The annual Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori (EICMA) in Milan is a showcase for the world’s top motorcycle makers as well as accessory suppliers and everything else related to two-wheel thrills. Its 2014 edition marks the 100th anniversary of the bike show, and bike makers came out in force to celebrate the occasion.
With all due respect to knockout entries by BMW and Aprilia on display, here are the seven motorcycles stealing the show at EICMA 2014 in Milan.
1. Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen
For a bike maker looking for new life in the industry, Husqvarna’s 401 concepts are an excellent start. The 401 Svartpilen (“Black Arrow”) has the stripped-down design classic street bike lovers will celebrate. It packs a one-cylinder, four-stroke engine that keeps the weight down for riders who prefer extra kick over stylistic embellishments.
Most importantly, the 401 Svartpilen is a concept that hits the right notes in style and seat position. Presented along with the 401 Vitpilen (“White Arrow”) concept and the 701 Supermoto, Husqvarna is making its presence felt in a big way at EICMA.
2. Honda RC213V-S
For bikers who have been coveting a road version of the MotoGP RC213V, Honda Racing Corporation showed up at EICMA with a prototype worthy of your attention. Honda covered the bike in colors of the Japanese flag to represent its home country. In addition to the colorful model, they brought a slick blacked-out version made of carbon fiber and driven by MotoGP champ Marc Marquez.
3. Ducati Diavel Titanium Limited Edition
If the 162 horsepower and 96 pounds-feet of torque in the standard Diavel’s Tetrastretta engine isn’t enough to make riders feel unparalleled on the road, Ducati is presenting a limited edition model at EICMA. Clothed in carbon fiber, dark chrome, and a heavy dose of Italian style, the Diavel Titanium doesn’t need one of the EICMA models saddling it to turn heads at the event.
Ducati is limiting production of the Diavel Titanium to 500 units, so only a few lucky ones will get their hands on this bike. The forged, machined black wheels match the titanium and carbon fiber style cues that define this debut.
4. Yamaha YZF-R1
Yamaha was not to be outdone on the superbike front. The new YZF-R1 took a legend then added even more technology to enhance the incredible performance in the previous model. It begins with an all-new lightweight four-cylinder 998cc engine improved by titanium split-connecting rods for high horsepower and even torque distribution — a first for production bikes.
With a Yamaha, bikers are always going to get awe-inspiring technology, and the new R1 is a showcase for the manufacturer. MotoGP-inspired electronics allow riders to adjust levels of comfort and performance in every aspect of the R1’s operation. A six-axis Inertial Measurement Units (IMU) also is the first of its kind on a street bike.
5. Moto Guzzi MGX-21
Certainly the most fear-inspiring machine on display in Milan, the Moto Guzzi MGX-21 concept has a certain murderous intent in its design (that’s before the 1400cc two-cylinder engine is considered). Described by the bike maker as “the most extreme summary of [its] fascinating and courageous project,” the MGX-21 may be an experiment that never comes to fruition, yet its 21-inch front wheel and overall boldness are certainly getting attention.
6. Matchless Model X
It may share a name with the upcoming Tesla crossover, but the Model X by British bike maker Matchless dates back to 1929 (the company was founded in 1871). With a new “reloaded” model appearing at EICMA, Matchless has reentered the game in exquisite fashion. The Model X sports a custom 1916cc V-twin engine with six-piston back brakes and 12 pistons for stopping power in the front. Riders may need it.
On the styling front, Matchless delivered on its impressive heritage and then some. There is enough chrome to warrant a daily buffing, while the color combinations and elegant leather accents make it among the most beautiful bikes appearing at EICMA.
7. 2015 Ducati Panigale
This being Milano, Ducati had to represent in force. In addition to the limited edition Diavel, the bike maker showed up with a striking new version of the Panigale. The 2015 model will feature a 1285cc engine in its two base trims while the Panigale R will keep the 1199cc burner to stay on the professional superbike course. Top-shelf R models deliver 205 horsepower and 100.5 pounds-feet of torque.
Volkswagen’s performance motorcycle brand truly had to earn its right to attention at EICMA among the many impressive offerings on display, but Ducati appeared up for the challenge. Maybe the biggest changes were in the tech upgrades for the 2015 Panigale. An Ohlins Smart EC suspension and new ABS settings promise to make it an extreme — and extremely controlled — ride in any of the three trims.