In photos: Concepts, customs and flying bikes from EICMA 2017
Aside from the 2018 production models that debuted at EICMA 2017, the Italian motorcycle show traditionally garnishes its centerpieces with a variety of exhibits ranging from prophetic concepts like KTM's 790 Adventure and Moto Guzzi's V85, to flamboyant customs. And even the odd showpiece that words fail to describe. New Atlas has gathered together the best examples from the show for you to gawp at.
Motor shows are not just about new models. What's around them often hints at future production plans, or trends that contribute in shaping the industry's strategies. Look, for instance, at the KTM 790 Adventure concept. It's a move similar to last year's unveiling of the 790 Duke concept, which was designed to introduce a brand new in-line twin engine for the Austrian manufacturer and this year returned to Milan as a proper 2018 production model.
Apparently, the next model to employ this new engine will be a mid-sized Adventure bike, and KTM doesn't shy away from revealing the fact. Quite to the contrary, serving up what will undoubtedly be one of the EICMA 2018 stars.
This concept also gives an indication of the next area that European manufacturers want to exploit. The mid-sized adventure class has been dominated almost exclusively by Japanese factories for decades, but the success that BMW and Triumph enjoyed with their 800 cc motorcycles hasn't gone unnoticed.
The big adventurers have become too big and often far too expensive for the average buyer of the struggling middle class. Downsizing seems like the logical thing to do, not only in terms of affordability but also of fuel efficiency, an important factor that seems to become more critical every year – and, coincidentally, a field in which KTM's Adventure has never excelled.
Moto Guzzi's new concept bike, the V85, also points in the same direction. All the companies under the Piaggio Group umbrella have introduced few new models in recent years, and Moto Guzzi isn't any different. Apart from refining the V7 range and launching the bigger V9 model family last year, it has practically been building bikes on two engines that have been around for more than a decade.
The V85 is essentially a Stelvio 1200 spin-off, with similar styling but much simpler tech supporting it. Turning to an air-cooled 850 cc engine indicates that Moto Guzzi is seeking a different audience, with a more affordable and simpler to maintain motorcycle.
Yamaha has also joined the class recently with the Tracer 700, built on the MT-07 (or FZ) in-line twin, but the prototype adventure bike it displayed last year unfortunately returned once again only as a showpiece. There's very little doubt, of course, that the Ténéré 700 will enter production sooner or later, just because it makes sense.
Moving in the opposite direction, Husqvarna is building on the success of the Vitpilen and Svartpilen roadsters that debuted last year on the KTM 390 Duke platform. It now seems that the next Huskies to come will be the bigger variants, with the KTM 690 single-cylinder engine that Husqvarna uses in its 701 off-road models.
Honda is also playing it big with the CB4 Interceptor concept. Over the years, Japan's biggest manufacturer has come up with many concept bikes that never saw the light of day, but in this case we suspect there's more to it. The CB4 concept from the 2015 Milan show was built around the 650 cc four-cylinder engine of the CB650F, and now a new prototype under the same moniker is designed around the new CB1000R. Using the name Interceptor is also anything but accidental, as it refers to an older series of US market models with Honda V4 engines.
Could there be too many coincidences? It may be too soon to say, but Honda can play as much as it wants around big displacement sportbikes, since it has its lower end covered with some of the most affordable and efficient bikes in the market – the CB500 and NC750 platforms.
EICMA 2017 of course also hosted the extravagant designs that add the necessary spice to the whole show. Although it doesn't have the dedicated custom hall of the German Intermot, flashy one-off designs will always be employed by exhibitors in order to attract visitors to their booths and gain publicity in the press, and Italian craftsmanship is never dull.
There was plenty for the visitor to indulge in, so dive into our gallery for a collection of concepts, custom builds, prototypes, showbikes and all kinds of unexpected exhibits.