An event report by our roving reporter, Mr Michael Culpan Esq
After our trip to last year's bike show at Manchester Central, formally the GMex centre, I wasn't expecting very much and I wasn't disappointed. I was in two minds about attending but decided I would almost at the last minute, as I decided .. why not? What else was I going to do on a cold day in the middle of January and I am a firm believer in supporting anything that promotes motorcycling in a positive manner.
However I couldn't help feeling I would have been better off staying in bed as the most exciting thing about the whole trip was the train there and back, which surprisingly actually turned up this year and on time too - must be something to do with the world price on copper falling so it's not worth nicking the cabling anymore as happened to us in 2012!
Anyway back to the show - as soon as I walked through the door after avoiding the tumbleweed I knew instantly I had made a bad decision as there was a distinct lack of trade stands, at least those with any kind of product relating to motorcycling, although if you wished to stuff yourself with sweets or cookies or buy a car jack or jewellery you would have been well catered for.
The big four Japanese manufacturers were represented by local dealerships but the range of bikes wasn't particularly extensive in fact you would have had a better experience going to a bike showroom for a browse around. Harley Davidson was in evidence but only just and disappointingly Triumph were not represented at all.
Of all the stands I visited the only one that was of any interest was Kawasaki but it wasn't the bikes I was looking at!
I went to see the stunt riding show which involved riding some trial bikes over some impossible looking obstacles and to be fair it was entertaining and very skilful but it couldn't do much to improve my mood of disappointment with the rest of the show and after about the third trip around the hall we had seen everything there was to see and decided to depart after only about 2 hours since we went in.
In conclusion, it is a shame that this show isn't better supported by the trade as the organisers must work very hard to make this show happen but they can only work with what they have got, which this year wasn't very much. I wonder if it's the time of year which puts people off as it has had to be cancelled in the past due to bad weather and maybe some traders don't want the risk of going to a lot of time, trouble and expense if there is a risk of the plug being pulled at the last minute. Or, could it be because there is another Manchester Show held in April at a different venue that is more attractive in terms of location and ease of access and also minus the risk of cancellation due to deep snow etc. I am not sure how long this show can carry on as I got the distinct feeling some of this year's exhibitors would be considering very carefully whether to attend next year as I doubt some of them recovered the cost of their travelling expenses, let alone made any kind of profit. As I didn't see many punters ladened with goods and the assistants didn't seem rushed off their feet, but that's just the way I saw it. I'm sure other people may have had a good day and will return next year but I won't be joining them.