By Ross Sharp - 07 Nov 17
What an exciting time to be involved in motorcycling. OK so here in London the scooter scrotes are making our lives a misery but it's far from doom and gloom, there are some truly excellent motorcycles being built right now and the pipeline is chock-full too. Stew and Gareth are on the ground in Milano soaking up the latest bikes and gear at Europe's largest motorcycle expo, Eicma. The internet has been on fire today as it's clear the manufacturers are not holding back when it comes to unveiling headline grabbing concepts and new models. Here are a few that caught our eye. Honda CB4 Interceptor Last year we were bowled over by Honda's stunning CB1100 Tracker but this CB4 Interceptor concept is sublime and another step-up from Honda's Rome based R&D department. The tiny team are free to convert their creative juices into proper, working motorcycles rather than plastic models. Based on the new CB1000R this rude racer needs delivering to our Bike Shed London 2018 show next May and hopefully some of Europe's top builders will be able to get their hands on one in time to produce some similar magic. Free from the homologated nonsense this concept shows just how good a water cooled café racer can look. Did the CB1100 arrive a little late to the party?
Indian Scout FTR1200
Indian's total whitewash of the American Flat Track series was amazing for the go fast, turn left brigade to witness but the chances of seeing an FTR750 are akin to finding a Harley race technician without sad face, let alone riding one. If you have £50,000 spare the factory will entertain the idea of you racing one but for the road there have only been Krazy Horse and Roland Sands street trackers available until now.
Word on the street is that thw FTR1200 will look near as damn it like this and we've no reason to doubt that given the stock bike's fuss-free finishing and excellent packaging of the messy bits. We just hope we get the chance to try one.... often.
Kawasaki Z900RS Café
Kawasaki took their sweet time joining the new wave scene but they've been making up for it in the last 18 months. Well, the French department has with a few commissioned customs built by the legendary Oficina MRS. Last month in Tokyo the Z900RS was unveiled to a rapturous reception and now this café version has broken cover.... and it looks blinking marvellous. We might should have a ride report to share by the end of the month.
Moto Morini Corsaro Ti22
Moto Morini haven't wanted to be outgunned by the larger, better resourced manufacturers and have embarked on a few in-house custom projects. This Corsaro Ti22 being the fruits of what must have been a lot of labour. The base bike with it's trellis frame and sexy v-twin makes life a lot easier granted, but they've pulled off a blinder here. Which begs the question... why do custom builders continue to take the simple route and follow each other along well trodden paths. Niche Italian metal is usually gorgeous straight off the assembly line so why not start there.
Milano & Scrambler
Although the Ti22 is a one-off custom but the Milano and Scrambler certainly aren't. The 1200cc twin delivers 110HP in standard tune and drips with exotic components to tantalise the discerning customer. We're discerning... please Mr Morini, we'd like to try one.
Husqvarna Vitpilen & Svartpilen
Husky are such a prick tease. We've been excited about the Vitpilen for what seems like an eternity, heck, we sat on once last year and it's still not ready. Finally though, it looks like this and the tracker oriented Svartpilen are just around the corner.
We'll take a Svartpilen... if it's big enough. Gareth reports that he swamps the thing. But he has got an inside leg measurement starting with a 4.
Suzuki can battle it out with Kawasaki for the honours of being last to the custom party but thankfully there is the hint of good things to come. The SV650X wears subtle café racer clothing which should appeal to the huge number of Suzuki fans wanting that venerable SV punch and sound with more classic looks.
And it's not just the traditional manufacturers who dialled-in the aesthetics, some of the electric bikes on display are fairly handsome too. Italian brand Energica have three models exhibited but the Ego and Eva EsseEsse9 (a road in Italy) would be our pick.
Moto Guzzi V85
With the leggy Stelvio gone this middle weight adventurer could entice those who find the BMW800GS and Triumph XC800 a little bit mainstream. 850cc and 80hp might on paper at least not be very exciting but the proof will be in the pudding. Hopefully the lardiness has been engineered out as this looks great.
Royal Enfield Interceptor
The new money and enthusiasm injected into the Royal Enfield brand is finally starting to pay off. The much hyped 650cc parallel twin has been unveiled.... and what a handsome powerplant it is, the cylinders unmistakably Enfield.
Output figures won't win Top Trumps but the Interceptor has been design to be reliable and inexpensive to own and run rather than impress with it's performance. Emphasis has been placed on character, with a 270 degree firing order which should make for a decent exhaust note. Once we've ridden one we'll report back.