The annual Italian show is the world's biggest international motorcycle exhibition and, in typical fashion, the 76th edition offered plenty to feast one's eyes on. As we're heading for the closing weekend of EICMA 2018 and the crowds are expected to swamp the Rho Fiera exhibition center, we invite you to join us on a photographic visit of the most interesting exhibits and the new models that debuted in Milan.
Through the years, EICMA has cemented its leading position among motorcycle shows, to the extent that foreign manufacturers keep their new models to launch there, despite often having similar events hosted in their home countries.
Still, having visited EICMA for the best part of the last 15 years, the 2018 show was one of the smallest in memory. One reason can perhaps be found in the clash with the biennial Intermot show; model debuts had to be divided between the two, although the end result shows that EICMA claimed the lion's share.
Another reason was suggested by a Greek friend and industry exec who wondered if the upcoming shift to the Euro 5 norms – the implementation of which will start rolling out next year – may have kept several motorcycles temporarily shelved. In this case, a potential bevvy of new 2020 models at next year's event should not be ruled out.
Whatever is the case, the 2018 event had quite a lot to show off, starting with the apparent horsepower war that is evolving. Superbikes were confined around the 200-hp mark for a while, but one day Kawasaki announced the 231-hp H2 and then, as if prearranged in secret, all hell broke loose. And now it's raining horses: 207 for BMW, 214 for MV Agusta, 221 for Ducati. Imagine what we'll get to see with the next generation of superbikes over the next couple of years.
Another front that is already seeing a lot of action is the mid-capacity adventurers. The big bikes all climbed to 1,200+ cc with far too crazy power figures for the actual needs of the class, so now it seems that it's time for a return to the sensible. With capacities around 700 - 850 cc and horsepower figures that seldom exceed the 1K-mark, we're coming back down to earth with realistic numbers both in terms of power and in cost.
Triumph and BMW were the queens of the class, but now some fresh competition from KTM, Moto Guzzi and Yamaha should stir things up nicely.
Another observation one cannot avoid making is the constantly growing Asian presence. Be it from China, India, Taiwan or South Korea, every year there seem to be more brands on display and their products are getting rapidly better and better. European manufacturers should now be getting seriously worried. Just remember what they thought of the Japanese in the early 1960s and what happened during the next couple of decades.
Let's not underestimate the rise of the electric motorcycle, it will gradually cancel out the advantage of technical know-how in developing engines. Now you just pick some parts off the shelf (Bosch motors, LG or Samsung batteries) and you're good to go. Actual expert craftsmen will only be needed for the frame design.
So, as long as we're enjoying this fortuitous era where fine motorcycles are coming from every corner of the globe in both battery and petrol-powered shapes, step in and enjoy our EICMA 2018 gallery.
Want a cleaner, faster loading and ad free reading experience?
Try New Atlas Plus. Learn more