What’s new from this year’s Intermot Show in Germany

Every two years the enormous Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany, bursts at the seams with the latest releases from motorcycle manufacturers around the world for the coming year.

Unfortunately not all the new models (KTM 1290 Super Duke GT, Kawasaki Ninja 125 and Z150, Suzuki RMZ250, for example) will be available in South Africa next year but here are three big reveals from the weekend that will be on our shores in 2019.

Suzuki Katana

Probably the biggest news out of Intermot was the unveiling of the Suzuki Katana. Although that didn’t quite go according to plan. The poor sod whose job it was to pull away the veil in time with the Katana sword swish on the screen behind it fluffed the reveal and was left scrambling around on stage on all fours. You can watch that moment here.

Suzuki Katana

Whatever you think of the new look (opinions seemed somewhat divided on the day), the name Katana stirs up fond memories. The reimagining of this classic 80s bruiser pays homage to its predecessors with a characteristically sharp front end, square headlamp, low-profile tank and aggressive side panels. Eagle-eyed connoisseurs will also recognize the tank logo, with Suzuki harking back to its original font.

Suzuki Katana

Beneath its bold exterior, the Katana is very much a GSX-S1000 – same engine and largely the same rolling chassis (there are reportedly updates to the suspension internals). For those turning their noses up at the Katana as a ‘simply dressed up GSX-S1000’ the journos over at MCN kindly pointed out that the original Katana was also, not much more than a dressed up GSX1100E.

Suzuki Katana

Rider aids include traction control (three settings), a slipper clutch, ABS and a similar low-rpm assist to that found in the Suzuki SV650, which aims to help new riders with poor throttle/clutch coordination (ahem) avoid stalling.

Read more here…

Who is it for then?

With ergonomics and engine characteristics based on the GSX-S1000, the Katana is aimed at riders looking for a sporty commuter that stands out from the (now) fairly generic looking naked street-style rides out there.

When will it be available in South Africa?

Early to mid 2019. Price still to be confirmed.


If the Suzuki Katana was all about the looks, then the new BMW R1250GS was, well, hard to see at all. Not because it wasn’t in any sort of spotlight, but rather because it was almost always shrouded in a swarm of interested visitors. It’s a good sign for the future of the much-loved GS, with most of the interest circulating around the brand’s ShiftCam technology, which introduces variable valve timing with two dedicated overhead cams.


With the new engine (84cc larger than its predecessor) comes added power. With 134hp (11 more than the R1200GS) the new GS has an improved power spread across the rev range as well as improved emission and fuel consumption. New to the GS is also a self-adjusting oil intake, a new 6.5” full colour TFT dash and an all-new engine management system (BMS-O). Aside from a slightly shorter wheelbase and a few extra kilograms the ergonomics and stylings of the new R1250GS remain the same as its predecessor.


Electronic upgrades include Dynamic Brake Control (DBC) which retards any accidental throttle input while braking, an update to its Hill Start Control (HSC Pro) as well as updates to its Connectivity, which now links navigation, multimedia, smartphone capabilities and motorcycle information through the BMW Connectivity App, the TFT display, and your smartphone (and BMW helmets).

Read more here…

Who is it for then?

Though adventure riders will still remain the core of the GS lovers, increased rideability, connectivity and comfort will no doubt make it even more appealing for an already-interested touring market.

When will it be available in South Africa?

Early 2019. Exact price is still to be confirmed but reports indicate it will be around the R280k mark.

Indian FTR1200 and FTR1200S

With a lengthy teaser period matched only by Yamaha’s T7 (which still hasn’t been ‘officially’ unveiled – keep an eye out for it at EICMA in Milan next month) India finally decided Intermot was the place to launch the much-anticipated road-going version of its FTR750 flat tracker. It did not disappoint. Where in the past we’ve seen boldly aggressive concepts end up being watered down by the time it comes to production, the FTR1200 and 1200S are unmistakably still very close to original concept bike.

Indian FTR1200S

Much like the FTR750, the bike features a trellis steel frame and swingarm. The handlebars are wide, aggressive aluminium flat trackers from ProTaper and Dunlop specially developed the tyres with a flat track-inspired tread.

Indian FRT1200S

The power plant is a 1203cc liquid-cooled V-twin motor with 120hp and 115Nm of torque. The fuel tank has been built under the seat to lower the centre of gravity, the airbox is directly above the motor and the suspension has 150mm of travel at each end. It’s built to be visceral, fun and fast.

Both bikes have three riding modes, wheelie control and lean-sensitive stability control. The more exclusive FTR1200S has a 4.3-inch touchscreen TFT instrument console, gold-finished forks and black/grey, grey/red and ‘race replica’ colours.

Indian FTR1200S

Read more here…

Who is it for then?

That’s the big question. With the FTR1200 sort of in its own category it’s hard to tell. What isn’t up for question is that it’s definitely got a hooligan pedigree and the stylings of the FTR1200S could easily sway someone who may have been eyeing out a Triumph’s Bonneville or Ducati Monster

When will it be available in South Africa?

Mid 2019. Price tbc

More updates from Intermot

Here’s what else you can expect from some of your favourite models in the new year.

Aprilia V4 Tuono – new semi-active Ohlins suspension.

Ducati Scrambler Range – updates to suspension, hydraulic clutch, cornering ABS and a trio of new colour schemes for its Cafe Racer, Desert Sled and Full Throttle.

Kawasaki ZX10R (RR and SE) – new valve train that increases horsepower to 203hp. Standard

Kawasaki ZX10R

Kawasaki H2 – increased horsepower (now a ridiculous 231hp) and self-healing bodywork that covers up small scratches by itself.

Kawasaki H2

Triumph 900cc Street Scrambler and Street Twin – updates include more power (from 54hp to 64hp) better fork internals, improved braking (from Nissin 2-pot to Brembo 4-pot).

Yamaha Tracer 700 – the 2019 GT version includes a comfort seat, tall screen and panniers.

Yamaha Tracer 700 GT

Suzuki GSX R1000 and R1000R – Braided hoses for the GSXR1000R, a quickshifter as standard for the GSXR1000.


Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 – Moving forward with their plans to bring the ultra-futuristic brother of the Vitpilen 701 to market, Husqvarna had the Svartpilen on show at Intermot. Official release date and availability schedule are still not confirmed though.

Husqvarna Svartpilen 701

Keep an eye on ZA Bikers between 6-11 November 2018, as there will be more 2019 bike unveils from the Italian Eicma show.

Photo credit: Tyson Jopson