The big motorcycle show, Italy’s EICMA, will be happening in 20 days. Traditionally, this is a show that always brings some surprises for the new year. So, what’s up this year?
Obviously, Aprilia will be rolling out the RSV4 and RSV4-R. That’s a no-brainer.
BMW might be an interesting presence this year. The rumors of what is going to happen with the R-Series bikes has been rampant, with everything from a new 1300cc boxer, to the 1200cc boxer getting an update with the 130HP DOHC motor ported from the HP2. I’ve written about the GS getting that motor, but there are rumors that the whole R-series will be getting that upgrade as well, which would make both the GS and RT extremely attractive. And with 130HP, the lighter-weight RT would approach the performance of the FJR, making it a true sport-tourer. The 1300cc K bikes and the S1000RR are old news already, so the only conceivable surprise would come from a revamping of the R Bikes.
Ducati’s new 1200cc Multistrada and Hypermotard 796 will be there. We’ve already seen the Hypermotard. And we’ve seen the new Multistrada, too, except with lots of duct tape hiding the fairing. The removal of the duct tape will be Ducati’s big event.
MV Agusta has had the same model lineup of two bikes–the F4 and Brutale–for the last decade. This year looks to be a little different, however. We’ve already seen the two new Brutale models, so, while they’ll no doubt be there, no one will care. What we haven’t seen is the revamped F4, other than the teaser image MV released several days ago, So I expect that to be unveiled. But what we really haven’t seen are the two entirely new models that have been rumored over the last month or so. The 675cc triple that has shown up is spy shots, and the company’s new Superbike, which is expected to lead MV Agusta back to participation in WSS or WSBK racing. We don’t even know if it’s a completely new model, or WSBK-compliant F4 model. But, after a decade with the same old line-up, MV might be the surprise of the show this year.
Neither Honda now Yamaha will be there, which, in Honda’s case seems a bit odd, since their new VFR1200F has just debuted, and it’s supposed to be the basis for a whole new line of motorcycles from Big Red. So, it seems strange that they won’t be at EICMA so show it off.
Triumph will be there, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the new Street Triple R show up, with its new black and gold paint scheme, reminiscent of the John Player Special motorsports paint scheme of beloved memory.
But, surprises aside, with thingsas bad in the motorcycle manufacturing and sales world as they are, it seems that this year will mostly be a low-key affair, which the absence of two of the Big Four won’t help.
BTW, I wonder if Harley-Davidson will be pulling the Buell 1125R from the show?
The most recent sales figures for motorcycles don’t look good at all. The industry is taking a shellacking unlike anything I’ve seen since ’81-82. As of the third quarter of this year…
…motorcycle sales totaled just 434,370 so far this year, down from 771,950 in the first 9 months of 2008 for a drop of 337,580, which makes overall sales down 44%.
I wish i could say things were going to get better soon, but I don’t believe that to be the case. For instance, take our current 9.8% unemployment rate. If we counted employment stats like they did prior to 1973, that reading would actually be 17%. Those are depression numbers.
And, speaking of the depression, everyone thought things were going to get better and better in 1931. There was lots of happy talk about the economy, just like there is now. I’d like to think that’s as far as the parallel goes, but I wouldn’t bet money on it.