EICMA 2015, a Critical View on the Best Bike Show of the Planet

EICMA 2015 was, unquestionably, bigger and better than the last year's edition. It was better for the press, better for the exhibitors, and hopefully, better for the entire industry. It's hard to say what was the highlight of the show, as Milan had quite a lot in store, both good and not-so-good.
One of the greatest improvements for EICMA 2015 was seeing that the organizers of the show understood that the press strolling down the central alley of Fieramilano for half a mile (or more) was tiresome and bad for the business.

This year's EICMA was much better organized from a logistic point of view, with the six halls close to each other, which made navigation much easier. Surely, the smartwatch of my photo-buddy announced him yesterday afternoon that he had exceeded twice the pace quota for the day... and the day was far from over. I cannot help wondering what would the same gadget have "felt" if we had one last year.

Seriously, having all the exhibit halls as close to one another as possible is simply THE way to go. The world's biggest motorcycle show is already an ordeal if you have to shoot 30+ bikes, talk to a lot of guys and do some interviews. Making it harder is not helping anyone, so a big thanks for organizing the show better this year.

How about making the press days for the press?

Some might believe that being granted access to the EICMA before the public is a privilege. Well, it is, and it isn't, because guys like me are not there for leisure. In fact, these two days were more demanding and fatiguing than any hard day in the office.

And this brings me to the very act of strolling through the immense halls of the Fiera Milano, meeting chaps from the bike industry, trying to shoot the best photos and making ends meet. Press days are supposed to be reserved to those who work in the media, be it printed, internet or TV. Allowing A LOT of people who have nothing to do with the press act in these two days IS making the job harder. At least it made the job harder for me.

For some reason, photographers respect each other when it comes to shooting a bike and will at least try to make sure they don't get in the way of others. It's down to an old principle of doing onto others what you'd have them do onto you. Which doesn't seem to apply when it comes to the rest of the fellows who may be in the same room... and this sucks.

The press days at EICMA 2015 were significantly more crowded this year than in 2014, and not exactly in a good way. I saw teenagers, construction workers, people whose clueless wanderings through the "padiglioni" and fairly empty eyes were clear hints that they did not belong to the media.

I know that both exhibitors and the organizers (and maybe more categories) get to invite people to the press days of this huge show, but when this impacts the freedom of movement of those who are in Milan to see and shoot bikes, it becomes a nuisance. It's hard to tell whether, and to what degree, this will change in the future, but I surely hope things will be improved. I can estimate that I lost 15% of the time I had to shoot bikes because of people who simply didn't care or didn't understand that the press days are meant for the press.

The show itself, seemingly better than the previous one, even though manufacturers keeping quiet until the last moment is not my cup of tea

For some reason, the 2015 edition of the EICMA seemed a bit better than the last one, despite the fact that so much secrecy from certain manufacturers was not on my preferences list. And I am speaking about Ducati and Moto Guzzi, who brought more than one or two new models at EICMA, but kept them almost completely secret until Monday evening or even later.

Funny thing, both Ducati and Moto Guzzi had very interesting machines that totally deserved good teaser campaigns but which got none. Ducati's teasers did not reveal anything, and we'd have been in complete darkness if I hadn't had the chance to see spy shots of the new Diavel-based cruiser beforehand.

Seeing Borgo Panigale's new cruiser in the flesh convinced me that the bike could have benefited from a better pre-release strategy that could have revealed at least minor details. If anything, Kawasaki's Ninja H2/H2R campaigns are the benchmark when amplifying the public's eagerness and anticipation is on the menu.

Still I am not sure how the weather influences the perception of the new motorcycles

I learned that my EICMA survival kit must include bandaids to fix sneaker blisters at least temporarily, effervescent magnesium tabs and maybe some ibuprofen, because of the muscular strain. Several bananas work miracles during the long EICMA days, but two camera batteries are hardly enough for a day's work, especially if you want to deliver tons of photos.

Also, finding the closest place to buy 4G sim cards right after you got off the plane is very smart. I got WIND sims from the least likely place, namely a godforsaken GameStop shop I stumbled upon while waiting for Media World to open in the morning. They behaved flawlessly and registered on the network in around 1.5 minutes or so, and I can recommend them already. And I definitely need a bigger, more mofortable backpack. As for the weather...

Last year in Milan, the weather was cold and it rained. This year the rain did not come, but it was successfully replaced by fog, and this kept the overall enjoyment of the city to the usual low rates, at least when considering walking around the town.

Maybe the warmth of the Fieramilano halls and the alluring smiles of the girls astride the bikes are perceived better in such conditions. For me, this worked, especially after failing to buy 4G sim cards for the cameras on Monday evening, because the TIM operator registering service was down.

And for the metro accident between the stations Pagano and Conciliazione, first rumored (in the subway) to have been a terrorist attack. And for the fact that we got lost at night in Milan and no cab stopped after being hailed. And for the fact that we met two teenagers, Rida and her boyfriend, who called a cab for us after we got too tired walking through the huge city.

Of course, I've made some interesting interviews with even more interesting people I met at EICMA 2015, so you can expect nice things from KTM, Ducati, Zero, Yamaha, Energica, BMW, and more. The EICMA 2015 was totally worth it, and staying tuned is just the same.
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