On Thursday, 27 October, I went to the 2006 International Motorcycle & Scooter Show at the NEC Birmingham. Photos of the event can be found in the Gallery or by clicking that collage above.
The Thursday was Trade Day which is the day when the photographers, journalists and all the industry bods attend – looking slightly out of place in suits and ties – and Joe Public is grudgingly allowed along (having paid more for the privilege than on the rest of the main show days).
The benefit of attending on Trade Day for Joe Public is that you have far more room to move around and there are far fewer other visitors crowding the exhibits.
Kawasaki were showing off their updated Z1000: the good points are the radial-mounted calipers and the better engine covers, but the bad points are the hideously bloated silencers – presumably to meet Euro 3 emissions regulations – and the awful side fairings which house the flush-mounted indicators. Kawasaki also had their ZZR1400-based uber-tourer, the GTR1400, which also has an over-long and bulky silencer. Kawsaki also had a ZRX1200R on their stand but frankly it looked exactly the same as the 2005 model … and probably was!
Suzuki were also showing what damage they could do with over-long and bulky silencers with their B-King – previously a concept that looked brutal, the final version has a J-Lo fat-arsed looked about it that makes it pig-ugly. Triumph, with their Daytona 675, can clearly get it spot-on: the Japanese could do what they did so well 30 years ago and learn a lesson from the Brits again.
Apart from that – or maybe including that – it was a pretty lacklustre show apart from one thing: the arrival of the Chinese! How does a 650 V-twin sports bike for £4,000 sound? Exactly! Quite what they’ll be like to ride and what the quality is like remains to be seen, but it was an eye-opener. The supermoto-stylee one in the photo was also impressive, ticking most of the right boxes.
And finally a small whinge for the SuperBike stand: I renewed my sub as usual but no fleece tops this year.