Lots Of Exciting Stuff in Milan ThisYear

That’s right sports fans, it’s November again and the show season is once again in full swing with the Milan show opening to the public in a few short days. Can’t contain yourself till then? Well, I got good news. The press days for this year’s show are today and tomorrow, but we got a sneak peek already from a handful of manufacturers, and the doors open to the public on Thursday, November 9th. I took a look around and found some goodies that made my top picks for things to watch as the show launches.

Continue reading for my first look at the 2017 EICMA show.

What’s The Buzz?

I gotta tell ya, this is an exciting year. The shift away from the Boomer market is giving us some interesting products right now, from revamped classics to net-new models, with newish tech such as leaning backwards trikes, all-electric scooters and hybrid-drive units. Lots of good stuff to go over just on what we see so far, so let’s get crackin’.

Indian’s New Flat Track Racer

2018 First Look: Indian Motorcycle Scout FTR1200 Custom
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As an FTR model, it looks very much like the steed that carried Mees, Smith, and Baker to victory this year.

In honor of the stellar performance of its Wrecking Crew race team in its first year back in the American Flat Track series, I’m going to give Indian Motorcycle the floor first. The FTR 1200 hits the market as an alternative to its similarly sized Scouts and larger tourbike/bagger models as it heads deep into sport-riding territory. If I had to pick something to compare it against, I’d immediately look to Harley-Davidson’s Sportster lineup, and maybe even consider a slightly smaller Yamaha Star Bolt based on the displacement and engine configuration.

Indian runs an 1,133 cc V-twin that cranks out over 100 ponies (claimed), and I’d say it’s entirely likely to be true since the standard Scout runs a similarly-sized engine and puts out right at 100 ponies. As an FTR model, it looks very much like the steed that carried Mees, Smith, and Baker to victory this year, and the fact that it is so closely tied to the race version should certainly help drive sales, especially while Indian is riding the current wave of success. Öhlins products float both ends of the ride with a 25-degree rake and 3.7-inch trail that is bound to make the bike agile enough to meet the needs of all the non-racers that are actually going to be riding the thing.

Indian has a rich racing history of winning and we aim to continue that with the FTR platform and beyond,” says Marketing Director Reid Wilson. “As was the case with Indian’s original founders, we are using racing to develop, test and showcase the capabilities of our motorcycles. Indian will push boundaries by developing new products that will expand rider perceptions of American motorcycles. We plan to be respectful of Indian’s rich heritage, while expanding the reach of the brand over the long-term horizon.”

Yep, it’s an exciting time to be an Indian fan, and I bet H-D is really starting to sweat from this new pressure from its previously-vanquished domestic foe.

Harley-Davidson Adds To The Softail Madness

2018 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide
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Inspired by the FXRT, this new version comes built on the Softail platform with a mini-batwing fairing.

Next up, we have the other American manufacturer, and another ride that made the transition into the new Softail lineup, the 2018 Sport Glide. Originally, this bike was called the FXRT and it carried the hard panniers with a Tour-Pak, bullet fairing and full windshield for what was essentially a narrow dresser. The new version comes built on the Softail platform with a small fairing that looks more like a mini-batwing than the original bullet-style fairing. Blackout usd forks float the front end, and the under-seat rear shock comes with a quick-adjuster for easy preload tweaks.

Detachable saddlebags make it something of a convertible, two-in-one ride that is capable of light touring and grocery-getting missions but can quickly be set up for cruising with a clean rear end and an unimpeded view of the rear wheel and special swingarm that sells the hardtail look. The MoCo powers the Sport Glide with its 107-inch Milwaukee-Eight that brings 108 pounds o’ grunt to the table along with its typical good looks and expected rumble.

Moto Guzzi V85

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MG has returned to its off-road racing roots with the decidedly adventuresome V85.

Sticking with the V-twin mills brings us to a concept bike from Moto Guzzi, the V85, and it’s an adventure bike. Say what, you say? You heard right, MG has returned (somewhat) to its off-road racing roots with the decidedly adventuresome V85 that toes the genre line with a triple-clamp mount front mudguard, twin rally-style lights and skinny windshield.

The typical profile has a tall fuel-tank bump and low-rise pillion pad with a shallow rider’s buttcup in between. Naturally, the fuel tank comes with shoulders up forward to somewhat fair off the protruding engine heads, and the 80-horsepower (claimed) engine itself sees a revamp as it’s purpose built for this bike.

Will it compete with the likes of the new Africa Twin from Honda, or some of the similar models from Triumph and BMW’s lineup? I’ll be taking a much deeper look soon to figure that out, but meanwhileI’m looking at the MG lineup and my earworm keeps singing “one of these things is not like the others.”

New, Bigger Ducati Scrambler

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If you've outgrown your 803 cc Scrambler model, you can get something that keeps the same look, feel and attitude.

Ducati came out swingin’ for the stands with a fistful of offerings, but for me, the most interesting model in the Duc section would have to be the new Scrambler 1100. The Scrambler lineup has seen some revisions for this year. Some models dropped out of the lineup, and some new ones found their way in, but it’s the new 1,079 cc-powered edition that steals the spotlight for me.

According to the factory’s prose, “The Ducati Scrambler 1100 aims to meet the needs of even the most demanding, expert motorcyclists – but without compromising the fun, style and freedom that Scrambler stands for. A beefier bike with a bigger engine and an even better set of standard equipment that lets riders upgrade without leaving the Scrambler family.”

In other words, if you’ve outgrown your 803 cc Scrambler model, you can get something that keeps the same look, feel and attitude. I mean seriously, it’s like a regular Scrambler that bulked up during a prison bid then got turned loose on the world. Frame size was buffed a bit to fit larger (read: grown) rider, and we are given a choice between Öhlins and Kayaba suspension components with Brembo Monobloc calipers and Bosch 9.1 Cornering ABS on stopping duties. All top-shelf stuff, right? Well it gets better with traction control and variable power-delivery modes, plus a handful of comfort-related improvements to boot. Yep, it’s like a Scrambler, just all growed up.

Vespa Elettrica

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Looks-wise, they are nothing special. What is special is the electric motor that delivers 147.5 pound-feet of stump-pulling torque.

The last of my initial picks may not necessarily be the biggest or best, but I would argue they are some of the most significant. Vespa has finally signaled its intention to release its previously glimpsed Elettrica scooters for worldwide consumption in the coming year. Looks-wise, they are nothing special; they are Vespas, and so they look like Vespas. The important stuff is all under the body paneling, namely the electric motor that drives the Elettrica with a peak of 5.3 horsepower and — wait for it — 147.5 pound-feet of stump-pulling torque. That’s right folks, if you can hold this thing down hard enough to maintain traction, you could probably use it to tow the junk cars out of the backyard.

Power for the motor comes from a lithium-ion battery with a range of only 62 miles on the all-electric version, but you can pull out a cord and plug it up when you get where you’re going to top off. The “X” model gives you some longer legs with an ICE range-extender that can wring 124 miles out of a full charge and 0.8 gallon of gasoline for the mill. Why is it important? Well, because it’s freakin’ electric, that’s why, and the more the big-name companies get on board, the faster society and infrastructure will adapt to it and accept EV transportation. M’kay?

And More To Come

That’s about all for now folks. More will come over the next few days. Be sure to tune in for an in-depth review on all these and more once the show peters out. Till then, keep it between the lines and dirty-side down.

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All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: indianmotorcycle.com, harley-davidson.com, ducatiusa.com, motoguzzi-us.com, vespausa.com, eicma.it

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