Day two of the 68th annual EICMA motorcycle show in Milano, Italy brought with it more cool new bikes and, best of all, slightly warmer temperatures outside. After the MXA contingent had made a few rounds, the prevailing opinion was that the Euro bike brands (KTM, Husqvarna and Ducati) were definitely outshining their Japanese counterparts in terms of delivering new product that people were excited to talk about. The smaller brands were also showing themselves to be better able to create small production niche bikes which the Japanese just can’t seem to counter. No doubt the worldwide recession has played a big role in all of this, but it will be interesting to watch how the power struggles play out between between the factories – both on and off the track.
When I had to sign off from my initial Milano show report (which you can see by clicking on the Mid-Week Report), I was on my way to a Pirelli-sponsored gala to introduce a new street tire, the Diablo Rosso II. The party took place at a magnificent Italian villa that was fronted with a trio of Italian supercars.
Two Pirelli riders who were called up for some Q&A were 2010 FIM 450 World Motocross Champion Tony Cairoli and World Superbike runnerup Carlos Checa.
Besides all the lessons that they’ve learned from their tire sponsorship of the World Superbike series, Pirelli is also introducing their new “My Tire” personalization program where you can get a special graphic kit with your own message created on the Pirelli website. www.pirelli.com
Like Honda, Yamaha rolled out some of the factory race bikes including one of 2010 MotoGP champ Jorge Lorenzo’s race bikes, Valentino Rossi’s 2004 MotoGP title winner and Cal Crutchlow’s Sterilgarda Superbike. The weekend of the Milan show will mark Valentino Rossi’s last ride for Yamaha before his highly anticipated move to Ducati.
Suzuki CrossCage electric bike uses a one-sided fork that needs a scissor link to control the fork.
ITALY IS SCOOTER MAD!
Italy is still crazy about scooters and the small displacement market remains highly successful. To prove their technology, RMS sponsored a scooter trek that traveled Route 66 across America.
As much as they love pasta and scooters, the Italians are also mad about racing and Polini is the Pro Circuit of the Italian scooter scene.
Two-strokes are still live and prosperous in the Italian scooter racing circles.
How about a step-thru Yamaha T-Max scooter with Ohlins suspension?
Besides their new six-cylinder street bikes, BMW had this high-end concept scooter on display. Will this be the next bike for Troy Corser?
MEANWHILE, OVER AT THE HUSKY BOOTH
Husqvarna was happy to give thanks to Italian enduro star Antoine Meo for delivering them the 2010 250cc World Enduro title.
Here’s what the left side of the wild Husqvarna Mille 3 concept bike looks like. Don’t expect to find it at your local Husky dealer anytime soon!
Is the Mille 3 low and narrow? Yes, but when one Italian gawker asked me, “Is this what you would call a Chicano bike in America?” The answer was “No.”
No one in the Husky booth could comment if the three-cylinder Mille 3 engine would ever be put in use.
Here’s the factory-backed bike used by Antonio Meo used to win the 2010 250cc World Enduro Championship title. Husky will be selling a slightly toned down replica.
No doubt that after seeing the success of both Ducati and KTM’s soft goods merchandise business, Husky is jumping into the aftermarket accessory world with their “Husqvarna Shop” catalog. The man in charge of the effort in America will be former Pro Circuit Husky rider Andy “Bro Show” Jefferson. It will be interesting to see how the originally Swedish, formerly Italian and now German owned brand will sell itself.
Husky continues with the sharp line styling that eschews side number plates. This is the 2011 six-speed TC449.
Both Supermoto and super models remain all the vogue in Italy. The combination was perfected at the Husky booth.
From 65cc two stroke minicycles to the big, booming 610cc four stroke banger, Husqvarna remains commited to producing a wide range of motors.
For the 2011 season, American Michael Leib will be joining the factory Husky 250 GP team.
Husqvarna has found itself atop the world with their Supermoto effort.
Modern day Husqvarna maintains the winning legacy on the enduro circuit that was begun with names like Malcolm Smith, Steve McQueen and Dick Burleson.
BACK TO THE SHOW
While the Husky concept bike may not have been reflective of America’s Latin culture, this year the Milan show promoters opened the doors to custom car and bike fabricators to add some distinct SoCal flair.
Here’s a close-up of the reverse cylinder used on the Ossa TR280 trials bike.
Along with their radical trials bike, Ossa made sure to remind people of their own history as a Spanish marque
Benelli used the 2010 Milan show to celebrate their upcoming 100th anniversary and to do so they rolled out a mini museum of historical bikes, including this 11-1/4 horsepower, 175cc model from 1911.
Here’s a 1968 350cc GP bike that was once ridden by world champ & future Yamaha man, Kel Carruthers.
The six-cylinder Benelli Sei was one of the more amazing production bikes in the ?70’s (rivaled by Honda’s own six cylinder CBX).
Motorcycle technology has evolved dramatically in the last 100 years, however, it could be argued that in some instances the aesthetics have not.
Few things say “Italy” like the classic tri-colore stripes as found on this Scorpion helmet. Besides a broad line of street bike helmets, Scorpion also has a variety of dirt bike helmets as well.
Scorpion also offers a complete line of off-road helmets.
Equally full of Italian flair was the Aprilia Superbike effort which delivered the company a much sought after world title this year with the ageless Max Biaggi aboard.
The beautifullly crafted carbon muffler and bracket by Akropovic.
Motorcycle touring remains popular throughout Europe and there is no shortage of tour accessories that cater to the niche market ? like bags and lights. www.touratech.de
As they’ve often done in the past, Ducati used the Milan show to introduce a new model and this year it was the radical Diavel. Long in the rumor mill as an Italian muscle bike (ala the Yamaha V-Max), when it was rolled out at the Ducati gala it seemed to share a closer relationship with the Harley V-Rod.
There will be two versions of the Diavel, both which use the race-proven 1198cc Testatretta engine that pumps out 162 horsepower.
Among the many key features, the new Ducati runs a 240 rear tire (on an 8 inch rim) that was specially developed for them by Pirelli.
The split-level instrument panel keeps track of the full complement of info.
With the introduction of the new Diavel and the brutish StreetFighter two years ago, it would be easy to forget that the venerable Ducati Monster still lives. Available in either a 696cc or 1100cc configuration, the Monster remains one of the most practical street bikes on the market. It can also be highly modified with a broad array of accessories found in Ducati’s aftermarket catalog.
With fresh snow on the nearby Dolomites, what better way to get warmed up than some hot, fresh chestnuts!
Look for part three of the Milan show coverage featuring all the most wild bikes found coming soon.