It goes without saying that EICMA 2023 was a blast. Despite not being able to make the trip to Italy this year, I was lucky to have lots of friends over there who continuously sent me pictures of the bikes on display. On top of that, our friends from the various manufacturers sent in their press info way ahead of the show, so we knew what was going to be unveiled long before the expo opened its doors.
Now, those of you who read my stuff or follow my social media would know that I’m a huge fan of sporty, lightweight, naked bikes. I’ve owned several naked sportbikes over the past few years, and I always get super excited when a new model hits the scene – no matter what manufacturer it’s from. As such, when browsing through the wide selection of new bikes on display at EICMA, I couldn’t help but gravitate towards these types of bikes. Nevertheless, I’ve tried to broaden my tastes when it comes to two-wheelers, so I’ve added a couple of non-naked bikes to my top-five favorite bikes of EICMA 2023. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Ducati Hypermotard 698
The Ducati Hypermotard 698 isn’t exactly a naked bike, but you could also say that it kinda is. It’s a true, blue, supermoto machine – even more so than the previous generation Hypermotard. Rocking a brand new single-cylinder engine, it’s sure to provide maximum brap factor, while hopefully retaining the razor-sharp performance associated with machinery from the House of Borgo Panigale. I’ve had quite a lot of experience with the Ducati Hypermotard 821 and 950, as well as true supermotos like the KTM 690 SMC-R, so my expectations are high for the 698.
CFMoto 800NK GP
I’m not exactly a fan of made-in-China motorcycles, as they usually came across to me as copycat machines devoid of any originality. However, CFMoto surely flipped the script with its respectable componentry and styling by Kiska Design, so much so that I ended up adding one to my personal collection. While my old CFMoto 650NK couldn’t hold a candle to the brand’s current selection, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed it for the one-and-a-half year that it was in my possession.
Now, for the 2024 model-year, CFMoto unveiled the 800NK GP, the most high-performance model in its stable to date. The bike, based on the already impressive 800NK, doesn’t keep it a secret that it makes use of KTM-derived technology, specifically in the form of the tried and tested LC8c parallel-twin engine. The 800NK GP adds an array of track-ready gizmos to the mix, such as an SC-Project exhaust, CNC milled components, and a livery inspired by the brand’s Moto3 endeavors.
KTM 990 Duke
Speaking of KTM, Team Orange’s display at EICMA 2023 may be considered underwhelming for some, especially when compared to the sheer number of new model launches by other brands. However, the 990 Duke is a model that I’ve personally been very excited about, as it’s sort of a nod to the first-generation 990 Super Duke. I remember that bike very well when it first came out in 2005. Back then I was just 11 years old – way too young to have any business anywhere near a motorcycle – but I remember being drawn to the bike’s futuristic, insectoid styling.
In fact, the 990 Super Duke inspired me to start my motorcycling journey aboard a KTM. My first “real” motorcycle was a 200 Duke, and I later upgraded to a 390 Duke. Now, the all-new 990 Duke has very little in common with its almost two-decade old ancestor. However, it represents a step forward, not just for the brand, but for the middleweight naked bike segment as a whole. Of course, expect nothing less than the best electronics package when it comes to this razor-sharp naked streetfighter. Needless to say, I can’t wait to take this new model for a spin when it becomes available.
Yamaha XSR900 GP
I’m a big fan of Yamaha, so much so that it’s my favorite among the Japanese big four. I’m a huge fan of the MT series in particular, having owned two MT-07s (the reason for this I’ll discuss in a future story), as well as an MT-10. There’s just something about the instantaneous torque of these bikes that’s so addicting. As such, the retro version of the MT series, the XSR, is also a model range that I find very attractive.
At EICMA 2023, Yamaha unveiled the XSR900 GP, a nod to the brand’s rich legacy in the world of racing. We’ve seen this bike before at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, back then it was called the XSR900 DB40, and now unveiled in all its glory, it looks thoroughly eye-catching with its classic white and red livery. While Yamaha continues to leave us waiting for the highly anticipated YZF-R9, the XSR900 GP is certainly a very sporty option for retro enthusiasts.
Vespa Sprint S Elettrica
Putting a scooter in my list of favorites at EICMA may come as a surprise to some of you, as scooters are probably the farthest thing from a performance-oriented machine out there. However, I’m something of a scooterista myself, having owned a Vespa LXV125 in the past, as well as a tiny little Yamaha Fazzio at present. Electric scooters are particularly exciting for me, as I see them as the future of urban mobility.
When Vespa showcased its 2024 range of scooters at EICMA, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the Elettrica range. Offered in two flavors – Primavera and Sprint S – it was the latter that really captured my attention. The Sprint has always been the sportier model in Vespa’s lineup, and I can’t help but imagine how zippy this charming little city slicker would be in electric form.
What were your favorite bikes at EICMA 2023? Let me know in the comments below!