2007 EICMA Show
Euros Debut New Models
The EICMA show in Milan is the place to be to see all the unveilings from European manufacturers. Yesterday Ducati uncovered its three new models for ’08 (the 1198cc 1098R, new 848 and totally redone Monster 696), and today the wraps came off the rest of the Euro manufacturers.
KTM's RC8 roadracer looks as angular as the prototype shown several years ago, Moto Morini has a very attractive looking 1200cc enduro-style machine that, well, looks, a lot like the bike it's aiming for: BMW's R1200GS. MV has upgraded the Brutale with a bigger 982cc engine and is offering a blue F4 with the number "1078" on the fuel tank making it patently obvious the bike's displacement. Other notables include a new 1200cc Twin from Aprilia that's awaiting a chassis and wheels, BMW is offering a new half-pint GS model, and the Honda Transalp lives on... in Europe. Sorry, America. It seems we let that one slip out of our hands years ago, but it seems we can anticipate a 919 replacement. Let's read the rest from Yossef, and see what he saw today in Milan. And be sure to check out our extensive photo gallery for more pics and info.
The cool Italian brand is picking up the pace again under the new Piaggio ownership. Onlookers were somewhat disappointed to that the much-anticipated V-4 superbike was a no-show (the prototype is up and running by the way), but as if to compensate, a new 1200cc, 90-degree V-Twin took the center stage. Designed and developed together in Piaggio's huge motor R&D facility, the liquid-cooled power unit appears ready for production and is based in the Shiver 750's unit. Just next to the impressive engine, an even more impressive concept bike using that 1200cc mill shined under the spotlights. Designed in-house by Pietro Aru, this wild roadster sported a Hossack-style front suspension (like in BMW's K1200S) and some pretty extreme lines.
More down to earth was the soft Supermoto version of the Aprilia Shiver 750 that's already in production. Most of the mechanical components have remained the same, but a host of bodywork and suspension changes place the "DorsoDuro 750" in direct competition with Ducati's Hypermotard. With 95 hp on tap, it's right there with the Duc, even if the overall impression is that the DorsoDuro is a softer tool aimed at less hardcore supermoto fans than the Hyper. Cool looking, though.
The mighty Bavarians keep pushing hard, too, this time in surprising directions. The G450X Enduro is no big news by now, but it was good to see a production version up close. With 50 hp and about 260 pounds of weight, its specs are quite impressive for an Enduro tool with lighting equipment. First impressions are of a high quality and pretty serious race tool, the concentric swingarm pivot/output shaft feature looks very well sorted out.
For less demanding off-roaders, a new smaller GS is very nice news indeed. The F800GS is way smaller than the mammoth Boxer R1200GS, so this smaller "Gelande/Strasse" looks like a perfect, if not better, platform for serious jaunts on unpaved paths. Not less important, after years of plain weird designs coming out from the Bavarian Motor Werke, the medium-size GS seems to have hit a really sweet spot. With a claimed dry weight of just 392 pounds carried in its trellis frame, the chain-drive 800GS will be available early next year.
BMW has also revamped the R1200GS, cranking up a power boost of 5%, revising the styling slightly, adding new wheels and providing a GS version of BMW’s venerable Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA). A similarly tweaked Adventure version of the GS gets a huge 8.7-gallon fuel tank and various crash-protection add-ons, plus the availability of ESA.
With BMW's 1200GS doing so well the last few years, nobody's really surprised that Guzzi is jumping on the adventure-touring bandwagon, too. The new Stelvio 1200 is powered by a 100-hp version of the yummy 8-valve powerplant I just sampled on the Griso, and was designed, just like the Griso, by Marabese. The result is much less radical than the Griso, though, maybe too much of a GS look-alike and yet still has a nice Guzzi flavor to it. Those twin front lights might look a bit funny and dated nowadays, but in real life, the whole thing works quite well even if it lacks a bit of aggressiveness.
Retro lovers will find the new V7 a refreshing sight, even if the 50-horsepower Breva 750 power unit doesn't really do justice to that important old model in Guzzi's history. The original 1967 V7 was one of Italy's first big he-man bikes, while this model is pretty much an entry-level Guzzi. Oh my, how times change.
Don't know if scooter allergic MO'ridians would like to know this, but Honda has finally put its "Scoota-Bike" DN-01 automatic tourer in production. The model's too technically complex to describe in just a short show recap, but heart of the matter is that the good old Honda V-Twin 680 engine is mated now to a stepless variable-ratio transmission that uses hydraulic pressure to transfer the power. Check out our Tokyo Show coverage for more details.
Just as irrelevant to the U.S. market is the replacement for the rather unsuccessful Honda 919. Powered now by a CBR1000 mill (previous model used a first-generation Fireblade engine), this new naked/roadster model draws its inspiration from the 2007 Hornet 600, that's the Honda 599 in the U.S. Sharp and stylish, it a much needed replacement for the aging 919.
Five years after the RC8 sportbike concept was shown, the first KTM superbike is finally here. Much has happened during these years: Superbike rules allow now 1200cc Twins, and this change in regulations sent engineers back to the drawing board in order to enlarge the motor from its previous 999cc displacement. The enlarged engine required a new frame and bigger dimensions and, to be honest, the (once) wild RC8 lost that razor-blade edginess that made everyone drool. A bit of a shame really. Much more fun in my eyes was the "Stunt" version of the new 690cc Single. (See photo gallery.)
With its 1149cc V-Twin, KTM reports the RC8’s power peaks at 155 horsepower, and it claims a ready-to-ride weight of less than 440 pounds. The frame is made from steel trellis construction, using a cast-aluminum subframe. Suspension is by WP at both ends, and high-spec Brembo brakes slow it down.
The Bolognese-based company might still be small, but the new Granpasso 1200 looks promising and finger-licking good. The 1200cc engine of the Corsaro seems to be one hell of a beast according to some colleagues, so this BMW 1200GS / Guzzi Stelvio contender has all the right cards to play. Now, if only this factory would really start to market its wares...
After selling Husqvarna to BMW, MV’s Claudio Castiglioni must have quite a bag of money to spend on MV, but at least for now it doesn't really show. (We expect a 675cc Triple to emerge from MV in the next year.) What is new is a 1078cc version of the 996cc F4, the F4RR, that is said to produce 190 horsepower, a bump of 10 ponies. The Brutale also gets a version of the 1078cc inline-Four, tuned for torque (86 ft-lbs at 8100 rpm) to net a claimed 150 horses. Brembo radial-mount monobloc calipers are new. Also new is a 989 version.
EICMA was a good chance to catch up with the English brand, and I gotta say that those Brits might be losing the plot a bit. The touring version of the 2300cc Rocket looked hideous, kind of splashed together and plain unattractive in my humble opinion. Compared to other offerings in the stand, it looks as if it was downright un-designed. As if to show just that, some nice modified and customized new Twins proved that the Triumph guys know how to design. The flat-track version of the Scrambler was really super looking, while the café-racer job takes the 900 Thruxton a big step ahead.