For the motorcycle industry, the biggest and best trade show in the world is EICMA (Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori) in Milan. Established in 1914, the six-day exhibition is the platform where leading manufacturers reveal new production and concept motorcycles to impress potential customers and the market in general.
The 2022 edition featured 1,370 brands from 45 countries and saw a 35 percent increase in attendance compared to the previous iteration. And as always, despite the exercise in sensory overload that the exhibition presents, some stunning machines stood out. Here are our top five picks from the field this year.
MV Agusta 921 S Concept
This concept bike pays homage to the 1973 MV Agusta 750S, one of the Italian manufacturer’s all-time greatest hits that is endearingly referred to as simply “the America”. Channeling, rather than replicating, was the storyline penned by the brand at EICMA. The bike is powered by an all-new 921 cc inline four-cylinder motor that delivers 115.5 hp at 7,000 rpm, and generates 86 ft lbs of torque. With a tubular-steel trellis design and a chunky red-anodized swingarm, the 921 S also features wheels that comprise a cover, spokes and forged alloy rims that are all made of carbon fiber, exhausts that exit under the motor and a retro-looking front brake duct that allows for extra cooling to the calipers. And while the 921 S is a concept, we would love to see a production version become reality.
Bimota KB4 RC
Leave it to Bimota to take the café racer concept and amp it up by a few gigawatts. Bimota has been on a roll since 49.9 percent of it came under ownership of Kawasaki, and the new KB4 RC production model continues this trend of overtly muscular street bikes powered by Kawasaki yet designed with an Italian edge.
The 142 hp KB4 RC uses the same Kawasaki 1,043 cc motor found on the Ninja 1000, with Bimota going all-in on the chassis and bodywork to create a machine that leaves most others in the rearview when it comes to sheer presence. We’re enamored by the touch of retro styling seen with the round headlight that harkens back to Bimota models of the 1970s and ‘80s, but everything else is properly modern—electronic Marzocchi suspension, Brembo Stylema calipers and a radiator that sits under the seat and shows off that glorious engine. What’s not to love?
Kawasaki Hydrogen Concept
As part of Kawasaki’s move to a greener future, the Japanese giant unveiled its first steps into a hydrogen-powered engine—based on the supercharged Ninja H2—that uses direct injection and compressed hydrogen gas. This engine is also being considered for use in the Teryx KRX 1000 side-by-side UTV.
The hydrogen-powered H2 announcement from Kawasaki was paired with news of the Ninja BEV and Ninja Z-BEV machines. Based on the company’s ultra-successful Ninja 400, the two new Ninja motorcycles will be battery powered, as will the Kawasaki HEV, which will also include a twin-cylinder internal combustion engine. These models, expected to be released in 2024, are hugely significant in that Kawasaki is the first of Japan’s big four—which includes Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki—to show off near-production-ready machines powered by alternate fuel sources.
The 2023 Ducati Scrambler
The Scrambler is one of Ducati’s greatest success stories, but has remained largely unchanged since its 2014 release. For the 2023 mode year, however, the Scrambler has been given a new lease on life with refreshed styling, a 73 hp twin-cylinder motor (one that’s 5.5 pounds lighter than before), a new clutch, ride-by-wire throttle and an updated electronics suite that includes Ducati Traction Control, Cornering ABS and two riding modes (Road and Wet). Although there’s nothing terribly groundbreaking about the Scrambler range, it’s one we’ve always been huge fans of just for the unabashed joy the lineup brings to the ride experience.
Aprilia ELECTRICa Concept
This is something a little different. The Aprilia ELECTRICa is not aimed at experienced motorcyclists, but rather those who are probably not even riders at all—at least, not yet. As this is still very much a concept, technical details are scarce but we appreciate the outside-the-box thinking by Aprilia on this one. A quarter bicycle and three-quarters motorcycle, the model is not trying to win over customers who are ready for the latest RSV4, but it will be equally suited to the student trying to get to class on time or the professional looking for a stylish commuter. And any bike that’s intended as a gateway for new riders, and looks this good, gets us charged up.
Click here to see more photos of our favorite motorcycles from the 2022 EICMA show.