The 2017 Eicma is in the books and it's time to look back at what we've seen and decide which are the things we'll remember in the next months. I had time to visit it only on saturday so basically this is a chart of what i was able to see, maybe not the real best but that's it.
1st Special: The CB4 special made by Honda's Italian design division based on the upcoming Cb1000r. It really is one of the coolest bike i've ever came into for multiple reasons: its shape, the solutions, its finishing...and most of all i appreciate the fact it keeps a high percentage of the stock model under the new bodywork.
It's one of those (rare) cases where everything is just at the right place. No unnecessary parts, no useless mechanical features, no strange colours: A perfect balance of ideas and production skill. I'm always looking forward to see projects like this because when you look at them you really can start learning a lot about design.
1st Stock: the Panigale V4 (could it be anything else?) We were just amazed by seeing the first footage on sites and blogs but in the flesh it looks even more dramatic. It's like a Panigale V2 being sharpened: you can immediately recognize all the lines that gave the 2 cilynders model its pedigree but here everything is meaner and more extreme.
The front end for example has a similar shape but with bigger holes in order to accomodate more air to feed the v4 engine and its airbox.
The rear end has been reduced even further with only two small side fairings to cover the main saddle structure. You can see the twho holes that help air pass through the bodywork (i suppose) or at least give the tail an ever lighter look.
One of the things that shocked me the most was how they managed to fit 2 more collectors and silencers in the lower part of the bike without increasing the size of the just super-tight fairings. The quality going in this designing and building process is just cutting edge.
1st Handcrafted: Arch Motorcycles Method143, where 143 stays for 143 cubic inch, 2343cc engine. This brand is well known thanks to its owner anf founder, actor Keanu Reeves who is a real petrolhead: he decided nothing on earth fitted his bike's desires so he gave birth to its own factory that designes and produces these astonishing pieces.
The huge engine comes straight from the guys at S&S and the overall production process is aided by Suter engineering. The Method143 is by far the most extreme of the just mental Arch bikes and only 23 of them will be built every year.
Beside the "ordinary" Arch models, which are based on a more "chopperish" approach, this last project features a more dynamic and sporty style that makes the whole bike look sleek and fast, despite the huge engine and transmission.
This bike has so many details it's almost impossible to describe all of them. The structure that links the steering rack to the lower part of the body is really a work of art. It embodies 3 different materials (ore at least it looks like it does) with a perfect match. Another proof that new and old can live together and enhance a well-thought shape.
The finishing on the tank and on the tail is one of the most unusual things of a bike that just has very few similarities with what you can find on the roads everyday: the striped 3d metal shows pearl reflections that change everytime you move around it.
This view gives a better idea of the real proportions of this bike which is far away from being compact or sporty but thanks to the great choices from the style department it seems a lot sleeker and more agile.
Short mufflers with mesh protections are the way to go on the newest specials and racing replicas and the Arch can count on a couple of them.
The company logo and name is reported on a number of parts, from the fenders to the filters, from the headlight to some covers and carters.
Special Mentions: Limited production. The Norton v4 is a real track animal with a 1200cc v4 with more than 220 hp. I personally don't think it looks as good as its performances suggest but it will be produced in a small number of models so it will be pretty rare to find outside.
Indian FTR: the american brand is putting a big effort in expanding its market and the FTR could be the weapon of choice to conquer all those who are not fans at the moment of this historic company.
It takes inspiration from the 750 racer that's winning overseas in the AMA flat track championships and features the well known v-twin of the scout but in a more sporty tubular frame. The model at Eicma was just a concept but the feedbacks were so good i think we'll see a production version soon (or at least i hope so!)
Not classified: The mental supercharged Kawasaki H2 earns a couple of bags and some aerodynamic protection to become a super-fast traveller. Don't know who will be so brave to handle more than 200 hp but sure it will be something different.
The front end keeps the Evangelion-style fairing, with complex polygonal surfaces in a cool black/green livery. The rear end (if you can focus on that) is a bit less extreme to accomodate a passenger and some stuff.
Special Mentions: Race-ready. I've always been crazy about Pierobon builds and the X80R keeps on growing in me. I like how they bring new Ducati engines a traditional flavour with ultra-light tube frames and bespoke designed parts like swingarm, additional frame, fuel tank, fairings ecc.
It's great beacuse in this way you can have both stock modern Ducatis with their proper technical solutions and these different track weapons that show how nowadays Ducatis would look like they still were stuck to their peculiarities.
Special Mentions: Special. It's easy to mess things up when you decide to build an hommage or take inspiration from vintage racing masterpieces but in this case Italian Dream hits the target with ita Suzuki Bandit 1200 dressed up in 80s racing pedigree. The bike is dedicated to italian 500 champion Mrco Lucchinelli and recreates the livery and some technical featyres of the racer Marco was riding in 1981. An absolute eye-grabber realized with high level craftamanship.
That's it for the moment, maybe we'll publish something about the racing horses that were exposed in Milan and that are always the peak for motorsport enthusiasts like us!