Where else than in the fashion city of Milan could the motorcycle industry have presented its most beautiful innovations? The Milan salon, a firework of vanities.
When it comes to the highlight of the Milan Fair, there is only one answer: MV Agusta. Claudio Castiglioni, boss of Cagiva and Husqvarna and now also of MV Agusta, can rightly be proud. His gifted employee Massimo Tamburini, father of the Ducati 916, went one better and created a true work of art with the MV.
Aesthetically already number one, MV Agusta also wants to be at the forefront technically. The heart, an ultra short-stroke, 750 cm³ four-cylinder (bore / stroke 73.8 / 43.8 millimeters) should produce 126 hp. The four valves per cylinder are arranged radially and the mixture is prepared by an injection system. As is customary with GP machines, the switch box is designed as a cassette gear. The remarkably small in-line four-cylinder should accelerate the MV, which weighs just under 200 kilograms, to 275 km / h.
The frame is a mixture of a steel tubular structure and sturdy cast parts made of aluminum. Also impressive is the powerful single-sided swing arm, which is supposed to guarantee the highest degree of rigidity with the lowest possible weight. Both the 49er upside-down fork with quick-release fasteners to mount the wheel and the shock absorber come from Showa. The whole thing is crowned by innumerable ingenious detailed solutions such as the exhaust or the adjustable footrests. In short: a dream. However, it has its price. One of the 250 machines planned for 1998 will cost around 50,000 marks, according to Claudio Castiglioni.
Far less spectacular, however, was Ducati’s appearance. In addition to a 916 in yellow, Milan was limited to the presentation of the revised 900 SS. Externally, the well-known air / oil-cooled two-valve engine was also boosted by around five horsepower by means of an injection system.
Nothing sensational at the Italian luxury forge Bimota either. After the first euphoria about Vdue was overtaken by reality, the focus is now on the SB 8. Your manko: the slightly scratched image of the TL 1000 engine, which is the driving force behind the SB 8. The usual straight-lined chassis promises a high degree of stability, but there is a lack of Italian chic. The cladding is unusually wide, the SB 8 looks quite bulky overall due to its uninspired design.
In addition to MV, Aprilia is another highlight of this fair. For Aprilia President Ivano Beggio, the RSV mille is the most important motorcycle his company has ever presented. 128 HP are given for the two-cylinder fed by an injection system. The Aprilia should weigh less than 210 kilograms and have good aerodynamics. Although Aprilia wants to get involved with the RSV in the 1999 Superbike World Championship, Ivano Beggio has not forgotten that the motorcycle is mainly driven on public roads and should also offer sufficient space for tall riders. The appearance is correspondingly conventional: the only special feature is the unconventional arrangement of the three headlights. The price, between 22,000 and 23,000 marks, also testifies to Aprilia’s healthy realism. The planned delivery date for the first of the approximately 400 machines planned for Germany is April / May.
From February, Suzuki wants to polish up the scratched two-cylinder image with the TL 1000 R. The modified engine works in a new chassis. A massive bridge frame and a stable triangular swing arm should eliminate chassis weaknesses. The principle of the rotary vane damper was retained, but it is now positioned far enough away from the manifold. The announcement that the two-cylinder will be competing in the Superbike World Championship in the coming year testifies to Japanese optimism. In Milan, a racing machine built with extremely expensive parts could already be seen.
It is mainly thanks to Yamaha that the Japanese in Milan are not completely pale under the flood of Italian innovations. With the YZF R1 you set new standards among the super sporty 1000s. With a weight of less than 200 kilograms and the dimensions of a 600 series, the envisaged 150 hp are incomparably easy. In addition, an aggressive, independent appearance and a price that should be below XX XXX Mark. If the concept of the YZF R1 works not only on paper, but also at the first driving presentation (as early as the end of October), the Honda’s CBR 900 will probably move into the second row when it comes to super sports.
Because the Honda announcements of a significantly improved CBR 900 RR have not become too much. The athlete was only subjected to a slight facelift, which saved some weight, but hardly any sensational changes are to be expected.
Not so with Kawasaki. The new ZX-9R is rank and slim. Both the engine and the chassis have been completely redesigned. With a weight loss of almost 30 kilograms, the ZX-9R is in real competition with the Yamaha. Kawasaki not only focuses on top sporting performance, but is also the first Japanese manufacturer to seriously address the issue of environmental pollution. ZX-9R and the heavily modified ZX-6R are also offered as a Kat version. According to Kawasaki, there is no need to fear performance losses due to the Kat.
What is saved in weight with the athletes is packed on with the cruisers. Kawasakis VThe fully equipped N 1500 Classic is just one example of many. The motto seems bigger, heavier, more shiny in chrome. But despite all the metallic swagger in the heavy metal faction, the fair, as it should be any different in Milan, was clearly under the motto of elegance and sportiness.
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