Just a month after Intermot closed its gates, a second wave of world premieres took to the exhibition stage in Italy. Other than the numerous new models that filled the headlines, the 2016 EICMA showcased strong signs of recovery from Europe's motorcycle manufacturers.
Conformity to the new Euro 4 emissions standards proved to be a major driving force at this year's show, as manufacturers often accompanied the necessary mechanical tinkering with fresh styling, or even the occasional equipment upgrade. Honda, for instance, introduced no less than 23 new models at EICMA, yet most of them translated to existing motorcycles and scooters that added face lifts and new colors to EU4 compliance.
The turn toward emerging Asian markets was more obvious than ever, with manufacturers betting heavily on small engines. It seems that the point where the East meets the West floats around 300 cc, making for a capacity class that can be realistically marketed with more or less the same specs in every corner of the world.
In Europe this proves twice as beneficial, as small-to-mid capacity motorcycles have found a wide new audience, either offering affordable and classy commuting in cash-strapped countries, or appealing to the growing number of environmentally-aware citizens who regard fuel efficiency as something more than just saving money.
At this year's EICMA, we also noted the enhanced presence of three major global players from India and China. Royal Enfield, Hero and Zongshen all came to Milan with large booths and an evident interest in expanding toward European markets.
Apart from the traditional powerhouses of Europe – BMW, Ducati, KTM, MV Agusta, Piaggio Group, and Triumph – EICMA was graced with a number of smaller European manufacturers trying to get back into the game. Benelli (with strong Chinese backing), Fantic Motor, Moto Morini and Italjet revealed their expansive plans with some thrilling new models, while Husqvarna is also cementing its place under KTM's sturdy wings.
Add Norton's new model, that's expected to launch later this month at the NEC Motorcycle Live show in Birmingham, UK, and we have a comprehensive view of what's coming in Europe.
As was the case with Intermot, EICMA gave precious little room to electric two-wheelers, in tune with European motorcycle markets that remain firmly attached to traditional tech. Still, some interesting news came from this segment, enough to merit a dedicated photo story to follow soon.
Head on over to our EICMA 2016 photo gallery for a visual feast of important new models, as well as all those little things that make the Italian show so interesting year after year.