EICMA, the biggest motorcycle show of the year, is just around the corner. Hosted in Milan, EICMA is the international stage where the major (and some minor) manufacturers will reveal their new models. This week’s Top 10 is all about bikes we’re excited to see at the show. Truth be told, there are more than 10 bikes to choose from – Husqvarna’s three street models, and a possible KTM 1050 Adventure, are just a few which barely missed the cut. That said, the 10 we’ve gathered here have us truly excited for the year to come in motorcycling. Keep it here starting November 3, as the MO team brings you all the action from EICMA as it happens.
10. MV Agusta F4 RC SBK
MV Agusta is using 2014 as a learning year as it comes to grips with a full-fledged, factory-backed international racing effort, fielding an F4 in World Superbike and an F3 675 in World Supersport competition. For 2015, MV will be releasing a heavily revised F4, called the F4 RC SBK, to tackle the Kawasaki ZX-10Rs and Aprilia RSV4s of the world. A leaked Powerpoint slide revealed by Italian website Motoblog.it was our first clue.
The slide looks legit to us, and we believe the revised F4 will come packed with 210 hp, courtesy of a new cylinder head, crankshaft, camshafts, pistons and titanium connecting rods. A lightened gearbox, forged wheels, Termignoni exhaust, and a spattering of carbon fiber and magnesium help bring the new F4’s weight down to approximately 386 lbs. (dry), which would improve the bike’s power-to-weight ratio by 5% compared to its predecessor. For those not interested in fielding a WSBK team, we imagine a more streetable F4, without all the letters after its name and with less of the go-fast parts, will also be made available.
9. Matchless Model X
One of the oldest marques in motorcycling, Matchless is using EICMA 2014 to celebrate its 115th birthday. The former English motorcycle company is better known today for fashionable clothing items worn by celebrities, but Matchless wouldn’t be at EICMA this year just to introduce a new jacket. Instead, the marque is announcing its comeback to motorcycling with the Model X Reloaded. Designed by Franco Malenotti (who has previously worked with Honda, Morini, Ducati, Bimota, KTM and Aprilia) the Model X Reloaded has a twinge of a steampunk look to it.
A mixture of tradition, technology and elegance, the Model X is powered by a fuel-injected 1916cc S&S V-Twin. Suspension components appear to be a modified girder-type fork in front with dual shocks in the rear (one under the engine, the other just under the seat). Brake calipers use 12-pistons in front, six in the rear, while seat height, bars, headlight and footpegs are all adjustable. The Matchless is obviously a niche machine, but the brand’s revival with a product this unique deserves a spot on our list.
8. Yamaha FJ-09
Yamaha’s FZ-09 is a solid platform on which to expand upon in the future, and with the leak of this image of the FJ-09, we now have a glimpse of the next motorcycle to be birthed from the FZ/MT-09 mold. The FJ appears to be a lightweight pseudo-Adventure-Touring or Sport-Touring rig, and it will be equipped with a proper front fairing and windscreen, handguards, centerstand, and provisions for saddlebags.
Discuss this at our Yamaha FZ-09 Forum.
The FJ will use the 847cc inline-Triple from the FZ-09, but it will have revised mapping to smooth out the low-speed fueling issues we’ve complained about with the FZ. (The 2015 FZ-09 also receives updated mapping.) Considering the FJR1300 is Yamaha’s only entrant in the Sport-Touring ranks, adding a more entry-level S-T to the lineup in the FJ-09 would make sense. Meanwhile, the Super Tenere occupies a similar space in Yamaha’s Adventure-Touring segment, so the FJ-09 makes sense as an entry-level A-T machine as well. Either way, we’re looking forward to riding it.
7. Ducati Multistrada DVT
When technological advances happen in motorcycling, Sport-Touring bikes are often the first ones to become the beneficiaries. Such is the case with the Ducati Multistrada, and the release of Ducati’s new DVT system on its 1198cc Testastretta engine. Variable valve timing is nothing new, as Honda’s VFR800 Interceptor already comes equipped with a version of this technology, and automobiles have had it for years, but this will be the first time the technology will be seen on a Ducati model.
Ducati says DVT will add 10 horses and 9 lb-ft to the Multistrada over the engine it replaces, which should make the bike easier to live with in virtually all situations. Of course, the Multistrada will surely feature other improvements, as the spy photos in the link above appear to show a slightly altered frame and subframe. Plus, we expect to see various electronic tweaks as well.
6. Triumph Tiger 800
The Triumph Tiger 800 is set to receive a host of significant upgrades for 2015, including provisions to make it better on the street and in the dirt. There will be four new variants: the XCA, XCX, XRT, and XRX. The XC models will be more dirt focused, with wire wheels and longer-travel suspension, while the XR models use cast wheels and shorter suspension for better road duty. All will come with ride-by-wire throttles, ABS, traction control and adjustable seats, while individual models will receive their own features to better allow them to cope with the conditions they’re intended for.
5. BMW S1000XR
The adventure-bike theme continues with BMW’s S1000XR, which we thought would have been revealed at Intermot but wasn’t. From a styling standpoint, it looks in many ways like the S1000RR sportbike with a beak, symmetrical headlights, upright handlebars, taller suspension and luggage, but of course we know there’s more to it than that. The link above reveals many of the changes we expect to see from the XR (mainly Adventure-Touring provisions). The tuning of the 999cc inline-Four will be revised to better suit adventure riding rather than racetrack domination, but rest assured, it will still be plenty potent.
4. Honda Africa Twin
This one is a bit of a stretch, but we’re hoping the rumors of Honda bringing back the Africa Twin are true. Various sites around the world are spreading this rumor, with Italian website Insella.it likely the instigator. According to Insella, the new Africa Twin will have its sights firmly set on the BMW R1200GS. Power will come from a parallel-Twin producing over 100 hp, and its weight might be 110 lbs less than the GS. The Africa Twin will allegedly have an electronics package to rival the mighty BMW, including electronic suspension. Two versions of the bike will be built, one street oriented, the other dirt. Unfortunately, that’s about all we know about the bike so far, and this is all based on rumors. Honda has already promised a MotoGP-derived hyper sportbike, but we have yet to see it in the flesh as well. Honda could steal the show if it reveals both bikes at EICMA 2014
3. Ducati 1299 Panigale
Its identity might have been a mistake (or was it?), but the photograph taken by Portland, Ore., Ducati dealership, Motocorsa, in front of a Panigale fairing with the number “1299” along the side has all but confirmed the speculation of a bigger Panigale coming to the scene. By giving it a longer stroke, the oversquare dimensions of the current Superquadro engine (112mm x 60.8mm) will be relaxed a little while resulting in both more power and torque. The latter of which will be a welcome sight for street riders.
It remains to be seen where the 1299 will slot into the current Panigale lineup, especially considering World Superbike’s 1200cc limit for Twins. However, considering the WSBK requirement for all manufacturers to run under EVO rules in 2015, could Ducati once again wield its power and influence a rule change to allow 1300cc Twins to compete against 1000cc Fours? None of this matters to us since we’re not fielding a World Superbike team, but nonetheless, the 1299 Panigale has us excited for 2015.
2. Yamaha R1
We know he’s on Yamaha’s payroll, but when Valentino Rossi says the new R1 “wants to go faster,” that’s a pretty glowing statement. Yamaha has been on a tear lately with bikes like the FZ-09 and FZ-07, but the current R1 hasn’t done very well in comparison tests, with its excess weight being a big detriment. As of press time, we have little idea what the new R1 will look like, nor do we know many of the details surrounding it (we’ll actually find out most of this information on Monday), but what we do know as of this writing is that Yamaha has trademark filings for an R1M and R1S, suggesting there may be multiple versions coming. Nonetheless, it looks like Yamaha is pulling out all the stops in making sure the new R1 is groomed for track dominance. Not just for professional riders like Rossi and AMA Superbike Champ Josh Hayes, but more importantly for average Joes like you and me.
Evidence of this comes from Yamaha’s teaser video where we can hear the R1’s crossplane-crank Four, followed by a clip of the dash with a bevy of electronic rider aids, including traction control, ride modes, a weight-distribution meter and something termed SCS, which we believe stands for Slip Control System, which is apparently something more than a TC system and is related to MotoGP technology. With this new R1, the liter-class sportbike wars will be really exciting in 2015.
1. Kawasaki Ninja H2
With more than 20 teaser videos to its name, the Kawasaki Ninja H2R has been relentlessly teased. Meant to turn the motorcycling world on its head like the original H2 did in 1971, the supercharged H2R is rumored to make 300 horses and have a top speed more than 200 mph, but it isn’t legal for road use.
New to the equation is the street-legal H2 that will be revealed at EICMA. In addition to lighting equipment and an EPA-legal exhaust system, the H2 will surely have a reduction of peak power compared to the R model. How much of a reduction is still a mystery, but we’ll guess at a number in the 240-250-hp range, which would make the Suzuki Hayabusa and Kawasaki’s own ZX-14R seem like pussycats in comparison. That’s saying a lot, and we can’t wait to ride one!
Discuss this at our Kawasaki Ninja H2 Forum.