The Milan Motorcycle Show (formerly Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori, or EICMA for short) has remained the global motorcycle industry’s premier motorcycle show. It serves as an industry barometer, indicating the direction in which motorcycles and other two-wheeled transportation products are trending. At EICMA, the booths are extravagant; most manufacturers use the venue to launch their newest or most anticipated models. Industry insiders and the general public alike flood the show floor, eager to consume what the manufacturers are bringing to market. At EICMA late last year, I noticed two distinct trends making their way to prominence: Future Classics and Electrics.
In terms of motorcycles, “Future Classics” is a term I use to describe everything under the cafe racer, neo-cafe and… whatever you want to call the Husqvarna Vitpilen and Svartpilen styles. The looks harkens back to vintage bikes, but takes the style somewhat, if not far, into the future. A number of manufacturers are leaning into this trend more and more, like Honda, with its new CB650R. Triumph continues to lead this charge by creating perfectly delicious retro themed bikes with advanced technologies like cornering ABS and dedicated off-road riding modes on the Scrambler 1200 XC and XE.
Husqvarna is doubling down with its street series, having unveiled its 701 Vitpilen Aero Concept which is essentially a 701 Vitpilen with front fairing, side fairings, rear moon wheel and special livery. A nice hidden addition is a circular digital TFT display which could be included on future interactions of the 401 and 701 lineup.
Europeans embrace scooters and small displacement motorcycles far more than we do here in the United States, but if EICMA is any indication, I believe we are on the verge of a watershed moment. Major cities here have already slowly begun utilizing point to point electric scooters. If Americans can learn to see two-wheeled transportation as a very practical and fun way to navigate dense urban centers, this trend will catch sooner than later.
On the other end of that spectrum, companies Kymco and Arc have announced electric superbikes that dazzle but are still either in prototype or concept stages. Kymco is no stranger to electric mobility and is doubling down on their efforts. Other companies like Yamaha, Piaggo and Honda are also exploring electric alternatives within the market.
As an avid rider living in Los Angeles who commutes frequently, I find there is no better way to get around town than on two wheels. With an older generation of riders phasing out of the industry and the industry struggling to find new riders, perhaps motorcycles that are both approachable and rife with new technology will help sustain us until the next generation takes over.