Saturday sees the opening of Britain’s biggest bike show as the NEC one again throws open its halls to welcome Motorcycle Live. Pretty much all the major manufacturers are heading to Brum to unveil their latest models – with some particularly tasty lookers among them – whilst there’s loads of live entertainment to be had too. It’s the annual big one, and as Insidebikes packs up the panniers to hit the M6 we take a quick peek at some top reasons for joining us at the show.
Gladstone all over
Motorcycle Live sees the global bike show debut of the Gladstone No1, the “quintessentially retro British” bobber brought to you by Henry Cole; biking telly presenter and CEO of the newly-formed Gladstone Motorcycles. The prototype of the 750cc beauty (pictured) will feature on the Carole Nash stand (Hall 3, 3E30) giving bikers a rare opportunity to admire the limited edition Metisse framed, Triumph T140-powered bike. Just nine are set to be produced by the new British marque – and six have already been pre-sold.
Of course the main reason Motorcycle Live attracts well north of 100,000 bikers is that the manufacturers do so like to use the NEC to showcase their latest wares. Milan’s EICMA is typically a pretty good indicator of what to expect so fingers crossed for sightings not just of Yamaha’s MT-09 SR, but the MT-07 and the Japanese marque’s intriguing new Tricity 125 three-wheeler (Hall 3, 3G30). What chance Ducati (Hall 3, 3F30) unveils its new Monster 1200 alongside the Panigale 899, Norton (Hall4, 4C20) its Domiracer and Harley-Davidson (Hall 4, 4B20) the Tri-Glide Ultra Classic and Street 750 which is due for a 2015 UK launch? It would of course be remiss not to mention Honda (hall 2, 2D30) with high hopes for the CBR100RR SP – the manufacturer’s first SP model – to follow its Milan appearance with a UK debut along with the new VFR800.
Naturally it’s not all about the pleasing shock of the new, with the world’s motorcycling heritage given due reverence. Aside from the always excellent and impressive Classic Zonewatch out for the appearance on the BMW stand (Hall 4, 4C30) of the R32; the first bike ever produced in 1932 by the German manufacturer. The machine will form a keystone of BMW’s on-stand 90th birthday celebrations. Harley is also showing off its heritage with a 1947 Knucklehead, 1912 Silent Gray Fellow and ’77 café racer among its many treats.
Destiny Cycles’ new-born, now christened the Dakota Drifter, is making its first public appearance at the show. The satin-black Swedish-style chop is the latest stunner to emerge from Vic Jefford’s multi-award-winning North Yorkshire workshop and follows in the footsteps of the trophy-taking Carousel and Rose Tattoo. Indeed, the latter’s triumphant Punta Bagna show provided the seed for the new bike; the Drifter being powered by the SS Shovelhead prize picked up at the French show.
Fun for all the family
In recent years the organisers have been keen to not just make Motorcycle Live family friendly but to promote biking to the next generation of riders. Nearly 2,000 young ‘uns enjoyed a riding experience last year whilst this Honda is offering its My First Honda Experience for those aged between 5 and 11. This will let them enjoy a supervised ride on a mocked-up road – here Carole Nash Ambassador Jonathan Rea reveals all about what he rightly calls a “cool initiative”. For the more mature – at least in age! – Silverstone is laying on Rookie Rides, a 20-minute taster on a Yamaha scooter, whilst the GetOn team returns to offer free first rides on a 125 or scooter.