Intermot 2002

Text: Andi Seiler • Photography: Andi Seiler

1,070 companies and distributors from 38 countries presented their latest motorcycle products at the Munich INTERMOT.

There is no doubt about it - the INTERMOT is the world's most important motorcycle show. The gathering held in Munich September 17th through 22nd hosted 150,000 visitors who came to see the industry's newest creations. From our vantage point, it's open season when it comes to the battle for dominance in 2003. That goes for the offerings in all categories.

Some of the highlights: Aprilia presented the RSV Mille Tuono Fighter, the less-expensive version of the limited edition R Tuono. Showa (forks) and a Boge (rear shock) replace the Öhlins suspension components. The revised Mille engine produces 126 hp, enough for plenty of fast-paced frolic on lonely canyon roads.

In addition to the new touring cruiser R1200CL, BMW rolled out another version of the successful K1200RS and call it the K1200GT. A modified fairing with an elevated windshield and more comfortable, higher handlebars are the most important, useful changes made to appeal to the long-distance sport tourer. And a replica of the Boxer Cup R1100S is now available. Unfortunately, the street fighter R1150R shown is only a prototype.

Erik Buell, himself, showed up to introduce his new naked sport bike, the XB9S, which replaces the X1 Lightning and the M2 Cyclone, using many parts from the well-known XB9R. As in its donor bike, the frame holds the fuel and the swingarm carries the oil for the engine.

Cagiva seems to be in a very difficult situation now. Its deal with Piaggio didn't work out, and the bikes are rarely available. Nevertheless, the Italians put together a very special version of the limited edition X-tra Raptor. High pipes and lots of carbon-fiber parts lend the bike a sportier look.

Ducati's model range expanded appreciably for the coming year. Besides the 999 (also S), the smaller displacement version 749, as Biposto and S, were presented. Availability of the Multistrada engine - with narrower valve angles, bigger ports, and dual spark ignition - expands to the SS and Monster family. The former 750 engine gained in capacity (802cc) and power (9 to 10 hp). Also, Ducati invested in a huge development process to produce their own antilock brake system used on the ST4S ABS.

The German manufacturer Grüter + Gut (GG) surprised the visitors with an ATV powered by a BMW boxer engine. No reason to get too excited, it might not make it to the U.S.

Big Red shipped an XR 125, the Scooter Silver Wing with antilock brakes, the VTX1300 (available in the U.S. in 2002), the modified touring enduro Varadero 1000 (stiffer suspension, fuel injection, catalyzer) as well as the brand-new CBR600RR to the show. The CBR has more aggressive contours mirroring the design of Honda's Moto GP-racer RC211V and is powered by a stronger engine with a new fuel injection.

The Kawasaki Z1000 was clearly one of the stars at the show, a naked bike with the bored ZX-9R engine (953cc) and a conventional steel-frame concept. A quartet of exhaust pipes will perform a stirring concert. The shoulders of the rims are polished. Many parts of the Z1000 (like the front fender, tail section, cockpit, inner rear fender, and flashers) are identical with those on the new ZX-6R and ZX-6RR. Outstanding technical features in the 600 supersport class are the upside-down forks and the radial brake calipers, as in those on the GP bikes. The ZX-6R comes with 636cc, the ZX-6RR with 599cc. Other details include a stiffer chassis, a stronger engine, a modified fuel injection, and catalyzers in both cases. Additionally, Kawasaki presented their new VN1600 for cruising purposes. The VN's longer stroke produces more torque.

KTM rolled out their final version of their big enduro 950 Adventure S which capitalizes on the brand's enormous amount of experience in desert racing. The company stated they will develop a wider range of street bikes with the new V2 engine of the 950, and even introduced visitors to one of these new bikes, the amazing big Duke. Reportedly, the Austrians want to bring it out in 2004.

Moto Guzzi published the first pictures of the Griso roadster before the show. Other surprises at the Intermot were a pure sport bike named MGS/01 with fine technical features (sporting a revised four-valve Daytona engine) and the standard V750 Breva i.e., which will be ready for sale in 2003.

Traditional German manufacturer MZ finished their arduous development of the 1000S. The bike carries a full fairing, produces 115 hp at 9,000 rpm, and has a six-speed gearbox. The engine package includes a catalyzer. Officials mentioned a price range around 12,500 Euro (about $ 12,200).

Although the scooter market in Europe shrank, the companies aren't falling behind, and they continue to develop bigger and stronger versions. Peugeot, for example, takes pride in touting their 125 Jet Force with a compressor-charged engine.

People at the Suzuki booth could enjoy the modified GSX-R1000 (reworked engine and chassis, a new fairing and tail section). No less interesting are the SV1000S and SV1000 with the modified TL1000 engine and a new frame concept. The smaller versions the SV 650S and SV650 now have a similar frame and the engine is fed by a fuel injection instead of carbs. For American trails, Suzuki introduced the VanVan 125 with big, knobby tires.

Triumph's press conference was packed, with even more people standing outside in the hallway. But despite the fuss, the Brits only showed the previously introduced Speed Four (600cc), the new Speedmaster (modified version of the America), and the reborn Thunderbird Sport in other colors. Understandably, the production of some models slowed due to the big fire the company suffered earlier this year.

Yamaha held their conference in the old museum, the Haus der Deutschen Kunst, downtown. Same procedure here, the place was very busy. No wonder, the show arrived with a bevy of very attractive ladies. But back to the bikes. The Japanese demonstrated their towering technical standards with a new YZF-R6 (more powerful engine: 123 hp, stiffer chassis, titanium prepped exhaust system, narrower fairing, and a new cockpit), the RoadStar Warrior for Europe (already available in the U.S. in 2002), and the Versity 300 scooter. Touring riders will be glad to hear that Yamaha finally installed an antilock brake system to their FJR1300A.

Altogether the Intermot remains, as said before, the most important motorcycle show on the planet. And it serves as an amazing example of democratic laissez-faire, where the world's largest and smallest brands have equal opportunities to promote the state of the art in motorcycle technology.