Hi all. This is a short report on my attendance at this years motorcycle show at the National Exhibition Centre Birmingham. This was a spur of the moment decision to attend as I had said previously that I didnít intend to go this year mainly because of the expense and the imminent threat of redundancy however the boy persuaded me it would be a good idea and since he offered to pay for the petrol and admittance I thought it would be rather rude to refuse.
Hence we set forth on the journey south on the M1 and made good progress as far as Sheffield ! from then on it was stop go through the road works and traffic jams until we finally arrived at the NEC three hours later. After paying an absorbitent £8.00 for parking we made our way to the courtesy bus stop only to be refused entry as the bus was full.
So rather than waiting for the next one we decided to walk the 'short' distance to the exhibition halls. After a forced march of about 20 minutes we finally arrived in the entrance and the boy joined the que for tickets while I went to find the toilet which was shut ! I staggered about another 200 yards with my legs together and cheeks clenched to the next toilet where relief was found. After walking back the way I came I then had to find the boy who had removed his red Yamaha fleece which is what I was looking for and disguised himself as an idiot so it was he who found me.
We went through the nearest entrance which in hindsight was completely the wrong one as we had found ourselves in the off road zone which was of no interest whatsoever to either of us. On passing through another hall with the wall of death, go-carts and stunt zone which you had to pay extra for so needless to say we didnít bother and we continued onwards into the maze of terror known as the retail village. Now we had decided to look at the bikes first so it was our mission to find them which was not an easy task and after about 20 minutes wandering around aimlessly I ask a steward where the bikes were at. After turning through 180 degrees we walked another few hundred yards and finally found the hall with the bikes in which was where we would have been in the first place had we gone through the correct entrance to start with !
I have to confess I was now like a kid in a sweet shop and went from one bike to another sitting on them all and grinning like a Cheshire cat. We tried to tackle this logically starting in the far corner and working back to where we entered. I think Victory was the first stand we came across and I just had to try the futuristic looking cruiser that would have been at home in a Judge Dread movie before moving on to the more normal and affordable bikes many of which look like customs and would be head turners wherever they appeared.
These are the sort of bikes that would be on my shopping list should I ever win the lottery along with quite a few others I could think of although that would involve me buying a ticket so is rather unlikely.
We moved onto the BMW stand next and I was most impressed at the quality and finish of their machines. I had never previously considered a BMW but some of their sports / tourers were very nice
and the technical brilliance of their prototype six cylinder sports bike couldnít fail to impress although its not for me I prefer to arrive at my destination having seen where I've been and still able to walk.
Suzuki was the next one but in all honesty I didnít really find any must haveís here. I tried their big cruisers but they just didnít feel right also their 1250 sports/tourer c/w panniers and top box seemed a good buy on the face of it until you looked a little closer and observed just why it is so comparatively cheap. However I was accosted by two charming young ladies who insisted I fill in their questionnaire to win something or other.
I cant remember the order of what was next but Kawasaki and Yamaha were visited the only real interest being the smaller and bigger versions of my Midnight Star. I still think I made the right choice as it would be difficult to find a more comfortable easy to ride motorcycle but choice is a personal thing and it wouldnít do for everyone to like the same thing.
I just had to visit the Norton stand to see what all the fuss was about but as the boy said they are a lot of money for an old looking bike. I wouldnít mind owning one but they wouldnít be top of the list when you consider what else is available for the same money - BMW anyone !
It was the Triumph stand that I was most interested in and we spent quite some time looking at their impressive range of machines. I had always liked the Tiger but it was too tall for my short legs until now that is as they have brought out a shorter version which enabled me to reach the floor with ease definatly one to think about. I also liked the new Thunderbird especially in its touring trim and the legendary Rocket 3 which would defiantly be top of my wish list although its usefulness is rather limited on our congested roads. If I were after a more Ďnormalí looking bike I would seriously consider the 1050 Sprint in full touring trim as it looked magnificent and reminded me of my VFR. Its too early for me to say what bike I would buy next as I have only had mine a year but Triumph has to be a contender not just because of their bikes but also because I consider myself something of a patriot and would prefer to support British industry where possible.
We didnít really bother with the Ducati stand as it was no bigger than our front room and only had about two bikes on display which was a bit disappointing. We visited the futuristic looking Can-am trike's with two wheels at the front and one at the back they look great but donít know what they would be like to ride and not much good in traffic unless they have vertical take off fitted.
That was about it for the bikes as Honda and Harley had decided in their wisdom not to attend which I felt was a pity and no doubt contributed to the downturn in attendance at this years show it just makes you realise how hard the world wide recession has hit some of the major manufacturers.
We made our way up the steps to the next hall and spent some time looking at the custom and classic motorcycles that were obviously someone's pride and joy and although not really to my taste I do appreciate the time effort and considerable amount of money lavished on these work of art.
It was lunchtime so me and the boy found an out of the way corner and sat on the floor eating pork pie and quiche that I had bought from the Co-Op the day before all having been reduced in price needless to say.
The boy had been surfing the net for some winter gloves and had settled on some from Spada which had received a Ride recommended triangle so we set off on the hunt through the retail village. I wanted to look at a Shark helmet and subsequently found what I was looking for but despite the salesman offering to knock £40.00 off the price I just couldn't prize my wallet open. The boy found his gloves so he was happy it is possible to find some bargains but you have to spend a lot to save the cost in getting to and into the NEC so is better to be viewed as a day out and any bargains as a bonus. Not everything is reduced though and some of the stuff on sale I have seen for half the price at MAG rallys you will have gathered by now that I didn't buy anything.
While we were wondering around we came across the MAG stand where Neil (Bruiser) and Andy (Leeds Rep) were busy converting the philistines to the teachings of MAG and signing up as many drunks as possible before they sobered up and wondered where £20 had gone. I stayed and chatted for a while and had my photo taken for posterity before drifting off and making our way to the exit and the long drive home.
We actually managed to get on the bus this time and the boy sat himself down while I had to stand bless him. The journey home started badly as we went the wrong way out of the car park and ended up travelling down some country lane before eventually coming across the motorway more by luck than judgement although the traffic was horrendous made worse by the roadworks so it was another three hour journey to get back.
To sum up it was a good day out thanks go to the boy for paying but Iím not in too much of a hurry to go back and probably wont be there next year. I missed all the razzmatazz, the dancers, bands, entertainers etc etc that had made it that bit special on previous visits.