The top bikes of EICMA 2017 as chosen by the Iron & Air staff.
It’s that time of year again when motorcycle manufacturers present their newest models at one of the largest international trade fairs, EICMA (Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori) in Milan, Italy. Here’s a look at the top nine debuts we’re stoked on.
2018 Kawasaki K900RS Cafe
We’ve been waiting for Kawasaki to create a spiritual successor to its ‘70s Z1, and we’ve finally got it with the K900RS Cafe. Features that set the Cafe apart from the standard K900RS, which Kawasaki recently debuted at the Tokyo motor show, are a front fairing, low-slung handlebars, and a new seat design. “We were delighted at the worldwide acclaim for the Z900RS when it was launched just a few weeks ago,” said director of Kawasaki Motors Europe, Morihiro Ikoma, in a statement. “The Z900RS Cafe widens the appeal of the new RS offering and personifies the True Spirit model tag line. Kawasaki took its time to enter the modern classic scene but the wait was worthwhile.” Couldn’t agree more.
2019 KTM Duke 790
“The most precise street weapon” is what KTM calls its all-new Duke 790. We’ve seen glimpses of this savage-looking middleweight naked over the past year, but this is our first look at the production version, which should go on sale in America late next year. Its built around a clean-sheet parallel-twin engine that produces 103 horsepower and 64 lb-ft of torque. Front and rear suspension are sourced from WP, and the Duke 790 should come standard with a slew of go-fast tech, including a quickshifter, cornering ABS, and launch control. The KTM Duke 790 is a tightly packaged, well-designed sportbike that has us already cleaning out space in our garage.
Yamaha Ténéré 700 World Raid prototype
"Ténéré" is a sandy desert region in the southern Saharas, and Yamaha appropriates the word for its best adventure-ready bikes. The all-new Ténéré 700 World Raid prototype, a follow-up to the T7 concept that debuted this time last year, is more than deserving. The Ténéré 700 World Raid prototype previews a production model that isn’t ready for public consumption. It’s based off the MT-07, using the same chassis and 689cc parallel-twin engine. The lightweight, slim-bodied adventure bike features long-travel inverted forks, a rear monoshock, thick skid plates, aggressive knobbies, an Akrapovič exhaust, and a four-projector headlight tucked behind a tall windscreen.
Husqvarna Vitpilen 701
After years of teasing, Husqvarna finally debuted a production version of its Vitpilen 701. Billed as “a more thrilling, honest, and real bike experience," the Vitpilen has minimalist styling synonymous with the Swedish heritage of Husky. Delivering 75 horsepower and 53 lb-ft of torque, the single-cylinder, 693cc liquid-cooled engine should offer immediate, sharp, and refined power. The steel trellis frame helps keep weight down (346 lb), the WP suspension is fully adjustable, and a state-of-the-art Bosch ABS system ensures the highest levels of safety. Designed as a street bike that offers a new take on urban motorcycling, the Vitpilen 701 is well worth Husqvarna's relentless teasing.
Indian Motorcycles FTR1200 Custom
Take your race-prepped flat track bike, add a front brake and some working lights, and bam! Gold, Jerry. Gold. Indian Motorcycles debuted its FTR1200 Custom, a bike that honors Indian’s domination of the AMA Flat Track circuit over the past year. The FTR1200, while being called a custom, shows how Indian could take the existing 1133cc Scout engine, house it in a lightened trellis frame with upgraded suspension, and appeal to a market that wants something fresh from the 116-year-old brand. "As was the case with Indian’s original founders, “ says Reid Wilson, Indian's marketing director, “we are using racing to develop, test, and showcase the capabilities of our motorcycles. Indian will push boundaries by developing new products that will expand rider perceptions of American motorcycles.” Just hurry up and give us this bike.
2018 Honda CB1000R
The CB1000R is the production-ready version of the "Neo Sports Café" concept that recently debuted at this year's Tokyo motor show. It's a modern, performance-orientated motorcycle that doesn't lose sight of its heritage and legacy but isn't bound by it. Its 998cc engine makes an emphatic point to look better than most motorcycle engines while delivering 145 horsepower at 10,500 rpm, which means the CB1000R should be very competitive in its class. Honda's arrival to the modern-classic party might be a bit behind the curve, but we say it's fashionably late.
Honda CB4 Interceptor
As unassuming as Honda may seem at times, Big Red is still a force to be reckoned with as the CB4 Interceptor proves. This concept is based off of the CB1000R and features drop handlebars, an underseat exhaust, an intimidating endurance-style fairing, and a headlight-mounted turbine fan that converts wind into energy and powers the bike's instrument panel. While we’re sure most of these elements are Honda flexing its design muscles, we like what we see.
2018 Honda CB300R
The CB300 is a tidy city ripper that carries a lot of the same character as its big brother, the CB1000R, but in a compact, stylish, and more affordable package. (Size may matter to some, but it's the motion in the ocean that counts, right? Right.) Honda may be entering this market near the crest of the wave, but it seems the company intends to surf it all the way to shore, and we're right there with them. As the saying goes, "It's more fun to ride a slow bike fast than to ride a fast bike slow."
Moto Guzzi V85 Adventure
Think of the Moto Guzzi V85 Adventure concept as a mature, more capable version of a scrambler. The “classic enduro” draws inspiration from Moto Guzzi's V65 TTR models that were modified for the Paris-Dakar Rally. With classic lines and colors and obvious vintage appeal, the V85 Adventure features modern Ohlins front and rear suspension, Brembo brakes, and an 80-horsepower, 850cc V-twin engine. The brand-new motor will be the basis for a new series of mid-size bikes that Moto Guzzi will bring to market. Word is this V85 should reach production in the second half of next year, and we can't wait to get our hands on one.