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It's motorcycle show season: Here's what's coming to the American Market

It's motorcycle show season: Here's what's coming to the American Market

Article by Mark Vaughn - Courtesy AutoWeek

Every fall two big motorcycle shows take center stage in Europe: Intermot, which was held Oct. 5-9 this year in Cologne, Germany; and EICMA, held Nov. 8-13 in Milan. Imagine the FrankfurtDetroit or Tokyo auto shows but on two wheels instead of four.

Along with, to a lesser extent, the AIMExpo held in Orlando Oct. 13-16, those are the shows that host the world’s big two-wheeled news and debuts. After those shows, some of the motorcycles that debuted overseas go on tour across the U.S. as part of the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows tour, which makes seven stops around the country from Long Beach, Calif to New York. The Progressive shows take place in the dead of winter, after most of the country has long since parked its bikes for the season and has nothing to do but dream and plan for next year. Pretty clever scheduling.  

Here are some of the motorcycles that came out:

Aprilia showed bikes at Intermot in Europe and at AIMExpo but was not in Long Beach for the launch of the Progressive Tour in the U.S. But they’re cool bikes so we mention them here anyway. The 201-hp Aprilia RSV4, shown in Cologne, gets a new Ohlins suspension, new braking system and new APRC electronic controls package that includes cornering ABS and downshifter. The 175-hp Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 RR Factory, which is a direct descendant of the mighty RSV4, also gets suspension and brake improvements, and a new electronics package that includes cornering ABS and cruise control. 


BMW released new and improved models and new variations all across the range. At Intermot, BMW showed off two new variations of the R nine T: Racer and Pure. Both are stripped-down, half-faired sports bikes with distinct style. The Racer will be available here in the second quarter of 2017. At Long Beach BMW showed the R nine T Scrambler, another more minimalist model that should be in dealer showrooms now priced at $13,000. The R nine T Urban GS that we saw in Long Beach was also good for “light off-road use.”

On the entry level end of the market, BMW showed a number of 313-cc one-cylinder 310 models. At EICMA it was the G 310 GS that debuted, a semi-adventure bike made for both city and “light terrain.” The G 310 R, meanwhile, shares its looks with the S 1000 R but for an entry-level price of just under five grand, the least-expensive BMW sold. It’ll be out in the late second quarter of 2017.


Ducati 1299 Super Leggera

Ducati blew every other bike away from Milan to Long Beach with the $80,000, carbon fiber 1299 Super Leggera. “This is the quintessence of Ducati,” said Jason Chinnock, CEO of Ducati North America. Why build such a super superbike? “Because we can,” he said. There will only be 500 made worldwide and Ducati already knows most of the buyers. Many if not most of them will be in the United States. “Historically North America has been the number one market for bikes like this,” said Chinnock. God bless America! The bike’s six-axis IMU includes anti-wheelie control, racing traction control, ABS and slide control. Deliveries start in May.

At the other end of the Ducati range, also introduced at EICMA and on the stand at the Progressive show in Long Beach, was the Scrambler Desert Sled, a slightly higher, slightly more off-roadable version of the popular entry level Scrambler bike introduced over a year ago. In addition to more clearance, the tires were developed exclusively for the bike, with the look of a knobby tire but still capable for street use. It’s priced at $11,945.

In between those mighty Ducs are a new entry-level Mutistrada 950 dual sport priced at $14,545 and a new Supersport and Supersport S, which debuted at Intermot. They start at $13,545 in the U.S. and look really cool.

Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight


Harley-Davidson didn’t show any new bikes at Long Beach but did have a really nice cutaway model of the new eight-valve Milwaukee-Eight V-Twin engine, only the ninth big V-Twin in the company’s 113-year history.

The star of the Honda stand at both EICMA and in Long Beach was the new CB1000 RR, available in SP and SP2 trim levels. The SP2 is geared more for racers. Both get throttle by wire, and an IMU that controls front and rear wheel lift, as well as other slip-and-slide preventative measures. The new bike weighs four pounds less than the old one and gains 10 more hp.

Honda also showed an interesting take on the entry-level market with its Rebel 300 and 500 cruisers.

One Honda that was at EICMA but not anywhere else that we’ve seen was a stripped-down version of the Africa Twin called the Enduro Concept. It looked minimalist-beastly cool and we wish Honda would have brought it to the States, if even just to show.

Kawasaki had a trailerful of new or significantly updated bikes in Long Beach. The 2017 Ninja 1000 ABS model gets chassis orientation awareness technology thanks to a new Bosch IMU. It offers Kawasaki Cornering Management Function, Kawasaki Intelligent ABS as well as ECU tuning and even a lower seat. The 2017 Ninja 650, “the bread and butter for Kawasaki,” gets a stronger, lighter frame, new rear suspension and a redesigned 650-cc parallel twin engine. It’s available with or without ABS (but get it with). The Versys-X300 entry-level adventure bike is all-new for the 2017 model year. It was introduced at EICMA before taking a bow in Long Beach.

KTM showed a new schnozz on its 1290 Super Duke R that looked downright insectoidal. With a reworked cylinder head and intake, output is 177 hp, but KTM assured us that power is “very user-friendly.” So don’t worry.

Suzuki showed the all-new GSX-R1000 at Intermot, with a new engine, new chassis and reduced weight over the previous model. It also got a full electronics package, including an IMU (inertial measurement unit) for high-speed stability in any conditions. No word on when we can get the GSX-R1000 in U.S. showrooms. It was officially listed as a concept at Intermot.

However, the smaller-displacement, entry level GSX250R will be in showrooms in April, with full fairings that make it look like its bigger-displacement brother. The bike’s 248-cc two-cylinder engine is good for 76 mpg.

The middleweight Yamaha YZF-R6 gets suspension refinements and six levels of traction control, which includes an off setting. The fairing also looks a little closer to the one on the R1 superbike.

Look up Progressive International Motorcycle Shows’ tour schedule to find when it’ll come through your town this winter. We were at the season-opener in Long Beach, Calif., but the tour continues to: New York Dec. 9-11, Washington DC Jan. 6-8, Dallas Jan. 13-15, Cleveland Jan. 27-29, Minneapolis Feb. 3-5 and it all finishes up in Chicago Feb. 10-12. We can’t say for sure exactly which motorcycles will be at each stop, but the newest models sold in the U.S. will almost certainly be on hand. Tell ‘em Autoweek sent you. 

Article by Mark Vaughn - West Coast Editor Mark Vaughn covers all car things west of the Mississippi from his Autoweek lair high above the LA metropolis. Read more »