You probably didn’t go to the EICMA 2022, the big new-motorcycle show in Milan that ran from November 8–12. Even if you had, 1,370 different brands from 45 countries spread across six pavilions meant you couldn’t possibly have experienced everything.
The EICMA, or Milan Motorcycle Show, has existed for more than 100 years. This year’s show gave us notable industry storylines and multiple “Best of” examples of design, marketing, and engineering. We’ll save time by combining the two. Disagree? Tell us how wrong we were in the comments section.
Best Use of Enormous Booth Without Announcing a Single New Model: Ducati
Ducati’s had a busy 2022. We’ve seen the new V4 Panigale Streetfighter, the V4 SP2 and V4 R models, the new V4 Diavel, the updated (and new) Scramblers, and even the ridiculously over the top V4 Lamborghini. There were new Monsters as well. Did we miss anything? Oh right, the DesertX. Also, the company held Ducati Week for the first time in four years.
So for EICMA Ducati took a bit of a breather and let the movers and set designers do most of the work. In fairness, November is late in the game to be announcing anything for 2023, and in recent years, new model rollouts usually got their own date, place, and track time.
Honorable Mention: Triumph also showed no new bikes. But there was an up-close look at the TE-1 Electric Motorcycle prototype, which has drawn extensive coverage. Otherwise, the new Street Triple line and chrome edition Triumph Bobbers seemed to draw interest.
Best Lineup of Exciting New Motorcycles With Unexciting, If Evocative, Old Names: Honda
Using the reborn Rebel’s frame, chassis, and parallel twin, Honda raided early ‘70s nomenclature for its resurrected CL500 scrambler. It’s either classic or kind of unimaginative, but you likely won’t care once you twist the throttle. You’ll smile because you either spent thousands less than a Ducati Scrambler costs, or because it looks like a ton of fun.
Plus, Honda trotted out the new CB750 Hornet (that’s two old model names in one), in addition to the eagerly awaited XL750 Transalp, itself a classic ADV staple until 2012 or so. Sharing the same newly unveiled liquid-cooled parallel-twin powerplant, it slides right underneath the larger Africa Twin in terms of power and price.
Best Existing Model Made Into Four Similar New Models: Indian FTR
The Indian FTR is one of the better hooligan bikes made today. Fun, unrefined, and built with mayhem in mind, its dirt track edges have once again been slightly sanded down for 2023. And now you can choose from four different kinds: the FTR, FTR Sport, FTR Carbon, and FTR Rally.
The Rally version keeps the 19-inch front wheels, but the rest of the FTRs get sportier, quicker 17-inch wheels. The TFT displays now have a pleasing circular design that speaks to Indian’s heritage. Otherwise, it pretty much just updated design, color, and livery (nicely done, BTW) on a class of bikes without American peer.
Best Affordable Motorcycle You Can Actually Buy Next Year: Royal Enfield
Some folks love keeping track of specs and figures. Others just enjoy heading somewhere, ETA be damned. The new top-of-the-line Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 adds flourish to Royal Enfield’s lineup of affordable, fun, and increasingly varied motorcycles. The new Super Meteor channels the stance of stock ‘60s-era Sportsters, while keeping design cues well within the Royal Enfield family. That’s a compliment, BTW.
It all adds up to an Enfield that might get you there a bit quicker than before. Not that Enfield riders were keeping track.
Best “Your Move, Honda” Lineup of Motorcycles: Suzuki
The venerable but aging GSX family, with their classic inline-four, is getting a bit long in the tooth. Between EV developments, emissions standards, and its exit from MotoGP, speculation swirled as to company plans.
But Suzuki then broke the news of the brand-new redesigned V-Strom 800DE and GSX-8S, with fancy matching liquid-cooled 776cc parallel-twin engines. Thanks to this new engine configuration, V-Stroms can spend more time off-road. It looks to match up nicely with the Yamaha Ténéré 700, BMW F 850 GS, and 92 hp Honda XL750 Transalp.
Meanwhile, the GSX-8S is eagerly awaiting a head-to-head test against Honda’s new CB750 Hornet, or even the Kawasaki Z650. Factor in your pocketbook, and the KTM 890 Duke could be a late add to the parallel-twin contest.
Best Use of Hydrogen Power in a Motorcycle Engine Display: Yamaha and Kawasaki (tie)
Jokes aside, this is potentially pretty exciting. As reported earlier this year, Yamaha (in partnership with Subaru, Toyota, Mazda, and Kawasaki) announced the development of a hydrogen-powered V-8 loosely based on a Lexus RC F luxury sport coupe engine. At EICMA, Kawasaki finally showed off its own hydrogen engine, derived from the supercharged H2 motor. It has the mind-boggling ability to directly inject hydrogen at upwards of 1,450 psi. Judging by photos/illustrations provided by Kawasaki, hydrogen canisters would be stored in a saddlebag-type arrangement. It’s exciting stuff, especially for those who aren’t sold on EVs.
Best Use of 2012-Era Bike Exif–Inspired Design on a 2023 Motorcycle: Ducati
It won’t pass tech inspection on trackday and seems inspired by poverty and a cracked headlight. But there it is, a big black “X” on otherwise fine forward lighting. Ladies and gentlemen, the 2023 Ducati Scrambler.
Best New Motorcycle You’ll Never See on the Road: Brough
Haven’t seen any Broughs on the road lately? That’ll likely continue with the new Brough Superior Lawrence Dagger. With carbon fiber and bronze-looking bits everywhere, the newest Dagger edition of the existing Lawrence will likely retail for more than $66,000. Look for them in a dream near you.
Honorable Mention: MV Agusta Superveloce 1000. Using the MV Agusta Brutale RR’s 208 hp powerplant, this elegant new iteration will no doubt hit three-digit speeds on nicer roads than those where you call home. If you see one, you’re either a journalist on assignment or a really good motorcycle thief.