Milan precursors: PH2

As the two-wheeled world prepares for the Milan Motorcycle Show, which kicks off on November 2nd and is generally when all the new 2018 models are released, a few of the manufacturers have jumped the gun.

At the Tokyo Motor Show this week, Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha all unveiled some quite exciting new models. So what have we got?

Kicking off the new models is Kawasaki with two offerings - the Ninja 400 and Z900RS. The RS is Kawasaki's take on the modern retro market and uses a Z900 base to create a bike inspired by the Z1 Super Four 900 of 1972. And very nice it is too. The liquid-cooled 948cc inline four has been re-tuned for a bit more mid-range and stuck in a new trellis chassis with inverted forks, radial brakes and modern size 17-inch cast wheels. The achingly cool styling, which has some ace retro paint schemes, includes a period-style exhaust pipe, LED lights and plenty of nods towards the old Z900 - such as the duck-bill tail cowl that the geeks will love. This could be a big seller for Kawasaki in 2018, but not as big as their next offering...

The hugely popular Ninja 300 has been given a power boost, thanks to an increase in capacity, to become the Ninja 400. Now boasting a 399cc motor that makes 45hp and 28lb ft of torque (40 per cent up on the 300), the Ninja also gains a lighter chassis and upgraded suspension as well as ABS and styling tweaks. This is the bike Kawasaki dealers have been screaming for since the Ninja 300 was discontinued for failing to meet Euro4 regulations. WSB star Tom Sykes, who is pictured riding it, probably wishes they would give one to team mate Jonathan Rea rather than his ZX-10RR...

After a month of leaked images, Honda eventually unveiled the new Gold Wing in Tokyo, and not a minute too soon. Fans of the Wing, which is now in its third generation, will be delighted to hear it has lost weight but gained a whole host of accessories, and a bit of power too. The all-new 1833cc flat-six motor now has the option of a DCT gearbox or a manual one and has increased in output to 125hp with a massive 125lb ft of torque. A ride-by-wire throttle has been added, meaning the Gold Wing also gains power modes, traction control and electronic suspension is also new alongside a TFT dash and connectivity to the entertainment system. As nice as this is, there is one controversial feature which could overshadow it all: the new chassis. This includes a double wishbone front end, much like BMW's Duolever, and PH2 is sure the Gold Wing Owners Club forum pages are currently alight with conversation on the topic.

In other news, Honda also announced it has sold its 100 millionth Super Cub! Yes, 100,000,000!

Last, but by no means least, check out the new Yamaha Niken. This isn't a prototype, it will be a production model! Based around the MT-09 triple, it uses the same three wheeled technology as the firm's Tricity scooter, just super-sized. It not only looks mental, it should be an absolute hoot to ride and PH2 can't wait to get a go. Details are very limited, but it has 15-inch front wheels and is called a Niken - what more do you need to know?

So what's left for Milan? Honda should be showing a Rally version of its Africa Twin as well as a naked Fireblade, Triumph has a few more modern retros, Ducati has the V4, Kawasaki has a supercharged tourer, KTM the 790 parallel twin and you have to assume Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki must have something waiting in the wings too. We'll let you know as soon as we discover the answers.

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Comments (6) Join the discussion on the forum

  • V8 FOU 27 Oct 2017

    Gotta love that Niken!
    What a laugh!
    Where do I sign?

  • Shadow R1 27 Oct 2017

    Awaiting details of the mt09 sp.
    That z900 retro looks good, I will have to book a test ride on that.
    Odd that it has radial brakes when the bike it's based on has normal ones.

  • SystemParanoia 28 Oct 2017

    Wonder if that Niken is car licence friendly smile

  • Shadow R1 28 Oct 2017

    SystemParanoia said:
    Wonder if that Niken is car licence friendly smile
    I thought that.

  • JulianHJ 28 Oct 2017

    SystemParanoia said:
    Wonder if that Niken is car licence friendly smile
    I did a bit of googling and apparently there were licence changes in 2013 that stopped bike based 3-wheelers being ridden on a car licence. It has something to do with the distance between the pair of wheels.

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