EICMA 2015, LET'S TALK BIKES!
The Milan show once again confirmed itself as an International event, attracting exhibitors, also in the tire segment, from every part of the world.
The Rho trade fair center was sold out since it hosted, simultaneously both EICMA and ITMA 2015, an exhibition dedicated to machinery and equipment for the textile industry. “Human traffic” congestion was sometimes evident but the size and number of halls available provided all the necessary spaces, even if the press room was more cramped than usual.
This year’s edition saw also the massive presence of the tire industry, with exhibitors from almost all continents.
Bridgestone stole the show, both because of the quality of its products and the social value of its exhibition held in hall 24. The first part showcased the company’s new tires, with the Battlax Racing W01on display for the first time, Bridgestone’s new flagship wet UHP tire derived directly from their time in MotoGP. This tire has been designed starting from the tread pattern used in MotoGP, using a new compound and a modified tread pattern to allow the tire to reach the adequate operating temperature faster. New was also the Battlax Hypersport S21, unveiled for the first time at the EICMA 2015 and fitted on a stunning Yamaha R1. Bridgestone has combined the proven wet platform of the S20 EVO with new innovative features to upgrade the dry performance of the new Battlax S21, providing a handling that could only be dreamt of until now. Furthermore, Bridgestone announced new sizes for the Battlax Adventure A40, a product designed for maxi enduros which proves to be very safe in both dry and wet conditions, for the T30 EVO touring, designed for touring motorcycles, and for the Battlax SC for scooters. No, motocross enthusiasts were not forgotten, in fact Bridgestone brought also its Battlecross X20, X30 and X40, well known tires able to cope with any terrain and conditions. The second part of the exhibition touched on social issues with Bridgestone sponsoring the association for people with disabilities, which took advantage of the presence of MotoGP riders Niccolò Canepa and Alex De Angelis, with the latter still recovering from a serious injury. During the event the establishment of FIMPAR - Italian Paralympic Motorcycling Federation - was announced including video messages by Giancarlo Leone, Director of Rai 1, Giusy Versace, Paralympic athlete and Manuela Olivieri, wife of the unforgettable Pietro Mennea. Fimpar aims to create riding courses and assist riders in the necessary paperwork involved in obtaining special licenses and modified motorbikes.
Another classic name in the industry is Continental, present at EICMA 2015 with LCD displays and connectivity module able to manage the E-Call. As for tires, Continental announced its ContiRoadAttack 2 EVO GT, an evolution of the RoadAttack 2 EVO. The rear tire - available in size 180/55 ZR 17 – received an additional ply while the front (120/70 ZR 17) has been improved to cope with the weight and strain caused by big heavy bikes. The tread pattern and the compound combine to guarantee an effective grip and great mileage.
During the first quarter of 2016 the ContiSportAttack 3 is expected to hit the market, a sports tire that promises great grip and easy handling as well as great mileage thanks to a large contact area and a middle section with a high full / empty ratio. TractionSkin and GripLimitFeedback technology enhance the rider’s feeling especially during extreme cornering, “warning” the rider on any handling issues. The sizes available (all for 17-inch wheels with ZR ratings) are 110/70, 120/70 and 120/60 at the front, and 150/60, 160/60, 180/55, 190/50, 190 / 55 and 200/55 at the rear.
GoldenTyre’s presence was noticeable also thanks to a peculiar looking stand, as well as some new products displayed directly on bikes still splattered with mud. This new approach reflects the change in the company’s ownership, now headed by Marco Caribotti, with whom we exchanged a few words. Although Caribotti holds various other tasks in relation to his new position, he has no intention of abandoning his role as test rider and Racing & Development manager. Strategic marketing initiatives, such as the GoldenBoys program, will be strengthened just as prestigious partnerships with KTM and Piaggio (the new Moto Guzzi Stornello, for example, comes standard with GT 201 tires). The catalog focuses on specialized road and off-road tires, and all production not in line with the core business of the company has been suspended. Among the many news unveiled we saw the GT Mousse and GT 369/333 for motocross, while the GT 555/565 is dedicated to trial bikes. The GT 723, designed for powerful off-roads bikes, now boasts new sizes while the 071 GT scooter tire has a tread pattern that derives from motorbike tires promising greater safety and superior handling.
Equally interesting was the presentation that Metzeler organized at the Deus ex Machina, a club in Milan inspired by motorcycles with an adjacent tuning workshop. Obviously the 01 Roadtec, previously shown before the beginning of EICMA 2015, took center stage, a perfect combination of high mileage, high grip and stability in all conditions. The Roadtec range, has been further enriched with a new model that is not simply an evolution of its predecessor but a completely new tire in every element: profile, compound, tread pattern and so on. For its launch Metzeler created the campaign “TAKE THE ROAD with ROADTEC 01”, which invites all riders to create their own route using their tires and then make it public. Another noteworthy initiative is a two days nonstop “48 Hours On The Road”, a marathon of the best long distance riding films shown during the last three editions of the New York Film Festival and screened at their Deus Leica Theatre: really beautiful and original!
The stand of the Slovenian manufacturer Mitas mainly featured the new high-performance radial Terra Force-R, which does not rule out use on light dirt roads. Furthermore, also the new E-12 / E-13, designed for extreme Rally/Raid use, and the ET-01 X-Pro trials and the FT-18 Flat Track.
Anas a Turkish manufacturer, active since 1974, participated at EICMA 2015 to gain visibility in view of entering the Italian market in the near future. An absolute first time for the winter enduro Winter Grip Plus: large tread blocks, as expected for tires of this type and sipes normally associated with snow and ice. Several tires are called Capra (Goat - these animals are able to climb in inaccessible places), like the new Capra RD, developed for on-road enduro – and available also for 19 "wheels – proves compatible with light off-road use as well. The Tournèe is a road series (new sizes are on the way), designed for motorcycles as well as medium sized scooters, as is the Winter Grip 2 winter tires series.
Heidenau, a German manufacturer, already has a number of partners in Italy. Besides a complete vintage series, the scooter version of its K80 and K60 dual sport and new sizes for BMW and KTM large endure.
The Taiwanese brand took part in "Ride the Future", an event organized by the Taiwanese Chamber of Foreign Trade and on that occasion their intention to land on the European market (which now accounts for only 8% of sales) was discussed: the opening of a European headquarters in Germany serves that purpose; a number of local distributors are already present in Italy. EquilibriumK787 is a new dual-purpose sport tire that promises good qualities in both Enduro and Trial and there is no shortage of FIM approved tires.
Also a Taiwanese brand, its distributed in Italy by Fintyre, and unveiled during EICMA a number of new tires such as the DM-1219, DM-1236 and DM-1220 all for scooters.