Motorcycle Live is probably the UK’s biggest Motorcycle Show and follows closely on the heels of the big European shows – as such it is normally the first opportunity that we in the UK get to look at all the goodies the manufacturers are planning on bring out in 2018.
That makes it a pretty exciting show for UK bike fans.
Coming from Northern Ireland though it is quite a trek to get to, and it means a really early start to get the most out of the day.
I have been going over for a good few years and I had pretty much perfected the routine of getting up early getting to Belfast for a 7.30 am flight – getting into Birmingham, getting fed and getting into the event for the doors opening at 10.00 am. The flights would have cost about £70 for the return fare – Motorcycle Live and a Programme is about £30 so all in it was about £100 for the day.
This year though I went a little different. I was able to pick up flights for £19.98 for the return with Ryanair – then the £30 for the show and programme meaning the full day was costing a mere £50 ish. The only trade off was the start time and travelling.
The flight was at 6.55 am so I had to get up at 3.00 am and head to Dublin Airport. That got me in at about 7.40 am. So 2 hours 20 minutes before the show starts. Then it was time for my best kept secret. Off the plane and up the stairs in the Airport for a Frankie and Benny’s breakfast. Every year everyone hurries off the plane and rushes to the adjoining NEC – I however go upstairs, sit down and enjoy a tasty breakfast of bacon and scrambled eggs (the eggs by the way are outstanding). That was my plan this year as well although it now seems that this well kept secret has been rumbled – half the damn plane went! However the most important thing remains – the eggs were outstanding!
With breakfast eaten and thoroughly enjoyed it was still only 08.30 am. An hour and a half until the doors open, so bring a book, magazine, iPad or whatever to pass the time, or if like me you like a little flutter you could always check out the casino at the Genting Arena, about 5 minutes of a walk will take you to it from the NEC – so hop on the fun little monorail and zip over to the NEC and pass the time.
Before we even consider going any further here is the most important tip for the day :
Bring your Driving Licence.
I forgot mine!
And that is a disaster. I had thought ahead and pre-booked the Adventure Experience, on a DCT Honda Africa Twin. I did this activity last year and it was really enjoyable – so was happy to precook it again and have another go at it – that was all out the window when I was sitting on the plane and realised – ‘Damn it! No licence’ – so if you were on the DCT Africa Twin at 11:00 am – you are welcome.
From this point on it is all about the bikes. You have a full day of talks on the main stage featuring Steve Platter and special guests, you have live music courtesy of Indian Bikes, demos from manufacturers, lessons from BikeSafe, a really enjoyable offroad demo from BWM Off Road Skills – and motorcycle eye candy – everywhere.
Even the Police were showing off with a load of liviered up Ducati motorcycles…
AdventureSpec are personal favourite of mine and as a main sponsor of Lyon Poskit they are hard to fault – it was also great to see the original Rex Bike. This beast was also for sale – didn’t see a price on it though – I’m confident enough it was out of my price range though.
The next thing I came across has made it straight to the top of my most wanted list – who would have thought it – it’s a side car. I have already decided that my next bike will be a R-Nine-T GS and when I saw this set up I was convinced that’s the future of my two up travelling!
If my next bike is the R-Nine-T GS my second choice and maybe my next daily driver is a Royal Enfield Himalayan. I haven’t ridden one, at about 26HP it may not even be feasible but it has my interest! I am absolutely intrigued with this £4199 motorcycle, since it was announced I have been wondering could this bike cut it – I am convinced it could and at £4999 loaded with all the extras and a full set of luggage it has to be on the radar – it is on mine anyway!
Another great thing about this show is that all tastes are catered for, just look at these scooters and say, with honesty, that you don’t like them – didn’t think so – I couldn’t say it either.
The big question I have though is – is a four wheel bike still a bike?
CCM were displaying some really nice machines (more in the full gallery below)
Another thing I was very happy to see was the new 2018 Honda Africa Twin tricolour colour scheme – this year they have the blue right!
The Isle of Man TT had their usual outstanding display complete with some of the iconic machines that raced around the Mountain Course and if you have been lucky enough to have been over in the last few years you will be all to familiar with this Norton machine – and the noise it makes!
And here is what it is all about…
Don’t forget the Classics…
The TT wasn’t the only road race to be featured at this years show. The Welsh Road Race also had its own footprint, personally I am really looking forward to this event which is scheduled to debut in 2018, but more on that later…
It’s not all about drooling over what bike may be next though at Motorcycle Live there are plenty of options for you to spend your money on what you already have with accesories, upgrades and rider gear. Remember your credit card, or intentionally forget it if you are prone to impulse buying!
There are plenty of photo opportunities as well, the vast majority of the machines can be sat – and posed – on, except for a few, for obvious reasons, but this has to be the best photo opportunity in the place, the problem for me is that if I was able to get down that far I doubt I’d be able to get back up!
Since the Kawasaki H2 and H2R were announced a couple of years ago they have held pride of place at the show – even having dyno demos just so you could hear how loud they were and even get a complimentary set of ear plugs. This year the consumer grade bike was show cased and guess what it is a bargain…
Only £20k of lump sum payments!
If you happen to have a bit of spare cash after that then don’t neglect this as an option :
I wasn’t the only Northern Ireland attraction at the show – if you happen you know Jonathan Rea – this is what he keeps on winning :
And the Dunlop name is synonymous with motorcycles, this is what Michael ripped round the Mountain Course on this year breaking records for the craic…
There was some serious custom kit on display as well, some of which was pretty famous too…
If headgear is your thing you have no shortage of options, with Aria, Shoei, Bell, HJC and pretty much every manufacturer represented and selling there was plenty to choose from, for me it was the Joey Dunlop helmet that has made it onto my list – now I just need to find 699 pound coins. The limited edition Hutchy helmet was pretty spectacular as well but look at that price tag!
The BMW Off Road Skills display looked like it was great fun, it was actually quite informative as well covering things like picking up a dropped bike (a skill which I have used before having seen this demo), stalling on a hill, and getting a bike of the hill that you unfortunately stalled on.
Is it all about the shine though? Not necessarily, there were a few rats kicking about too…
If however rat isn’t your style and you are more interested in the beautiful side of motorcycle design and you happen to have a spare £35000 burning a hole in your back pocket then this may be the machine for you. The spare fiver will get you a McDs on your way home.
That’s about it then for another year. This selection of photographs in no way covers the event adequately – the full gallery below has almost 400 images so go and make yourself a cup of tea, sit back, put the gallery on full screen and enjoy. Photos from all the manufacturers are in here including Harley Davidson, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Honda, Suzuki and a load more so check it out.