Top 10s

Top 10 surprise new motorcycles of EICMA 2017

The bikes we least expected to see in Milan

THERE was no shortage of new model launches at Milan’s Eicma motorcycle show but many were well heralded. The culture of teaser videos and staggered product unveils means that surprises at these events aren’t as common as once they were.

But there were still a few things that appeared with little or no notice, and it’s those unexpected elements that make the rather old-fashioned business of annual motorcycle shows still worthwhile.

Here’s a rundown of the 10 things that made us raise an eyebrow in Milan.

10: Kawasaki’s 125cc sports bike

Okay, so Kawasaki didn’t actually ­show us its new 125cc single-cylinder Ninja 125 – or the naked Z125 that will debut alongside it – but the very fact that it’s happening is a big shift for the company. While its rivals have a long history of small sports bikes, Kawasaki’s heritage on that front is relatively bare. Sure, the AR125 was a desirable thing in its day, but since then… But Kawasaki today is spreading into ever more markets (hey, it even does scooters these days), so the Ninja 125 makes sense.

READ MORE.

The big retro bike news of the show was surely Royal Enfield’s brace of new 650cc twins. Less obvious was this little single from Benelli. Sure, its roots are Chinese, but it’s got a classic name, a convincing 1960s style and a trad-looking 400cc air-cooled single. Yamaha used to plough this furrow with the SR400 but it’s gone now, at least in Europe, and the Benelli might be ideal to fill its boots. The inevitable café-racer and scrambler versions will no doubt appear in due course.

READ MORE.

BMW really seems to be getting serious about its big scooters, doesn’t it? The new C400X might be somewhat challenging to look at but it’s the first BMW-branded scooter to dive into a hotly-contested mainstream part of the market. Previous efforts – the super-luxury C650s, the electric C Evolution and of course the batshit-crazy C1 – have been niche offerings. The C400X? It’s a rival to the likes of the Burgman 400. Will it work? Well, these days BMW cars, with their ‘premium’ appeal, often outsell mainstream Fords and Vauxhalls. The S1000RR usually out-does Japanese superbikes in sales, too. So why not repeat that success in the scooter arena?

READ MORE.

One of the big surprises of Eicma wasn’t a bike at all. It was a lack of them. Following an uncharacteristically subdued Tokyo show last month, Suzuki was even quieter in Milan. The new SV650X is pretty enough, but it had already been revealed in Tokyo. Other than that, the news was… nothing at all. Come on Suzuki, where’s the new Hayabusa you teased us with two years ago? Or the turbo bike that’s been under development for half-a-decade?

READ MORE.

Talk of a big-capacity Scrambler has been rife ever since the original 803cc version first showed itself but Ducati seemed to lack a suitable engine. Its big stuff is all water cooled these days, which is at odds with the Scrambler idiom. The firm’s decision to disinter the old Monster 1100/Hypermotard 1100 V-twin, four years on from its demise, comes as something of an eye-opener. Toughening emissions standards mean that when old engine die, it’s usually for good. Not this time.

READ MORE.

Should the fact that Kawasaki has added semi-active suspension to its ZX-10R come as a shock? Not at all; Honda, Yamaha, Ducati and BMW’s superbikes all have such stuff, so it’s really just playing catch-up. The surprise really is that the kit was added to a new ‘SE’ model rather than being grafted on to the homologation-special ZX-10RR. It means there’s a bewildering array of ZX-10Rs now. There’s the ZX-10R, the RR, the R KRT, the R Performance and now the R SE as well. Not to mention the fact that Kawasaki also makes the H2, H2 Carbon and H2R. Does any other firm have a larger 1000cc superbike line-up?

READ MORE.

When we saw the Honda CB150R back in September it didn’t seem likely that it would be sold in Europe. After all, its 150cc capacity was at odds with our licencing framework. So the fact that Honda has made a 125cc version was a pleasant surprise, and that it’s also bolted its 296cc single into much the same bike to create a CB300R is even better news. OK, it’s a shame it’s not using the CBR250RR’s twin (hey, Honda, where’s our Euro legal version of that bike?) but even so it’s a great-looking machine and the perfect junior partner to the new CB1000R.

READ MORE.

That Yamaha updated the Tracer 900 came as no shock. The firm revamped the MT-09 last year, so a rework of the faired version 12 months on was to be expected. But the new GT version looks like the real ticket to success. All-round-capable sports-tourers aren’t sexy enough to make many magazine front pages, but they’re strong sellers and the addition of proper panniers, better suspension, cruise control, quick-shift and – this year’s hot ticket – a TFT instrument pack should make the GT the most popular version of all. Don’t bet against this as potentially 2018’s best-selling Yamaha, at least in the UK.

READ MORE.

Retro-sportsbike concepts aren’t a new area for Honda. It’s teased us before with machines like the CB1100R Concept and the electric-but-neo-retro RC-E Concept. But the CB4 Interceptor might just be the best one yet. Better still, it appears to be heavily based on the newly-launched CB1000R – same old-Blade-derived engine, similar chassis and suspension – so making a production version wouldn’t be that hard.  And given that the last CB4 Concept, developed by the same team and shown in 2015, laid down the style for the 2018 CB1000R, CB300R and CB125R, Honda is clearly paying attention to the stuff its European R&D department is doing.

READ MORE.

Officially this is a concept bike, but Guzzi makes little secret of the fact the V85 is under development to become a production model in the near future. Packing an 80hp, 850cc twin that the firm says will be used across a range of bikes, it’s got fabulous 1980s Paris-Dakar-inspired style (that paint job recalls Guzzi rallye-raid bikes from the mid-80s). Where previous Guzzi adventure bikes – the Stelvio and the Quota that preceded it – had bland modern styling, this thing has ‘I want one’ looks and real heritage to fall back on. No, it probably won’t dethrone the BMW GS. But surely it will massively outsell every other Moto Guzzi in recent memory.

READ MORE.

Join the conversation!

Let us know what you think, just sign up for a free account, leave a comment and get involved!
Register Now

Latest Reviews

Review
Review
Review

Latest Videos

Feature
Article
Article