Monday, 25 November 2013
Lots of bikes, friends to see, pretty girls and a shiny car at the Motorcycle Live show
This year’s motorcycle show at the Birmingham NEC (UK) was excellent. I spent the whole day there on Saturday and wore myself out, looking at bikes and chatting to the many people I bumped into.
It was busy and there was a buzz about the place which seemed to have been lacking in recent years. Perhaps it was the feeling that the economy is finally on the move again that engendered a better feeling about the show.
This year I tried to concentrate on things that I don’t normally spend too much time looking at. One of those might just prove to be a little too tempting for me. Who goes to a motorcycle show and falls in love with a car? More on that later. Back to the bikes....
I wanted to see the new Indian motorcycles and they certainly did look very good. This is the Indian Chief Vintage….
I was drawn to the Moto Guzzi Street V7 Scrambler, which looks cool and classic at the same time. I really like its rugged looks and this is one of the best looking of the new recent Moto Guzzi bikes. I do question though the combination of knobbly tyres with the cylinders sticking out sideways so much. Yes, I know this is the classic Guzzi engine layout, but the knobblies suggest this could be taken off-road, but can you imagine what would happen to the cylinder heads if you dropped the bike a few times in deep mud or on rocks? It does look great though…..
Compare those good looks to the diabolical Guzzi Griso SE. That engine block has to be the ugliest thing recently designed for a motorcycle. It is so fugly, it just makes you wonder “what were they thinking”…..
One of the bikes that really surprised me was a BMW GS with a sidecar fitted. I sort of get it, and sort of don’t. The guy on the stand told me he was selling about one a month, which means they wont be around for much longer…..
One bike was creating a lot of interest and that was the Ducati 1199 Superleggera. Launched this month, Ducati have said that just 500 of these bikes will be made. It certainly is an impressive looking bike….
Red bikes are obviously popular and this striking Aprilia caught my eye. The bike is much better than its model name which is a baffling RSV4 R APRC ABS, which doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue. The bike is stuffed full of technology with 8-stage traction control, wheelie control, launch control and a quickshifter, plus ABS and fully adjustable suspension. Oh and a little matter of 180bhp to go with it all….
This looks like it could be fun. An Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 ABS….
Back in the seventies I loved this MV Augusta. My feelings for the bike haven’t changed….
Love this old Beemer Airhead as well….
I cannot recall having seen a Royal Enfield café racer before. Maybe some of my readers have?....
Talking of unusual, how about a Moto Guzzi café racer with, wait for it, a slipstreamed sidecar attached….
You gotta love a Vespa….
A very nice Victory. You don’t often see them with eight additional cylinders though….
My favourite lady from the show. Who knows who she is?....
Here she is again with some of her friends….
Coventry Transport Museum had a very nice display of old motorcycles. Here are a couple of my favourites….
My friend Henry Cole has launched a new motorcycle, called a Gladstone. Their first model, appropriately called No.1, was on display at the show. A hardtail with a Triumph engine, some of the details on this bike are very nice indeed….
I need to ask Henry where these lever / grip combinations come from, as I really like them and I have a current project build they would suit….
A very nice custom Harley-Davidson, built by Warrs in London….
The Harley-Davidson stand included a replica of the shed in which William S. Harley and brothers Arthur and Walter Davidson first built motorcycles. This shed at the show contained an old model H-D, lent to the show by Warrs….
This is one of the Metisse Desert Racer motorcycles, currently being made as a replica of one of the bikes Steve McQueen once owned….
Back Street Heroes magazine had a big stand with many custom motorcycles on display. I like this shovelhead…..
I imagine not many people go to a motorcycle show and end up really liking a car, indeed some may say that is sacrilege. However, how could anyone not like this Morgan three-wheeler. It is the Brooklands Special edition and I feel a test drive coming soon. 1976cc V-Twin S&S engine, 82bhp, 0-60 in 6 seconds, top speed 115mph….
Finally, what did surprise me was how many people I bumped into at the show. Andy Hornsby of American-V magazine was on good form in a bright orange Hawaiian shirt. I didn’t know he was going, but I was happy to see Jon Hickman who I rode with to St Tropez earlier this year. Marjorie Rae, the Customer Experience Manager for the UK and Ireland spared me some time to talk about my new touring business. I met one guy, Gary Fleshman, who I last met in 2010 while on my tour of the USA. TV personality friend Henry Cole was there chatting to lots of his fans and he presented his new Gladstone bike. Ian Thorburn (AKA Bosunsbikes) was there as well, taking loads of pictures....
All-in-all, it was a terrific day, looking at motorcycles and seeing lots of friends. I slept well that night!
The show continues for another week with its last day being 1st December.