MCN London Motorcycle Show - Big Ed's Highlights
This weekend saw the MCN London Motorcycle Show take place at the London Excel. The show promised all the latest 2013 motorbikes as well as the usual supply of gear, entertainment and technological innovations. Here are some of my highlights:
MCN Stand: The shows organisers had a very special set of show pieces on their stand, a collection of Barry Sheene's famous racing bikes which he used over the years. Nearly ten years since his death the legend we all know and love would have been proud to see them all lined up I'm sure.
Hearing protection: There were a number of stands at this years show focussing their efforts on hearing protection. A must have for any rider going long distances where your ears take a battering. Ear plugs of all different shapes and sizes are being developed it seems for just this purpose.
Scott Stand: Over on the Scott leathers stand there was a great looking pair of leathers styled like that of Evil Kenevil. They certainly looked the part but if I'd actually wear them out I'm not sure. Think I'll stick to my all blacks for now.
Triumph Stand: The Hinckley boys didn't fail to impress at the show with a fantastic selection of their 2013 range of motorbikes including the Speed Triple R. Styled in Red and Black this naked bike looked gorgeous and promises to be a real powerhouse. Another motorbike I was pleased to get a good look at was the Tiger Sport. I'm still not sure about the headlight arrangement but when sitting on the bike it feels good. I imagine they are perfect for those riders looking to munch the miles in a bit more style.
Kawasaki Stand: Laid out with a sort of start line in the centre of their stand (probably because of their racing success last year) Kawasaki focussed mainly on the Z range and of course the Ninja. Chris 'the stalker' Walkers ZX10R for this years MCE BSB was also on show. I really like the Z range, there's just something mean about the way they look, especially the flowing front pipes, just a shame about the silencer. I also gave the Ninja 300 a good look over, it's a nice bike for sure and I bet it goes well, but for me it felt a little bit too small. I felt like I was sitting on a 300.
Ducati Stand: The Italians were once again out in force bringing a number of Panigales in different colours. The Diavel in matt black also looked very sexy. Looking at the Monster 796 again I was a little disappointed; I don't like the sunken headlight, I think it makes the bike look out of proportion. I also managed to catch a few moments with Italian domestic Champion Matteo Baiocco who will be making his MCE BSB debut this season for Rapido Sports Racing Ducati. He was getting some promo shots with team manager Steve Moore. He's a very friendly chap and said he's very excited to get out on track and show the British public what he can do.
Yamaha Stand: I found I didn't spend too much time on the Yamaha Stand, they haven't really released too much exciting this year. Seeing the MCE BSB Milwaukee Yamahas was worth it though. Look forward to seeing them on track.
Honda Stand: Again Honda did not fail to impress with their selection of bikes for 2013. The 500 range dazzled me again with their great prices and careful design. Another highlight was seeing the retro CB1100 in red. Much better than the cream in my opinion, really want to have a go on this to see how it compares to the old 70's fours.
BMW Stand: I spend a while wandering the BMW stand. The HP4 looks amazing and with the performance it boasts should become a legendary bike, just a shame about the price. Another motorbike that caught my eye was the R1200R 90 years special edition machine. With none of BMW's usual odd shaped fixtures and fittings this just looked a proper bike, mixing classic and modern.
Custom Bike Zone: Custom bikes aren't usually my forte. I believe a bike is there to be ridden and not just sit there looking all shiny. But it has to be said that some of these custom bikes were insane. My favourites were the 'Snake 2' based on a Ducati Streetfighter because of it's wonderful red piped cooling system that meandered around the engine. The 'Swindler' based on a Norton 961 for it's scrambler styling and the Kawasaki Z1000 just because it left your jaw on the floor as you gazed at it's shimmering beauty.
Indian Stand: There was a small Indian Stand at the show with a few bikes on it. My pick was the Wall of Death Scout from Coney Island. Still in it's original colours it has been hidden away in a New York Apartment for years. Dirty, rough round the edges, but wow what a machine.
MCE BSB Stand: Offering a selection of bikes and riders, the MCE BSB stand was a great sight to see.
Adventure Zone: I also found the adventure zone to be very interesting at the show. There were a number of different companies offering tours and trips as well as some well known adventurers telling tales. I had a chat to Nathan Millward about his epic trip from Sydney to London on a Honda CT110. Great chap with a real sense of adventure. His book is available here. I also listened to a talk from Graham Hoskins, an adventurer who over the last few years has really got the bug for touring. He and his partner in crime, celebrity and bike lover Danny John-Jules (Cat from Red Dwarf), have done a number of trips for TV including one round the Mediterranean and one following the original Dakar route. He explained in his talk that anyone can do this and once you get the bug you won't want to stop! Click here for their website with more information.
Revolutions Show: A number of big names came together for the Revolutions Show in the central arena. Pinning riders against each other in two teams they battled over the three days to be crowned Revolutions Champions. The teams consisted of:
- Neil Hodgson - Former British and World superbike champion
- John McGuinness - Nineteen time TT champion, road racing legend
- Dougie Lampkin - 12 times World trials champion
- James Whitham - Former British champion and MCN's man of the year twice
- Tommy Hill - 2011 British superbike champion
- Chris Walker - Four-time BSB runner up
It was quite the show seeing all of the riders battling their hardest to win the fun gymkhana type event. Jumping ramps and dodging post boxes the team of Mcguinness, Hodgson and Lampkin won the event on the final day of the show.
Well those were my show highlights, what were yours? Feel free to post them on my Facebook.
18.02.13 - Big Ed