Go to Bike Heaven
feature the motorcycle and scooter show
Look past the models in scanty clothing, says Tim Luckhurst, and the bikes might grab your attention
Deciding whether to attend the annual Motorcycle and Scooter Show at Birmingham's NEC is not an easy call for grown-ups. But it is particularly hard for the many women bikers who do so much to make modern motorcycling civilised.
If ogling bored models in plastic mini-skirts is your thing then you will find the show unmissable. But if you find such unimaginative marketing embarrassing then the event can be a tad tiresome. There is fun to be had, but it is too often gilded by the sort of tat that once made "motorcycling culture" an oxymoron.
Last year such criticisms were less valid than before. This year, I dare to hope they will appear invidious. Bad lingerie will be present: there are still motorcycle manufacturers who believe that draping a partially naked woman over the saddle can magic mechanical catastrophe into a classic. But they are becoming rarer and look likely to be outnumbered this year by classy firms exhibiting cool products.
Ducati took a year out from the NEC in 2006. I imagine many Italians found it too tacky for comfort. But this month the Bologna- based outfit is back as World MotoGP champions and with an eclectic range of new machines to parade, including a new Monster 696 and the innovative 848 superbike.
Britain's charismatic home-grown manufacturer, Triumph Motorcycles, also has new products to display. The Rocket III Touring converts this 2,300cc brontosaurus into a plausible holidaymaking mile-muncher. The trick has been achieved by adding a new frame, suspension, seat and fuel tank.
It will come thundering down from Triumph's headquarters in nearby Hinckley, Leicestershire, for a first meeting with British admirers. The massive, three-cylinder behemoth will be accompanied by a revamped version of the iconic and savagely quick Speed Triple.
BMW Motorrad will showcase six models, including the new F800GS middleweight adventure tourer (global circumnavigation for those without Ewan and Charlie's budget) and its baby sibling the F650GS (for those without Ewan and Charlie's make-up artist's budget.) There will also be an opportunity to see the G450X Sports Enduro, a street-legal enduro-style racer.
KTM will show their RC8 Superbike and all four of the big Japanese manufacturers, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha, are due on site with their full 2008 ranges of bikes …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Go to Bike Heaven. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: November 2, 2007. Page number: 18. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.