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Motorcycle shows fill me with dread, so when I was invited along to the Excel Arena in the docklands my heart sank, was it going to be yet another disappointment being shoulder to shoulder with a slightly soiled bunch of odd bods drawling over some poor young equally soiled looking girl in lycra?
Well… I am pleased to report that I was not disappointed. It was all of the above and much more besides. The Excel was also playing host to a Bike show (you know? the ones that require you to use your own legs to power them – pah!) and a Dive show all on the same weekend so as you will understand the place was positively brimming over with strange `uns.
Having negotiated my way in I headed straight to the Harley-Davidson stand, it resembled a village jumble sale, hoards of sharp elbowed middle aged men all clambering over bikes like small children on their first trip to the park, and running from one to another only stopping to pose for a photo to betaken by a bored looking partner.I did consider at this point shouting “I actually ride one of these and would just like to try a new one for size” but I gave up.
I had hoped to catch a glimpse of the new range of Mount Rushmore Touring bikes although you would struggle to see the differences at first glimpse but they are many. The old Radio/CD player has at long last been replaced with a voice activated Bluetooth device and it includes a neat little place to put your phone and USB port to plug and play music. The most important change is all the tourers get “Reflex” linked ABS brakes, more high-tech than the older anti-lock and with an electronic connection between the front and rear, the bike’s computer judges how much of each you need to be applying. Long overdue me thinks.
From here I moved off to the Triumph stand and I found myself thinking that these guys actually have every base covered, what I mean by that is that whatever you prefer to ride there is a bike in the range that will fill the role. It is no wonder that they are for the third year in a row the top selling manufacturer of large capacity motorcycles. Triumph have managed to pay a respectful nod to their heritage at the same time as bringing out new models like the 1200 cc Tiger Explorer to compliment the 800.
I have had a short ride on one while testing the Ducati Multistrada and the BMW R1200, it was a breath of fresh air I must admit. 2014 has seen a bit of a face lift on the bike and add to that the ‘up to £1200 of extras free of charge on 5 selected models’ you would be nuts not to buy Triumph. Now I know that someone will bring up the fact that a bunch of these machines were subject to a recall for loud noises from the cylinder head, but all these bike were taken back to the factory and fitted with new re-worked heads. Inconvenient maybe, but better that than a loud noise …… hold on I ride a Harley – loud is good!
Other high points from the show included a rather nice looking 3 wheeled machine on the Suffolk based Krazy Horse Customs stand. This retro based modern Morgan is well worth a trip to the Malvern based companies showrooms. As far as stocking up on your bits and bobs I had hoped to buy myself a Bluetooth head set. Having found a stand selling the aforementioned, I managed to hook up with one of the people manning the stand. He like all the others on the stall knew nothing about them other apart from that they were selling them at a special price.
Patiently I asked “but which one should I buy for an open face lid” …… “I don’t know Sir – but they are at a special price”
Blimey! Now I recall why I hate bike shows!