If you’re curious about motorcycling, or if you’re just starting to get into it, first of all: Welcome! We’re glad that you’re here, and we hope you’ll stay a while!
Second of all, you might be wondering what EICMA is. The fact that it’s written in all caps seems to indicate that it’s an acronym, but it’s the kind of moto world jargon that’s tossed around so freely, you may not be familiar with what it’s all about.
Don’t worry; we’re here to help. Here are answers to a few of the most common questions. If you have any other questions about EICMA, feel free to ask us in the comments.
What does EICMA stand for?
It’s short for ‘Esposizione Internazionale del Ciclo, Motociclo, Accessori S.p.A.,’ or ‘EICMA S.p.A.’ That’s Italian for ‘International Exhibition of Cycles, Motorcycles, Accessories S.p.A.,’ with the ‘S.p.A.’ being a ‘Società per azioni,’ which is a legal designation for a type of Italian corporation. If you’re a fan of Italian motorcycles or motorcycling brands, then you’ve probably seen that S.p.A. at the ends of company names before.
That’s cool, but what is EICMA?
EICMA is a massive trade show for the entire international motorcycle industry. It’s an annual event that’s held each year in Milan, Italy, and it’s taken place almost every year without fail since 1914. There have been exceptions, of course—most recently in 2020, when EICMA was among the many international events that were canceled due to the global pandemic.
What’s so exciting about a trade show, even if it’s motorcycles?
Much of the time, motorcycle manufacturers from all over choose EICMA as the place to reveal their most impressive, exciting machines ahead of the coming model year. In some cases, there are concepts—but if they’re at this show, they’re often at least somewhat close to production.
One recent example is Kawasaki choosing EICMA 2022 as the place to first announce its electric and hybrid motorcycle plans, back when they were still pre-production prototypes.
Fast-forward to just before EICMA 2023, and Kawasaki recently made the official production announcements of all three of those vehicles and will be bringing the production versions of all three machines to this year’s show.
Isn’t the back half of the year the usual time for all the new model announcements for next year?
It absolutely is. However, as you may or may not have noticed, motorcycle releases from the major manufacturers tend to follow a certain pattern. The first announcements for next year are usually simple, small things, like paint and graphics changes to existing models (but no technical changes).
From there, the changes get bigger and/or occur on more popular models. Finally, you start to see completely new models arise—like the 2024 BMW R 1300 GS, or Ducati showing off the Superquadro Mono big single that it’s kept impressively quiet about while it’s been hard at work for the past couple of years.
Right now, as I write this, it’s about a week and a half before EICMA 2023—so the caliber of announcements we’re getting for 2024 is only getting bigger.
Aren’t there other big motorcycle shows that are closer to home?
Depending on where you call home, yes. However, a lot of important debuts tend to take place at and around EICMA each year. The new bikes might go on to make the rounds of other shows, but in a modern world where high-resolution photos and videos are instantly available online, it’s not quite as exciting as it once was.
While EICMA is of course important to people in the industry, another cool thing about it is that it also gladly welcomes the moto-enthusiast public to attend.
In 2022, EICMA saw participants attend from at least 45 countries. That’s just counting the ones who officially registered with the show as exhibitors, press, or other official visitors. There may be other motorcycle shows, but how many of them can say that?