EICMA 2017: The Height of Fashion & Design

Jan 20, 2018 View Comments by

Yamaha TénéréHigh heels and two wheels. Milan, Italy, is twice blessed. With February’s annual show introducing the best spring finery for women, it yet again becomes a world capital of haute couture. Avid riders more likely know that this beautiful metropolis is also in vogue each November as it transforms into the epicenter of high fashion and design regarding everything related to motorcycles when the public and industry insiders converge there to experience the EICMA exhibition. With that said, here’s a look at a few of the cutting-edge 2018 models turning heads and heels at EICMA’s annual gathering, where Scrambler verve and Retro chic held sway. New and/or nostalgic riders take note.

Indian motorcyclesA Scout and More Powerful Indians
Paying homage to its incredible flat-track success, Indian Motorcycle unveiled the one-off Scout FTR1200 Custom, powered by a burly 1133cc engine, claiming 100hp and firmly seated in a chromoly steel-trellis, flat-track chassis. The Spirit Lake company also stoked its Thunderstroke 111 engines, gaining 15hp and 15Nm in torque (84hp/150Nm) with the removal of intake restrictions and the addition of better flowing exhaust equipment. Consumers have repeatedly expressed interest in the flat tracker, and now a production model for the street is imminent.

Nakedly Honda
Available for purchase this summer in the U.S., the aggressively styled 2018 CB1000R travels in exciting directions on a new platform. Honda’s leading naked sport model, with its updated 998cc DOHC four-cylinder engine, chassis, and electronics, represents a bold shift in character and smoothly splits the difference between performance and café-racer aspirations. Taking it down a digit for entry-level riders, Honda presented two spritely iterations of its Neo-Sports Café concept in the CB125R and CB300R models, bringing its new styling directive down the line to the entry-level bikes. Retaining the same flair as the 1000, they cater to beginners and commuters alike. No news yet on U.S. availability for either bike, but a new Africa Twin, the CRF1000L2, will hit U.S. shores this summer to join the updated standard CRF1000L in Honda’s thoroughbred adventure-sport stable. Its many admirable features include: added ground clearance, a 6.7gal fuel tank, increased suspension travel, a larger fairing, taller screen, better comfort, electronic and rider enhancements, and auto-canceling turn indicators. Renowned for an ideal balance of power and light weight, both models now roll out on throughways and trails with a Throttle-By-Wire system offering four distinct riding modes and expanded HSTC, Honda Selectable Torque Control.

H-D Goes Back to the Future
Twenty-five years after it was decommissioned, the Sport Glide has rejoined the ranks at Harley-Davidson. It’s the company’s ninth model utilizing the all new Softail platform. Agile, sleek and lightweight, stiff and powerful (propelled by a Milwaukee-Eight 107 V-Twin), the technologically advanced reincarnation of the Sport Glide—featuring redesigned clamshell saddlebags and a trimmed-back, easily detachable, bat-wing fairing—should attract a slew of commuting, cruising, and touring devotees.

KTM 790 DUKE 2018Duking It Out
Gloves off and ready to rumble, KTM announced the arrival of a bold contender, the 790 Duke, along with a 790 Adventure R prototype pointing toward lineup expansions relying upon the thundering one-two punch of its new-generation 799cc LC8c parallel-twin engine to win over a steady stream of fans. Punching above its weight, the potent 790 Duke, puts out 105hp and 86Nm of torque—and though only first revealed in 2016 as a prototype bearing a boxer’s nickname, “The Scalpel,” it looks sharper than ever. A curve-carving champ on the rise if ever there was one. The 790 Duke will be available in the U.S. this fall; whereas the wait for the Adventure R may take another year after that. And on another front, confirmed rally-goers partial to the lightweight division will be pleased to see whether KTM’s new 450 Rally model comes away with a seventeenth-consecutive Rally Dakar win.

BMW Presents
In the adventure, travel-enduro segment, BMW showed off its fully redesigned and reengineered lineup replacements for the F 700 GS and F 800 GS: the new F 750 GS and F 850 GS. Both models boast the same powerful, two-cylinder inline, 853cc engine, with outputs of 77 and 95 hp, respectively. Standard riding modes are “Road” and “Rain,” but options offer two more modes for the pair, “Dynamic” and “Enduro,” and a third, “Enduro Pro,” only available on the F 850 GS. New equipment highlights range from full LED lighting to first-rate connectivity choices.

Kawasaki and Yamaha Standouts
Retro received the full “modern classic” treatment when Kawasaki dreamed up the Z900RS standard, and most particularly so, on its stylish Z900RS Café racer, announcing its presence profoundly with a deeply guttural, tuned exhaust note. An inline-four DOHC engine tuned for midrange power and seated in a lightweight trellis frame drives both bikes with a claimed output of 111 hp, which is more than adequate for bombing up and down the boulevard. But if more is required, Kawasaki also launched a rowdy new sport-tourer, the H2-SX, in Milan. Suffice it to say, it’s got a supercharger. As of this printing, we aren’t certain whether we’ll see them in the U.S. and under which monikers.

And Yamaha, building on the T7 concept model it introduced last year, unveiled the Ténéré 700 World Raid adventure prototype. Powered by the acclaimed 689cc CP2 engine, the bike is set to travel the world throughout 2018. Yamaha also showcased two, long-distance sport-tourers, the Tracer 900 and 900 GT.

Royal Enfield

Worthy Mentions
Before concluding this roll-call of EICMA exhibitors, it’s worth noting a few of the motorcycles displayed by some of the other manufacturers. Triumph touted improvements to the Tiger 800 and 1200 lineup, focusing on a host of upgrades to the engine and chassis, new riding modes, lighting and instrumentation enhancements, and fresh bodywork. Husqvarna pulled the covers off its street-ready Vitpilen 701 and the Svartpilen 701, a concept model. And finishing our list of honorable mentions, Royal Enfield rolled out its affordable, retro-inspired, parallel-twin Interceptor INT 650 and Continental 650 GT models.

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