This is the first chance to see all the new bikes for 2003 and beyond, all under one roof. With so many bikes, it’s hard to know where to go first, so we’ve picked out what we think are important. It’s easy to get distracted by the scantily-clad models, but make sure you don’t miss:
Bikes unveiled at the show:
It’s the first chance for anyone to see the Ducati 999R (Hall 19, T76) and the Triumph Daytona 600 (Also Hall 19, T94). It’s also your opportunity to see the standard 999 and 749 in the flesh, and even try them for size.
Triumph saved their unveiling of the new Daytona 600 until the NEC. The British firm have gone for a more angular design to bring the range up to date, as revealed on motorcyclenews.com.
The Ducati and Triumph stands are in the centre of Hall 19, and both are huge, holding the entire ranges from the two manufacturers. Get to them early on and be prepared for a bit of a scrum
First visits to the UK:
Before moving on, also hunt out the Multistrada on the Ducati stand. The odds are you’ll like the looks a lot more than you thought you would.
If the Multistrada doesn’t float your boat, head for the smaller Moto Guzzi stand in Hall 20. There you’ll see the MGS01, which is almost worth the trip to the NEC on its own. If this is the bike you think Moto-Guzzi should produce, then let them know.
You’ll be right next to the Aprilia stand (T72) as well, so take the time to inspect the new real-world Tuono. Moving on, Suzuki have the SV1000 (T63). If you like the looks, make sure you sit on both the faired and unfaired versions as they have very different riding positions. Not far from the SV is the Kawasaki stand (Hall 6 T14) with their musclebike, the Z1000. Using the historic name was a gamble, but it looks like it just might work. The lairy musclebike certainly makes an impression.
Make sure you take a break to watch the skills of the dancers on the Harley-Davidson stand (Hall 6 T13). If you’re male, ogle the ladies and laugh at the men. If you’re female do exactly the opposite. All the clothes are available from the Harley boutique next door, but scary fixed grins are optional.
Loads more bikes to see:
You’ve had a break, so now it’s time for more bikes. Head over to the Honda (Hall 6 T1)) stand, and see the radical new CBR600RR. If you can stop drooling at the likeness to the RC211V, take a walk through the travel village and find out what is happening at the Isle of Man (Hall 20 T55) next year. From there it’s a short walk back to the KTM stand (Hall19 T79) taking time to ogle the Carole Nash Harley V-Rod trike (Hall 20 T41).
KTM is home to the Adventurer, and the gorgeous 950 Duke final prototype. It’s small, it looks great, and it’s powered by the compact V-Twin that spearheads KTM’s road ambitions. Everyone we spoke to loved it.
Hall 18 is home to Yamaha (T95), with the new R6, and an unscathed Carlos Checa M1 on display. From there it’s a short walk to CCM (T104) with the Suzuki-engined R40. Then, you’ll be within earshot of the Freestyle Arena, home to all sorts of acrobatic loonies doing stupid things on bikes.
After that you can start the shopping with the Alpinestars stand (Hall 17, AS1). If follow the edge of the halls all the way from the freestyle arena to the classic bikes and clubs area at the top of Hall 20, you’ll barely spot a gap in the rows of jackets, helmets and boots. There are even more shops over in Halls 6 and 7 if you still feel the need to browse.
Rounding off the day:
Make sure you leave time for a final walk round. You’ll see things you missed earlier on, as there are gorgeous bikes fitted into every nook and cranny. The custom section in Hall 6 is well worth visiting in particular. If you’re male, keep an eye on your blood pressure, as there are a high number of scantily-clad young ladies that could prove a risk to your health. A special mention must go to the young lady on stilts.
There are plenty of places to buy food and drink, including licensed bars. If you’re taking kids, you can also distract them with the Playstation tent, full of PS2 games machines. If you’re trying to get them into biking at a young age, visit the Mini-Moto stands (Hall 20, CC18/19), or visit the ACU (Hall 18 T122) and ask them about their Academy programme.
Lastly, plan on being there longer than you originally thought. All it will take is one conversation, or the mention of a bike you’ve missed and you’ll be wondering where the last hour went.
There are roadworks on the M6 motorway heading West towards the NEC, so if you are using this route, leave some extra time to get there.
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