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NEC Bike Show 2016 Report

Tuesday 22nd November 2016

By Pocketpete

This is the first bike show I have been to so Ren thought I should share a few pictures and comments with everyone. 

After the latest batch of bad weather my work was cancelled due to high winds in Southampton. All I can say is bloody southern softies - a bit of wind stopped play. We have that type of weather everyday up in our northern powerhouse. Here in Manchester in particular it rains, snows, sleets, hails and then the sun shines virtually everyday at the moment but you don't hear us moaning about it (mainly because we are all wearing balaclavas).

My daughter and her bike loving boyfriend had already booked tickets for the show and car parking at the princely sum of £25 per ticket and £10 to park. They were pleased when I said I was off work and would come along for the ride. I suspected I was going to end up paying somehow.

We were supposed to set off at 6.45 am to avoid the congestion which starts in earnest at 7.05 am to the minute near me. Of course they were late as they forgot the tickets. So 2 hours later on our 100 mile trip we had covered 70 miles. My first thoughts were why the hell do they hold motorcycle shows in the winter when everyone should be going on their bikes on a nice summer day? These 2 hours would be an hour instead. On my advice we pulled off at junction 12 on the M6, turned left towards Cannock and Lichfield  then a mile on the right is the 'Truckers Rest'. This is a fine little truck stop but anyone can visit. They do a grand breakfast with unlimited tea and coffee for £5.00, of course I end up paying as no one else seems to be offering. As you can see the breakfast is pretty good. We use the toilets and step out in to the cold where the car park is now full of trucks. Must be the correct tachograph time for a stopover.

Pete's daughter and her partner Aaron tuck into a hearty breakfast at truckers rest

Back on the M6 this time diverting off to the right and onto the toll road, A bit quicker on here with no traffic at all. At the toll booth I get 'Dad have you got your card handy mine's in the boot'. Another fiver gone. I'm beginning to see a pattern here. Straight down the M42 off at junction 6 and into the NEC car parks.

I say to Aaron make a note of the parking zone and take a picture of the sign so you remember it. That's what you do in Disney Florida as it is easy to forget which car park you're in then you have 5 hours of fun searching for your car. That's why the guy on the train says "Remember you are parked in Pluto 16 Green" and repeats it loudly 50 times.

We arrive bang on 10 am just as it opens which is good. I seek advice as to where the ticket office is and how we get in. The guy in a NEC vest points me up the stairs. I am then approached by a 50 odd year old chap who asks me if we need any tickets. Oh the ticket touts are out! He explains he has a spare ticket and will take £15 for it. Yes right as if I'm going to buy that one. At this moment in time I notice he is wearing a police blue nights badge and his mate has a fire brigade coat on. Hmm maybe not touts after all. I chat with him, he's a retired Norfolk officer who also has played snooker in the police championships - small world. Ticket duly purchased. Hmm no one has any cash. Don't worry internet banking to the rescue as my daughter promptly transfers the money from my bank to his.

Finally we get in. The crowds are busy but not too bad although it is early. We are right next to the Norton stand. This is a pretty impressive set up massive halls. We have a few things planned. Aaron wants to see the Triumph stand as he still wants to buy the 675 Street Triple. They have a new slightly uprated bike. We head over after getting the map out, We reach the Kawasaki stand first and find it's really busy with some lovely looking bikes, you can sit on most of them. Aaron had seen a new Kawasaki Ninja 650 KRT on the internet. It's a pretty impressive bike, I really liked it, quite upright and felt really well built. I loved the clocks and riding position but I wasn't sure of the colour scheme. Then I saw a gold/orange one now I know its not green but hell what a great bike.

Aaron sits astride the Kawasaki ninja at the show

Aaron then spotted the Z650 which is basically the same bike but an unfaired street bike. It was in pearl white and metallic black with a green frame. OMG what a bike! This was also fitted out with the performance kit with Carbon fibre exhausts and other goodies. £6999 - pretty decent price as well. 

A white Kawasaki at the bike show 2016 Z650

Whilst here I seek out the Kawasaki Z250SL, they have one but no luggage in sight. I ask the green man and he says Givi do some. Its funny as they have a kit for the 300 Ninja model. 

We wander off to the triumph stand and I must say the 675 street triple - indeed all of their bikes actually look a bit tired and old. They feel cheap somehow and yet I've always liked them. I think the Kawasakis felt so nicely made the paint seemed really thick and deep. The Triumph's plastic feels cheap and tacky. Even Aaron has noticed all of a sudden the street triple is not quite the bike he thought it was.

Aaron sits upon the Triumph Street Triple R 675

We walked past the Ariel stand, I didn't even know they still existed. Took a couple of pictures ,they had a couple of great looking bikes one with an amazing single sided swing arm. See pic.

The angular and remarkable ariel ace in black
The ace from ariel this time lighter colours of alloy metal and orange tank

Suzuki's stand was pretty impressive but they are definitely living in the past. Don't get me wrong I am a Suzuki man I've had loads of them but somehow they seem old fashioned, rather dated. The other bikes we had seen were high tech, the Suzukis looked like simple bikes as if they were still in 1985 mode. I'm sure they are fast and furious and very reliable as they always were but where are the shiny bits, the single sided swing arms, the exposed frames, the daring colours? 

Aaron on the Suzuki GSXS 750

We moved on and found the Honda stand. I was eagerly looking forward to seeing my CB500X. Sure enough there it was. We looked at the Honda range which has some very interesting bigger bikes but no mid range bikes. They have stopped doing the CB600R and the new one looked very unexciting. My daughter said something interesting at this point, "Dad there's not many people here." Sure enough not a big crowd on the Honda stand which was the biggest one there. Not a single person looked at the 500 models whilst I was there.

We headed to the Yamaha stand next but was sidelined by the KTM stand. Orange and white bikes everywhere. I was quite taken with these fairly simple cute bikes. The 390s and 1200 big adventure bikes were all kitted out and really looked the part. The display and range of bikes was quite staggering, all variations on a theme but so much better than any other stand in the place. Totally buzzing with people they had set the bikes up so the clocks and lights cycled through ignition sequences and all the lights came on in sequence. Congratulations to KTM - best stand and display in the place with decent bikes yet they seemed quite expensive to me. Not sure if I would buy one, where are the dealers? But by god a nice stand and free biscuits and free calendar. Makes all the difference.

A radical looking KTM on a steep stand
The KTM Adventure in white and the other bikes in view on the KTM stand

Yamaha have a few new and updated models. The new MT-09 and MT-07 were just so good, I sat on them and was blown away by the comfy riding positioon. There were fully kitted out basic concept bikes, very well finished off. The plastics oozed quality, all corners were rounded off and strong, nothing flimsy. The MT-09 was my favourite bike on the stand and there were big queues waiting to sit on this and the other bikes. If I remember correctly the MT-09 was £7399 on the road. A lot of bike for the money. Aaron really liked the styling, sort of 3 bikes in one, part street smart part streamline part adventure. He fell in love with that one straight away. I must admit it was close between the Kawasaki Z650 but the bigger engine in the MT-09 sold it for me.

The 2107 Yamaha MT09 at the NEC Show
Aaron sits on the Yamaha MT07

It was lunch time so over to one of the many cafes. Soon a quick sandwich and tea hit my debit card pretty hard. Where's the transport cafe when you need it? Bloody rip off NEC. 

As I wandered around I was intrigued by the sheer number of companies offering organised tours on bikes. Around Europe and America are the most popular destinations. The USA ones ranged from route 66, top to bottom of America, California to Florida, hot tours and cold tours. I looked at one trip across route 66 taking in the whole width of America. £2700 you pay for flights but they provide bikes, clothing, escort vehicle, spare bikes in case of breakdown, all hotels across the country and a full itinerary of stops and restaurants along the way. A similar one across Europe looked equally brilliant. I'm going to look into this as it might be a great way to see the real America.

By this stage my head was awash with bikes and I decided to look for a disk lock for my bike. Aaron wanted to replace his 10 year old helmet. There were so many shops. My attention was caught by the Givi shop. I spoke with them to see if they had made any panniers for Sharon's bike yet. Still no luck. They do do the carrier which will hold panniers as well as top box in Asia but still don't have it in Europe. They were a bit miserable actually not very helpful.

There were very few people selling bike locks only really Oxford but I didn't like their stuff so I forgot that idea. Bit odd I expected many to be selling security stuff and there was hardly anyone. I never saw an alarm system or anything just one company selling trackers which were very expensive.

Aaron picked up a really nice HJC helmet for £130 when he haggled them down a bit. In the shops and on the internet it would have been £199.

I walked by some boots and saw someone selling Daytona boots, Infinity motorcycle store. They were the only ones selling them there. They had a funny display in one corner filled with boots all second hand and with at least 100,000 miles on each pair. The boots still looked good. Sharon had said her boots were brilliant, she got them for a song on ebay. I tried the GTX ones with Goretex liners hmm very nice.  I discretely asked how much they were and nearly died on the spot. £285. As I sat there I looked at the worn tired boots on display and thought you know what they may be used but they are all in great condition - the zips work the soles aren't worn out the leathers good. 

Back with the new and expensive boots the young lad told me if they break in the first 5 years they will repair them, they can replace the soles if worn out and the zips if they give up. I like the fact they are hand made and parts are available, the reviews on-line were great and so was the price (compared to the shops). He did me a deal knocking a further £20 quid off. My card took a beating again. I'm now the proud owner of a ridiculously priced set of boots.

At 2.30 pm we watched the show where bikes were driving up ramps, leaping 50 foot in the air and doing tricks. I really enjoyed it somehow you keep watching hoping one would fall off but they didn't. The control they have, they can do somersaults in the air it was amazing. Great show, well worth seeing. Time to go home, it was a pretty good motorcycle show overall. Pretty damn expensive.

The stunt show riders take the applause

We leave the NEC and Aaron has forgotten which car park we are in and the photo he took didn't work. Good job I remembered then we have to fill up and somehow I end up putting £40 of petrol in my daughter's car whilst she visits the toilets... My debit card was glad to get home for a rest.

The Ducati 1299 Panigale

Reader's Comments

Ren - The Ed said :-
Many many thanks to Pocketpete for putting this together for me.

I'm glad you had a great day and sad that your wallet has taken a battering. May your boots be dry and your finances recover. Sharon and I are hoping to be at the Manchester Bike Show once more this year but plans are not in place as yet.
25/11/2016 10:21:24 AM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Nice to get a preview of next year's show........
25/11/2016 3:28:19 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Oh for goodness sake! What a muppet I am. Thanks Ian, I have corrected the error. In case anyone is wondering...the title originally read "NEC Bike Show 2017 Report", that is 17, it should have been 16.

25/11/2016 4:36:03 PM UTC
Latchy said :-
Oh no my bike is dated!
Bloody good article thanks
25/11/2016 5:40:58 PM UTC
Sharon said :-
Nice right up Pete.

I was so excited when I read that Kawasaki said that Givi did panniers for my bike. I stopped reading your report to go straight onto their website only to search for the Kawasaki Z250 SL with no avail.

Reading the rest of your report I see that Givi have indeed not done any luggage for the bike for the European market. Damn it how bitterly disappointing.

It really is not good enough that the green man said they did. It is this kind of mis-information that leads to the likes of me buying bikes and then realising too late that the required and needed accessories are not available.

Thanks for taking the time to enquire for me though. Much appreciated.

I was seriously considering purchasing the Yamaha MT03 before I saw my Kawasaki. I like the whole MT range.

I hope your bank account recovers from the day soon and that your new boots prove to be as great as my Daytonas have been for me thus far.

25/11/2016 7:33:00 PM UTC
Pocketpete said :-
I will do a report on all my new kit at some point. But in respect of the boots so far. I've had a few issues so far. Firstly the ones I tried on were used ones. They felt soft and comfy. I don't think I realised thus at the time.

Then I got my boots home and I couldn't actually put them on I though. They were the right size but so stiff I couldn't fasten the zips.
I thought I was going to have to send them back.

I looked on the Internet and several people had this problem i didn't realise the back of the boot was adjustable. Duly adjusted they now fastened. I have worn then all week and they are finally softening up a bit and are easier to fasten.

They are so comfy though I forsee in a couple of weeks I will never want to take them off. I can certainly see where the money went they simply ooze quality and workmanship. Even watch a video of the German factory making them on YouTube.
25/11/2016 10:28:22 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Oh Latchy! The beloved Trumpet is dated and cheap in comparison according to Pete. Well I'm sure you'll still love it in the same way a lady loves her man even though he's getting old, fat and bald.

I'd love to hear how you get on with the boots Pocketpete. Primarily I'd like to hear if they remain as waterproof as Sharon and everyone else claims they are. A gentleman of your age ought to know by now that new boots do need breaking in.
26/11/2016 9:14:51 AM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Re stiff boots: some years ago I went to the Altberg factory in Richmond and commissioned a pair of their paraboot lookalikes. I was very impressed by the factory and the people there. However, when the boots arrived I found them so stiff and unyielding that it was a nightmare to get them on and off especially as at the time I was using the bike daily for commuting so it was a twice-daily struggle.

Not only that but they were so clumsy I could barely get my (admittedly size 12) foot under the gear lever for upward changes.

I persevered for a few weeks but ended up selling them on at a substantial loss, reverting to the £25 German variety from Anchor Supplies. The Altbergs were beautifully made items but were just not for me.
26/11/2016 2:04:51 PM UTC
Latchy said :-
Think Pete is right though, only Yamaha have proper new big ish bikes, all the other japs have fallen behind and been overtaken by Bmw, Ktm and dare I say it Triumph mainly in the ever popular adventure sector. But triumph have brought out the new thruxton and Bonnies and ex sport bike riders are opting for retro style now instead. Thanks Pete for that I saved me some cash by not not going.
13/12/2016 5:29:55 PM UTC
Tony W said :-
I enjoyed the bike show this year. Highlight for me was the new Triumph Bobber. Just love the look of that bike. Just wish I could afford theluxury of a second bike for sunny Sunday ride out :)
14/12/2016 8:35:45 PM UTC
pocketpete said :-
The Bobber - was bobins for me. It was a very popular bike at the show I think this style of bike has a distinct and fanatical group of riders that follow this type of bike. I can imagine harley and norton riders liking it very much. Just not my style at all. I would say though it looked so much better made and finished off than the current batch of triumphs. I think they are realising they have to improve and get away from the cheaper plastics the paint on this looked really thick and finished off, had a real feel of quality to it, you run your hand over the tank and feel the depth of the finish. But whats with that seat!

The tigers looked good as usual.

Certainly the Yamaha stand was great big crowds they had new bikes to show off. The MT-07 and 09 really were good. Not exactly my thing but I could tell just by looking at them they are going to tick a lot of boxes for a lot of riders. I felt the same about the street triples when they came out. But they haven't updated them fast enough. Things seem to be moving quite quickly in the bike fashion world.

I think maybe the manchester show might be better. Hopefully by them we may see a new suzuki.
15/12/2016 10:02:07 PM UTC
Andy said :-
The last NEC bike show I went too was in 1996.
I swore I would never go again, but I did last year.
All I can say is that I should have stuck to my guns.
The most interesting bike for me was the Royal Enfield Himalayan.
Maybe I'm just too old for it.
16/2/2017 10:02:15 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Andy - you're only 53. You're only 8 years older than me. Stop with the old! You're making me worry that I might be old too. In my head I'm 21 with a lot of aches and pains.
17/2/2017 12:05:54 PM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Yebbut he's 14 years younger than me!

I don't think "too old" comes into it - I'm only a few miles from the NEC but I wouldn't waste my time going to a bike show (or indeed much else) there. Especially when I'm nowhere near their target audience.
17/2/2017 12:39:13 PM UTC

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