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EICMA 2008: Summary

  Posted at 02:30:11 PM
  File under  Exhibitions Personal
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Normandy, France

Well, just back from Milan's EICMA Open link in a new window motorcycle exhibition, and it's time to sum it up. In one word: disappointing!

There were practically no new motorcycles. Very few new motorcycles, and a few concept motorcycles. A few new scooters, or should I say revamped scooters. Bikes with different colors or minor changes don't count for me.

Ducati's StreetFighter was new and it was great seeing it in the flesh. They also showed their new logo, which looks close to their old one, but I have to say, nice.

BMW's LO Rider and Husqvarna's SMQ both are concept motorcycles, so maybe we'll see something like it in the near future. The expected BMW F800R was indeed launched at EICMA.

KTM disappointed (again) with a slightly restyled 990SM and RC8. Not new, no major changes. On top of that they badly managed their press conference, as did Piaggio/Aprilia. Vespa's sidecar scooter was a hoot, and I for one would love to see it go in production.

Honda spent 40 minutes telling us that they didn't have anything new, and that maybe we'd be seeing their V4 in a couple of years time.

Benelli and MV Agusta both had minor changes to their existing models.

Kudos to Kawasaki and Harley, who did not have anything new, and did not call a press conference to tell us that. They left us alone, which is very much appreciated. Thank you.

On the EICMA organization side, things as usual were badly organized. The most notable, for me, was arriving Tuesday on the main conference day, to find that despite the fact that the press bar/restaurant was open at 9:00, the press was not allowed in, since the EICMA management wanted to drink their coffee in peace, without us journalists around them. Also very few exhibition staff spoke English, or actually knew what was where, and how ("just doing my job gov").

<strong>Silvio Berlusconi</strong>
My own personal highlight of the show was on Wednesday afternoon, after having walked a marathon heavily loaded with all the press kits, cameras and computers, sitting next to the press center writing up articles (the EICMA press center is way to small for the number of journalists, so you got to sit outside), sweating like a pig (do pigs sweat?), cameras lying on the ground, data cards hooked in the USB ports and hammering away on my portable computer when a group of people walked past me.

I looked up, and saw Silvio Berlusconi, the Prime Minister of Italy walk past.

He stopped, took one look at my sorry state, smiled a compassionate smile and then winked at me.

I can't tell you how that made me feel... I thought it was a very nice and touching gesture.

Anyway, this ends one long week. Next week, you'll see all sorts of articles from me on the products once I've looked at all the press kits.

Next show: Paris Mondial, around September 2009. 'Till then, Mike signing off.

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