A blend of design engineering, and function. That’s the message from Milan’s 59th International Motorbike and Bicycle Show.

On the production model side, Italy and Japan came up with rival interpretations of the faired, road-going supersports bike. Italy, as ever, went for emotional impact with models like the Ducati 996 Testastretta and the Gilera 600 Supersport. By contrast, Japan pursued its dream of perfection in some impeccably refined creations like the Honda VTR-SP2 and the new generation models from Kawasaki and Suzuki.

Another highly appealing format is the naked sports bike where the emphasis is on aggression: the Cagiva Raptor, the MV Agusta Brutale, the Yamaha Bulldog, as well as the more classic Ducati Monster, Moto Guzzi V11 Scura and Honda Hornet 900.

Next were the supertourers like the Honda Pan European and Moto Guzzi’s California EV. Then the custom cruiser, a sector where Harley Davidson reigns supreme, and a total on/off-road bike experience, the new Ducati Multistrada developed in partnership with Turin’s IDEA Institute; off-roaders with more and more technical refinement and good looks.

Scooters are still the most stylistically diversified of sectors, and the popularity of the Vespa shows no sign of fading.

With the prototypes we enter a world of dreams that could well soon become reality. Leading the pack, the Aprilia Blue Marlin, a stripped down naked sports bike. Then the Mondial Piega Strada and Piega Racing inspired by the brand’s glorious racing past. Or Twenties/Thirties nostalgia with the Amarcord Italjet. Our last stop brings us to models that bridge the gap between the bike and the car. There are two of these, one from Itlajet and the other from Aprilia: the Scooop and the Los Angles, both three-wheeled scooters.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 130

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