EICMA: Here Come The Italians!

Aprilia, Ducati, Moto Guzzi, MV Agusta and Vespa set the stage for next week’s big motorcycle show in Milan.

Vespa Quarantasei

Vespa Quarantasei

Do you remember the gorgeous Vespa Quarantasei concept that Piaggio unveiled last year at EICMA? Well, this year, Piaggio will reveal the fully homologated production model. This machine alone will make the show worth attending for many scooter fans because the Quarantasei may well be one of the most alluring small-wheelers ever designed, no matter which side of the Atlantic you live on. Standard engine displacement will be the classic 125cc, but larger-capacity versions will soon follow, beginning with 150cc.

In fact, brands such as Vespa that are owned by the Piaggio Group plan to storm Italy's biggest motorcycle show with a number of new models that will orbit around the machine likely to be the star of EICMA: the Moto Guzzi California 1400. Since introducing the Griso sport-cruiser, Moto Guzzi has been idling a bit in the upper-displacement classes, but this new California should restore faith in the hearts of die-hard "Guzzisti."

The California 1400 will come in two body styles and trim levels: Custom and Touring. Both will be powered by a 1400cc evolution of Moto Guzzi’s timeless, across-the-frame 90-degree Twin. Displacement-wise, this is just about as far as that engine can go, the extra cubes having been added to create a sort of Italian counterpart to Harley-Davidson’s Big Twins. Expect gobs of low-end torque.

2013 Moto Guzzi California 1400

2013 Moto Guzzi California 1400

Aprilia will debut two new entries: 1) a Caponord adventure-tourer developed from the supermoto-inspired Dorsoduro 1200; and 2) a revised RSV 4R tested a few weeks ago at Motorland Aragon in Spain by none other than two-time Superbike World Champion Max Biaggi. The 2013 RSV 4R is slated to remain the entry to the RSV 4 family, but this racer replica will boast even more power and a whole suite of electronic refinements.

Ducati is expected to refresh the middleweight Hypermotard with the help of an 821cc version of its liquid-cooled, four-valve Testastretta engine. But the big news from Bologna will be the highly anticipated "Panigalina"—the little Panigale—powered by a 900cc edition of the mighty 1198cc V-Twin. The Panigalina is aimed at revamping the success of the 848 and will have no less than 155 horsepower and additional torque, plus more "human" qualities than its big sister. The latter will be unveiled at EICMA in 1199R form, the street-legal edition of the "for-track-use-only," titanium-con-rod-equipped SR announced this past October at Intermot in Cologne, Germany. Ducati must manufacture 1000 1199Rs prior to the end of this year to meet the homologation requirements for the 2013 Superbike World Championship.

MV Agusta is already manufacturing an 800cc edition of its F3 Brutale, and reports from the factory testers confirm that the naked Triple is just terrific. In addition to the pumped-up middleweight Brutale, MV plans to unveil a supermoto-style derivative. The Varese-based factory has also extensively revised its F4 1000 to produce a claimed 200-plus hp. Ti rods, new cams and a revised induction system get the work done. Someday, we might even see an MV Agusta on the SBK starting grid.

2013 MV Agusta Brutale 800

2013 MV Agusta Brutale 800

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