This was my second trip to the motorcycle show at Birmingham NEC, I had a few bike I was looking at, as I’m considering changing my bike soon. All the manufacturers had the latest bikes on show, some for you to try out and some for you to look at.
At the Honda stand i was looking forward to see the new VFR 800, this was a bike near the top of my shopping list, well, the now “old” model is. The new VFR 800 has reverted back to the looks of pre 2002 models, the exhaust has returned back down to the side of the back tyre, I rather liked the under seat exhaust system the previous model supported. I also got to see the CTX1300 which seems to be the pan european version of the F6B, just as ugly in real life, as it is in images on the net. It reminds me of the Honda DN-01. The VFR 1200 is unchanged, I was also interested in this bike, but sitting on it, i felt it to be quite a sporty seating position, for a sports tourer. They have also produced a new take on the Monkey bike, a half sized mini bike called MSX125, strangely appealing and look great fun, not for the long journeys though.
Yamaha had the MT-09 at centre stage this year, this seems to be like a flagship model for them. and lot’s of manufacturers are releasing this “street” style of bike, so it’s turning into a tough competition. The bike that caught my eye was the custom style XV950 and XV950R. Yamaha have upped the stakes on the custom market, these are some of the best looking custom bikes I have seen coming onto the market.
At the triumph stand, the rocket 3 was hogging the stage, every other bike seems small in comparison when sitting on this bike, and that wasn’t even the touring edition, which seems to be larger. I got a sense of the acceleration this thing can produce and it wasn’t even moving. Also on show were the numerous classic style bikes the Bonneville and Scrambler still have desirable 60’s looks, that outclass many new designs.
Ducati always impress with their unique designs, even if they were to just show up with the classics of yesterday, their stand would still be packed, luckily they had some new monsters on show, the new model has some similarities to the Diavel, which is a good thing as the diavel is a good looking bike, the monster seems to have that same “brute force” look to it. And, just to keep you salivating, they also had a mat black 1199 Panigale, (i’m sure it’s to make it invisible to radar).
Kawasaki have a few upgrades, as I’m almost positive the green paint they use was extra vibrant last year, and this year the volume was all the way up to 20. The ZZR1400 has had a few tweaks, and still looks good with the GREEN Claw marks on the side. Not a lot to report from Kawazaki, there range is impressive but nothing stood out. Suzuki also seemed to suffer from this problem. A new Hayabusa that has not changed much from the previous version except from the colour scheme, which is quite nice. The new V-storm is also a nice looking bike, but all manufacturers these days seem to base the design of adventure bike on the multistrada and R1200.
BMW had a nice display of past bikes, got to see the long way round and long way down bike as well as some classic race models, they had a K1on display, one of the best looking bikes of yester-year. The C1 was there, but not sure of it’s place in motorcycle history. The BMW tourers were impressive, especially with the angel eye headlights, not to mention the comfort, you kind of get an idea where your extra ££££’s go. The R nine T is just as nice in real life as it is in pictures. Plus the new toys you can get for the K1600 are good enough to keep you on your bike even when your parked up in the garage.
Motoguzzi are quite like triumph, in the way that they can bring out bikes that take the style of 1960’s and don’t look out of place in 2014’s market. The standout bike was the V7 Racer, chrome tank and red frame with race style numbers plastered all over it, It was a cafe racers dream bike. The new Californai was also eye catching, but it hasn’t changed much since the last model, sill a head turner though.