During an idle weekend, with no real motorcycles to ride (yeah, well, such is life...), fantasising about various 'dream bikes' is sometimes the only recourse. Of course, most motorcycle manufacturers already have a huge assortment of some magnificent high-performance machines in their line-up, but that doesn't stop us from letting our imagination run wild. So, here's a list of the Top 10 motorcycles that we'd love to see at the EICMA this year.
1. Supercharged Kawasaki ZX-14R
Sure, the Kawasaki ZX-14R already packs a 200bhp punch and isn't exactly slow. Still, a supercharged version with about 280-290bhp from its boosted inline-four should be even more fun to ride. We already love the 14R's all-around practicality, plush seat and all-day riding comfort (which the H2/H2R doesn't have), and a supercharger will just make it that much more exotic, fast and desirable. That, and a single-sided swingarm, matt-black paint, and the world's first laser headlamps on a production motorcycle should make it perfect!
2. Turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa GSX-R1100 Turbo
Time for a major revamp for the Hayabusa, and we'd like the new one to be powered by an all-new 1100cc turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine. With modern electronics and a turbo, an 1100cc turbocharged inline-six should easily be able to produce more than 250bhp, which should be enough for most people. Plus, we'd like the current Hayabusa's bulbous, Zeppelin-type styling to be replaced with slim, sharp, modern lines. Keep it as light as possible (180kg or thereabouts would be perfect), give it fully adjustable active suspension and make it sound really, really good. Bring the dark side of Japan.
3. All-wheel-drive Ducati Multistrada 1200
Ducati's parent company, Audi, are famous for their 'Quattro' all-wheel-drive cars and SUVs, which have an undeniable handling advantage in wet, tricky road and weather conditions. So, of course, we'd expect Audi to help Ducati develop the world's first two-wheel-drive system for a production streetbike. A 2WD Multistrada would be a unique proposition in the world of motorcycles that are primarily street-oriented, but can also handle a bit of mild off-road use.
4.Cagiva C594 GP-replica streetbike
MV Agusta own the Cagiva brand and current MD, Giovanni Castiglioni has on a couple of occasions spoken about resurecting the legendary brand at some time in the near future. We'd say now is the time to do it, Mr Castiglioni. We're huge fans of the late-1980s/early-1990s Cagiva 500 GP bikes that were ridden by Eddie Lawson and John Kocinski, and almost 25 years later, those bikes still look so good. A limited-edition street-legal Cagiva C594 replica should ideally be powered by a screaming, high-revving two-stroke 500cc mill, but since emissions laws will not allow that to happen, a tuned, fettled and fully tricked out version of MV's new 800cc triple (the one that powers the new Brutale 800) should be the next best thing. Fitting this engine in the C594's aluminium twin-spar chassis will probably take some effort, but the results should be worth it...!
5. BMW K1600R
We've asked for it before and we still think it makes perfect sense - a hard-edged naked streetfighter powered by the inline six-cylinder engine used on the BMW K1600GT. The naked BMW K1600R should be a cross between the gorgeous new Ducati XDiavel and the rip-snorting Aprila Tuono V4R, with more power, more technology and a badass German attitude. Rocket launchers and machine guns should be on the list of optional extras for this bike.
6. Yamaha RD400RR
Remember the original Yamaha RD350/400 and its subsequent iterations? We do, and we miss those two-stroke monsters. Now, with bikes like the KTM 390 Duke, Kawasaki Ninja 300, Honda CBR300R, Suzuki's upcoming GSX-R250 and Yamaha R3 having revived the 250-400cc sportbike segment in a big, big way, maybe Yamaha should do a modern-day reinterpretation of the 1980s RD350? Yes, the R3 is already brilliant, but a naked, retro-styled RD400RR, with a tubular steel chassis, USD forks, adjustable monoshock, aluminium swingarm, 17-inch alloy wheels with sticky radials, single round headlamp and a 400cc four-stroke parallel-twin that produces at least 60-70bhp should be a blast to ride. Light, loud and fast, no electronics whatsoever (ABS is fine), and customiser-friendly - that's the Yamaha RD400RR we want.
7. Honda CBX1800R
We miss the late-1970s/early-1980s Honda CBX. "There was something exhilarating and exciting about the six-cylinder CBX that was lacking in the four-cylinder CB1000F. The deep rumble of the exhaust, the feeling of acceleration, its smooth high revving engine – there was something in the CBX that could not be measured in numbers like speed and weight. It was a very sexy machine," says Shoichiro Irimajiri, the Japanese engineer responsible for developing the CBX. Well, maybe now is the time when Honda should have another go at creating a modern CBX, one that's powered by the Goldwing's 1.8-litre straight-six. Our dream Honda CBX1800R would be big, fast, loud, smooth and naked. No plastic bodywork whatsoever, and no electronics. Fully exposed 1800cc six-cylinder engine, tubular steel chassis, 5-spoke alloy wheels, regular forks and shock, analog instruments. Simple. Classic.
8. Aprilia RSV400RR
Aprilia are already killing it in the litrebike class with the RSV4 RF, but they don't really have anything in their line-up for those who're just getting started with sportbikes. Ideally, we'd want the two-stroke RS250 to come back, but with emissions norms getting increasingly strict by the year, that's not going to happen, right? A lot of other manufacturers are anyway doing 250-300cc sportbikes (Ninja 300, CBR300R, R3, RC390 to name just a few...), so maybe now is the time for Aprilia to do an RSV400RR. Four-stroke liquid-cooled fuel-injected DOHC 8-valve 399cc parallel-twin that makes 65-70bhp should get the job done. Give it a fully adjustable USD front fork, fully adjustable rear monoshock, aluminium twin-spar chassis, single-sided aluminium swingarm, LED lights and a Max Biaggi race-replica paintjob. We'd buy one.
9. Triumph Daytona 1000RR
The new Triumph Speed Triple is the business, no question about that, and now is the time to do a harder-edged, fully faired superbike version - and call it the Daytona 1000RR, of course. The Speed Triple's 1050cc three-cylinder engine will need to be reworked though, and power output will need to be increased from the current 140bhp to at least 180bhp. That, plus a bit of weight reduction - the Speed Triple will need to shed at least 10-12kg from its 192-kilo dry weight figure - should ensure that the Daytona 1000RR is able to keep up with its European and Japanese competition.
10. MV Agusta Sport Classic 1000
We still think that the 2006 Ducati SportClassic Paul Smart LE is one of the most beautiful motorcycle that Ducati have built in recent years. With the Paul Smart LE, Ducati created a rolling piece of art that's an incredible fusion of modern technology and the Italian company's racing heritage. MV Agusta should now look at celebrating their past in similar fashion, with a retro-styled naked sportbike. The engine, chassis and suspension can be a straight lift from the current Dragster 800, but with retro lines. The MV 600 roadster and 750 America would be good places to look for inspiration!