Motorcycle Live gets better every year and after a bit of a dark patch a few years back 2012’s show is well worth a visit. All the major manufacturers are on hand with most of the new bikes on display.
Ducati has its new Hypermotards as well as the stunning new Panigale 1199 R but for PH2 the highlight of the red stand is the display of Monster models, a celebration of 20 years of this iconic machine.
Next to Ducati, Honda’s fairly gigantic stand includes a Fireblade celebration and a few race bikes as well as the new CB range and also a chance for kids to ride some mini bikes. However PH2 was oddly drawn to the automatic lawnmower that kept circulating around on a bit of Astroturf…
In the same hall as Honda you have KTM with its new 390 Duke but unfortunately not the Super Duke R 1290 prototype – which is locked up until a production bike is unveiled at the end of 2013. The Piaggio group have a lovely selection with Guzzi, Aprilia, Vespa and Piaggio represented while Suzuki have the concept V-Strom 1000 on display but more interestingly for PH2 also a mint DR800 ‘Dr Big’. We like it!
Yamaha’s stand includes the new triple engine as well as a few specials including the super cool ‘Yard Built’ XJR and a French stunt XJ6. While you are there pop behind and look at the awesome Peregrine Motorcycles OW16 replica, which claims to be Britain's only brand-new, street-legal two-stroke.
For a more sedate life there is a great selection of Enfields on the Watsonian Squire stand including a 2013 café racer concept bike. PH2 also loves the sidecars…
The highlight of Kawasaki’s stand for PH2 was the ‘Spirit of the Seventies’ W800 special, a lovely looking machine, while for some reason Victory had a carbon covered Mustang alongside its bikes.
As you would expect the BMW stand was full of people looking at the HP4 (which is now in the UK) and also the water-cooled GS while Triumph’s new Daytona and Street Triple was also drawing huge crowds.
Next to Triumph, Norton has the TT bike (powered by an Aprilia V4 engine) on display and also a new Commando SF and some pretty cool branded clothing.
PH2 resisted the urge to take to two wheels during the show, but if you want a bit of a laugh there is a trials school and motocross demos. Those without a bike licence can get a taste of two wheels with the Get On Test Ride Zone while nippers can ride minibikes and even the excellent push powered Kiddi Motos on a special test track.
Motorcycle Live runs until December 2 (next Sunday). Ticket prices and info can be found at www.motorcyclelive.co.uk