Motorcycles

Weird and wonderful new motorcycles that grabbed us at EICMA 2021

Weird and wonderful new motorc...
Bimota seems to enjoy bringing a sense of avant-garde to the motorcycle industry. This is its new KB4 RC
Bimota seems to enjoy bringing a sense of avant-garde to the motorcycle industry. This is its new KB4 RC
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Yamaha's 2022 MT-10 SP gets some angry eyebrows, along with fancy new Ohlins active suspension
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Yamaha's 2022 MT-10 SP gets some angry eyebrows, along with fancy new Ohlins active suspension
Kawasaki's 2022 H2 SX supercharged sports-tourer gets a Bosch radar system
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Kawasaki's 2022 H2 SX supercharged sports-tourer gets a Bosch radar system
MV's Lucky Explorer 5.5 concept doesn't look far off production
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MV's Lucky Explorer 5.5 concept doesn't look far off production
MV Agusta's Lucky Explorer 9.5 looks like a serious middleweight adventure weapon
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MV Agusta's Lucky Explorer 9.5 looks like a serious middleweight adventure weapon
Bimota gets all weird with the KB4
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Bimota gets all weird with the KB4
Moto Guzzi has debuted a very modern V100 Mandello, featuring active aerodynamic panels
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Moto Guzzi has debuted a very modern V100 Mandello, featuring active aerodynamic panels
Nice bike, Moto Guzzi, but can we talk about that road? I wanna go there
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Nice bike, Moto Guzzi, but can we talk about that road? I wanna go there
Honda's CBR-1000RR-R SP Fireblade: 30 years on from the 1992 Fireblade that started it all
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Honda's CBR-1000RR-R SP Fireblade: 30 years on from the 1992 Fireblade that started it all
Honda's 2022 CBR-1000RR-R, rampant thanks to three extra teeth on the back sprocket
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Honda's 2022 CBR-1000RR-R, rampant thanks to three extra teeth on the back sprocket
Bimota seems to enjoy bringing a sense of avant-garde to the motorcycle industry. This is its new KB4 RC
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Bimota seems to enjoy bringing a sense of avant-garde to the motorcycle industry. This is its new KB4 RC
There isn't much out there that looks like the KB4 RC, and we can all be thankful for that
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There isn't much out there that looks like the KB4 RC, and we can all be thankful for that
Bimota's KB4, inspired by bananas and bosozoku
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Bimota's KB4, inspired by bananas and bosozoku
View gallery - 12 images

EICMA: it's motorcyclese for Christmas, when the factory elves bring forth a bounty of gifts for the coming year and unwrap them in front of ... Well, generally in front of a gaggle of hungover journos who have been lured to the event with truckloads of free grog. And yet there's many a twinkle in many an eye when a manufacturer manages to correctly gauge which way the wind's blowing years in advance and present the perfect motorcycle for the moment.

Anecdotally speaking, the great plague of 2020-21 seems to have been a boon for motorcycling. Lockdowns and travel restrictions worldwide created a new type of COVID customer out of those lucky enough to remain employed; with fewer holidays and less going out, bank balances swelled along with spicy wanderlust over future adventures in the great Afterwards.

Garages started looking like they had a bike's worth of extra room in them, and people had the wonderful excuse that they didn't want to go catching public transport and getting sick. Sales rocketed skyward.

So it's a rejuvenated and energized industry hitting the pavement in Milan this year, even if sales are likely to drop back off when things go back to normal, if there ever was such a thing. Here's what's caught our eye so far.

Yamaha MT-10 SP gets next-gen Ohlins semi-active suspension

Yamaha's 2022 MT-10 SP gets some angry eyebrows, along with fancy new Ohlins active suspension
Yamaha's 2022 MT-10 SP gets some angry eyebrows, along with fancy new Ohlins active suspension

The king of Yamaha's torque-monster MT streetbike range, the MT-10, gets its first proper refresh since it debuted in 2016. A hardly-necessary 5-horsepower bonus brings the total peak to 164 ponies for 2022, with claimed increases around the midrange as well, where it matters on the street.

The airbox has been acoustically tuned to give the rider a nice soundtrack even though the exhaust is Euro-V, a six-axis IMU unlocks advanced rider aids like cornering ABS, TC and wheelie control, the quickshifter's now standard too, and, crucially, the Big Empty now gets a set of disapproving eyebrows your great-aunt would be proud of. Yamaha has done nothing to dilute the willful, brutal ugliness of this machine, and I'd say that's an excellent decision.

The fancy SP version, meanwhile, becomes the first bike to be fitted with Ohlins' second-gen active suspension system, meaning you can now choose between three different active damping modes and three manually editable static suspension modes, as opposed to the previous version, which only had two active modes and three static modes. Righty-o then. I'm sure it's a beaut ride. More information. Here's a video.

2022 Yamaha MT-10 SP: Speed of Darkness

Kawasaki H2 SX gets radar-adaptive cruise

Kawasaki's 2022 H2 SX supercharged sports-tourer gets a Bosch radar system
Kawasaki's 2022 H2 SX supercharged sports-tourer gets a Bosch radar system

The grownup, touring-friendly version of the gratuitously supercharged Kawasaki H2 now becomes the first Japanese bike to get Bosch's radar system, following a handful of European bikes. This would be bigger news, I feel, if the H2 SX sold for a more Japanese price, but either way, adaptive cruise, control blind spot monitoring and forward collision warnings are a handy addition.

The full color, 6.5-inch TFT dash on this 197-horsepower, force-fed widowmaker has been significantly upgraded, too, to work in even closer with a Bluetooth-connected smartphone. And of course, this is on top of what was already a very comprehensively decked-out set of wheels, with lean angle-sensitive everything including cornering headlights. I'm not sure it's worth nearly twice the price of the old-faithful ZX-14R, but then nobody's out there buying H2s with practicality or value top of mind. More information. Check out a video.

2022 Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX | Official Action Video | ENGINEERED TO BE FREE

Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello: The world's first bike to roll with active aeros

Moto Guzzi has debuted a very modern V100 Mandello, featuring active aerodynamic panels
Moto Guzzi has debuted a very modern V100 Mandello, featuring active aerodynamic panels

Moto Guzzi has heaved its bulk into the new millennium with a sporty-looking whippersnapper of a thing it's calling the Mandello. It's the first Guzzi with Ohlins semi-active suspension, a six-axis IMU, cornering ABS or a quickshifter, and it's the first bike anywhere to ship with active aerodynamics. It's not super exciting; it's a couple of flaps that either sit back against the sides of the tank, or automatically poke out at speed to "reduce air pressure on the rider by 22 percent ... close to the level of air protection afforded by more voluminous and less sporty tourers."

I don't think anyone would've picked Guzzi to beat its Piaggio stablemate Aprilia to the punch on active aeros (especially after the RS660 concept bike introduced the idea in 2018), but here we are. The Mandello's not a bad looking bike at all, either, with an all-new 1,042 cc engine sending 115 horsepower and 105 Nm (77 lb-ft) down a "no linkage required" shaft drive to the rear wheel. It looks comfy, quick and capable, with a modern new angle on the Guzzi style. Check out a video below.

Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello | Technologically Advanced and one-of-a-kind 🦅

Honda Fireblade CBR-1000RR-R SP celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Fireblade

Honda's 2022 CBR-1000RR-R, rampant thanks to three extra teeth on the back sprocket
Honda's 2022 CBR-1000RR-R, rampant thanks to three extra teeth on the back sprocket

Honda's Fireblade has always been a terrific bike for pirates, who would've been delighted to receive yet another R when the CBR-1000RR-R SP first debuted last year. Four whole Rs! This must be the sportiest motorcycle in the world! Power stays steady at 214 horsepower for 2022, but it's been tweaked for stronger midrange, better traction management and throttle feel, says Honda – and the rear sprocket has jumped up a surprising three teeth. That's why we used a wheelie picture above, not just because we like wheelies.

There's Ohlins, there's Brembo, there's plenty of electronics – as there was before – but our favorite bit here has to be the paint job, which harks back to the 1992-tastic livery that debuted with the Fireblade back in 1992 and looks sharp today plastered across a set of very un-1992 aerodynamic winglets. More information. Here's a video. Man, it's been too long since I did a track day, this just looks spectacular.

New 2022 CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP

Bimota reaches hitherto uncharted levels of retro-fugly with new KB4

Bimota's KB4, inspired by bananas and bosozoku
Bimota's KB4, inspired by bananas and bosozoku

Does anyone know what they're smoking down in San Marino at Bimota HQ lately? After subjecting us to the eye-battering Tesi H2 two years ago, the Italian coachbuilder has now released another pair of ultra-exclusive, Kawasaki-engined sportsters that strike out in a retro direction but end up looking like a dog's breakfast. Incidentally, here's a stock photo for that, should you ever need it.

The front end of the faired KB4 looks pretty nice, quite a lot like Triumph's new Speed Triple 1200 RR Cafe Racer. We can definitely get down with the cockpit. But the chunky tail, which houses the radiator and fans, looks awful over a very drab swingarm, and the banana-swoop fairing connecting the flanks to the backside... Well, put it this way; it's pretty unique, and if the gods are truly benevolent, it'll stay that way.

There isn't much out there that looks like the KB4 RC, and we can all be thankful for that
There isn't much out there that looks like the KB4 RC, and we can all be thankful for that

An unfaired KB4 RC hits the same discordant notes, without the nice front end to save it. These will be reasonably quick and agile bikes, making 142 horsepower and weighing 187 kg (412 lb) dry. Certainly lighter than the Ninja 1000 bikes that donate the 1,043cc inline 4 engine. But while every part strives to be engineering art, the big picture weirds me out almost as badly as those Japanese Bosozuku bikes. Then again, I've never been accused of having good taste, so go ahead and fork out the squillion dollars it'll cost to be seen on one of these in public, if it somehow butters your muffin. More information. Video below.

Bimota KB4 | Official video |

MV Agusta prepares to hit the middleweight ADV market with Lucky Explorer 5.5 and 9.5

MV Agusta's Lucky Explorer 9.5 looks like a serious middleweight adventure weapon
MV Agusta's Lucky Explorer 9.5 looks like a serious middleweight adventure weapon

Finally, a pair of motorcycles for all those legions of riders that have said "I want to take my modern MV Agusta bush-bashing." The Lucky Explorer bikes are just concepts at this stage, but they signal MV's clear intention to get back out in the dirt and wring some sentimental shine out of the old Cagiva Elefant, which bagged its parent company MV two Dakar wins in the early 90s.

The 5.5 will run a 550cc parallel twin engine, developed with MV's new Chinese distribution partner QJ Motor. The 9.5 will be a premium product based on a new 930cc triple that MV says will deliver 123 hp and 102 Nm (75 lb-ft), at the same size as the current 800cc motor. This one will be available with a Rekluse auto-clutch, and an optional "electro-actuated gearbox," and it'll run 21- and 18-inch wheels. This doesn't seem like a recipe for a half-assed attempt, and both bikes look pretty slick already, so we're interested to see how they end up in production form.

MV's wonderful press team tells us the Lucky Explorers are "not just a cold but smart marketing project." Instead, it's about "a comprehensive world of emotions, memories, values and a way of being," into which you may submerge yourself by signing up at a website to be marketed at further.

MV's Lucky Explorer 5.5 concept doesn't look far off production
MV's Lucky Explorer 5.5 concept doesn't look far off production

View gallery - 12 images
8 comments
8 comments
Toddy
The Benelli Tornado is the only road bike that should ever have the radiator under the seat! I appreciate Bimotas attempt to remove some of the visual mass from the front end, to make up for their huge, bull-nosed Tesi H2 fairing I suppose, but they didn't need to smear the ugly right down the side of this KB4 as they have with the cooling intakes. The Fireblade however, looks incredible in that that retro livery!
guzmanchinky
I just got back into street/adventure riding a year ago with a 790 R, and now I just sold it. Maybe I'm just old but I prefer mostly off road, and so I'm sticking with my CRF450L. I do love bikes, but the thought of crashing at speed on road just removes too much of the enjoyment for me...
Username
I see nothing weird about any of these. I also unfortunately only see ICE.
Martin Hone
Ok, I admit to being a minimalist, hence my disillusionment with many of the recent offerings. Obviously the designers have run out of ideas, and the engineers are forced to use gimmicks from the fickle automotive arena to incite demand. That Bimota is plain ugly and just shows how far this once innovative company has fallen.
Nelson Hyde Chick
When are we going to be able to buy an eletric motorcycle from a major manufacturer?
Crimsontiger6
The Bimota looks much nicer with the rider on it. Give me the Guzzi or MV though, very handsome bikes. After owning a 1600cc BMW I'm going back to a lighter bike.
AngryPenguin
@Nelson Hyde Chick

That's gonna be when the companies making electric motorcycles become major manufacturers.
David V
@Nelson Hyde Chick - Why wait ? Tesla wasn't a major manufacturer when it started (obviously). Go try the Harley Livewire. It's a bomb. A fantastic bike and they're cutting the price to "nearly reasonable". Go ride a Zero. They've been around for a while and the bikes look amazing - check out the SR model. Beautiful. I've only ridden the Harley so far but there is more to come.
On this article, nothing particularly weird looking except the Bimoto café racer. Café racers should be light and minimalist and this doesn't cut it. The Honda looks great. I like the adaptive cruise control on the Kawa and the Guzzi is acceptable.