both faired and unfaired versions were shown, just don’t hold your breath till we have them for a road test.
The Gemma, a Japanese-market-only 250 scooter looks more like a wild concept thing but it's actually a production item. Weirder than Yamaha’s Cadillac-like Morpheus...
After already showing a tasty 1650cc S&S powered streetfighter at the Padova Bike show, French maker WAKAN step up their game with a supersport version. Want, scrap that, need to ride one, ASAP.