As the tide goes out on this years Motorcycle Live at the NEC in Birmingham and the dust settles for all the many manufacturers and exhibitors there – what did we find? There was so much awesomeness packed into one week in November that one blog post just won’t cover it all. So, here are our highlights from the UK’s biggest bike show in 2017.
It was a Wednesday and we expected the show to be quiet, it was booming! As we entered the show this year we were hit in the face with the three main British heritage juggernauts Triumph, Norton and Brough Superior with the BMW stand just tucked in behind. We didn’t hang around here until the end, we wanted to see all the Honda and Suzuki goodies on show first.
We went around the outside of the hall and came across a couple of our GSX-R aftermarket suppliers on the Racefit and Performance Parts stands – naturally we stopped for a quick chat to see what they had been up to. We’re glad we did as there was a Suzuki GSX-R1000 fitted out top to tail with Yoshimura and Rizoma parts – we have to say it looked the absolute bee’s knees in the flesh!
One thing that was not at all unexpected was the amount of retro looking machines gracing the show this year. Everyone from Honda to Husqvarna were at it. The rise in the heritage styling is amazing and every main stand had more custom bikes on show than ever before, which can only mean our Spares and Accessories guys will be busier than ever as some of these machines were absolutely stunning! Honda had run several custom/bike build competitions this year which featured both the CB650F and CMX500 Rebel models.
Before we made it to the Honda stand we hit up the Adventure Experience where you could ride the latest adventure bikes from KTM, Triumph and Honda. It was no surprise to see this attraction completely mobbed with spectators and participators. Of course we are biased towards the Africa Twin, but when they were in use they nailed the small course and took on the challenges the designers had laid out with ease. If you didn’t get a chance to ride the bike at the show, feel free to take our demo model out for a spin – just not off road please 😉
Finally we made it to the Honda stand and it was HUGE. The new Neo Sport Cafe range had it’s own stand showing the CB1000R, CB300R and CB125R models in all their glory. We got up close and personal with the 1000cc version and we have to say in the metal the new model is awesome. The Neo Sport design is everything we’ve come to expect from Honda over the years. Classic, but modern. One foot in it’s long illustrious history and the other in the futuristic.
Other than the mobs clammering round the new lighter-weight Gold Wing we had the concept corner which really highlighted the classic edge to Honda’s future – the Monkey 125 and Super Cub 125. These machines were also getting a lot of attention and with them both featuring in the Honda 2018 range brochure (albeit labelled under concept) we’re hoping these make their way into the lineup later in 2018. Added to that a whacking great big apparel store, Marc Marquez’s RCV213V MotoGP bike, Honda Civic Type-R, all the custom bikes, new X-ADV, CB1100 models and CB500 Series new colour ways it was an impressive showing from Honda for 2018.
Once we took the obligatory pics on the stand, we headed to Suzuki in Hall 3A – it was another massive and bright stand. All the models criss crossed the floor and as we meandered through the various models we got to talk to the various members of Suzuki GB that were there as well as the dealers that had been drafted in to man/woman the stand for the week. Plotting up at the Suzuki race truck (where they had a charity coffee stand) we chatted with a few of the Suzuki folks and some of their customers. We took in the Kevin Schwantz Pepsi RGV500 restoration project happening live at the show with Team Classic Suzuki – as well as the various vintage models brought in for the show which was just #bikeporn to the old school racing fans.
Then across the back of the stand was the new breed! The Moto GP and BSB GSX-Rs from the 2017 season. There was even an area where they had a bike leaned over so you could have a ‘knee down’ photo taken on a GSX-R1000R – as well as Michael Dunlop’s TT Senior Race winning machine. Another display of the race heritage from Suzuki
The new model took centre stage on the stand. Featuring vintage paint work and logo the SV650X was on a turntable for all to see. It was gathering a fair crowd as were the other 2018 colour schemes in the SV650A lineup. The facelift might only be small, but it makes a big difference to the versatile street bike.
After an epic amount of time on the Suzuki stand we popped along and saw some more of our suppliers at the Oxford Products and Nevis stands – both had a huge array of new trinkets for 2018 which we’ll hopefully get our mitts on soon! The Shark and HJC helmet lines were looking brilliantly diverse and will certainly be adding some colour to the showrooms and your bike look next year!
After browsing all the great deals on offer and the various new ideas, products and accessories out there we’d clocked up around 8,000 steps in 4 hours and it was time to hit the M6 and the London Orbital Car Park to get home. Thanks to Honda, Suzuki and Oxford for your hospitality at the show – same time and place next year?!