The TeamZilla delegation arrived in Milan Monday and immediately started running to model launches.
The show opens Tuesday for the media and the industry and opens to the public on Thursday, but some of the manufacturers decided to get a jump on the show, so we went to model launches for Ducati, Honda and Yamaha.
For the second year, Ducati did its Apple-esque presentation, with CEO Claudio Domenicali doing an Italian version of a Steve Jobs presentation, only with a gray sweater instead of a black turtleneck. We could definitely see Ducati has been working hard.
They showed the new Hyperstrada and Hypermotard, with MotoGP riders Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso. Nothing super exciting, just three versions with basically a new 939 motor in it. The SP version comes with the Ohlins suspension and the Hyperstrada allows you to add the luggage. They unveiled the 959 Panigale and World Superbike rider Davide Giugliano was back from his injuries to make an appearance.
In the Scrambler line, they showed the Flat Track Pro, which is a pretty hot bike that was ridden onto the stage by former World Superbike Champ Troy Bayliss. Lemmy always complains there are no street trackers. Well, forget your worries, Lem-Lem. There is a Ducati street tracker and also a Yamaha street tracker in the new XSR900. This is going to be the year of the street tracker.
The other new Scrambler is called the Sixty2, which is a 400 cc entry-level bike. No word on whether we’re going to get that in the states. I’ll try to get more details once the show opens.
The new XDiavel is going after the whole power cruiser segment, and Ducati put effort into both the styling and the hard parts, with everything from radial-mount brakes to the trellis frame that says Ducati. The machining on the wheel and on the engine reminds me of the Indian Scout engine. Ducati made a point of noting that the engine has no external cooling tubes. Everything is internally jacketed so it looks really clean, especially on the righthand side. On the lefthand side, all you see is that big belt drive in the back, which is pretty damn cool.
Then there’s the Ducati Power Launch (DPL) button. It basically lets you hit the button, whack open the throttle and drop the clutch.
The big news, however, was the Multistrada 1200 Enduro. Super rugged. It is a BMW R 1200 GSA fighter. That’s who they’re going after, no bones about it. You’re getting eight inches of suspension travel, the spoked wheels that allow you to use tubeless tires in a 19-inch front and 17-inch rear, a double-sided swingarm that replaces the single-sided swingarm for obvious durability reasons, an eight-gallon gas tank, super-beefy off-road pegs and a lot more.
That was the true juggernaut of the show for Ducati. While I think the Flat Track Pro will appeal to a certain crowd and the XDiavel is pretty cool, the Multistrada Enduro stole the show.
Honda was an absolute snooze-fest. Honestly, I don’t know why they did an off-site launch. Basically, they had no new bikes. The CB500 line got some updates and they showed the Africa Twin, but there was nothing new there. And they showed what they called a City Adventure Scooter, which was basically a 150 cc scooter with knobby tires that probably will never see the light of day in the states.
Yamaha was definitely the killer of the night. I’d say they gave Ducati a good run. In addition to the XSR900 Jason wrote about, they showed a new MT-03, using the motor in the YZF-R3, and the new MT-10, which is based on the 2015 YZF-R1 engine. The MT-10 also has the Deltabox frame from the R1 and a lot of other premium bits, like the inverted fork and radial-mount brakes. It also has all the electronics, from traction control to cruise control, riding modes, the whole bit.
The look is extremely Transformers-esque. What surprised me was that the MT-10 didn’t sound like an R1, and I’m hoping that’s just because of the new Euro 4 emissions regulations and that the sound can be fixed with an aftermarket exhaust, because that’s always been one of the most soulful sounding motors to go down the road. And this one sounds like a sewing machine.
Whether we get the MT-10 in the states as an FZ-10 or FZ1 replacement is now the question.
We saw a lot of news today and the show hasn’t even started yet. I expect it to get even more interesting tomorrow.