Last year it brought us more thrills than an Ann Summers party hosted by Rihanna, so what has Motorcycle Live got in store for 2011? Well, as ever, the nation’s greatest show on two wheels has more attractions than the Great British biker can shake the proverbial big stick at. There’s new bikes and old, live and cinematic action, race stars and racy attires…so much to see, so much to do. Need an excuse to get out of the house? Well here are ten of many good reasons to hop on your bike and head for Brum.
A number of new models and custom creations will be making their UK and even worldwide exhibition debuts. These include Ducati’s much anticipated 1199 Panigale sports twin, Harley-Davidson’s Dyna FLD Switchback tourer cum cruiser and Honda’s Crosstourer. On the custom front look out for the worldwide debut of Shaw Speed & Custom‘s stunning Heritage Softail Flatliner and, fresh from Milan and making its first UK appearance, Slim Racing. Both appear on the Carole Nash stand, with the AMD podium placed Bell Ross Nascafe Racer – Unmissable!
Whilst renowned for new bike launches the NEC show is also a great champion of our motorcycling heritage. This year’s Classic Zone is certainly no exception with a fantastic array of vintage and classic bikes on display. Among them is a wonderful 1913 Fabrique Nationale de Herstal FN 500 3 ½ horsepower inline Four, a 1951 Vincent Rapide and, among racers, a Rudge 500 Speedway Special from 1928. There are more modern classics too with late models on show including a 1980 RD250E and an ’83 Harris Honda Endurance.
Make Your Mark pt. 1
Ever fancied creating your own custom paint job? Well now’s your chance, but without the need for spray booths or, indeed, that mucky paint stuff. Using technology made famous by the BBC Dragon’s Den programme, you can arm yourself with an infra-red spray and customise a motorcycle template featured on a huge digital wall. It’s very, very cool. If you fancy a play then head to Hall 3 where Carole Nash is promoting its free Carole Nash DNA+ forensic coding security system offer with Make Your Mark themed shenanigans. Geddit? No? Well you make your mark by applying DNA+ to your bike, thereby creating a unique identity for it which provides irrefutable proof of your ownership.
Make Your Mark pt2
The theme continues with a fab prize draw which offers as a prize not just up to £15k to spend on a bike of your choice, but to make your mark with a further £10k budget for customisation. You can pimp your ride any way you want, be it with Brembo brakes, Ohlin’s shocks or, if it bizarrely takes your fancy, a Dukes of Hazzard horn. Whatever. To be in to win all you need do is get a motorcycle insurance quote from the ever generous Carole Nash and you’ll automatically be entered. What have you got to lose?
The NEC is once again proving a haven for custom crazies. The Custom Extreme zone is playing host to some fantastically imaginative creations such as Weird Fish, a seriously elongated XJR1300. The work of one Paul Milbourn, Back Street Heroes rightly described it as “home-grown, home-built and utterly mad.” Larry Houghton is returning too having previously wowed NEC crowds with the likes of Lamb Chop II and the delightful Cafe Rouge Norton 850. This year he’s bringing his Custom Chrome winning Sun of a Gun, a stunning, skinny beast born somewhere down the line of a BSA Gold Star. It’s genius.
Big screen adventures
Fresh from breaking yet another world record, crazy haired biking adventurer Nick Sanders is back in town, bringing with him more cinematic treats. After the success of last year’s film tent he’s upped the ante with an open plan big screen experience. Among films showing will be highlights of The Incredible Ride which documents his latest expedition that saw him twice traverse the Americas in just 46 days. For perspective, that’s 50,000km, visiting 13 countries – twice. He says it’s his last official world record ride so make the most of it.
A visit to the GP
After the climax of another exciting Moto GP championship, albeit one greatly overshadowed by the tragic death of Marco Simoncelli, Yamaha is looking back at its 50 years of Grand Prix racing. To mark its half century the Japanese manufacturer is hosting a special exhibition (previewed here). This traces a racing history which takes in no fewer than 36 world titles and champs from Phil Read to Jorge Lorenzo. Exhibits include a rather tasty Swan Racing YZF R1 which proves that Yamaha and the Vesta maker are a perfect match! Before we get our coats and head for Poor Pun Prison, let us tell you that the exhibition will, of course, feature tasty bikes drawn from each decade of Yamaha’s GP career.
The NEC show has a knack of attracting a host of two-wheel fanatics from the celebrity world. That world is so often rarefied but biking is a great leveller and it’s not uncommon to see the likes of Carole Nash ambassador Charley Boorman or the Hairy Bikers nattering away to us ordinary folks. So which famous faces could you spot this year? Word is that Charley Boorman will again show his well travelled face, with cricket legend and Get On campaign face, Darren Gough rumoured to be dropping in. Serial charity fundraiser and all round good guy, Danny John-Jules, is also set to jump from BBC prime time’s Death in Paradise to the NEC’s Biking Paradise. The whole shebang will also be kick-started in a rather literal fashion as Moto GP’s Cal Crutchlow firing up his M1 signals the show’s opening.
Dig the dirt
It’s not all about road bikes you know. This year the T+MX DBR Off Road Zone with provide daily dirt fun with the Yamaha Off-Road Experience offering expert tuition on an indoor track and Suzuki’s team teaching youngsters (aged six and over) the chance to master basic riding and off-road skills. There’s good news for spectators too as this year they can catch some jaw-dropping stunt riding absolutely free in the Ramp’d Up Freestyle Motocross Arena. Saturday November 26th has also been designated Dirt Day which looks set to see the appearance of top motox riders – including Jack Burnicle, Rui Gonçalves, Paul Malin and Jake Nicholls – plus Jamie Whittam hosting a special MX Q&A.
* Motorcycle Live 2011 opens on Saturday November 19th and runs until Sunday November 27th . Advance tickets can be booked up to 5pm on November 18th and cost just £16.00 for adults, £10 for seniors, £6 for children aged between 6-16 and free for the under-6s. Adult tickets on the door cost £19.00.