PH2: Motorcycle Live 2012

The annual biking pilgrimage kicked off this weekend with the NEC Motorcycle Live Show – the UK’s biggest and most entertaining bike show. Burger in hand, PH2 took a wander to see the highlights.

Pantheon of Monsters on Ducati stand
Pantheon of Monsters on Ducati stand
Monsters rock
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…

Spirit of 1970s in two-stroke Peregrine
Spirit of 1970s in two-stroke Peregrine
Ducal hall
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…

Stunning Aprilia-powered Norton TT racer
Stunning Aprilia-powered Norton TT racer
BMW GS makes splash
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.

Activities aplenty, if the mood takes you
Activities aplenty, if the mood takes you
Things to do
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

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (12) Join the discussion on the forum

  • m6rk 26 Nov 2012

    I've been the last few years and it's got worse and worse.. The general consensus was that there is less and less to see each year. No real bargains, more cheap tat, overpriced entry and parking.. I miss the old Motorbike and road racing show at Ally Pally. Real tuners, little machine shops etc was so big they had to stick some tents up outside..

    If you're not after some cheap crappy no-name leathers/gloves etc or have 10k+ to spend on a new 600cc then i'd give it a miss!

  • chibbard 26 Nov 2012

    But it's still bike related day out during winter. Take it for what it is. I'm a bit biased as I'm going on Sunday to see the BMW1000rr HP4 Carbon that I have a deposit on !!!!

  • RumpleFugly 26 Nov 2012

    The Ally Pally show was always the tuner/custom show, where the bargains were to be had.

    I've always treated the NEC as the first chance to sit on all the new models and make engine noises in the UK. I think it's brill, certainly better than traipsing round dealers to see how each feels.

    It did go a bit crap a few years back when many manufacturers pulled out but it's been getting much better the last few years. Sure there aren't many good deals to be had, but the Internet has pretty much putrid to those savings anyway, from the comfort of your own home.

    I'm going Thursday, can't wait! smile

  • Hellbound 26 Nov 2012

    But there are no Italian 'booth professionals'! frown

  • 996 sps 26 Nov 2012

    m6rk said:
    Loads of real negative stuff
    I've been going for a number of years and this year has been one of the best I've been to, personally thought there was loads of bargains to be had, that aside there was loads to do and watch, got to chat to Randy Mamola, Bradley Smith, coffee and a cake at the Honda stand, then watched the Motorcross show.

    Brilliant day, was miffed with 10 squid parking but forgot about it once I was in there.

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