#EICMA2018 – Our Top Picks

By thoriq, 09 November 2018

For the uninitiated, EICMA (Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori) is the motorcycle industry’s biggest annual trade show, and one that’s arguably the most important for all.

Taking place in November every year in Milan, Italy, basically everyone’s here to show off their newest and latest. This year, the show brought forth a sleuth of exciting new models – as it always does.

While there’s a lot to sift through, we’ve opted to highlight some of our favourites – both new 2019 models and concepts – from #EICMA2018. Feast your eyes on these beauties then…

1. BMW S1000RR

We’ll kick things off with BMW Motorrad, and the German marque didn’t disappoint by finally unwrapping its all-new S1000RR superbike. Besides an all-new chassis, it packs an all-new 998cc powertrain with roughly 204hp and 112.5Nm, all-new looks plus an all-new electronics package with a new digital instrument panel included. Without a doubt, this litre-class supersports has got everything to become as greatly revered as its predecessor.

It's also made lighter than before now at 197kg (wet), which can be lighten further through a new optional M Package that adds carbon fibre wheels. This package also adds a Race Pro mode – on top of the standard Rain, Sport, Dynamic and Race modes – that allow greater fine-tuning of its traction, wheelie and engine-braking controls plus a launch control and a pit-lane limiter. In short, our favourite two-wheeled road racer just got a whole lot better.

2. BMW R1250 series

Sticking with the German marque still, its signature boxer-twin-powered R1200 series gets a total makeover beginning with the new R1250GS adventure touring and R1250RT touring models earlier this year. At EICMA, the range’s revamp is completed with the debut of the R1250RS sport touring, R1250R roadster, followed by the up-specced R1250GS Adventure as well.

Effectively, the entire R-series gets a brand new 1,254cc iteration of BMW’s signature boxer twin heart, offering more power and torque with increased efficiency and eco-friendliness thanks to its new ‘ShiftCam’ variable valve timing system. Along with it came a series of design changes – no more asymetrical headlight 'wink' in the RS for instance – accompanied with revised electronics package in each model too. Simply put, the lifespan of BMW’s beloved boxer-powered range have been extended thanks to these core revisions.

3. Kawasaki Z400

Moving down market, Team Green has finally followed up from last year’s Ninja 400 debut by unveiling the Z400 naked bike version at #EICMA2018. Sharing the Ninja 400’s heart and base chassis, the Z400 however gets Kawasaki’s usual naked bike design treatment and package – as how all its Z-series naked bikes do – complete with new kit such as a digital instrument panel, LED lighting, and more.

Like the Ninja 400, the Z400 will spawn a 250cc version made especially for key markets such as ours. We’ve already tested the sport-bodied Ninja 400 locally in its Ninja 250 form not long ago where we denoted its refined smoothness and increased performance. Expect the same when the Z400 eventually arrives here as the new Z250 soon enough, ready to welcome newbie riders with wide-open arms.

4. Honda CB650R

Besides a series of critical updates to the CB500 trio and the CBR650R sport-bodied middleweight, Honda debuted a mid-sized CB650R offering to accompany the latter. Based off the upgraded CBR650R mentioned earlier, this is the latest addition into Honda’s Neo Sports Café line up, slotting in between the CB250R and CB1000R versions in this range.

Effectively, the CB650R’s debut signals that you can now have Honda’s ‘neo retro’ naked bike flavour in ‘medium’ size besides ‘small’ (CB250R) and ‘large’ (CB1000R). Judging from the critical reception the other two has gotten thus far, we won’t be surprised to see this mid-sized offering garnering the same amount of fanfare when it hits markets worldwide in 2019.

5. Royal Enfield KX Concept

Besides new models, #EICMA2018 is also an avenue for brands to show off new concepts, some more stunning and more cutting edge than others. Indian marque Royal Enfield made waves this year after showing off its stunning KX Concept. This retro-looking bobber has modern finishes, bringing forth arguably the perfect mixture of new and old that pleases the eye of just about everyone, and making us want to see this go into production too.

For the eagle-eyed viewer, it’s plain to see this ‘tribute’ to the original Royal Enfield KX from 1930s harnesses a liquid-cooled 838cc V-twin heart. The project, which Royal Enfield say took just six months to materialise from scratch, was aimed at showcasing the talents of their design team. Judging from attributes like its exquisite single-sided swingarm, cast girder front, and the seemingly ‘sculpted’ seat, its easy to see why this was lauded by many as a true show-stopper indeed.

6. Aprilia RS 660 Concept

What you can count on every year at EICMA as well are showstoppers from the Italian home team, and we’ll start with stalwarts Aprilia. This year, the Piaggio Group-owned marque unveiled this cutting edge RS 660 Concept that aims to reshape the middleweight supersports segment when it goes into production.

The RS 660 Concept sees Aprilia crafting a powerful new parallel-twin mill out of the existing V4 from the RSV4 1100/Tuono V4 1100. Married with a lightweight aluminium chassis and swingarm, its built to be compact, light and agile like its renowned RS250. This concept also harnesses the Aprilia Active Aerodynamics (A3) suite, making it the first of its kind to feature such tech. If this does evolve into a production model – as many concepts do – the RS 660 will redefine its segment altogether, and that’s an exciting future to look forward to.

7. MV Agusta Superveloce 800 concept

Moving along to MV Agusta, the Varese-based motorcycle artisans have truly outdone themselves with this neo retro concept. Based off the marque’s celebrated F3 800 middleweight supersport, the Superveloce 800 concept marries both classic and futuristic lines, resulting in this one-off’s stunning appearance.

Besides taking cues from 1970s-era racers, the Superveloce 800’s body is crafted out of lightweight carbon fibre as well. Modern LEDs are employed for all its lighting with the headlamp getting a special yellow tint to mimic an older bike’s look. MV Agusta went to the extent of remapping the 800cc triple-cylinder heart underneath to extract more power, and finishing it off with a bespoke 3-1-3 exhaust. Well, words do little at describing it, so feast your eyes on this one-off special in the gallery we’ve prepared below.

8. 2019 MV Agusta Brutale 1000 Serie Oro

Sticking with the Varese-based artisans, another offering they’ve brought forward this year at #EICMA2018 is the Brutale 1000 Serie Oro limited edition special. Just 300 of these will be made, all of which packing a stunning design and MV Agusta’s next generation 998cc four-cylinder heart – the latter’s 205hp peak power figure sees it claim the title as the most powerful production streetfighter today.

Notable features include a pair of aerodynamic ‘winglets’ that double up as the radiator cover, lots of carbon fibre bits, a neat new digital TFT dash, as well as an optional race kit that can bumps power up to a whopping 209hp thanks to an SC Project 4-1-4 titanium full system exhaust kit. What’s also guaranteed in any MV Agusta is sex appeal even at a stand still, and this new Brutale has got it by the bucket loads indeed.

9. Ducati Panigale V4 R

This year, Bologna powerhouse Ducati also didn’t disappoint, unveiling a sleuth of updated models, but none more exciting than the scarlet marque’s new Panigale V4 R road racer. Based off its groundbreaking Panigale V4, this new R version will serve as Ducati’s homolgation special and base for its upcoming 2019 WSBK racer. This is as potent the Panigale V4 gets, and it looks set to eclipse the bulk of its rivals significantly – the new BMW S1000RR being chief amongst them.

Out of the box, the Panigale V4 R makes a whopping 217hp and 112Nm to propel its 193kg (kerb) mass, all this thanks to clever use of lighter engine components and the increased redline of 16,500rpm. Of course, there’s an optional race pack that lets you bump this V4’s motor’s power even further to 231hp thanks to an Akrapovič full system exhaust kit, making it the most powerful Ducati road bike ever produced. Keeping this steed in control are its revised electronics package, as well as a set of aerodynamic winglets that help with stability and wheelie control at high speeds.

This is perhaps the closest any of us mere mortals will ever get to riding a Ducati MotoGP bike on the road... unless of course you're one of the lucky few who got to snap up the Desmosedici RR.