Milan, is known as a global capital for fashion, design, media, publishing and finance. But my main reason for visiting would be the International Motorcycle and Accessories Exhibition (EICMA) which has been held annually since 1914 — except for 2020, because of the pandemic — and usually in November.
The industry’s foremost trade fair engages with life on two wheels — from helmets, clothing and parts to the machines themselves — and manufacturers often use it as a showcase for what to expect the following year and beyond.
Last year’s edition wasn’t as busy as previous events, due to the ongoing pandemic, and there were some notable absentees — BMW, KTM, Harley-Davidson and Ducati in particular. But there was enough to keep attendees occupied. While I wasn’t able to fulfil my dream of attending, I did follow the goings-on with excitement, and there are a couple of motorcycles that caught my eye.
2022 Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello
Having experienced Moto Guzzi for the first time a few months ago — I wrote about the 1000+ kilometres I spent with the V85TT — I would love to get onto the V100 Mandello that was unveiled at EICMA 2021. Billed as a sports tourer, it has nifty adaptive aerodynamics that enable you to adjust the side deflectors and comes with electronically adjustable top fairing, Öhlins semi-active suspension, four ride modes (travel, sport, rain and road), cornering ABS and lights that direct into corners as you lean, cruise control, quick shifter and full LED headlights with a daytime running light. I have it on authority that it goes into production this year, but means I will probably have to wait until 2023 to sample it.
Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP 30th Anniversary
When I started riding, I was intimidated by superbikes. I wasn’t one of those guys who gets a superbike and learns how to ride on the road. The 25th Anniversary Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade was my introduction to superbikes and the Honda brand. Yet it was as gentle — as much as a motorcycle can be — particularly on the curves on Hennops Road. Beyond the limited-edition livery, the primary updates are said to be performance related, including improved mid-corner drive and acceleration, intake and exhaust gas flow, traction control and ride-by-wire throttle. In homage to Hiroaki Tsukui, the design project leader of the first Fireblade, he got to designed the latest paint scheme.
2022 Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX SE
The updated Ninja has a new Advanced Rider Assist System with adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning and blind-spot detection, a 6.5-inch thin-film-transistor (TFT) liquid-crystal display (LCD) and mySPIN smartphone infotainment app, tire-monitoring system, heated grips and a USB power outlet.
It also has a new exhaust muffler, multiple riding modes, quick shifter and traction control.
2022 Yamaha XSR 900
What I love about this motorcycle is the retro styling, which draws inspiration from the Yamaha YZR500, a Grand Prix racer from the 1970s and 1980s. Yet it comes with all the contemporary bells and whistles, including quick shifter, cruise and traction control, slide control, front wheel life control, full LED lights and a full-colour 3.5-inch TFT LCD display.
Husqvarna Norden 901
Having unveiled the Norden 901 concept at EICMA 2019, Husqvarna finally launched the motorcycle at EICMA 2021. While it is built around some of the tech, steel frame and engine of its “big brother” — the KTM 890 Adventure — it’s still distinct. Said to be an adventure bike that is as comfortable on the road, it has three riding modes (street, off-road and rain), cruise control, cornering ABS and cornering traction control, quick shifter, and a standard TFT LCD to link with your smartphone.