EICMA in Milan 2017, Steve´s look

Stephen Edwards, foto: autor, Jan Altner 9.11.2017


The annual pilgrimage to EICMA in Milan is usually, a combination of manic running around, listening to press launch corporate speak, admiring some bikes, wondering what the hell some others are all about, taking pictures, a bit of celebrity watching and generally not having enough time to see it all.

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This year proved to be no exception. Specific details on new models are well covered in detail elsewhere on motodenik.cz, so I am not going into those in depth here but rather some of the overall impressions I leave Milan with.

The adventure style bikes continue to grow in popularity and are one of the main stays of manufacturer´s ranges. Triumph, Honda, KTM, BMW and Yamaha all made big noises about additions or updates to their ranges in this sector. Combine this with the continued advent of the Scrambler genre then it is clear to see how important and fashionable this space is.

The classic/retro, call it what you will, style of bikes is also very much to the fore. Royal Enfield launched their new 650 cc engined bike though it's hard to say that it is really retro styled as they have never done anything else. The return of the Kawaski Z900RS was a particular throwback to younger days for me personally and very nice it is too. Benelli had a 500cc single on display that I would have sworn at first glance was an Enfield and looked rather fetching to my old eyes. Maybe the most impressive machines in the show at all, for me, were on the Brough Superior stand. They are quite magnificent in the engineering execution and no doubt in the price tag too. It seems that nostalgia continues to sell.

At the opposite end of the scale, I left the show with the feeling that the sports bike has all but become the forgotten, weird family member, for many of the manufacturers. This not a new phenomenon, as sales have been in decline for the past few years but it was very evident. The notable exceptions I saw were Kawasaki who have put a lot of effort and new technology into the new ZX-10RE and Ducati with the Panigale V4 Speciale. Both of these manufacturers have dominated in World Superbikes for the past few seasons with Kawasaki coming out in the ultimate top spot. In the market place however I would say that Ducati have won that war and of course the new Panigale is a platform for its first commercially available four cylinder engine.

My final two points from Milan? The first is that it seems unless you have a full colour, TFT, Bluetooth enabled, app linked, iphone mirroring, GPS locating, multi acronymic display on your new bike then you are just sooooo yesterday. Finally, my hat goes off to Husqvarna for actually putting into production something a bit different, in the shape of the Vitpilen 401 and 701 which shall be in dealers in spring 2018.

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