A 99 percenter’s view of EICMA 2012 RideApart

27 Мар 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи A 99 percenter’s view of EICMA 2012 RideApart отключены
Benelli Tornado Limited Edition (Italian version)

Dailies — November 25,

Each year between and November, the EICMA motorcycle takes place in Milan, It is the literal start and end date of the calendar. Other trade exist, and in earlier times EICMA was only held every two years, Germany’s carried the same weight. in fact.

But since about it has been clear that with its glittering new convention glamorous host city and of historic domestic brand has become the lode star of the motorcycle industry. If it exists on two and has any pretence of importance to the market, it is to be found at EICMA.

In North motorcycle shows are used as entertainment and retail opportunities for dealers and merchants, with OEM ranging from serious to The large event corporations run them make efforts to the major brands, but the reality of our scale and the costs involved setting up official brand that can be as large as 10,000 feet, in ten major US and Canadian make that difficult.

The problem with shows on our of course, is the relatively puny of our market and its lack of growth. The motorcycle industry isn’t all interested in funding all those in a shrinking market where one owns 50%.

Other trade shows in what once thriving markets are too. The British national event at the NEC in Birmingham has degenerated a garage sale for new old stock the Paris Salon des Deux is essentially a regional distributor gig and the once mighty INTERMOT is becoming a venue for unknown far brands making a European although the Japanese continue to use it for few new model launches.

EICMA head and shoulders above attracting every major brand and many of the rest. It is a trade show that face to face time for of parts, apparel, services and from all corners of the world, and small.

I get a little giddy EICMA approaches. Forget the Milan motorcycle show is the thing to look forward to you make your living and get a lot of pleasure from motorcycles. The grenades us with two wheeled and reality, new and renewed bikes in a halogen glow and draped feminine excess. Walking the vast halls of EICMA fuel, comfortable shoes and open to surprises.

The mainstream report on the obvious things, as concept bikes or the latest sports model. But the real is often in the back, small ten by ten where some artisan has a one of a kind motorcycle, or the headlamp you never heard of that has a line of LED headlights that set a mind racing.

This EICMA is over, and HFL and other have gone to good to present the major debuts the known manufacturers. The news has a bunch of expected new motorcycles MV, Ducati and Bimota. Honda and KTM delighted audiences with motorcycles for the everyman.

But what has not been reported is the of new concepts, the weakness of the exotica the legacy brands, and the total of new hardware from three of the largest manufacturers. The aftermath of should leave everyone one question: what is going on?

– The end is neigh

It is not news, or even interesting to write the usual pablum about how the west is in or that our motorcycle markets are no the main drivers of the industry. is newsworthy and really ought to eyebrows is the near total that Yamaha. Kawasaki and have shown the western via EICMA, particularly this

Anyone that knows brands or has worked with can understand their corporate models germinate from a perspective. Its looking up close makes for a depressing reading of the tea

Suzuki is in dire straights, a bleeding money after a venture with VW in south-east and is in full blown damage The lynch pin of that company is dominance in the Vietnamese market laugh, Vietnam is the world’s 4th and one where they make dough), in Malasia and joint-ventures in

The brand that gave the the GSX-R and Katana is just not in a to think to much about young squids in the Midlands or are happy with their crotch rocket. GSR … and Burgman maxi scooter in Mediterranean Europe are what are counting, so that’s them out of the picture.

Not bad for a 150cc four-…,

If Suzuki is in damage control what Yamaha is doing can be described as a reversing polarity. The fork company has handled its well, shuttered a lot of deadbeat (and a few unfortunate good – I’m thinking of you, Barcelona), production and gotten near Good.

But it appears that have put all of theirs eggs in the and Indian baskets, developing new for them fast and promoting with unparalleled ad buy. The that Yamaha shut nearly all of the global racing then paid for its MotoGP without sponsors indicated how importance they are placing on the brand. No Marlboro-Yamaha or Fiat-Yamaha of This is Yamaha.

Blue and and black and Semakin di dipan. “On the .” The aggressive branding attitude to be banking on winning the hearts of the 20 in south east Asia products and victories in the hope of itself as the go-to motorcycle for prestige, performance and value. The can content itself with new on 5 year old R-series models and one “concept” model, a mildly XJR1300 (itself an old nail).

a few short years ago Yamaha’s branch GK would present a new model for every show, and an all-new R-Series each year. Those were the You’ll get your re-skinned FJR and it!

Kawasaki comes out of EICMA a little less anaemic. the other three mentioned Kawa used INTERMOT a ago to unveil genuinely new motorcycles and EICMA with a decent bike, the only one from a brand. Pretty, neat and the retro-future Z1000 offered a spark of life to the smallest of the big

Sadly, it was not a factory effort, but to them for at least commissioning a Make no mistake, Kawasaki Industries is on the same track as the going great guns in Vietnam, Thailand and making into India. But they to still have us close to In Europe, the Z750 has been a top in Italy and Spain for years, high displacement motorcycles, the broad 650cc family and 250 have been strong over here as well.

The Ninja in fact, deserves credit than it is generally It was the success of the restyled model in the one often panned by motorcycle as underwhelming, that not only the way for renewed street bike in the US (beating out every single / standard motorcycle on the market by a margin) but also inspired Canada to import the CBR125, an that eventually gave Americans access to the seminal

Other than Honda, the came to EICMA with old machinery dressed in new colours. It was not a showing, and confirmed to industry what the numbers and financial have been reporting 2009: the polarity has definitively and there simply aren’t resources to feed the west the new hardware it is accustomed to.

We will to make do with existing a little longer, and probably in the future expect fewer and frequent front line replacements. Personally, I don’t this is a bad thing. European brands are given no grief for premiere models in their ups for four, five, sometimes ten or more. BMW features premium in the line up that have had no change since 2005 as one example).

Dressing up an ageing Tornado with some new triple clamps or repainting an MV or (pre-2007) Ducati Monster in “limited series” special has been standard operating for ever, irrespective of any real improvement. But if a breathtaking work of like a CBR1000RR isn’t redesigned inside of three is it branded “old”, “obsolete” or ludicrously “irrelevant” by media.

It is to note that the very machines most often for lacking novelty almost sell the best. Think or T-Max, both copied by everyone (including the Europeans) but dethroned in the marketplace.

Italy – What Austerity?

The country may be financial ruin, but the grist feeds Italy’s motorcycle is, for lack of a better word, That over-used cliche is when it comes to most brands’ product planning with a couple of notable

While executives at the Piaggio of companies coldly analyze statistics and prepare complex strategies, and the ever changing of Ducati plot the latest Moto Morini, Malagutti, MV, and the rest of the B list brands unleash design like a spring, shooting wild in all directions, or no direction, hoping to hit on that resonates with the It is an exciting, raw, thoroughly act, but from a business of view horribly risky.

Using a supercharged version of the Testastretta 11 motor, this DB11 VLX makes 190bhp and has mile service intervals.

was this more evident at than at Bimota. The boutique from the principality of San Marino (a of country within a country loose tax law) went boasting a booth three or times their usual and with five new models! It is a Ivan move for small that manufactures perhaps motorcycles a year, and a bold

Producing alternative spec or based on one principle design, the path Bimota have it a realistic way to offer different within the incredibly constrained of a small company. To produce a of one-off machines for a show, to provoke, is also a clever and effective marketing plan. But didn’t do this.

They different bikes and declared to be forthcoming production models, soon to a Bimota retailer you. Everyone I spoke to this came away the same suspicious feeling: a is coming.

Speculation: Ducati, most loved brand by money, was recently sold at a profit (for the first in almost 20 years), a prospect must have had investors Bimota’s current owners saw in brand arguably more than even Ducati and decided to pull a Lotus. To not familiar with the car business, let me

Lotus cars hired an ex marketing executive who promised to the famous British brand a major player of the luxury car Under his leadership the tiny leveraged its resources to the hilt, a flotilla of concept cars and that it was going to deliver into customer hands a couple of years.

The owners triple their investment in order, all they needed was to get on those fabulous show car and ramp up the production plan. It work. The money ran out before could engineer anything worthy, the loans were in and now Lotus is gone.


The Benelli BN600 is simply a Keeway RK600.

I really, hope I am wrong. I really, hope that Bimota’s actually planned on this for and have the budget to develop the BB2 and DB11,12 and whatever, with and conviction. Its just that, Italian brands with not beginning with “A” or “P” have a history of not meeting deadlines, or what can only be described as test models to market.

Morini, recently out of bankruptcy flattered itself with releases and announcements for this EICMA only to show up more of the same old thing. chances of seeing the end of 2013 are at best. Benelli. another of mismanagement is today nothing than a shell brand, a for marketing Chinese made into Europe.

I fully expect the product to eventually surpass Italian levels (which isn’t much), but there will be little life left of the by then.

The Rivale is stunning, but MV is struggling.

If Bimota has jumped the then they may be circling to MV. The Rivale is stunning, in the literal of the word. It arrests the viewer, optical synapses with of either love or hate.

A thing indeed for a tiny motorcycle manufacturer. However, the delays with full of the F3 and its … Brutale twin unpleasant rumours about the viability of the enterprise. Journalists I with reported finish irregularities, a tell tale of rushed or incomplete R-D.

For any cash flow is the most thing, and for a motorcycle company means getting out there and hardware. Recent history that Italian boutique are not terribly good at delivering products before they are which doesn’t bode for MV. The Rivale had better be good and soon.

The Other Italy

You have to look at the new Caponord you’re riding it. Based on the 1200, it should be fast, fun thanks to that big fairing, tank and new seat unit, it be all-day comfortable too.

Group nailed it this That Aprilia had a great is not news. That the Caponord was with a yawn or that the is ugly surprises no one. unsurprising though, are the impressive sheets on them both and the finish levels. Aprilia superior products, even if are the “coldest” Italian brand.

scooter offerings, largely by northern Europeans and North are exceptional in function and design, if they are often re-skinned of Piaggio branded products. The are the best in Europe, save for and certain BMW models (some of they helped engineer). It is a pity that more don’t rally behind brand.

With over 40 world championships under belt, all of which in direct and competition with the Japanese big globally significant production and having had the audacity to actually money throughout most of history, they make other Italian sports brand look kind of

Vespa’s newest product is 30 more fuel efficient and a a retro futuristic update to the 1946 prototype.

Piaggio hit it out of the park with the new Vespa. decades of milking a great for all its worth, churning out one wet cardboard of the worlds motorcycle icon another, the latest concept is a tour de force. Beautiful in a feminine way without being or contrived, it is simultaneously elegant and a trick that only the Vespa models have able to do.

Besides that, and modest changes to plebian products like the Beverly and it is clear from trade that Piaggio, like the big is concentrating on south-east Asia. are springing up in Indonesia and Indian are expanding. Expect small to be sourced from the sub continent a couple of years, and priced

For once, not being wrapped in the flag may be an asset, because a hot and affordable future RS250 not lose any appeal with the Made in India stamped it.

Under New Management

Which us to Ducati. Now under German the tectonic shifts that plagued the storied Bolognese might have ceased for In the last six months, the company has sold, management is being and they lost Valentino which, no matter what opinion of the man, is a public disaster. Yamaha’s stock up the moment he got off the Desmoseidici in Valencia month, even if he is still contract until the end of the year.

But mind, because Ducati is on a roll it has not enjoyed before in it

The new “R” model Panigale is mostly and gew gaws.

Top marks must go to the at Investindustrial, the former owners. the owners that misguided the in the past, they did as their suggests and invested in industrial gestating the finest line up of in Ducati’s history.

From the Monster to the market expanding to the utterly superb Multistrada, to say of the Panigale, Ducati finally has that can openly take on the Japanese and European machinery in terms. Quality is up, prices are in and performance is fantastic. The EICMA was disappointing only because it was just filled with we had already seen before, to hell. But industry people Ducati makes sense

And they have the financial and industrial management quality to on doing it. If I were based in (or Hamamatsu for that matter) I be very worried.

The Mass Cometh Back

The take conclusion for any EICMA observer in comes from looking at the of the market leader. Honda is the important motorcycle brand in the period. Of course they had the production figures to back assertion up, but in recent years the Soichiro built has retaken its place as the industry leader in development as well.

And that has radiated from the place Honda first made its name. technical superiority at prices.

Honda’s new 500 range is stylish, practical, fun and, importantly, affordable. The CB500 just $5,500.

Forget the and the CBR1000RR. Those remarkable will be but footnotes in the future. is back where it belongs, not just insanely great but making insanely great penetrating choices. When for years the conventional wisdom that Americans didn’t small motorcycles, they the CBR125, 250 and this year the

When middleweight was understood to a 600 or 650cc, they give us a and 700cc twins with all day and contemporary styling. All at amazing good styling and backed by legendary service and quality. every other Japanese is reeling, abandoning markets and production runs, Honda introducing fresh, new motorcycles in low and price premium areas.

They are flexing their and woe betide the rest, because if can turn me, a life long bashing partisan into a than they can win over

KTM’s new 390 Duke weighs 320lbs (wet) and should around $6,500 if it makes it to the US.

Honda has shown sales a few others follow. Kawasaki is and deserves credit for its own leadership low cost fun. But it is KTM that is the segment open with styling, delicious spec and cohesion that picks up Honda leaves off and pushes the of what the term budget can mean.

The 390 Duke. and the inevitable offs it will create the stage for a whole new era of brand high performance motorcycles are not only accessible, but actually by western consumers. The Millennial now reaching their twenties are not in borrowing money (something is almost irrelevant anyways as is precious little credit to them), particularly if it is to buy a throwaway object like a car or premium

The industry knows this and the people are recalibrating the business to attractive reasons to get into The most attractive, besides arguments about low operating is keeping prices down watering down the motorcycle

EICMA in 2012 was a clear of where the industry is headed, and a to those who think that a of years of economic growth signal a return to business as Instead of seeing this down market as a sign of it ought to be a welcoming trend. market motorcycling is where are, and traditionally always been.

Of course there always be demand for exclusivity, performance, and the tempting margins earn. But while the famous of the motorcycle universe may have from those fringes, it is the and steady sales of the extraordinary motorcycle that has created the fortunes, and paid for many of the Small and cheap need not be or undesirable.

If KTM has shown us anything November, it is quite the opposite.

Uhlarik is a veteran motorcycle consultant and award winning of motorcycles for brands like Aprilia, Bombardier, and many He is the founder of Amarok Consultants. and the designer of the Amarok P1 electric experiment. He lives in Halifax, Scotia.

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