LONDON CALLING...THE MCN EXCEL MOTORCYCLE SHOW
AN EYEFUL OF GREAT MACHINES
It cannot be easy setting up a motorcycle show; there are only so many attractions and formulations in the organisers kit, and only so many 'celebrities' to invite to keep the customers satisfied.
The Motor Cycle News London Motorcycle Show at the sprawling ExCel complex in London's Docklands followed pretty much the same formula and layout as previous years, but on the opening day it seemed enough to attract a decent crowd who were only too keen to swing legs over bikes, scan the myriad helmet, clothing and kit stands, watch the arena races, ogle the new BMW Tyco BSB race bike, cruise the tour and 'adventure' options, the resplendent glittering custom bikes, and the classics.
The Wemoto show crew were there too for our first show of the year. Dispensing our famous free neck tubes and note pads to grateful passers by - we were told they were the only free items at the whole show - and talking to our co-motorcyclists about the products on display.
The manufacturers stands held the centre ground so to speak, with specialist areas such as travel/adventure, classic, and customs with their own areas in the corners of the hall. Touratech dominated the travel space with their stand out yellow and black display area and bikes laden to the limit with every conceivable piece of equipment so that they resembled mechanical camels.
Like Father, Like Son
I find these two wheeled behemoths a bit daunting, but BMW were in a small arena helping to demonstrate how you can ride and control their big travel laden GS bikes. This was headed up by Simon Pavey who runs the World of BMW off road programme in South Wales. He has just competed and completed another Dakar rally; this time in a team with his son Llewelyn. The only father and son duo ever to take part in the event...we look forward to the first mother and daughter entering this toughest of tough rallies.
Close by the adventure stage hosted a number of talks in a setting that was supposed to resemble a camping area somewhere in the bush. An electric flame flickering camp fire and deck chairs that the audience were invited to sit in only added to the artificiality of the scene.
The custom bikes bedazzled; and the display organisers didn't just include the bizarre and outrageous examples from the builders imaginations. There were a few that looked as if they might have a practical use too. What do people do when they've spent considerable amounts of time and money on these impeccable creations. Do they sit in rooms as part of the house furniture? Are they constantly displayed at custom shows? I think we should be told.
Being a Motor Cycle News (MCN) production there was a scattering of semi-naked female flesh in the hall, and no shortage of paunchy blokes in their middle age who wanted their mates to photograph them with an arm around a slender waist. Who do they show these pictures to? I think we should be told.
Meanwhile at the BMW stand, a small crowd had gathered around the plinth where the new British Superbike (BSB) racer was about to be unveiled in its Tyco sponsors livery. The riders were in attendance too. On the track they will have Michael Laverty and Tommy Bridewell on the BSB bikes, with Alistair Seeley competing in the Superstocks. While the real road races will see Guy Martin and William Dunlop scorching the tarmac. All this under the organisation of the very experienced TAS racing outfit run by Hector and Philip Neil.
The Rossi stable
In the centre of the hall under the eyes of some smartly turned out security blokes. The whole stable of Rossi race bikes were displayed. It was useful that there were several paragraphs of description attached to each machine.
Race bikes are colourful but can make a boring display as the most interesting component (engine) is surrounded by plastic. It was good to track this amazing rider's career through the different capacity bikes, and easy to forget that Vali's first world championship at 17yrs old was on a 125cc Aprilia, garnering eleven wins on the way.
I walked around part of the show with a friend who hadn't been to a motorcycle shin dig such as this for a good few years, and was surprised at the (high) prices attached to most of the new bikes the manufacturers were displaying. Well over four grand for a decent looking 125cc; the bikes designed to attract the first wave of young people into riding. His point being that many of these bikes are now assembled in countries where labour costs are very low.
On the crowded Docklands Light Railway trains heading away at the end of the day, us show goers tucked our purchases between our feet and perhaps imagined that winter's sting may have passed, that rain will swish away the clinging road salt, and that lighter and slightly warmer days will tempt us into some riding time.
...and just in case you haven't seen enough yet here are a few more photos for you to enjoy...
If you went along or if you particularly like any of these bikes or got one of our world famous necktubes - let us know email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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