Coming Attractions: A sneak peek at this season’s show circuit

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It's looking a lot closer to production than it was last January.

It’s that time of year again – the international motorcycle show season kicks off next week, with the Intermot show in Cologne. We should have a pretty good CMG presence on the ground this year with Editor ‘Arris taking one for the team and attending both the AIMExpo and EICMA shows to ensure we get some good coverage from the floor (of the pub?).

Note that some of these shows open early for media, so you can expect some updates from the location before the event actually starts. In particular, the EICMA show is notorious for pre-show leaks, even before the media days open, as jittery manufacturers try to one-up each others’ press releases.

Here’s a quick rundown of the fall’s major shows, followed by a list of the manufacturers and what we can expect from them.

The Shows

Intermot, Oct. 1-5 in Cologne, Germany: Intermot isn’t as big as EICMA, but there are usually several interesting new models at the show. BMW usually has a strong presence with the show being on home turf, and will do so again this year.

AIMExpo, Oct. 16-19 in Orlando, USA: AIME had its first show last year; Suzuki used the show to heavily publicize their new V-Strom 1000, and Erik Buell Racing was also big. After all, this American show is EBR’s home turf. AIMExpo wants to compete with the other international shows, so they’ll likely try to land more big launches at this year’s show. CMG will be there!

EICMA, Nov. 6-9 in Milan, Italy: EICMA has become the biggest motorcycle show of the year with most of the European manufacturers having big releases, particularly the Italian brands. Editor ‘Arris will also be there to get the scoops for CMG.

Tokyo Motorcycle Show, March 27-29 2015 in Tokyo Japan: The Japanese manufacturers like to show off their high-tech concept bikes at home before they hit the Euro shows. This year, expect to see electric bikes and turbocharged/supercharged machines.

The manufacturers

So what are all the big manufacturers doing this year? Generally speaking, sensible bikes seem to be making a comeback, unless you’re a European manufacturer, where glamour still sells. Most of the rumours this year have been about sport-tourers, nakeds or adventure bikes; the market seems to have turned away from traditional cruisers, unless they’re made in the USA of course.

Here’s a rundown of what we can expect from the big names in coming weeks.

Aprilia

Aprilia's Caponard Rally wasn't expected, but they've announced it will be unveiled at Intermot.
Aprilia’s Caponard Rally wasn’t expected, but they’ve announced it will be unveiled at Intermot.

Aprilia has announced the Caponard Rally, to debut at Intermot. We would have expected them to unveil anything new at EICMA, on home turf, but maybe they’ve got something else up their sleeve for the Italian show.

BMW

We’ve been told that the Germans are poised to unveil three new motorcycles at Intermot next week, and another two at EICMA. We know one of the bikes at Intermot will be a touring version of the S1000RR sport bike, along the lines of a Multistrada or V-Strom, with long-travel suspension, but not really a hard-core adventure bike.

It’s just a guess, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see the other bikes unveiled at Intermot also based around the S1000 platform. There’s supposedly an upgraded superbike en route, and it would be logical to see it introduced there with the new touring bike.

We do know BMW is working on small-bore motorcycles with Indian firm TVS; at one point, we were told to expect those bikes for 2015. Does that mean they’ll be unveiled on this year’s show circuit? We wouldn’t be shocked to see them revealed, maybe at EICMA?

Ducati

It's always tease, tease tease with Ducati's Scrambler, but we'll finally see it this fall.
It’s always tease, tease tease with Ducati’s Scrambler, but we’ll finally see it this fall.

We know Ducati is working on an updated Panigale, and they should also get around to doing the final big reveal of their Scrambler at EICMA. Could there be something else coming? We’d expect Ducati to likely update one or more of their existing models. We haven’t come across any hints as to other all-new machines, but it’s possible they have something up their sleeve.

Erik Buell Racing

EBR’s next big announcement will almost certainly be the results of their team-up with India’s Hero. Erik Buell’s company will sell Hero motorcycles in North America, probably as early as next year, and we’re guessing we’ll hear some news about it at AIMExpo.

Other than that  – EBR hasn’t hinted at any other new models lately, but that doesn’t rule out the possibility of a new bike, or an improved version of their existing superbike or naked bike.

Harley-Davidson

Harley's electric Livewire should be on display
Harley’s electric Livewire should be on display

Harley-Davidson never unveils anything at the European shows; they traditionally show their new models around a big US rally, like Sturgis or Daytona.

Having said that, don’t be surprised if you see a confirmation of the Livewire electric motorcycle as a production machine at a show this fall. Harley-Davidson has been parading the bike around the dealer circuit for a few months now, and they should have a pretty good idea of customer reception. There’d likely be a big market for this bike in Europe, so an EICMA reveal would make sense.

Honda

Supposedly, this is a new adventure bike coming from Honda, but we haven't heard about it for months.
Supposedly, this is a new adventure bike coming from Honda, but we haven’t heard about it for months.

Ah, Honda. A.K.A. Big Red. The 800-lb gorilla of the Japanese motorcycle scene.

The Big Red Gorilla traditionally makes a big splash around the show circuit season, but there are usually hints ahead of time. This year – nothing, except for some buzz about a new Africa Twin. It’s a bit puzzling, but in a way, it makes sense.

Despite their introduction of plenty of new models in the past few years, Honda hasn’t always had a smooth time getting them to market. In particular, delivery for their CBR300 was considerably delayed by production hiccups, and that’s not just for the lukewarm Canadian market. Even the bike-mad Brits had to wait for their new pocket rockets. It’s possible Honda wants to get their existing lineup into smooth production before making any big splashes.

If they do announce any new motorcycles, expect them to be based around an existing platform. This has been the company’s pattern in the past few years (they have several models based around their 300, 500 and 750 platforms). If we were going to bet, we’d guess they might be looking at building a new bike around the CBR650 chassis and motor, or maybe the CBR300.

It’s also possible they are quiet because they are planning to drop a bombshell on the motorcycle world and unveil an electric motorcycle. Longtime Honda collaborator Mugen Motorsports has been racing battery bikes at the Isle of Man for a few years now, with Honda’s John McGuinness on board. Could this be the year they finally announce their electrifying intentions? You can bet some company men were irked that Harley-Davidson, not a company known for innovation, beat them to the punch. Stay tuned on this one.

About that rumoured new adventure bike, though – there was a lot of gossip in the spring that Honda was working on a new Africa Twin, but we haven’t heard anything about it for months. This is one rumour we wouldn’t be surprised to see confirmed; tales of a new twin-cylinder Honda adventure bike have been bandied about for a few years now. Everyone thought the CB500X would be that bike, but it’s just too mild for real ADV use.

Indian

Indian’s already unveiled three new models this summer, and it would be very surprising to see anything new on the show circuit this fall.

Kawasaki

The H2 is currently being teased with full info disclosed hopefully by 2019
The H2 is currently being teased with full info disclosed hopefully by 2019

Kawasaki’s big reveal this fall will be their Ninja H2, due to be unveiled on Sept. 30. They’re also supposed to show off another new machine at AIMExpo, but the details on that are fuzzy – it might not actually be a motorcycle.

Aside from the H2, there haven’t been any major rumblings from Kawi. There have been a few hints that they’re planning to revamp their ER-6n, Versys and Ninja 650 models; the KLR has already gotten an update this year, so don’t expect anything there.

There are also hints of a new Kawasaki cruiser coming, based on the motor in those 650 cc models. Traditionally, they’ve had a bike along these lines in their lineup (mid-sized parallel twin-powered cruiser) and this move would make historical sense.

KTM

2014 KTM 1290 Super AdventureKTM is working on a 1290 Adventure – expect to see that at Intermot or EICMA. They’ll also unveil the latest iteration of their Freeride electric bike at Intermot; along with the off-road and possibly supermoto version.

In Canada, we’re still waiting for bikes KTM has unveiled in the last few years to show up (hello, RC390), so beware, if you see something you like unveiled this fall, don’t expect to see it anytime soon in the Great White North.

Moto Guzzi

Here's the new V7 II from Moto Guzzi.
Here’s the new V7 II from Moto Guzzi.

Moto Guzzi played their cards pretty close to the vest before announcing an upgraded V7 this week. The V7 II has dual-channel ABS, a new gearbox, traction control and other upgrades. It’s not a revolutionary new bike, but shows Guzzi is at least trying to keep their lineup current. It’s good to see they aren’t letting their lineup stagnate.

MV Agusta

MV Agusta tease shotMV Agusta has built several motorcycles around a few basic platforms (their triple and four-cylinder motors). They have nakeds, supersports, superbikes and touring bikes built around those engines already. Now, they’ve announced another bike is en route, apparently based on the 675 or 800 motor, with pricy-looking spoked wheels. We’ll know more after Intermot.

Piaggio

There are no rumoured updates from Europe’s other big scooter maker.

Royal Enfield

Royal Enfield really, really wants to crack the western markets, as the Euro and Japanese manufacturers make inroads into their traditional stomping grounds in India.

However, they’ve been selling the same basic models for years now, with the exception of the hipster-friendly Continental GT cafe racer. That bike sold very well this year, from what we hear, and their lineup-wide price drop in Canada probably didn’t hurt either. However, we haven’t heard any rumblings about anything new from the Indian manufacturer.

Suzuki

The Suzuki Recursion concept bike might make the rounds on this year's show circuit.
The Suzuki Recursion concept bike might make the rounds on this year’s show circuit.

Suzuki seems to be in a bit of a funk these days, but there are rumours they’ll be updating their sportbike lineup this year, and there’s also talk about a new high-powered naked bike. They’ll be showing off variants of their GW250 platform, including a fully-faired version we’ll likely see in our market soon.

Last year, Suzuki had a big presence at AIMExpo; this year, they’ll be there again, but they haven’t said they’ll announce any new (or recycled) models there this year.

Suzuki has also taken a page from the CMG playbook and built an “adventure” version of the V-Strom 650, with wire wheels. We should see this unveiled soon.

Also last year, at the Tokyo Motor Show, Suzuki unveiled their turbocharged Recursion concept bike, but we haven’t heard anything about it since. Hopefully, we’ll see an updated version of that bike this year, but don’t count on it. They also teased an electric minibike, called the EXTRIGGER – think battery-powered Grom. Again, we haven’t heard anything about it since, but hopefully we’ll know more about the bike’s future soon.

Triumph

The big news from Hinckley in recent weeks was their cancellation of the 250 cc project. The Brits had been working on the quarter-liter machine for years, but the bike will unlikely make it to market now, at least not in 250 trim.

Do they have anything else to drop on us instead? We’d be surprised to see Triumph go through a show season with no big reveals, but there haven’t been any real hints yet. They have already made some additions to their cruiser lineup last winter, so we likely won’t see any changes there.

Vespa

It would be logical for Italy’s most famous scooter maker to unveil a new step-through at EICMA, their home turf. We haven’t heard any hints of such a move, though.

Victory

Victory, like Harley-Davidson and Indian, usually announces their new models on a schedule that caters to North American buying patterns. So don’t expect any new models from any of the US V-twin manufacturers until mid-winter.

Yamaha

Supposedly, this is the new Yamaha FJ-09.
Supposedly, this is the new Yamaha FJ-09.

Yamaha has been teasing us with their entry-level R25 concept bike for years now, and the machine has actually made it to market in Asia. For months now, it’s been rumoured there’s a 300 cc version coming to Europe and North America, which would make sense as there’s a big hole in Yamaha’s lineup for an entry-level machine.

If the rumours are true, the R3 would far outclass Honda and Kawasaki’s beginner bikes, but with no confirmation of the bike’s specs, it’s all guesswork at this point. Supposedly, though, the 250 version makes over 35 hp and is mated to a six-speed gearbox; a 300 version would be even more interesting.

On the larger side, we’re sure to see Yamaha’s new FJ-09 sport tourer unveiled in the coming weeks. The three-cylindered FZ-09 was a huge hit when unveiled last year, and the public said they wanted a touring version. Ask and thou shalt receive …

There’s also been a lot of demand for a new adventure bike from Yamaha, powered by that same three-cylindered motor. Unlike the FJ-09, though, we haven’t seen any hints of this machine, aside from wish lists posted on Internet forums by motorcyclists who’d likely never have the money to buy one, should it actually arrive on our shores.

The FZ-07 was pretty successful as well, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see some variation of that platform also unveiled. It might be Europe-only, though, like the FZ-09 Street Tracker.

Yamaha has also confirmed they’re bringing their battery-powered PES1 street bike and PED1 dirt bike to production at some point. Maybe this is the year, maybe it isn’t, but we’re guessing we’ll see an update on those projects at least. If they’re still at concept stage, expect to see it at the Tokyo show. If they’re ready for production, expect to see it at EICMA.

The others

Manufacturers from Taiwan, China and Eastern Europe usually have a minor presence on the show circuit, particularly EICMA.

The only interesting machine we’ve heard about from that side of the show is the Zongshen RX3, which is old news at this point. It seems to have been fairly successful in making inroads to several markets, though (it’s even being imported into the US), so the Chinese scene being what it is, you can bet there will be copycats of that bike, along with the usual string of copycats of Euro and Japanese scooters.

Now under Swiss ownership, Bimota unveiled their new BB3 at EICMA in 2013.
Now under Swiss ownership, Bimota unveiled their new BB3 at EICMA in 2013.

Bimota always announces a lot of new bikes at EICMA. The Italian manufacturer builds their machines around engines bought from other manufacturers, which can sometimes hold up production. Whether or not any of them make it to market is another question, and even then, very few people could ever afford one. They sure look purty in pictures, though.

Oh, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see a new machine from KTM subsidiary Husqvarna at EICMA this year as well.

Keep tuned to CMG as we’ll be updating info on all new bike releases as we get them!

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