EICMA: Costa’s view

Attending an international motorcycle show always presents a perplexing conundrum. As a motorcycle enthusiast it’s exciting to first see, live, the newest models and concepts that will be in showrooms in the following year, and possibly beyond. As a motorcycle journalist attending the press days, it can be an exercise in frustration. Here’s Costa’s take on it all.

MILAN—EICMA is huge. How huge? I stopped counting exhibitors at more than 300 and hadn’t gone even a quarter way down the list. There are motorcycle makers, bicycle makers, clothing and accessory makers; you’ll find displays from major component and fuel system suppliers like Bosch, Brembo, Ohlins, Magnetti Marelli, you name it.

This is the Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori. It’s both a consumer show and an industry trade show for motorcycles, bicycles and accessories. It’s held in the Fiera Milano convention centre, which boasts 365,000 square metres of indoor floor space. Manufacturers display their products in three main buildings, and the adjoining walkway that gets you from the east end of the first building to the west end of the third is one kilometre long. Bring good shoes.

Press days, which alone account for more than 6,000 media visitors, and at least as many industry folk, unravel quite differently than the consumer days that follow. Bike makers use the press days to reveal new models, at which time embargos are lifted and everything goes live on their respective press sites. Now, here’s where things get a bit frustrating.

Manufacturers that do have something new to reveal, do so during press conferences, which are scheduled back to back, and may be in separate buildings, like here at EICMA. Triumph, for example, revealed the new Street Scrambler during a press conference held between 9:30 and 10 a.m., at one end of the third exhibition building, which was followed by Suzuki’s press conference at 10 a.m. at the far end of the first building.

But before you head to the next conference, you have to deal with the post-reveal swarms rushing the stage, cameras and phones held high, trying to get that ideal shot, when actually there are much better photos available on the press sites. You also have to file into a long queue to pick up your press kit of information, which is handed out after the presentation is over. Only then can you head over to the next presentation. So by the time I got to the Suzuki presentation after the 10-minute power-walk, the conference was wrapping up.

Then, with all of this juicy new information in hand, there’s an urgency to get the news out. European data plans can be expensive and cell phone signals unreliable, and sometimes about the only way to get all those megabytes of newness to your editor on the other side of the ocean is via wi-fi. This is available in the pressroom, about a half-kilometre from anywhere you might currently be. Once you get there, the signal is shared by a half-thousand other press people, making upload times about as fast as the good-old dial up days. Brrr, ding, ding, dzzzt, dong, ding…

But these hurdles are not unique to EICMA alone. Any international auto show — Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Detroit — they’re all very similar. The difference at EICMA, which makes it so much more interesting to attend, is that it’s about motorcycles.

And there were some gems at this year’s show. Zac and Editor Richardson did an exceptional job of reporting on all the new bikes revealed this year, so just peruse the news of the last two days to get up to speed on those. But here are a few other bikes and things from the show you can enjoy.


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