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Revolution on two wheels

Vittorio Ricci

Innovative designs, connectivity and lots of electricity, the 77th edition of Eicma, held in Milan from November 5 to 10, was truly revolutionary. The definition chosen by the organizers of the international cycle and motorcycle exhibition (Moto Rivoluzionario) perfectly describes how technological evolution is changing the two-wheeler sector. In fact, the latest innovations unveiled during the fair, concerned models and prototypes made using ground-breaking techniques, components and materials: engines with lower environmental impact, lighter and more aerodynamic frames, hi-performance tires and stronger forks. All this in line with a greater attention to safety and sustainability. The latter is an element that Eicma decided to develop reserving more space to electric motorbikes, currently the objects of hefty investments by several manufacturers. In this case, innovation concerned mostly batteries both in terms of mileage limits and reduced recharging times, with the e-bike sector taking a lot more exhibition space compared to the last edition. Tire manufacturers, on the other hand, graced the stands during the six days of the event with several new motorcycle and scooter products. New tires suitable for different riding styles, sports, racing, on-and-off-road, featuring new tread designs and compounds. Among the big names in the sector we found Continental and Michelin, with their latest product lines, while Bridgestone and Goodyear were absent. Pirelli participated, but through one of its distributors. 


And now a look at the market

In Italy, at the time of writing, the two-wheeler market was up 6.4% in the first nine months of 2019 compared to 2018, with motorcycles scoring a more than positive + 8.6% partially imitated by scooters up by 4.8%. 50cc mopeds, on the other hand, lost some volume, recording a minus 4.2%. Scooters account for 56% of the market, while motorcycles account for the remaining 44%. Sales of 2-wheelers (motorcycles, scooters and 50cc mopeds) from January to September 2019 exceeded 213,500 units, with a forecast for the end of 2019 of about 250,000 vehicles. At the same time, data on electric motorcycles were promising indeed, with +44% in 2018 with 3,600 vehicles sold, or 7.6% of the European market. Good news also in the field of e-bikes where, according to an estimate by Confindustria Ancma, 173,000 of them were sold in 2018, equal to +16.8% compared to 2017. Thanks to EU anti-dumping duties on unfair competition from electric bicycles from China, production figures soared with 102,000 units, 290% more than in 2017. Numbers that reflect the success in the export of pedal-assisted bicycles, which reached a value of 42 million euro in 2018, + 300% on the previous year.

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