This year’s EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy, once again showcased a whole slew of upcoming bikes. Some were amazing, some were so-so, and still others were…
Well, they sure were motorcycles, I think!
Within the crowd, some models rose to prominence as the cream of the crop, such as the ‘80s-style Yamaha XSR900 GP Superbike, Royal Enfield’s first liquid-cooled bike, or the surprising Chinese Kove 450R Rally. Here are the motorcycles that stood out during my visit.
Suzuki’s new (and somewhat laboriously named) halo sport tourer was so popular I nearly didn’t get a chance to throw a leg over it at the show. Even getting a good photo was nearly impossible.
It certainly seems to have all the bits long-distance sport touring riders are looking for, while also cutting a dashing, geometric figure. The updated sloping-to-a-point front fairing looks unusual (popular opinion seemed to still tilt toward favorable) but there’s no doubt the new red colorway, offset by the bronzed rear subframe and wheels, is a hot combination.
The GSX-8S and 8R 800cc-class P-Twins from Suzuki were very popular new bikes at the show, and they look to be a strong entry in the middleweight standard/naked category. Powered by the new 776cc twin from the DE adventure bike, the 8S should be a great all-around naked-style machine, while the 8R adds a sleek full fairing.
The pointy snout of the 8S holds two LED headlights and calls back a bit to the old Hans Muth-designed Katana of the 1980s. Suzuki offers a small bug screen to better “complete” the Katana look for the 8S, but it needs to come in a more angular, clear version in addition to the rounded black unit now on offer.
Yamaha XSR900 GP Superbike
If you followed top-tier Superbike racing in the ‘80s even a little bit, Yamaha’s XSR900 GP’s profile is instantly familiar. Yamaha went the distance with the GP’s styling, encasing the 890cc triple in an iconic Deltabox frame, covered by a very convincing red/white/yellow GP-look half-fairing. The whole shebang rolled on red wheels.
How they managed to get that tiny LED headlight/air duct past the European regulators must be a good story. A full fairing in matching colors is also an option.
The techie triple peaks at about 120 horsepower and 70 lb-ft of torque, which should be plenty for the target audience of slightly graying old-school crotch rocket riders—if you must have R1 power, get an R1.
A five-inch TFT display features an analog-style 180-degree tachometer but also includes a six-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) hooked into wheelie, ABS, and traction nannies. It also talks to your smartphone and Yamaha’s app.
The KYB suspension is fully adjustable front and rear, and there are two features Yamaha racers could only dream of back in the day: an up-and-down quickshifter and cruise control as standard (not that they could make use of the latter on the track).
And, for now, it’s only those lucky European and Japanese riders who will see the GP in showrooms. Considering American Superbike racing heroes, like Wayne Rainey, Eddie Lawson, and others, piloted the original machines, not bringing it stateside could border on market negligence…
Honda's resurrected Transalp adventure bike was all over the place at the show, usually as a base for selling the bags and accessories that will be needed to make it round-the-world capable for adventure riders. Although the North American market will get the bike in any color buyers want as long as it’s basic black, Europe and other countries—where the bike soldiered on for many years after disappearing stateside in 1992—will get the classic white/blue scheme and some other options.
Royal Enfield Himalayan 450
After more than 120 years of making only air-cooled motorcycles, Royal Enfield recently debuted its first fully liquid-cooled engine with the hotly anticipated Himalayan 450. It looked every inch like a proper modern adventure bike.
Royal Enfield had a 450 fully set up with a triplet of hard bags and numerous accessories. The bike appeared tough yet attractive in glossy black with gold wheels and other lustrous bits.
But make no mistake, this is a Royal Enfield, so count on toughness, affordability, and fixability from the start.
Royal Enfield has typically been a bit behind the curve on tech, but the Himalayan 450 seems fully up to date with a single four-inch round TFT clock and a bar-mounted joystick controller for operating the full-color GPS, phone/music ops, and other settings on the fly. There are also on-screen phone and music controls, two ABS options (on and rear off), and two ride modes thanks to the ride-by-wire throttle.
The 4.5 gallons of gas in the tank should give a decent range, and upper-fairing crash bars are standard. The air intake is up high under the gas tank for those deep water crossings.
Euro pricing for the top-spec variant with tubeless tires and other bits is close to $8,000 per USD conversion, with a base bike close to $7,000. To be clear, North American market availability and pricing have not been announced, but there are hints it could arrive this summer.
Moto Guzzi V7 Stone Corsa
The Cult of Guzzi members were well served at EICMA with the new liquid-cooled Stelvio adventure bikes and V100 Mandello hot rods. Yet, the standout model was the company’s newest ADV, the V7 Stone Corsa in cafe racer regalia.
Compact, powerful, and still air-cooled, the V7 Stone seemed to get the Guzzi spirit just right while still packing enough modern tech.
Twin rear shocks support the bump-stop style seat that continues to accommodate a passenger. LEDs all around include a slyly eagle-shaped DRL in the bikini fairing.
Standard bar-end mirrors keep the look and lines clean. Black exhausts sweep up from the transverse fuel-injected 853cc V-twin, which punches out 65 horsepower and 54 lb-ft of torque from two-valve heads, just as Giulio Cesare Carcano intended when the original V7 was racing more than 50 years ago.
Best of all, the V7 Stone Corsa stateside price tag shows a number smaller than $10,000. Moto Guzzi is now owned by Paiggio, which also operates Vespa.
Along with the Royal Enfield Himalayan 450, the Kove 450R Rally drew a lot of attention at EICMA. In person, the Chinese-made Kove 450 is suitably impressive, with a tall, hardcore rally stance that includes full coverage bodywork, a vertical tower ready for a roadbook (or smartphone), 51 horsepower, 30 lb-ft of torque, six speeds, and a stated top speed of 105 mph. MSRP is $8,999.
Although the new Enfield 450 is clearly an adventure bike, the street-legal Kove 450R Rally is obviously targeted at rally racing (and those who fantasize about it). Zhang Xue, Kove CEO and an experienced off-road rider, founded the company in 2017 and has made no secret of his goal to win the Dakar rally on a bike of his creation.
That’s not some hopeful blue-sky dream for Kove. Indeed, Xue fielded three Dakar teams in 2023 that didn’t win stages or trophies, but all three bikes and riders finished the race.
Kove has now picked up veteran ex-KTM pro rally rider Mason Klein to helm its next Dakar effort. He’ll be astride a race-prepped, off-road-only 450 Pro Race version that anyone with $14,000 can reel in and start tweaking for competition.
For that coin, owners get a few more ponies, a long list of upgraded parts, a race-ready digital roadbook, a full foot of suspension travel front and rear, and triple gas tanks—including one in the tail that adds up to eight gallons of juice.
In the U.S., many riders won’t even consider buying a motorcycle made in China no matter the specs or price. In Europe (and elsewhere), however, Chinese motorbikes of every shape and size are common on the streets and clearly accepted.
Could the Kove 450 find buyers in the U.S.? The price for performance is certainly tempting.
With firm financial support (plus engines and tech) from sugar daddy Kawasaki, Italian boutique brand Bimota is finally free to experiment again. However, instead of reskinning Kawi’s H2 series of supercharged supersports, it seems like someone spiked the water cooler, which resulted in the Tera.
Calling the Tera an “adventure bike” would be generous, but the bikes on display at EICMA were fitted with hard panniers and clothed in Ducati Multistrada-esque bodywork, sporting a truly trick monoshock front suspension derived from the iconic center hub-steered Tesi machines.
The front end, swingarm, and rear subframe bolt directly to the ferocious H2 liter-class mill, which makes just over 200 ponies and 101 lb-ft of torque—power any adventure rider can surely use out on the dusty trail. Öhlins suspension with middling travel (4.48 inches front, 5.31 inches rear) can be subbed out for Marzocci legs that give up to 6.5 inches of travel, so expect to see Bimota Teras on the local BDR sooner rather than later.
Pricing and availability for the Tera was not available at the show.