Intermot 2008 - New Models Unveiled

Honda shows off prototype with hubless wheels


Press day at Germany’s Intermot show has just ended and there’s plenty of news – 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 let’s start with a quick spin through Honda’s and Aprilia’s stands.

Honda

Honda’s 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 “V4” 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 Spencer’s 1982 RS1000RW Daytona bike to Dani Pedrosas’s current RC212V MotoGP tool. Wow! A new RC!  It’s finally here then!

The big news out of Honda at Intermot this year is this futuristic prototype sportbike with hubless wheels. It’s perhaps a glimpse of the long-anticipated revision for the VFR.

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 Honda’s CBR models, the 600 and 1000, get a sporty ABS, but you all knew that already. Slightly more interesting is the CBR1000’s new “50 years of Honda racing” – official HRC painting scheme to commemorate the CBR’s 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.

It’s hard to say if this dream model is going to really lead to something more practical. With those hubless Sbarro-style wheels, there’s plenty of R&D to be done yet.

Aprilia

Aprilia’s RSV4 was one of the big hits at the 2008 Intermot show.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. Since Milan’s 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 (It’s Yamaha and Suzuki’s turn this year), Aprilia’s leap into the void with it’s brand new V4 “Race Machine” 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, it’s the bollocks, as true Brits would say.

Aprilia RSV4 is claimed to offer nearly 200 horsepower.

It’s 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 it’s a poor man’s Desmosedici. It’s the most technically advanced big-bore superbike that’ll be offered in 2009. Under the guidance of Miguel Galuzzi, Aprilia’s designers managed to create something pretty unique, and with the current state of “race reps” design, that’s 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 Aprilia’s new liquid-cooled 1200cc V-Twin will be shown.

That’s 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.

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