I just love the NEC Motorcycle Live Show
My day started with me getting up at my usual time of 7.00am with plans to meet Lefty, one of my close Manc Rider mates, at the services on the M6. Unfortunately the morning just ran away with itself, as it does from time to time. Before I knew it I was rushing to get away for 8.00am. Come 5 past 8 I knew I was pushing my luck so started getting stressed out as I just HATE being late for anything.
The ride around Manchester on the M60 Circular was horrendously slow. Chocker with the usual workers and trucks all vying for each other’s blood, with me on Mr T getting in the way of a good bumper sniffing session on a number of occasions.
Pulling into Knutsford services at exactly 5 past 9 I knew I was late but was shocked. No Lefty! Had he set off without me? I checked my mobile, no text or missed call. Don’t tell me Lefty was late, never, he’d rather cut his own ear of, fry it with onions and eat it in a bread roll. Then the mobile rang, could I get the voice answering to work on the new Sena SMH10 BlueTooth headset. NOPE!
“Shit!” I missed the call. It rang again, so I just pressed the answer button on the hand set through the clear plastic cover of the waterproof charger. Bingo!
“Ay up Lefty!”
“How do. Are you at Knutsford Services by any chance?”
“Yep! Where are You”
“Shit, right see you in a couple of minutes”
“Have you got a cold?”
“Sounds like you have”
“No it’s this new head set mate”
“Oh right, sounds shit! Do you want a brew?”
“Coffee, white, one sugar Ta”
“OK see you later”
With that I started Mr T, who sounded like a bag of marbles (more about this later) for a few seconds before settling back down to his normal quite burble.
Pulling into Sandbach Services I spotted Lefty’s new mount parked on the pavement outside the café window. A gleaming blue and white Suzuki GSX750 62 reg………….. whooooooo, sexy. (the bike- not you, you Lefty).
My brew was waiting for me on the floor in the café entrance. Apologies given for being late and a quick hello and look around Lefty’s bike I started to calm down. We had a good chat about what we were both looking for at the NEC.
Coffee’s drunk, I popped to the loo, returning to see the slit in my back tyre staring me in the face. Now I knew it was there as I’d seen it at Belfast docks, what I hadn't seen was the little black piece of something stuck in it. I started to try and pull the foreign body out but couldn’t get a grip. Lefty wasn’t too keen on me pulling whatever it was out as I could quite easily end up with a flat back tyre.
“Stuff it, it’s coming out” and with that I slowly used Lefty’s penknife screwdriver to prize out a shard of glass the same size as the nail on little fingers. The tyre stayed up, result!
Not a great start to our day out!
We didn’t see a single bike until we entered the NEC labyrinth of roads and roundabouts, that was after taking just one wrong turn at the penultimate roundabout. Mind there were still only 3 or 4 bikes heading into the showground. However there were loads of cars pouring in. It’s amazing what effect 2 degrees Centigrade has on peoples view of riding, still they were there no matter what transport they chose to arrive by and that’s what really counts.
Parking was in the same hall as last year, Hall 1 with wristbands being issued at the entrance one for Mr T, one for me. A simply brilliant idea, lose one, lose your bike. No not really but you get the idea.
De-kitted, lids & jacket locked in panniers and top box we made our way to the main hall. Lefty stopped for a smoke just as Jeannie called to ask something about home giving me the opportunity to let her know we had arrived safe and sound.
Now as this was my second visit in as many years I’d come prepared with a “To-do list”.
Top of the list, buy three StarCom Curley leads, two for Bez and one for me. Get fitted for a set of custom fit ear plugs, the brand unimportant just as long as they worked and worked well. Next buy Jeannie some new waterproof trousers in black with pink trim. I know how “Girlie” she likes her bike gear to be.
Last but not least find Sam and check what he would like to eat at the IBA National Christmas Meeting and pass on paperwork from Phil the IBA UK President. (I was also planning on having a brew and a butty with Bruce of www.TeaPostOne.com fame on the Bridgestone Tyre stand but sadly his meeting was changed at the last minute, next time Bruce, next time).
Lefty just wanted to have a good look around and see what the show was all about, so in we went……………
The Triumph stand was straight in front of us and the first bike I saw was an Army Green Scrambler with knobblies, sadly I forgot to take a photo. Next I spotted the Yamaha stand, after a good scoot around it was off to the Suzuki stand.
Triumph Explorer All "Blingged Up" with
Neon Blue Lights
Is it a Ducati, is it an MV Agusta, nooooooooooo
It's the amazing Daytona 675R
Fantastic bike if you have £10,750
Then on to the Kawasaki stand, where upon Lefty suddenly pulled out a metal ruler and promptly started taking measurements of the front fork legs diameter much to the amazement of a passing stranger.
It's all precision stuff you know
50 Mill "Bob On!"
Next came the Norton (which I forgot to take a picture of)stand followed by the KTM, Honda, and Victory stands.
KTM 450 Factory Dakar Rally Bike
Honda's brand new entry into the
Honda CRF450 Dakar X
We had a good look at the Readers Rides competition entrants display. This is where Trinity could / would have been if I had been lucky enough to have got picked from the thousands of bikes entered in on-line the competition run by Carol Nash Insurance. Unfortunately we were in Spain when the competition started and I don’t feel Trinity is quite ready to face the public just yet. Maybe next year, we will see!
I just wish Trinity had been in this line-up
Very nice, very nice indeed
Watch this space next year!
Walking past RaceFit stand I spotted someone I thought I knew, asking his colleague “Is that Mark by any chance” The reply confirmed it was. I waited for Mark to finish talking to the couple of guys in front of me and took the opportunity to find the picture of Trinity on my mobile.
“Do you recognise these” I said to Mark, thrusting my mobile under his nose.
His eyes lit up with delight.
“Brilliant you got it finished, how are you?”
Mark, who is better known as the face of RCD Tec, is the guy who designed and built Trinity’s rear-sets using only the original rear-sets and his skill as one of the best rear-set builders in the UK, in my humble opinion. Check out his web site at www.RCD-Tec.com then tell me I’m wrong.
Here's the RaceFit Suzuki GSX1000
All kitted out with RCD Tec Rear-sets
Over to one side there was a stand with Kawasaki Z900, Z650 (my third ever bike) and Z1000 all lined up. I was in second heaven and would have loved to have been able to have a sit on the Z650 just for old times’ sake. It must have been 1983 that I owned and was promptly banned for 6 months, from riding my Z650. I loved that bike, even if it did have a tendency to tank slap the hell out of me at every occasion, especially riding along Tibshelf Road at break neck speeds through 45 degree left and right handers heading into Eyam. Happy, pre 50mph Derbyshire, day’s.
The Mighty Z900 - The true "Daddy"
My third bike ever a Kawasaki Z650
(mine was in the same colour as the Z1000 behind)
Still I did get to have a sit on one particularly nice Kawasaki ZX10R no less.
Please Jeannie, can I , go you know I'll be good!
Ye right, of cause I will.....
StarCom stall found after a good look around I asked the lady for three leads, she could not find them. So with empty hands and promising to return later we headed off down the rows and rows of bike gear stalls. Lefty drifted off a few times, as did I, but we managed to keep finding each other. More luck than judgment at times I think. I even asked one stall holder if the neon lights stuck to the back of a helmet would work on Lefty’s head so I wouldn’t lose him in the crowd. Strange thing was, each time Lefty re-appeared he had another bloody plastic bag with everything from free calendars to very nice bits of Yoshimura engine protection in it.
I stumbled across a very small stall with a couple of chaps selling ear plugs with some very “Trick” filter inside. After having a good chat with the chap, I chose to buy a couple of pairs to try out namely because he was so informative and had explained it was the same technology used in these £20 ear plugs that was in their own bespoke fit £140 ear plugs. Well the info all added up and with the show price set at £14.95 I would have been mad not to have bought them. They are called “auritech” Hearing Protectors Biker, precision noise filtration. I can now tell you after the ride home with them in they are worth 10 times what I paid for them, they are fantastic. Take a look at their website for more details but if you’re at the show and thinking of custom fit ear protection, try these first you will not regret it.
This was the first time I lost Lefty but after a couple of mobile calls we found each other and as it happened Lefty had stumbled across Sam selling his books from the Travel-Dri stall
opposite the Kawasaki stand.
As ever we received a very warm welcome from Sam and had a good old catch up as I’d not seen him since the Horizons Unlimited meeting in Belper earlier in the year. We chatted about this and that and generally got in the way of Sam’s book stand. Still it was nice to catch up with him and also get his menu choice for the Christmas meeting.
After a 10 minute break for coffee and a pasty, (no smoke for Lefty as the old guy on the back door refused to let Lefty through) we traced our steps back first to the StarCom stand to collect the 3 cables, then on to the London Leather stall to buy Jeannie’s new waterproof trousers. So within half an hour I had exhausted my entire “To-do List”.
Lefty was happy with his purchases and so we decided head home, via the Yamaha stand where I’d spotted a very nice red paddock jacket at £54.
Trying it on it fitted perfectly.
“£30 to you sir”
“Sorry, I thought they were £54”
“Not today, to you right now £30, do you need a mirror?”
“ No ta I’m beautiful enough, on the inside that is, the outside is irrelevant!” the guy who had been watching the proceedings cracked up laughing.
“I like your style mate” came the remark.
Paddock, bargain basement jacket, bought, grinning we headed back to the bikes ready for the steady ride home.
The end of a great day at the NEC
Motorcycle Live Show
All in all I had an absolutely brilliant day and I hope, in fact I know, Lefty did too. The only sad thought that crossed my mind was that the show marks the official end to the 2012 “Riding Season”. From now on in its all about grabbing each fine day and going for it before the temperatures plunge below 0 degrees and make riding both very uncomfortable and at times downright dangerous.
My favorite photo of the day
Until next year, Bye for now!