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Intermot 2008 - New Models Unveiled
Honda shows off prototype with hubless wheels
Press day at Germanyís Intermot show has just ended and thereís plenty of news Ė or very little, depending on the kind of riding you do. Hypersport lovers will have three good new models to cheer about, whereas the rest of us, well, let say that there were quite a few non shows. A full report on the show will appear on MO in the coming days, but letís start with a quick spin through Hondaís and Apriliaís stands.
Hondaís press conference was supposed to start at 9:00 a.m. and there was plenty of tension in the air regardless of the early hour. Show-goers were welcomed by a huge ďV4Ē sign and posters depicting a close up of an unknown V-4 engine. And when we did get to the Honda stand, there was a full array of past Honda V-4 racers on display. From Freddie Spencerís 1982 RS1000RW Daytona bike to Dani Pedrosasís current RC212V MotoGP tool. Wow! A new RC! Itís finally here then!
A huge veil surrounding an unknown bike turned up the heat, promoting even heavier sweating. During an hour-long conference the various new Honda models were detailed. Both of Hondaís CBR models, the 600 and 1000, get a sporty ABS, but you all knew that already. Slightly more interesting is the CBR1000ís new ď50 years of Honda racingĒ Ė official HRC painting scheme to commemorate the CBRís victory in the last edition of the Suzuka 8-Hour race. On the other hand, the new 125 urban naked model, the CBF125, will be of little interest for the American market. So, when we were really all pumped up for the big V-4 news, the veil was lifted and what we got was a very shiny, non-functional design prototype of what looked like a very improbable year 2015 VFR. Oh well.
Itís hard to say if this dream model is going to really lead to something more practical. With those hubless Sbarro-style wheels, thereís plenty of R&D to be done yet.
This wasnít supposed to happen. Since Milanís EICMA show was turned into a yearly event, the Big Four usually choose either the Intermot or the Paris show to introduce their new wares. Who wants to be overshadowed by those flashy Italians? And yet, the star of the German Intermot show was an Italian bombshell.
Next to the cyclic revamps to the Japanese 1000cc superbikes (Itís Yamaha and Suzukiís turn this year), Apriliaís leap into the void with itís brand new V4 ďRace MachineĒ looks like a real revolution. The bike was unveiled right after the last WSBK round in Rome, Italy, but this was the first chance to see it from up close. And, itís the bollocks, as true Brits would say.
Itís tinier and thinner than the already small, current crop of liter sports, and it should pack a big punch too. Say, 200 horsies, so essentially itís a poor manís Desmosedici. Itís the most technically advanced big-bore superbike thatíll be offered in 2009. Under the guidance of Miguel Galuzzi, Apriliaís designers managed to create something pretty unique, and with the current state of ďrace repsĒ design, thatís no mean feat. Complimenti!
If Aprilia could flex such muscle in Germany, I can only guess that in the upcoming EICMA show in November, the new models equipped with Apriliaís new liquid-cooled 1200cc V-Twin will be shown.
Thatís all for now. Stay tuned for a full report from Intermot later this week. Make sure to check out our photo gallery to see more pics.