Since the 2005 EICMA (Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori, or “International Motorcycle and Accessories Exhibition”), there has been a “Most Beautiful Bike of the Show” award given by Italian magazine Motociclismo to a bike that receives the largest percentage of a popular vote.
Every year, magazines publish whoever won, and manufacturers flaunt the decision in marketing materials. But I always wonder: with so many beautiful motorcycles at every EICMA, why is this one chosen? And for insight into the decision, who were the past winners, and the runners-up?
I couldn’t find a comprehensive list, so here they all are. I think we can agree that most of these are stunning-looking bikes. There are interesting choices in there, too!
Here are all the EICMA “Most Beautiful Bike” winners with photos courtesy of Ducati and MV Agusta’s press archives.
Note — all the years represent the year of the EICMA show. The model year of each bike is the following year (i.e. at the 2005 show, they show 2006 model year bikes).
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About the EICMA “Most Beautiful Bike of the Show” award
The “Most Beautiful Bike” award in Italian is called La Moto Più Bella del Salone, or “Most Beautiful Bike of the Show”. Some magazines translate it as “Most Beautiful Motorcycle”.
But “moto” is short for “motocicleta”. So “bike” (a shorter word than “motorcycle”) seems like the most appropriate translation to me.
The competition and award is organised by Motociclismo, a well-known Italian motorcycling magazine. At first, voting was done at Motociclismo’s booth at EICMA, but in recent years it has extended to online, via their portal, with voting open during the exhibition’s open dates.
All those who vote become eligible to win — get this — the bike chosen as the most beautiful! That’s the theory, anyway… There are some catches.
Typically there are hundreds of thousands of attendees to EICMA. Most of them do not vote, so the votes only represent a fraction of attendees. For example, for the 2021 vote, there were 342,644 attendees at the show, and 12,567 votes cast. That would represent 3.7% of attendees.
So who can vote for the most beautiful bike of EICMA? According to the regulations, anyone can vote. So you can register to vote from abroad if you want, if you happen to read Motociclismo. You don’t have to be an EICMA attendee.
But only certain people are eligible to receive the prize — which is a motorcycle with a value of 15000 Euros (either the motorcycle voted for, or an alternative in production). To receive the prize, you have to be an Italian resident, not a minor, and not affiliated with any of the brands.
Since Motociclismo is an Italian language newspaper, it’s little wonder that since inception 2005, there have been exactly two brands that have dominated the “Most Beautiful Bike” award — both of them Italian. Any guesses? They’re MV Agusta, self-described purveyors of motorcycle art, and Ducati, a recognised trend setter.
That’s why below, where there has been a non-Italian runner-up I’ve made note of it (it is rare). Aprilia has been a runner-up occasionally, and I’ve seen Moto Guzzi in the top 5. But I think it’s high time there were a more democratic award.
Although to be fair, MV Agusta and Ducati motorcycles ARE gorgeous!
Anyway, on to the list.
2005 Most Beautiful Bike of EICMA — MV Agusta Brutale 910R
The MV Agusta Brutale 910R won the inaugural “Most Beautiful Motorcycle” competition held by Motociclismo at the EICMA, winning 19.6% of the vote.
It’s powered by a 908cc liquid-cooled inline four with DOHC and four valves per cylinder. It produced a claimed 100 kW (136 hp) at 11000 rpm with peak torque of 71 ft-lbs (96 Nm) coming on at 7900 rpm.
There’s quite a lot that makes the Brutale 910R attractive — the fully exposed rear wheel, the upswept exhaust, and the naked trellis frame, all of which may sound familiar if you know Italian motorcycles.
Many other MV Agusta standards would go on to win either the award or runner-up position in later years.
2005 runner up — Yamaha YZF-R6 (50th anniversary)
The runner up for the 2005 “Most Beautiful Motorcycle of Show award was Yamaha’s 2006 YZF-R6, winning 13.4% of the vote. It was nice to see a non-Italian bike win a significant vote, but this wouldn’t be repeated often in subsequent years.
The 2006 Yamaha YZF-R6 is quite a special bike, and is now a desired year, worth a little more than years after it.
It was an all-new model for the year, with a 599 cc inline four-cylinder engine that makes a whopping 97 kW (130 hp) at 14500 rpm, though at the expense of low-end torque. The 2006 R6 also has a number of innovations over the earlier models: a ride-by-wire throttle (YCC-T), slipper clutch, 41mm upside down forks, and radially-mounted calipers gripping 310mm discs that are both lighter and larger than those on the previous model.
Other contenders all got less than 10% of the vote. One of them was the Ducati Monster S4RS, unbelievably, with just 5.5% of the vote… tough crowd!
2006 Most Beautiful Bike of EICMA — Ducati 1098
The winner of the 2006 EICMA “Most Beautiful Bike” award was the Ducati 1098, a stunning looking bike AND an incredible performer. It took the award from among 24000 people who took part in Motociclismo’s survey.
The Ducati 1098 is powered by a liquid-cooled Desmodromic 4 valve per cylinder L-twin. It makes a peak of 117 kW (160 PS / 157 bhp) at 9750 rpm, with a torque-laden band that starts from the mid 3000s.
The S model, pictured above, has Öhlins front and rear suspension, Brembo calipers on 330 mm rotors, and lightweight Marchesini wheels. It handles like a dream — something I can attest to, as I once had the pleasure of owning one.
2006 Runner Up — MV Agusta 1000 F4 CC
The MV Agusta F4 CC was runner-up for the 2006 award for Most Beautiful Bike.
Like many MV Agusta winners to come, the MV Agusta 1000 F4 CC is a limited run model of the MV Agusta F4 superbike. The “CC” stands for Claudio Castiglioni, a long-serving managing director of MV Agusta.
The F4 CC uses a new, higher-capacity 1078 cc inline four-cylinder engine that makes very high power of 147 kW (200 bhp) at 12 200 rpm.
Claudio Castiglioni said of this bike: “I decided to put my name to this bike as I originally dreamed of it for myself.” I believe he said that in English, as I haven’t found an Italian language source (but correct me if I’m wrong, perché anche con molto tempo è impossibile trovare tutte le cose su internet…)
2007 EICMA — MV Agusta Brutale 1078 RR
The winner of the 2007 Motociclismo “Most Beautiful Bike of EICMA” award was the Brutale 1078 RR, for model year 2008. The Brutale won with 25.7% of the votes.
This was the second Brutale to win the award, in just three years of the award running.
The Brutale 1078 RR is an improvement over the earlier model with a bigger 1078 cc four-cylinder engine that puts out a stomping 154 CV / 113 kW (152 bhp) at 10 700 rpm.
The Brutale 1078 RR also has fully adjustable suspension from the F4 RR 312 (a 50mm Marzocchi fork and a Sachs monoshock), a slipper clutch, lightweight forged wheels, and Brembo radial-mounted monoblock calipers. So it’s not just a good-looking bike — it performs, too.
2007 Runner Up — Ducati Monster 696
The Ducati Monster 696 was the runner up for the 2007 award for most beautiful motorcycle of the EICMA show, gathering 15.2% of the vote.
The Monster 696 is an evolution of the Monster style with some new elements, but keeping the feel of a naked roadster with the iconic trellis frame associated with the Monster.
The Ducati Monster 696 is the “small” motorcycle in the range, but it’s sporty and quite capable. It’s powered by a 696cc air/oil-cooled L-twin with desmodromic valves (2 per cylinder). The engine makes 55 kW (73 hp) at 9000 rpm.
See here for a full guide to the Ducati Monster.
The remaining motorcycles each garnered less than 10% of the vote. The BMW HP2 Sport was top of the list (with 9.2%). I’d have voted for the HP2; I have an appreciation for boxer sport bikes like my old R 1200 S.
2008 EICMA — Ducati Streetfighter
The Ducati Streetfighter (the original, with no numbers after it, but later known as the Streetfighter 1098) won the 2008 vote for “Most Beautiful Bike” of the EICMA. It received over 25% of votes out of over 20 000 votes cast at the Motociclismo stand.
The voters for the most beautiful bike of EICMA have always liked streetfighter-style bikes, and for good reason — they look fast (and are fast), but also look approachable, which means they capture the imagination. Design flourishes on the Streetfighter like the single-sided swingarm, aggressive lights, single seat, and colour-matched tank and frame all make the original Streetfighter worthy of swooning over.
The Ducati Streetfighter was category-defining, and has been to this day. Other brands have typically built relatively more tame naked versions of their superbikes, but the Ducati Streetfighter has nary a whiff of “detuning” to its name; it has the 1098cc Testastretta Evoluzione from the Ducati 1098 in basically all its glory, sans ram air and sans the aerodynamic help that the superbike needs to reach top speed. Even the gearing on the original Streetfighter is the same.
2009 — Ducati Multistrada 1200
The Ducati Multistrada 1200 won the 2009 vote for “Most Beautiful Bike” of EICMA by Motociclismo contest participants.
After the somewhat controversially styled Multistrada 1000 DS (which I had for a while) and 1100 (which look very similar), the Multi 1200 is certainly the first Multistrada that received more universal praise from the general motorcycling public. In fact, the Multistrada 1200 received a high 48.9% of all votes cast for the award.
The Ducati Multistrada 1200 is much more than an evolutionary improvement over the previous Multistrada 1100. It keeps the basic formula of a multi-purpose machine, but radically changes the level of technology, adding:
- An all-new liquid-cooled 4 valve per cylinder “Testastretta 11 degree” 1198cc engine, based on the Ducati 1198 superbike but with milder cams and tuning. The original Multi 1200 still makes 110 kW (148 hp) at 9250 rpm — plenty to propel the bike’s modest 217 kg (478 lb) wet weight along quickly.
- Ride-by-wire with four ride modes, which adjust not just the power level but the degree of traction control intervention
- ABS brakes
- Electronic suspension (passive) on the S model, letting the user electronically adjust preload, rebound damping, and compression damping on the Öhlins fork and rear shock (the standard version still has beefy 50mm Marzocchi forks, fully adjustable, and a Sachs monoshock)
- And of course the styling features you’ve come to expect, including a single-sided swingarm, a trellis frame, and a svelte but comfortable stance.
2009 Runner Up — MV Agusta F4
As a precursor (in spirit) to the winner of the following year, the MV Agusta F4 took home 19.8% of the votes for the “Most Beautiful Bike” award in 2009.
The F4 line is the series that helped resurrect the MV Agusta brand, thanks to the design work of Massimo Tamburini, who also brought us the original Ducati 916.
The 2010 model that won the 2009 award is the first of the second generation of F4 models. It has an inline four-cylinder 16-valve liquid-cooled engine with 998cc capacity, and with extensive internal revisions over the previous model including lighter conrods, a new crankshaft, titanium inlet valves, and enhanced oil and liquid cooling to let it all rev higher for more power. It makes peak power of 139 kW (186 bhp) at 12900 rpm.
Aesthetically the 2010 MV Agusta F4 is similar to previous bikes, with a beautiful star-shaped rear wheel on a single-sided swingarm, under-seat exhausts, and gorgeous pastel red/metallic silver (and other colour schemes).
2010 — MV Agusta F3
In the 2010 EICMA, the MV Agusta F3 won the award for most beautiful bike of the show with 38.5% of all votes cast.
The F3 shares a lot of design elements with the F4. They’re both sport bikes with single-sided swingarms, stylish rear wheels, and sculpted tanks and fairings. And both look great dressed in red and grey.
But the MV Agusta F3 is a middleweight. It’s powered by a three-cylinder 675 cc with dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder. It makes a claimed 94 kW (126 bhp) at a stratospheric 14440 rpm… this is a high-revving sportbike!
The F3 doesn’t just look good, it also sounds good. The stacked triple pipe snaking up the right hand side by the rear wheel makes a bellowing howl – a sound that the MV Agusta engineers dedicated serious R&D time to.
2010 runner up — Ducati Diavel
The 2010 runner up for most beautiful motorcycle bike of the show was the Ducati Diavel, which won 20.6% of all votes cast. Images shown are for the Diavel Carbon, which just has a few extra carbon features.
The Ducati Diavel was an unexpected directional change for Ducati.
The original Diavel was a power cruiser, powered by the 1198 cc “Testastretta 11 degree” engine also used in the Multistrada 1200 that won the vote the previous year. The engine makes its full 119.1 kW (162 CV or 160 bhp) through a ride-by-wire system with ride modes, traction control, and ABS.
It’s not a full-on cruiser, but the Diavel has a long wheelbase, low seat, relaxed (though not feet-forward) seating position, and a very wide 240mm rear tyre.
But with a low wet weight of 239 kg, maximum lean angle of 41 degrees, and sportbike-spec suspension (50mm inverted fork up front, and a Sachs monoshock at the rear — both fully adjustable), one asks: aside from second most beautiful bike, what are you, Diavel?
The Ducati Diavel never won the outright award for most beautiful motorcycle, but the XDiavel did in 2015.
2011 — Ducati 1199 Panigale S
In 2011, the Ducati 1199 Panigale — first of its Panigale name — stole the show for most beautiful bike with 53.4% of the votes.
The Ducati 1199 Panigale was the most recent of the Ducati range of superbikes that had often dominated both racetracks and the hearts of many a motorcycle rider since the first of this line of motorcycles, the Ducati 916, almost two decades prior.
The Ducati 1199 Panigale was a large generational change with respect to the Ducati 1198 Superbike which preceded it, and not just because of the new Panigale moniker that it earned.
The Ducati 1199 Panigale is based on the newer generation “Superquadro” engine, an 1198cc Desmodromic L-twin that makes 143 kW (195 CV / 192 bhp) at 10750 rpm, with peak torque of 132 Nm (98 lb-ft) at 9000 rpm. This is a healthy ~10% bump in peak power over the 1198, despite having the same displacement.
Ducati eliminated the trellis frame of the 1198 for the 1199, replacing it with a monocoque structure attached directly to the engine, saving weight (though it’s not as attractive naked).
The 1199 Panigale S is also stacked with tech compared to its predecessor, with electronically adjustable suspension, ride modes, traction control, a quickshifter, and of course ABS.
2011 Runner Up — MV Agusta F3 Serie Oro
Second place for most beautiful bike was the MV Agusta F3 Serie Oro with 17% of the votes. The MV Agusta F3 had won the vote in 2010 — see above for details. Here’s another pic though, as the Serie Oro looks gorgeous.
2012 — MV Agusta Rivale 800
The MV Agusta Rivale 800 won the 2012 “Most Beautiful Bike” of EICMA vote with 35.5% of the votes from over 15000 votes cast, as gathered by Motociclismo.
The Rivale 800 is one of MV Agusta’s rare supermoto-style roadsters. It has classic MV Agusta design elements, like an exposed rear wheel and the short exhausts from the three-cylinder engine. But the Rivale has the poise of a supermotard — upright, with a commanding position, and a lot of control for everyday sport riding.
Under the hood, the MV Agusta Rivale is powered by a 798cc three-cylinder engine that makes a peak of 92 kW (125 hp) at 12000 rpm. The bike has competent suspension (Marzocchi/Sachs) and Brembo brakes.
2012 Runner Up — Ducati Hypermotard SP
The Ducati Hypermotard SP won 22.9% of the votes at EICMA 2012’s “Most Beautiful Bike of the Show” competition held by Motociclismo.
It seems fitting that both the winner and runner up are sporty Supermoto-style motorcycles, though with powerful everyday sportbike engines.
The 2013 Hypermotard SP has Ducati’s 821cc Testastretta 11-degree liquid-cooled L-twin engine. It also has Öhlins suspension and lightweight tri-W wheels.
Third place for most beautiful bike went to the BMW R 1200 GS which won 15.5% of the vote, worth mentioning just because it’s not Italian.
2013 — Ducati Monster 1200 S
The Ducati Monster 1200 won the EICMA/Motociclismo award for most beautiful bike in 2013 for the 2014 model year Ducati Monster 1200. As usual it’s the higher-spec “S” model (with Öhlins suspension, Marchesini wheels, and other details) that’s pictured.
The 2014 Monster 1200 combined a lot of what people had liked from previous Monsters — a comfortable riding position, a single-sided swingarm, a hint of a trellis frame, a Superbike-derived motor, and high-end suspension and brakes.
The 2014 Ducati Monster 1200 was a big step change for Ducati. It was powered by the Testastretta 11-degree DS engine, derived from the Ducati superbikes. In this way, the Ducati Monster 1200 fused its twin lineages — partly the Monster S4 line, which also had liquid-cooled Superbike-derived engines, and partly the poise of the air/oil-cooled 2-valve Monster line, ending with the Monster 1100.
The first Ducati Monster 1200 S made 106.6 kW (145 CV / 143 bhp) at 8750 rpm — a hefty humber for a midrange-focused motorcycle. It came with 330mm discs and M50 calipers, Öhlins suspension front and rear, and lightweight Y-spoked wheels.
2013 Runner up — MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800
Second place at the 2013 EICMA/Motociclismo Most Beautiful Bike award went to the MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800.
The Turismo Veloce is a slightly odd bird for MV Agusta, which is maybe why it got so much attention. MV Agusta is mostly known for exotica, but the Turismo Veloce takes one of their sporty middleweight 798cc three-cylinder engines (tuned for a peak of 81 kW / 110 hp at 10150 rpm) and places it into an adventure sports tourer chassis, making it kind of an everyday sportbike.
It has decent middleweight-class suspension, with Marzocchi USD forks up front and a Sachs shock at the rear, and with Brembo M4.32 brakes on 320mm calipers.
Third place went to Aprilia with the RSV4 Factory ABS (hooray, another Italian). It kind of surprises me that this bike would come after the Turismo Veloce, but there you go.
2014 — Ducati Scrambler
The Ducati Scrambler (the original, now called the Ducati Scrambler 800) won EICMA 2014’s “Most Beautiful Bike” award with 43% of the votes gathered by Motociclismo.
Looking at the runner up, below, just shows how complex the idea of a “beautiful” motorcycle is. Ducati went full-on with the marketing of the Ducati Scrambler, liberally sprinkling look books, accessories, and phrases like “Land of Joy”.
At its core, the Ducati Scrambler is a very simple bike when compared with most winners of the “Most Beautiful Bike” competition. Those are typically full-fat superbikes, nakeds, and adventurers, with powerful engines, adjustable everything, and advanced electronics.
Not the Ducati Scrambler. It uses the essentially unchanged, tried-and-tested 803cc air/oil-cooled two valve per cylinder engine from the old Ducati Monster 800, also seen in the S2R800, Monster 796, and Hypermotard 796.
The engine produces a tame 55 kW (75 hp) at 8250 rpm, and peak torque of 68 Nm (50 lb-ft) at 5750 rpm. The front suspension is unadjustable, and the rear shock is adjustable only for preload. And the front brake is a single 330mm disc, albeit with a radial-mounted 4-piston caliper gripping it.
There are no frills on the original Ducati Scrambler other than ABS.
And yet it still tugs on the heartstrings of many a Ducati owner, which is why it is still such a popular model years later, with many incarnations being developed (including the Desert Sled, Café Racer, and others).
2014 Runner Up — MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster RR
Runner up was for the 2014 EICMA’s “Most Beautiful Bike” award was the MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster RR with 15% of votes.
The Dragster RR is a high-spec sporty naked bike, powered by a 798cc inline triple that makes a peak of 101 kW (138 hp), 9 kW (15 hp) higher than the base model non-RR Dragster, with a huge torque improvement in the low and midrange.
The Dragster RR is the “pure, radical Brutale” naked bike, per MV Agusta’s CEO Giovanni Castiglioni. It has a more aggressive riding position, sportier suspension, and a higher-power engine.
Of course, it got votes in the competition because of its styling and what it looks like it’ll deliver. Hints like the 200mm wide rear tyre (rarely seen even on sport bikes, other than the highest-end ones), beefy aluminium Marzocchi forks, spoked wheels (that are actually 300g heavier), and a quickshifter. Motorcycle.com describes its looks as “a mixture between a scared impala and an aggressive leopard in full leap”.
Third for 2014 in the “most beautiful motorcycle” award was the YZF-R1, refreshed for 2015, with 14% of the votes.
2015 — Ducati XDiavel
The Ducati XDiavel won the Motocilismo award for the most beautiful bike in 2015 with 60.78% of the total vote (6,910 out of 11,369 total votes).
The XDiavel is the full cruiser follow-up to the Ducati Diavel. It takes the same basic idea of a relaxed cruiser with a high-performance engine and sporty characteristics (a cruiser with a 40-degree lean angle!), but makes it much more cruiser-like, with forward pegs and more swept-back bars..
Ducati didn’t just stop there with the XDiavel. They gave the XDiavel an advanced engine, too, the Testastretta DVT 1262. DVT stands for Desmodromic Variable Timing, and is Ducati’s take on variable valve timing but keeping desmodromic valve actuation. The engine makes an impressive 114.7 kW (156 CV / 154 hp) at 9500 rpm, and peaks in torque with a huge 129 Nm (95 ft-lb) at a low, low 5000 rpm.
In a first for Ducati, the Ducati XDiavel also has a belt drive, for ultimate cruiser cred.
2015 Runner up — MV Agusta Brutale 800
The MV Agusta Brutale 800 was the runner up at the 2015 award ceremony, garnering 11.53% of the vote.
Motociclismo voters seem to love the MV Agusta 800 bikes — so many of them have earned votes for the award over the years.
But while winners are often limited run bikes, the 2016 MV Agusta Brutale 800 was the standard bike that won runner-up position for most beautiful bike. This was the 2016 Euro 4 emissions update, but with a few new tricks, like more midrange torque, a quick shifter, and a hydraulically-operated slipper clutch.
The Brutale is MV Agusta’s more comfortable roadster. It’s powered by a 798cc three-cylinder engine with that trademark triple exhaust coming up by the exposed rear wheel on a single-sided swingarm.
The engine makes peak power of 86.5 kW (116 bhp) at 11500 rpm, and quite impressive torque of 83 Nm (61.2 ft-lb) @ 7600 rpm.
That elliptical LED headlight foreshadowed the same design on the 2021 Ducati Monster 937, many years later.
2016 — Ducati Supersport
The return of the Ducati sport tourer won the 2016 award by Motociclismo as the most beautiful bike at the EICMA. It won with 31.4% of the votes.
The Supersport was a long-awaited bike from Ducati — a sport bike with fairings that wasn’t the Panigale (or even a “baby Panigale”, like the 899 or 959, which are still committed sportbikes).
The Ducati Supersport is a street-focused sportbike. Rather than be powered by a high-strung engine designed for power output at high RPMs, the Ducati Supersport has the same 937 cc Testastretta 11-degree used in a wide-variety of road-going bikes, from the Hypermotard to the new-for-2021 Ducati Monster. It makes its peak of 83.1 kW (111 bhp) at 9000 rpm, and peak torque of 96.7 Nm (71.3 ft-lb) at a modest 6500 rpm, making this a very accessible everyday sportbike.
The suspension is good (and high-spec on the Supersport S, which gets full Öhlins), and braking competent, with Brembo M4.32 calipers on both versions. And importantly, the riding position is sporty without being extreme.
The Supersport delivers all that while still keeping a lot of what makes the Panigale beautiful — a single-sided swingarm, great colours, and beautiful paint.
2016 Runner Up — MV Agusta Dragster 800 RC
Next in line for 2016’s most beautiful bike was the MV Agusta Dragster 800 RC, which received 18.2% of the votes.
The MV Agusta Dragster 800 RC is one of MV Agusta’s Dragster line, the sportier, higher-spec version of the Brutale naked bikes. There were just 350 of the Dragster 800 RC made, and each one gets a numerical stamp. By the time most people heard about it, this limited-edition Dragster had already sold out.
It keeps a lot of what’s great about the Dragster (single-sided swingarm, triple exhaust, trellis frame, aggressive tune and looks). But the Dragster 800 RC is also loaded with carbon fibre components, a special paint scheme, and many unique design touches that let your eye wander for ages.
RC, by the way, stands for “Reparto Corse”, Italian for “racing department”.
2017 — Ducati Panigale V4 S
At the 2017 EICMA, The Ducati Panigale V4 won the “Most Beautiful Bike of Show” award by a massive margin – 61.17% of the total votes, as tallied by the Motociclismo website from both EICMA visitors and website users.
The Ducati Panigale V4 was a huge change of direction for Panigale. It was the first time Ducati had produced a consumer grade V4 motorcycle (aside from the limited and exclusive Ducati Desmosedici RR around a decade earlier).
The 2018 Ducati Panigale V4 is powered by an 1103cc V4 engine with 16 valves and a desmodromic valvetrain. It makes peak power of 157.5 kW (214 PS or 211 bhp) at 13 000 rpm. It has chain-driven cams, like its Panigale predecessors, and an equally-wide 30 000 km (18 000 mile) Desmo valve service interval, which is great because with 32 valve clearances to check, things get expensive fast.
Stylistically, the Panigale V4 has a lot in common with earlier Panigale superbikes. But the Panigale V4 has, compared to its immediate predecessor the Panigale 1299:
- A more angularly sculpted tank and fairings
- Those “shark gill” heat vents (reminiscent of the early BMW S 1000 RR)
- Winglets, to keep the thing down at speed
2017 runner up — MV Agusta Dragster 800 RR
Another year, another Dragster 800 contender. Who can blame the EICMA and Motociclismo crowd — they know their good-looking motorcycles.
This gorgeous motorcycle was the runner-up for Motociclismo’s “Most Beautiful Bike” award at the 2017 EICMA, dwarfed by the attention the Panigale V4 received. It received just 7.7% of the vote.
2018 — MV Agusta Brutale 1000 Serie Oro
The winner of the 2018 Motociclismo “Most Beautiful Bike of Show” award, the MV Agusta Brutale 1000 Serie Oro (“Gold Series”), is a limited edition version of the Brutale 1000 with just 300 units made. It won the contest with 35.69% of the over 16 000 votes cast.
The heart of the Brutale 1000 is the four-cylinder 16-valve DOHC 998cc engine also seen in the MV Agusta F4 RC superbike. The Brutale 1000 Serie Oro makes a shockingly high 155 kW (208 hp) of peak power at 13 450 rpm, the highest number for a consumer naked bike at the time.
The Brutale 1000 Serie Oro has all the design elements you’d expect from a Brutale superbike — an exposed rear wheel on a single-sided swingarm, LED lights, and lots of carbon fibre.
2018 Runner Up — Ducati Hypermotard 950 SP
The Ducati Hypermotard 950 SP won 19.12% of the votes at the 2018 EICMA. Previously, another Ducati Hypermotard SP (with the 821 cc motor) had also won second place years earlier.
This Ducati Hypermotard 950 SP is conceptually the same as other Hypermotards — a sportbike with a supermoto-style riding position. It’s powered by the same 937cc Testastretta 11-degree liquid-cooled L-twin that powers many modern Ducati middleweight bikes.
Of course, it has that killer Supermoto stance and exposed rear wheel that make the Hypermotard SP looks like it just wants to play — and that’s probably why people would vote for it (I’d want to win one).
2019 — Ducati Streetfighter V4 S
Ducati’s Streetfighter V4 S took home 36.7% of the votes for “Most Beautiful Bike” at EICMA 2019.
The Ducati Streetfighter V4 S is the second Ducati Streetfighter to have won the award for most beautiful motorcycle. The first Ducati Streetfighter won the award just over a decade earlier in 2008. In between, a few other MV Agusta Dragsters (MV Agusta’s streetfighter-style bike) have taken the prize.
The reasons for which the Ducati Streetfighter V4 S won the “Most Beautiful Bike” vote are similar… just more accentuated. The SF V4 S has the same fundamental features of a single-sided swing-arm and aggressive posture, but a decade of design refinement has added a lot more to the picture.
The Streetfighter V4 S is essentially a Ducati Panigale V4 S with handlebars. It has the same 1103cc “Desmosedici Stradale” V4 engine from the Panigale V4 with almost as much quoted power and torque.
It also has a high technical specification, with an IMU (and all the things it brings with it — cornering ABS, traction control, slide control, wheelie control etc.), semi-active Öhlins suspension, Brembo Stylema calipers, and Marchesini forged wheels.
2019 Runner up — Aprilia RS 660
The Aprilia RS 660, the first bike with the new middleweight platform from Aprilia, received 14.9% of the votes for “Most Beautiful Bike”.
It’s undoubtedly not just a beautiful bike, but also one that captures the imagination. Superbikes are getting more and more powerful, and middleweight bikes have traditionally not been high-spec. Aprilia broke that mold by creating a “reasonably high-powered” middleweight sport bike, but with the kitchen sink of top-shelf components — adjustable suspension, Brembo radial-mount calipers and a radial master cylinder, and an IMU with cornering ABS etc.
But the RS 660 is designed as an “everyday sport bike”, with a relatively comfortable riding position and niceties like cruise control. For street sport riders, it’s almost perfect.
See here for our full take on the Aprilia RS 660.
In third place, the MV Agusta Superveloce 800 received 11.23% of the votes. Its day would come, in 2021.
2020 EICMA — Cancelled — But Ducati Multistrada V4?
If you’re looking for the 2020 EICMA winner of the award for most beautiful motorcycle — it was cancelled due to the chaos reigning that year.
If we assume that the “Most Beautiful Bike” award would go to Ducati or MV Agusta, it would probably have been the Ducati Multistrada V4 (announced in November 2020) or maybe even the MV Agusta Superveloce — before even getting the Ago treatment from the following year.
The Ducati Multistrada V4 would have been the second Multistrada and the third Ducati V4 to win the “Most Beautiful Bike” award. I like other Ducatis more, but I’m trying to put myself in the mind of the average EICMA attendee…
I also like the Multistrada V4 because it’s a generational change for Ducati. The V4 Granturismo engine has service intervals of a whopping 36 000 miles (60 000 km), which is much more than the average ownership lifespan of most motorcycles, anecdotally.
MV Agusta didn’t release any new models for the 2020 model year, and the Superveloce was an update from previous years (and did win the following year), so I think this is fair!
As for my vote, all things considered, I’d have picked the BMW M 1000 RR as the bike that most gets me dreaming. But I don’t think it’d have won.
2021 — MV Agusta Superveloce Ago
Despite global chaos continuing to reign, the 2021 EICMA went ahead. The winner of the “most beautiful bike” award was a limited edition MV Agusta Superveloce (pronounced “su-per-ve-LO-cheh”), the “Ago”, with 47.2% of the 12,567 votes cast at Motociclismo’s booth and on their website.
The MV Agusta Superveloce is a beautifully styled street sport bike. It’s powered by a 798cc inline three-cylinder engine that makes peak power of 108 kW (147 hp) at 13,200 rpm.
But enough on that… it’s the design that catches everyone’s eye. The metallic red and grey paint scheme is classic MV Agusta. A single-sided swingarm, beautifully sculpted tank, and classic bullet fairing make the Superveloce stand out from racers and street-oriented cafe racers alike.
The Ago also has an optional asymmetrical Arrow 3-exit exhaust system with an engine tune to match.
The “Ago” was dedicated to iconic Italian motorcycle racer Giacomo Agostini, who won 311 professional races in his career. In his honor, only 311 units of the MV Agusta Superveloce Ago will be made. (And they’re all already spoken for. Sorry!)
2021 Runner Up – Aprilia Tuareg
The 2022 Aprilia Tuareg 660 won 19% of the votes, making it the runner up for the “most beautiful bike” of EICMA award by Motociclismo.
After the RS660 didn’t win in 2019, it’s comforting to see another Aprilia take the runner-up position in 2021.
The Aprilia Tuareg 660 revitalises the Tuareg name. It’s the same name that Aprilia gave to one of its adventure motorcycles in the distant past.
But the 2022 Aprilia Tuareg 660 is an adventure bike based on Aprilia’s 659cc DOHC parallel twin 4 valve per cylinder engine, the same used in the RS660 and Tuono 660. Aprilia designed the engine to be versatile, and had the Tuareg in mind when building it from the outset.
The Tuareg is different from the Tuono 660 (the roadster on the same platform) in that it has a more upright riding position, more protection, shorter gearing, dual sport tyres (Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR), and a large 21-inch front wheel.
The Other Most Beautiful Bikes — Under-appreciated designs (at the EICMA)
Typically, the EICMA “most beautiful bike” award goes to either an all-new bike, or a large generational change.
Because EICMA is an Italian motorcycle convention, and because the “most beautiful bike” award is held by Motociclismo, an Italian magazine, there would understandably be some predisposition towards Italian motorcycles.
But there have been many beautiful motorcycles made by non-Italian and even non-European manufacturers.
Out of all the new (or generationally new) models since 2005, here are a few that I think have been overlooked:
- BMW S 1000 RR: The original BMW S 1000 RR looked awesome, like a shark on land with those big gills. The most recent 2019 generation did away with the asymmetrical lights, and took the design to the next level, and also could have gotten a mention.
- BMW R nineT Racer: This 2017 version of the BMW R nineT is designed to be looked at, and I can’t stop looking at it. Go here if you want to see more pictures plus discussion of what happened to the R nineT Racer.
- Honda Africa Twin: I’ve always had a soft spot for the Africa Twin since the first CRF1100, especially since the latest model gained those DRLs. The EICMA award has gone to some adventure bikes, but never to the AT. (It came third in 2015, with 7.49% of the total vote.)
- Kawasaki H2: THe H2 is not just an extreme bike (a supercharger!), it looks incredible with its single-sided swingarm, a rarity on Japanese motorcycles (other than Hondas).
- Yamaha Ténéré 700: This was a bike that always looked capable of doing exactly what it does – dual time between the highway and dirt.
- Suzuki Katana (the new one): A really nice-looking standard bike in person, that I’m sure in 20 years time will be iconic, like the old Suzuki whose design it echoed.
I could go on (and there’s already two BMWs in there…) but that’s just an indication that many brands other than Ducati and Aprilia have produced the most beautiful motorcycles in the world.