the first of the two so-called leading trade fairs for motorcycles and scooters began on Tuesday in Cologne;
it was followed five weeks later by the EICMA two-wheeler show in Milan.
Compared to the pre-Corona times, neither of the two events will take place in the way they were used to.
Instead of brilliant fireworks and world premieres, many well-known manufacturers in Cologne limit themselves to simply exhibiting vehicles that are either already in the program or have just been presented on the Internet.
Only the motorcycle manufacturer Horex from the Bavarian Landsberg/Lech made an exception: they conjured up a new "Regina" out of a hat.
While Harley-Davidson will not honor either of the two fairs, Ducati and Yamaha will limit themselves to the Eicma.
KTM does not have its own stand on the Rhine, but is hiding out with a motor oil manufacturer.
BMW is drastically limiting its presence at the trade fair: less stand space, a stingy appearance, no more media support.
Customers and dealers are still there to see the model range, but the demonstrative economy of the German market leader caused frowns at the beginning of the fair.
The Eicma has to lift BMW Italia instead of the headquarters.
Other manufacturers take a similar approach, but usually not as radically.
You show yourself to the public, but hold back with innovations.
The exception among the well-known manufacturers is Honda: They are presenting a mid-range naked bike, namely the CB750 Hornet, whose engine data (67.5 kW/92 hp) had also already been announced.
The premiere on Tuesday was rather cool.
Nothing really new can be seen, for example, in the Italian Piaggio group with the brands Aprilia, Moto Guzzi and Vespa.
The surprise was more that the Piaggio group still found its way to Cologne - at the last minute.
The new Moto Guzzi V 100 Mandello, the first Guzzi with a water-cooled engine, is on show for the first time in Germany.
Triumph confines itself to the well-known vehicles and the presentation of the new Speed Triple 1200 RR Bond Edition special model – in an attractively prepared exhibition area.
On the occasion of the premiere of the first "James Bond" 60 years ago, 60 exclusive versions of the highly sporty British bike are built.
This is probably how they want to do it in Milan.
On the so-called press day, only Honda and Energica (the new Experia for Germany as an electric crossover model), Royal Enfield (the new Hunter 350 for Germany at prices starting at 4490 euros) and Zero with the DSR electric travel enduro, which had also been presented to the press, addressed the media /X
And Kawasaki, one of the few companies that runs the usual elaborate stand: Here the prototype of an electric 125 with the model code EV-125 was put in the spotlight.
New mesh material
The surprise at the spacious Horex stand was a success: there company boss Karsten Jerschke personally presented the Regina, which had been developed in secret over the past three years and was named after the famous model of the then famous brand that was successful in the 1950s.
Jerschke took it over a few years ago and is trying to reestablish it with a 1200cc car with the world's only VR6 engine - with limited success so far.
That should change with the new Regina.
Despite its relatively small 600 cc single-cylinder engine with 48 hp, it is a technology giant: the unique carbon frame and many other carbon parts of the ultra-modern retro motorcycle come from Jerschke's company 3C Carbon, the Horex parent company, which "brings the past into the present". have an almost unbelievably low weight of 133 kilograms and offer a seating position like in the fifties.
There is a digital color instrument in the old-school carbon lamp pot.
The single seat is also a high-tech delicacy. It consists of a new type of mesh material and comes from the 3D printer;
this makes it possible to adapt the seat to the personal buttocks shape of the Regina customer.
A fine service in view of the sales price "in the range of 30,000 to around 35,000 euros", which Jerschke has only hinted at so far.
There should be 500 pieces in 2023, Horex's anniversary year;
the brand was founded in Bad Homburg in 1923.
The new VR6 models include a slightly modified "Raw 99", a kind of pre-anniversary series of 99 units.
There will also be something new in this series for the centenary, as Jerschke signaled.
On a completely different level, there are still a few new two-wheelers to be seen in Cologne, such as the new generation of the Suzuki V-Strom 1050 that was presented on the Internet a few days ago. The German importer of the Italian-Chinese brand Benelli is exhibiting several new products : an undisguised 750, a scrambler variant of the Leoncino 800 nicknamed Trail and a 77 hp travel enduro called TRK 800, which will soon be available for around 8,000 euros.
The Keeway brand, which also belongs to the Chinese QJ Group, now wants to force its way into Germany's 125cc market.
You bring six eighth of a liter machine, including two with a water-cooled V-twin cylinder.
There hasn't been anything like this since the days of Honda's mini travel enduro, the Varadero 125.