Most of the time, EICMA is where motorcycle manufacturers show off their most captivating models of the year. While new paint and graphics can certainly ignite the passions of riders on their own (looking at you, Kawasaki 40th Anniversary Ninja liveries), at EICMA, the focus is most often on entirely new bikes.
2023, in many ways, felt like a return to form. During the pandemic years, things were necessarily muted (or even canceled), and 2022 was a year when the industry was still regaining its footing. Did it even make sense to go when manufacturers like BMW and KTM were finding plenty of purchase debuting their bikes before a world audience via online events?
If the 560,000-plus attendees at EICMA 2023 prove anything to the industry, it's that people are still very interested in experiencing both new motorcycles and this event in person. Art demands an audience, and motorcycling remains as much a multi-sensory experience in 2023 as it's ever been.
Here are the bikes I was most excited about at EICMA 2023.
In an era where so many people play it safe, Italjet's designers seem to just giggle, drink some more espresso, and then throw the rule book out the window. Is it a motorcycle? Is it a scooter? Does it even matter? Why can't you just have fun on two wheels and call it a day?
This design is completely out of its mind in the best way possible, and it's beyond thrilling to me that it's going into production pretty much as you see it here. One day, I hope to be lucky enough to ride one. Rest assured, if and when that day comes, I will probably not be able to shut up about it.
Setting aside for a moment the fact that I'm absolutely the person who grumbles when most electric scooters suddenly don't have any storage space anymore, it's difficult to deny the appeal of this design. It's so clean and elegant, and the hydraulic mechanism that lifts the rear body shell up off the motor and battery for access is extremely cool. Add one of those little bag hooks at the front of the footwell and I'm on board.
Some people don't love insect-like motorcycle designs, and that's cool. I, on the other hand, love them. I can't stop staring at this headlight cluster. The rest of the bike looks nice, too, but it's this headlight cluster that instantly drew me in. I'm also curious about the new 750cc twin that's in this bike, which was on display by itself elsewhere at the Moto Morini stand.
Did Bimota's designers see the phrase "go big or go home" as an expression of intent? Because that's seemingly what the Tera appears to be. You thought the Tesi and its hub-center steering were wild? What do you think about its potential adventure capabilities?
The styling is fantastic, but you do have to wonder who's going to feel confident enough in their ability to not either scream or cry if they drop their Tera off-road (or bin it down a steep hill).
Motorcyclists are not a monolith, and as is probably evident if you regularly read my work, you'll know that I'm far from being an electric motorcycle naysayer. There are challenges and hurdles to be overcome in the category, sure, but electric motorbikes can be both useful and fun.
That said, I'm really hoping that Kawasaki brings its strong hybrids to the US market (which, at the time of writing in mid-November 2023, it has so far not announced). Both the Z7 HEV and the previously-introduced Ninja 7 HEV seem like potentially intriguing options, particularly as the American market is concerned.
Depending on how the HEVs are priced, they also seem like more practical options for our market than the Ninja e-1 and Z e-1, which seem most likely to appeal to urban riders with short commutes. Both the styling and the technology are intriguing on the HEVs, and I'm generally of the opinion that it's always cool to see someone doing something differently from everyone else.