Large press conferences from Honda and Ducati held right before EICMA 2012 may have stolen a bit of
the thunder from Milan’s annual motorcycle show, but we still came away impressed with the variety of
significant new bikes on display. Although finding the 10 motorcycles that we’d most like to ride in 2013
certainly qualifies as a tough task (hey, only Bruno dePrato speaks Italian), that’s the reason we’re here.
1. Aprilia Caponord 1200
This adventurer-tourer, developed from the supermoto-inspired Dorsoduro 1200, is a versatile machine, fun
in the city yet big enough for a two-up ride into the country, aided by good wind protection and that large, 1197cc V-Twin. In addition to a ride-by-wire system with three maps (Sport, Touring, Rain), the Caponord 1200 boasts ABS and traction control, both of which can be defeated. The available Travel Pack offers active suspension damping, cruise control and color-matched panniers.
2. Bimota BB2
Bimota already has an abundance of Ducati-powered offerings, so it was refreshing to see this BMW
S1000RR-engined bike on display, although situated behind glass. Designed by the folks at sak_art design,
the BB2 uses an aluminum chassis and bodywork that recalls some of the Bimota shapes from the ’90s.
With its 193-horsepower, BMW-sourced powerplant, however, the BB2 will undoubtedly possess hyperbike
performance more fitting for 2013 and beyond.
3. BMW F800GT
This full-dress version of the F series parallel-Twin replaces the F800ST. Although it’s fitted with a sporty, new fairing, it does retain the ST’s 4.0-gallon tank and stepped seat. Most important, the dohc, 798cc engine generates a claimed 90 hp at 8000 rpm and 63.4 foot-pounds of peak torque at 5800 rpm, which is said to accelerate the bike to 60 mph in 4 seconds and to speeds in excess of 120 mph. Taller riders will appreciate the higher handlebar and the protection offered by the fairing.
4. Ducati Hypermotard 821
Offered in two versions, Base and SP, the latest Hypermotard is powered by a superb engine: the brand-new
821cc Testastretta V-Twin with 110 hp at 9250 rpm and 65.8 ft.-lb. of torque at 7750 rpm. Not only that, but the 821 has the most advanced ride-by-wire electronics, with three selectable power maps, traction control and Brembo brakes with Bosch ABS that offers three selectable levels of intervention. Perhaps what we like most of all: a valve-adjustment interval of 18,600 miles.
5. Honda CBR500R
The emphasis is on sporty affordability with the all-new Honda CBR500R, a fully faired sportbike with a
strong resemblance to the rest of the CBR family. Powered by a liquid-cooled, 500cc parallel-Twin with
a counter-balanced 180-degree crank, the 500R is perfectly positioned to introduce a new crop of young
buyers to the sportbike world, aided by a rigid steel frame that has been tuned for excellent handling
response. Perhaps most important is an entry price of only $5999, with ABS likely costing an extra $500.
6. KTM 1290 Super Duke R
The good news first: Although the 1290 Super Duke R is just a prototype, KTM says it will build a
production version, with first test rides taking place sometime in 2013. We can’t wait to ride this latest
naked KTM, which is fitted with a bored-out, liquid-cooled, RC8 R V-Twin engine, chrome-moly steel
chassis, single-sided swingarm and WP suspension. KTM hasn’t shared many details about this bike, but the
Austrians have told us it will have ride-by-wire throttle with ABS and traction control, both of which will be made “disengageable” to allow for stoppies and wheelies. Very thoughtful.
7. Moto Guzzi California 1400
This large bike, available in Touring and Custom versions, traces its lineage to 1970, when the LAPD chose
the Moto Guzzi V7 Police over Harley and the Japanese to be the agency’s patrol bike. Now, more than 40
years later, we get the California 1400, considered by many to be the star of EICMA. Taking center stage is its air-cooled, 1380cc V-Twin, which features a Y-shaped manifold with long runners that help it produce 96 hp and 88.5 ft.-lb. of torque at only 2750 rpm—quite helpful in an 743-pound machine. Officers Malloy and Reed of Adam 12 fame would approve.
8. MV Agusta Rivale 800
With engine and rolling gear from the F3 and Brutale 800, the aggressive new Rivale 800 is impossible not
to like. The Triple, one of the best in production, puts out 125 hp, backed by 60 ft.-lb. of torque at 8600 rpm and managed by a ride-by-wire throttle that offers traction control and selectable power mapping. Although some say the Rivale 800 is a tad too aggressively styled, it benefits from beautiful detail work in areas such as the tank, seat, lights and mirrors. With a claimed dry weight of only 375 lb., this thing should fly.
9. Triumph Daytona 675R
With a larger bore and shorter stroke, the high-revving Triple in the 675R now spins to 14,400 rpm.
Horsepower is up by only 2, but Triumph has produced a cylinder block that’s now separate from the upper
crankcase and lined with ceramic-coated aluminum bores. The most obvious change on this significantly
updated bike is a low-mount exhaust that centralizes mass and shifts weight forward for sportier handling.
Replete with new slipper clutch, the 675R will set you back $11,599.
10. Vespa 946
Okay, we know, we said this was a list of 10 motorcycles, and this Vespa clearly is a scooter. But we can’t keep our eyes off the 946; it’s the best-looking scoot we’ve seen in who knows how long, its 946 name a reference to the first Vespa of 1946. Based on the Quarantasei concept unveiled at EICMA 2011, the
handsomely curvaceous 946 is available initially in classic 125cc form, although a 150cc model (and others) will follow soon. The frame is made of steel, but for the first time in Vespa’s history, it incorporates some aluminum alloy sections.