Evotech Performance at EICMA

Like all motorcyclists, it’s great to see all the photos and details of new motorcycles. Especially those that are destined to appear in dealerships within the next three to four months. The mock-ups of future projects are also interesting because, although they very rarely appear in the exact same guise, they are pointers to future tech.

Now more than ever, it’s easy to access photos and info of new models almost within minutes of escaped details or manufacturer reveals but there’s nothing quite like seeing them in the plastic and metal. This is the reason why we all make the annual pilgrimage to the nearest motorcycle show, either at the end of the year or beginning of a new one. Sometimes both.

The International Motorcycle and Accessories Exhibition (EICMA) is undoubtedly the biggest motorcycle show on the planet. It occurs every year in November and in a huge exhibition centre in Milan. How big? Huge! The big four Japanese `bike manufacturers attend, as do the major European manufacturers.

Then there’s the raft of expanding big hitters from China, Thailand, India and, of course, the USA. Add to this list motorcycle consumable (tyres, braking components, suspension, oil and oil filter, you get the point) producers and distributors, clothing and crash helmet producers, plus the huge amount of 2EV brands, electric bicycle makes and much more, EICMA is huge. Seriously, you could group the UK’s Motorcycle Live and London Shows in just one of EICMA’s eight-plus halls.

Naturally, being motorcyclists, we here at Evotech Performance always attend EICMA. Obviously, as engineers, we go armed with various measuring equipment, cameras, notepads and mobile phone translation apps. But as always, we spend a lot of time drooling over the new bikes and all the while thinking, yes, I’d love to have that particular bike in my garage.

Ducati’s new Hypermotard 698 Mono RVE really caught our attention. Yes, it looks even more stunning close up. No wonder it took the title of “Moto più bella” (Most beautiful bike) of EICMA 2023. Whether the single-cylinder SuperMoto genre will prevail the second time around is difficult to say, but with so many different styles of bikes now available, it’s possible a new breed of rear wheel sliding lunatics will appear.

What is more interesting, though, is that Ducati have invested an awful lot of money into producing the new 659cc Superquadro Mono engine, you just know it’ll appear in another guise soon. Our money is on a new version of the early 90s Supermono. Take our deposits now, please, Mr Ducati. Obviously, the latest iteration of Multistrada is going to be just as popular as previous versions.

Kawasaki kickstarted many memories before EICMA with the new supersport ZX-4RR. But the tingle of desire didn’t really fire up until seeing it close-up in Milan. Oh yes. Desire is a strange drug – we immediately forgot about our senior aches and pains and were immediately transported back to the mid-90s, when the Japanese-only market ZXR400 models were parallel imported into Europe and sports bike fans couldn’t get enough of them. We’re expecting the same reception for today’s ZX-4RR.

Similarly, Yamaha’s XSR900 GP pulled on our memory and desire strings. What a cracking-looking tool. Priced right, this could be a global volume seller, no question. It might also slow up the interest in the updated MT-09 and the SP version, which we also got drawn to.

However, the biggest amount of love given at EICMA – ours too – was directed at the Suzuki exhibition. The new GSX-8R is technically not that different to the naked GSX-8S, but with sharp, modern supersport styling (not race-replica cramped), this happy, friendly, affordable Suzuki could top the ¾-litre sales market.

Suzuki also threw a chocolate covered curved ball with the introduction of the GSX-S1000GX. Based on the GSX1000GT, it is, in our minds, an exciting addition to the adventure-roadster hybrid group. In a nutshell, think GSX1000GT with a taller, upright seating position with wide handlebar and hand guards, semi-active suspension, tall screen and most importantly 17-in wheels. It looks a promising tool to cover mileage in comfort but also feeding our mature needs to attack the corners on a big-capacity bike without ending the day with aching joints. Should be an interesting test between this and Bee-Em’s S 1000 XR.

Being a British company, Evotech Performance has a deep fondness for the Hinkley Triumph brigade. Amongst the boatload of 2024 Japanese A2 licence-friendly bikes on display at EICMA, Triumph held its own with the new Speed 400 and Scrambler 400 X. Retro and modern in such a small package shouldn’t really work but it does with these two models, and priced at just under £5,000 for the Speed 400, it’s not just motorcyclists on the learner ladder that will be buying. Royal Enfield is successful with its mid capacity models, and Triumph are surely going to have a slice of that retro success.

As always, a lot of new and exclusive models surfaced from Italy. Moto Morini turned up with some tasty looking naked sports, a big adventure bike and a sports tool. The Chinese-backed Italian company is without doubt aiming high, and we really hope the bikes sell in volumes. We like the look and specs but the competition is a known quantity.

Last but not least, Honda reintroduced the all-time great CBR600RR. Arguably the purest supersport 600 ever, this latest version hasn’t been watered down. Having grown up in a sea of 600cc race replicas, the Evotech Performance team obviously turned misty-eyed at first sight. We like to motorcycling fads are turning full circle and that in three years a whole new generation of knee-sliding riders will be searching out the best scratching roads. We can but dream.

By Evotech Retail on 17 November 2023