Gallery: Horsepower and electric motorcycles galore at EICMA 2019
In a foggy and wet Milan, the Euro 5 class made a thunderous debut at the Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori 2019 (or EICMA) with bigger and more powerful engines. The motorcycle show also demonstrated increasing competition from the Far East at all levels, and was garnished with some exciting announcements.
EICMA holds firmly onto its leading position in the motorcycle industry as the biggest annual international exhibition. Despite competition from the alternating biennial shows in Cologne, Germany, and Tokyo, Japan, the Italian display continues to attract most manufacturers’ significant debuts.
The 77th edition of the Milan show filled eight huge halls with new motorcycles and gear, offering even more space to the ever increasing Chinese industry to showcase its progress in quality and competitiveness.
Apart from the usual key models that will inevitably attract most of the attention, this year it was the opening of a small corner booth next to Kawasaki under the title Italian Motorcycle Investment SpA that generated a lot of buzz. The rather faceless name is actually a temporary appellation for what will be soon renamed again with its traditional name, Bimota.
The announcement that Kawasaki acquired a 49.9 percent stake in Bimota broke out with a monster of a motorcycle where the Japanese supercharged power plant of the H2 meets the unique frame and hub-center suspension of the Bimota Tesi and bathes in high-end equipment.
This will be the most potent Tesi ever produced, joining in an outright horsepower war in the naked bike class. KTM picked up Ducati’s Streetfighter V4 glove, launching a new, all too powerful 1290 Super Duke R as the company faces MV Agusta’s reply in the shape of a brand new Brutale 1000 RR.
Also expanding rapidly is the Adventure motorcycle segment, with engines growing continuously in capacity to the point where BMW’s middle models now come in at 900 cc. New players are joining the fun too, such as Moto Morini and Husqvarna announcing bold new bikes.
In fact Moto Morini, in tandem with Aprilia, plays a different hand by launching new 650 and 660-cc engine platforms respectively. Some seem to have realized that the Adventure bike clan risks losing touch with the average middle-class customer.
In this sense, the absence of both Norton and CCM did strike us as a bit strange, especially for the former which has a new 650 twin engine that's supposed to spearhead an offensive on the affordable front. The English company was present at EICMA when it manufactured only an eclectic V4 superbike and a small variety of hand-built Commandos, it would therefore seem to make much more sense to return now that it has an offering with much wider appeal.
On the other hand, the Chinese manufacturers keep on growing in numbers, but they also return stronger every year. Just a few years ago you’d rarely see engines bigger than 125cc, but now a large number of 300cc models (and some even bigger) of all shapes and forms appeal to a wide spectrum of western customers and have successfully claimed considerable market shares in several countries.
The Chinese presence is certainly more felt in the electric motorcycle sector, which the major global players still snub while their Asian counterparts keep on bringing out new models that appear more realistic and attractive. One cannot but wonder how far behind big factories will be when they finally decide to invest in electric.
Head to the gallery for a photographic tour of the main attractions that made the main EICMA 2019 headlines, as well as several interesting exhibits that fell under the radar.