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The best of Intermot 2014

This year's show in Cologne, Germany is the best sign yet that confidence is returning to the European motorcycle market.

autos Updated: Oct 06, 2014 16:49 IST
The-Kawasaki-H2-R-Photo-AFP
The-Kawasaki-H2-R-Photo-AFP

This year's show in Cologne, Germany is the best sign yet that confidence is returning to the European motorcycle market. All of the continent's major bike builders were out in force with 23 new models unveiled.

For many the highlight of this year's show will be the unveiling of Kawasaki's H2 Ninja superbike. The world's first supercharged motorcycle is capable of churning out 300PS despite only having a 998cc compact in-line four-cylinder engine. And to make sure that that power doesn't put the rider into orbit, it has clever front and rear carbon fiber wings to keep it on the ground.

However, Kawasaki wasn't the only company coming to Intermot with a new flagship sportsbike in tow. BMW's key launch of the event was the 2015 S1000RR, which as well as being faster, lighter and more powerful than its predecessor is also the first sportsbike to come with cruise control as standard. The bike can produce 199hp, which, interestingly, is what the road-going version of Kawasaki's H2 Ninja will also be generating.

The KTM 1290 Super Adventure. Photo:AFP

BMW has only been building chain-driven V-twin powered sportsbikes for five years. However, when it comes to Adventure Bikes, the German company is king, having essentially created the segment with the GS back in 1980. And although the company had no new GS model to bring to this year's show, there were a host of other companies that had new adventure bikes to unveil. KTM, Suzuki and Aprilia all debuted new on-road-off-road bikes.

The KTM 1290 Super Adventure in particular made a big impression thanks to its beefy engine, compact yet sturdy styling and a host of electronic creature comforts such as stability control and heated grips and seats which combine, according to the Austrian manufacturer, to create the world's safest morotbike.

The Triumph Bonneville Newchurch. Photo:AFP

As predicted Naked bikes were also a big draw at this year's show with six new models from five manufacturers making their debuts, perhaps the most striking of which was the Yamaha MT-07, which is in actual fact a Moto Cage, a stunt bike complete with hand and engine guards, and a rather fierce red and black finish.

Its capabilities were admirably demonstrated by Polish stunt rider Rafal Pasierbek, who took it into the cage to show visitors just what it can do and to warn them not to try it at home.

Retro was also a big theme at this year's event -- Ducati launched its 1960s and 70s inspired Scrambler which it insists isn't retro, even if its look, feel and styling say otherwise, and Triumph unveiled three new limited edition versions of its iconic Bonneville café racer; the Newchurch, the T214, and the Spirit.

The 2015 Yamaha XJR1300. Photo:AFP

However, even in this category Yamaha almost stole the show again with the latest iteration of its XJR1300, which for 2015 is being offered as a custom design inspired café racer; and as an old-school street racer complete with cowl fairing.

The traveling circus that is the motorcycle manufacturing fraternity will be packing up its wares and heading on to Milan for the EICMA motorcycle exhibition in November, where more adventure bikes and naked bikes are expected.