All on at EICMA

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It is without a doubt one of the highlights of the motorcycle calendar. The last big show of the year and the chance for manufacturers to wow us with models to look forward to in the coming year. Here are our highlights from this year’s EICMA International Motorcycle Show in Milan.

WORDS: Mathieu Day-Gillett

SUZUKI DL800DE
For EICMA 2022 there were two brands on adventure riders' minds. Suzuki and Honda. Both had leaked less than subtle "spy shots" of new bikes ahead of the show, so expectations were high. Neither brand disappointed.

Suzuki was first up with not one, but two completely new motorcycles for 2023 - the DL800DE V-Strom and the GSX-8S. Considering the last all-new bike from Suzuki debuted in the last century, this was a big deal.

 

suzuki dl800 v strom 3

 

"Adventure is its Purpose" is the tagline Suzuki has given the new V-Strom 800, and they really mean business. Everything is new - nothing is held over from the 2022 DL650.

At its heart is a new parallel-twin engine; a 776cc parallel-twin with 270-degree crankshaft producing 62kW (84.3hp) and 78Nm. That 270° crank should give the new V-Strom a familiar v-twin-like feel, and, we imagine, a great sound out of an aftermarket pipe down the line.

Surprisingly for a Suzuki, the 800DE packs a lot of useful tech and like the soon to arrive V-Strom 1050DE, it gets a quick-shifter and switchable ABS as standard equipment.

Fuel range is always important for ADV bikes and the new V-Strom carries on Suzuki's longstanding tradition of plonking a big ol' 20-litre fuel tank in front of the 855mm high seat. The new parallel-twin engine has a claimed consumption of 22.7km/I which would put the theoretical range at an impressive 450km give or take.

The new V-Strom 800DE should be more than capable to take on the rest of the middleweight adventure class with the chassis sporting 220 mm ground clearance, 220mm of suspension travel at both ends, and the critical component to be taken seriously for any off-road riding - a 21-inch front wheel. Both tyres are of the tubed variety, indicating Suzuki has tried to keep pricing competitive with their new bike.

If the V-Strom 800DE has an Achilles heel, it's the weight. Suzuki claims a kerb weight of 230kg for the DL800, that's about 24kg heavier than the benchmark for the class. That said, the DL800 looks to have a strong subframe for carrying luggage or a pillion. And let's face it, if you were shopping for the most outright performance in an adventure bike you wouldn't be looking at a Suzuki anyway, would you?

Styling follows the same DR-Big lines as the DL1050 range, but with sharper lines that seem to follow the original bikes better - probably thanks to the all-new ground up design of the V-Strom 800DE.

The V-Strom 800DE is due in New Zealand in July 2023, with a choice of three liveries: Champion Yellow No. 2, Glass Mat Mechanical Grey, or Glass Sparkle Black. Pricing is yet to be confirmed.

SUZUKI GSX-85
Unveiled alongside the new V-Strom 800DE is the new GSX-8S naked middleweight which was also strongly rumoured to be unveiled at EICMA.

Like the new 'Strom, it utilises Suzuki's new 776cc parallel twin engine but somehow loses 1kW to the V-Strom with a peak of 61kW (83hp).

Both engines feature an innovative new primary balancer design, which Suzuki calls "Suzuki Cross Balancer", which further reduces unwanted vibration, and helps ensure the engine's compact nature, which in turn aids freedom of chassis design.

 

suzuki gsx 8s2

 

In possiblv a first for a Suzuki, the exhaust system features a short new muffler design, barely rising up and out from the right side of the engine, enhances the bike's compact look and feel. It's meant to sound cool too.

The GSX-8S introduces a load of technology into the middleweight Suzuki street bike lineup.

Included in the package are full LED lighting, TFT dash, a bi-directional quick-shifter, traction control and rider modes.

Just like the parallel-twin engine, the steel frame in the GSX-8S is a completely new design and is meant to balance comfort, stability and nimble handling. The GSX-8S also has a unique aluminium swingarm, KB suspension,

Nissin radial-mount monobloc brakes and cast-aluminium wheels with Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 rubber.

The 14-litre fuel tank features a slim design unique to the GSX-8S and there are three liveries: Pearl Cosmic Blue and Pearl Tech White, both created exclusively for the GSX-8S, and Metallic Matt Black No.2/Glass Sparkle Black.

While Suzuki NZ expects the GSX-8S will be available in August 2023, one of the talking points many appear to have missed is that the DL800DE and GSX-8S are not replacements for the much-loved (and long-lived) DL650 and SV650. In fact, Suzuki has stated that both the DL650 and SV650 will remain in the Suzuki global lineup for "lovers of V-twin engines".

HONDA XL750 Transalp
We had an idea Honda was going to drop the new Transalo at EICMA this vear after patents were filed and trademarks on the Transalp name were renewed in recent months - the only question was where on the continuum line of adventure motorcycling would the new Transalp fall. Would it be more dirt-oriented. or would it stay the course as a bit of an all rounder?

 

2023 honda transalp xl750 first look 6

 

Based around the same 755cc parallel-twin engine as the forthcoming CB750 Hornet, the new Transalp puts down 90.5hp at 9500rom and 75Nm of torque at 7250pm. Weight is always a point of contention with multi-cylinder adventure bikes, and Honda seems to have done well to keep the new Transalp down to a competitive kerb weight of 208kg. In saying that, the base bike ships without a skid plate, hand guards or crash protection which a lot of the competition have straight out of the box, which is a bit of a disappointment.

Visually Honda hasn't gone and broken the mould, with the new Transalp slotting in well with the current Honda lineup as a bigger brother to the established CB500X with similar lines and silhouette.

In the chassis department, the XL750 utilises a steel frame mated to a set of Showa suspension.

Up the front is a 43mm SFF-CATM upside-down fork with a rear shock working through a Pro-Link setup. Ground clearance is 210mm with 200mm of travel in the front suspension and 190mm at the rear, while seat height is 850mm.

Braking is supplied with dual twin-piston calipers biting down on 310mm discs at the front and a 256mm disc and single-piston unit at the rear. Rolling stock is proper off-road friendly with a 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheel set with tyres in sizes 90/90-21 and 150/70-18 respectively.

Supplying the Transalp with the fluids needed to get rolling is a 16.9-litre fuel tank. Honda claims a fuel consumption of 23km/I so that puts the bike's range at over 350km.

Electronically the XL750 Transalp features four default riding modes plus a User option, 5-level Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) with integrated Wheelie Control and 3 levels of Engine Braking and Power. The electronics packages also include a 5-inch colour TFT instrument display, with Honda Smartphone Voice Control, full LED lighting, auto-indicator cancel and Emergency Stop Signals (ESS) technology.

Interestingly, unlike Suzuki, Honda has made a quickshifter an optional extra on the Transalp.

The list of accessories does look to be quite thorough though with the option to include luggage, crash protection and a skid plate - that last one does a good job of evoking memories of the older generations of Transalp.

New Zealand distributors Blue Wing Honda expect the Transalp to return to the NZ market in the middle of 2023.

Honda CL500
In somewhat of a surprise, Honda also pulled the covers off a new 500 model in the form of the CL500 Scrambler. Based around Honda's '6113 duck power' (apparently 46.6hp) 471cc parallel-twin engine, the CL500 looks like the love child of the CB500X and the Rebel 500.

While the frame, tank and dash look like they've been plucked straight from the Rebel, the wheels - a set of alloys in 19-inch front and 17-inch rear - equally come from the CB500X.

 

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Honda is even saying the CL500 has light off-road cred, going as far as saying "It's born ready for the rigours of urban travel as much as it is light off-road."

Those rims have proven to be relatively well suited for light off-roading on the CB500X, so Honda might actually be onto something. After all, the LAMS-approved scrambler market is heating up with the addition of Moto Morini's 6 ½ SCR and STR just arriving in NZ.

Ground clearance is 155mm while suspension travel is 150mm from the 41mm telescopic forks and 145mm from the twin 5-step spring preload-adjustable rear shocks.

Seat height isn't a stretch at 790mm. Honda says the seat - alongside a slim mid-section - offers easy ground reach and ample legroom.

It's also designed with sides that cover the frame rails for standing up and low rear section for easy pillion access. While the CL500 features 2-channel ABS, Honda doesn't go as far as saying it is switchable for light off roading.

Rather, the ABS is optimised for use on dirt tracks as well as asphalt.

KAWASAKI
Team Green lived up to the moniker as the only large manufacturer showcasing new electric options. Kawasaki debuted two pre-production EVs and a hybrid motorcycle which the company hopes to have to market over the next two years.

 

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Kawasaki wasn't ready to divulge full specifications, but they did make it clear that the full EV bikes are designed to perform commuting duties (not touring) and are expected to launch next year while the hybrid is due for release in 2024.

ROYAL ENFIELD
Royal Enfield has long been rumoured to be building on its 650 twin platform, and while some fans might be disappointed that the long-rumoured Himalayan 650 is still to surface, Enfield surprised with the new Super Meteor.

 

RE SM pair cp

 

The new Super Meteor 650 gives riders a bigger (yet still LAMS) cruiser option than the Meteor 350. Based on the brand's lovely 648cc parallel-twin engine in a cruiser-style chassis, the Super Meteor is expected to launch in mid-2023 and will be available in two variants. The base

Super Meteor 650 is the solo tourer variant and will be available in five colourways - Astral Black, Astral Blue, Astral Green and Interstellar Grey.

The Super Meteor 650 Tourer is the grand tourer variant and will be available in Celestial Red and Celestial Blue.

ITALJET
While quirky Italian scooter outfit Italjet used EICMA to showcase its EV concept, the kind of mental Dragster 500GP concept is what really caught our eye.

 

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At first glance, it looks like an evolution of of the Tornado is representative of what we can expect in the future from the brand. It's definitely distinct and will help the brand stand out from the competition. Pricing is still yet to be determined, but Benelli expects to start shipping the bikes in the second half of 2023.

Finally, Benelli's stand featured a full range of TRK adventure touring models, from the diminutive TRK250 to the TRK800. Interestingly the TRK800 and TRK702 both put down a claimed peak power of 75ho despite a 56cc difference in displacement so it'll be interesting to see how these bikes are marketed.

ASTON MARTIN & BROUGH SUPERIOR

No show would be complete without something on the edge of unobtanium - and that role was filled in by Aston Martin and Brough Superior debuting their followup to the AMB 001 - the AMB 001 Pro.

 

AMB 0015 1521x760

 

The strictly limited-edition AMB 001 Pro is the latest design collaboration between the two brands, pairing Aston Martin's legendary design with state-of-the-art Brough Superior motorcycle engineering.

Offered in a single Pro specification, the successor to the sold-out AMB 001 was inspired by Aston Martin's no rules track hypercar Valkvrie AMR Pro. Like its inspiration, AMB 001 Pro takes track performance to the extreme, offering a 25% power increase on its predecessor, with its 225hp producing a power to weight ratio of 1.28hp/kg, similar to that of a Formula One car. Nuts!

 

Article kindly provided by: kiwirider.co.nz

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