The Bikes of Intermot 2016

The best new retro-themed bikes from the 2016 Intermot motorcycle show.
In Cologne, Germany, the Intermot motorcycle show is about to wrap up. We’ve been deluged with press releases and images all week, so we’ve picked out the four new launches that tickled our fancies the most—and will be competing for your dollars in 2017.

The new 2017 BMW R nineT Pure and Racer
BMW R nineT Racer and Pure The inevitable has happened: the runaway success of the R nineT has spawned new models. We’ve already covered the Scrambler, so here are the new café racer and stripped down variants.

The engine now meets the Euro 4 spec, there’s a stainless steel single-muffler exhaust hanging on the left, and the frame is the same version used on the Scrambler. Wheels are 17 inches front and back, the forks are conventional rather than USD, and fuel tanks are steel rather than aluminum. ABS is standard, but traction control becomes a factory-fit option.

Pricing should be competitive, making the R nineT even more appealing to riders who aren’t focused on doodads and gizmos. The ‘Pure’ will be the new base model, available in Catalano Grey, but we’ll take the ‘Racer’ (top)—it’s hard to resist the vintage BMW motorsport-themed graphics and 1970s-style half-fairing.

New Triumph T100 Bonneville and T100 Black
New Triumph T100s and Street Cup Triumph is on fire at the moment. Twelve months ago, we were in London for the launch of the new Bonneville range. Now we have the first range expansions, with the retro-styled T100 Bonneville and T100 Black (above), and the sportier Street Cup (below). All feature the 900cc engine seen in the Street Twin.

The T100s have a similar heritage look to the existing T120s, but with modified frame geometry: a slightly shorter wheelbase, less rake and trail, and a more upright seating position. We’re told that they are lighter too, which should make them even easier to ride.

New triumph Street Cup motorcycle
The Street Cup is for those who like the style of the Thruxton, but want a less intimidating package—or have less cash to drop. The chassis is similar to the Street Twin’s, but raised at the back via longer KYB shocks to sharpen the steering response.

Despite using Triumph’s smaller engine, it doesn’t look like corners have been cut. The build quality and detailing are still superlative, and you get ABS, traction control, Triumph’s ‘Torque Assist’ clutch system, a USB charging socket and an immobiliser. What’s not to like?

The new Moto Guzzi Audace Carbon
Moto Guzzi Audace Carbon Despite being immune to the charms of most big cruisers, we have a soft spot for Moto Guzzi’s heavyweights. At Intermot, the Mandello factory revealed the new Audace Carbon—and there’s more to it than just a couple of carbon fiber pieces.

The new weave is in the front fender and fuel tank, but it’s the 1400cc engine that has received the most work. It’s been upgraded to meet the Euro 4 standard, with a slight boost in torque to 89 lbs ft. There’s also a selectable ‘Eco’ mode that balances power with economy to reduce fuel consumption over long rides. New drag bars offer more pullback for relaxing long distance travel, and cosmetic tweaks include snazzy red valve covers and red Brembo brake calipers.

Nothing radical here, but the best-looking cruiser on the market just got even more appealing.

The new Honda CB1100 RS
Honda CB1100 EX and RS Honda’s attempt to jump on the retro bandwagon has failed. Launched six years ago, the CB1100 has been mostly ignored by the cafe and custom crowd—while BMW, Yamaha and Ducati have surged ahead, building connections with the scene as well bikes that are on-point.

A switch to a six-speed transmission a couple of years ago failed to turn the CB1100’s fortunes around, so Honda is now trying harder with two revamped models, the spoked-wheel EX and the RS. To add more character, Honda has subtly tweaked the bodywork and seating, added 43mm Showa forks, and fitted shorter mufflers for a sportier exhaust note. The RS model has 17-inch wheels, Tokico four-piston brakes and sharper geometry.

But weight is an astonishing 555 pounds (252 kilos). That’s 65 pounds more than the BMW R nineT, and over 40 pounds more than the Triumph Thruxton—itself no lightweight. Even the Harley Sportster Roadster is lighter.

They’re good-looking bikes, and will no doubt benefit from Honda’s famed build quality and reliability. But is that enough to make the CB1100 a force in the modern-retro market?

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