Bike Show aka Motorcycle Live.
Once again held at the National Exhibition Centre or NEC, in Birmingham, the show is the showcase in the UK for the new models and all the manufacturers from large to small are there.
For me it would be a 350 mile round trip and the reason I've not been for a few years.
It was my turn to drive so I set off before 8am to drive the first 35 miles to my brother's house. Traffic was light and I arrived about 8.35am and once the TomTom was fitted we set off, filling the tank locally and then off north.
We made good progress and were parked a little before 11.30. We chose the station car park as it is a covered walk into the NEC and is £6 whereas the NEC's own parking is free to bikes but £12 for cars.
After a bit of hassle when I couldn't find the email confirming our free tickets and then we were in.
We usually go in and the plan is to go up and down the rows until we have done everything.
We visited all the manufacturers from Aprilia to Zero, sat on a few bikes, and fitted in lunch and a drink.
The Harley stand was impressive with the usual £20 grand tourers, and Triumph aired the new liquid cooled 1200 twins, but it was the Japanese that seemed caught in last year mode. Nothing leapt out at us.
Honda had the Africa Twin. But with the Crosstourer in the range already it seems like a wasted effort and too late in the day. Plus it looked average.
The other three just seemed to be going through the motions.
There were more Chinese factories showing their bikes. Some decent looking stuff and very competitively priced but still not quite there yet. It won't be long though.
The MV Brutale and the new adventure bikes looked nice but the Brutale lives up to it's name with a hard seat and uncompromising pad at the front of it.
Some of the museum and insurance company stands had some exotic and engineering marvels.
Above is a Millyard Viper V10! Another of his specials was a water cooled engine on what looked like an FS1E chassis.
Of course it would be bad form had not many of the stands featured promotions staff.
|Er... fat tyre on a Back Street Heroes exhibit|
|WSB rider Leon Haslam and friends|
After a chat with David and Gary on the HC Travel and Orange & Black stands we set off home.
The weather was pretty awful on the way home and it was nearly 9pm by the time I got home.
A tiring day with for me about six hours driving.
And lastly, a couple of pix taken by Neill of me and some expensive Guzzis.
|Draped in carbon fibre Guzzi|
Quite nice but the tourer is very much in the H-D price bracket.
|The touring cruiser version|
Around £18k for a naked no luggage bike is very steep.