I was unable to attend the MCN London Motorcycle Show in 2019 and was keen to attend in 2020 to see the latest bikes, great classic bikes and listen to great characters from the motorcycling world.
Barry Sheene Exhibit
One of the stand out exhibits at the show was the Barry Sheen collection, which featured many of Barry’s race bikes throughout his career. I was always a fan of the GP500 racing, and whilst Barry had already retired before I started watching the coverage he remained the last British rider to with the 500cc GP title.
I started watching the 500 GP racing at the tail end of Michael Doohan’s career and the ascendance of Valentino Rossi. These were interesting times when two stroke machines were still racing alongside the experimental four stroke machines.
Where is Norton Motorcycles?
With the recent financial troubles surrounding Norton Motorcycles it wasn’t a surprise that Norton wasn’t exhibiting at the show. Its strange to think that 12 months ago they were riding high in the motorcycle press and everyone was excited about John McGuinness racing for Norton at the Isle of Mann TT. What a difference a year makes! Fingers crossed that something can be salvaged from the current Norton situation, hopefully seeing the brand return to the showrooms.
Stand out bikes at the show
Its always difficult to pick your favourite bikes whilst walking around the show, however scanning through the pictures when returning home does help me recall a few personal favourites. The bikes listed below are based on my personal preference, let me know in the comments if you have any favourites from the show.
Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe
I’ve always been a fan of the original Kawasaki Z900 range with it’s brutal charm and requirement to hustle through the corners when you wind up the throttle. The new incarnation seems to get the classic looks and performance absolutely spot-on. For me the only colour you can have is the classic green meanie cafe style with the nose fairing!
Anyone who is a fan of the Yamaha RD350 LC will know exactly where I’m coming from when you look at the styling cues on the XSR900. If like me you grew up riding on the rear wheel of a Yamaha RD the XSR900 ticks many of the boxes.
With rose tinted glasses on you may wish to relive the RD two stroke days, however the reality was top-end rebuilds, squishy handing and weak brakes. The XSR900 seems to provide the nostalgia without the roadside repairs and skinned knuckles.
Zero Motorcycles SR/F
I’ve been following the development of electric motorcycles since watching the “Charge” documentary highlighting the new Isle of Mann all electric TT series. The early bikes suffered a lot of breakdowns and failures, primarily due to the minimal investment and technology maturity within the teams. Almost 9 years on from the documentary electric motorcycles are starting to make an impact
What I like about the Zero SR/F is the styling, it actually looks like a motorcycle that most motorcyclist would find appealing, rather than some wacky experimental toaster/motorcycle hybrid. My gut feeling is the range and charging times will still dissuade conventional motorcyclist like myself, however the recent advances in graphene battery technology will make these bikes more appealing.
CF Motorcycles 650 range
CF Motorcycles stand was fairly low-key compared to the well known manufacturers, however their 650 range of motorcycles did look very interesting. The 650 engine chassis seem to form a common platform for their touring, street and adventure range, which obviously keeps the costs down.
The engine layout and frame appear to mimic the old Kawasaki ER650 using a parallel twin engine and side mounted rear suspension unit. It looked very familiar to me after riding an ER650 in Thailand in 2010. The styling of their range isn’t going to set to many pulses racing, however the on the road price is very attractive.
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650GT
The motorcycle press has been praising the 650 Interceptor since the launch and I’ve been following a few reviews online by owners and journalists. This was my first opportunity to see the new model up close and inspect the workmanship.
My criticism of the old Royal Enfield Bullet range was crudeness of the machine and the poor finish. I saw hundreds of the Bullet range in India, including new bikes which still looked poor quality when new. The Himalayan started the new era for Royal Enfield, appealing to the offroad and adventure market whereas the 650 range is pure on-road.
The 650 looks and feels like a good product with none of the rough edges of the Bullet range. When the weather picks up I’d like to visit a dealer for a spin on a demonstrator to see if the engine and handling match the build quality.
MV Agusta Superveloce
In my humble view the Superveloce is one of the most beautiful bikes made by MV Augusta and possible one of the best looking bikes on the market. The Superveloce brings together modern technology with classic styling using exotic materials.
The Italian motorcycle manufacturers seem to have a knack of creating utterly beautiful motorcycles, with jaw dropping prices to match.
If I win the lottery this bike will be on the wish list for the perfect 10 bike garage!!
Too many other great bikes to list
I’ve just scratched the surface of the amazing motorcycles displayed at the show, including the motorcycles for sale within the auction and classic bike displays. Below is gallery of some of the highlights, I hope you enjoy and leave your comments below.