Another season finished and what better way to end it than at the Motorcycle Live Show, our ninth year, and 9 whole days standing on your feet! Actually, it’s a great way for us to meet potential members, trip guests and short-term lease customers and also catch up with current members, manufacturers and our partners. 2016 has been our busiest year so although the show felt a little longer than usual, it was still great to be there.
And how the motorcycle world has changed during the last 9 years since we began Spyder Club. In recent years, the retro scene has been building, with an increasing presence seen over the years in the NEC halls. This year there was a veritable retro tornado throughout almost all of the manufacturer stands, and some of the new bikes looked awesome.
Triumph in particular have embraced the mass of interest in retro bikes and the scene. Their unveiling of the Bobber in London recently was a fantastic event and nod to their commitment towards this genre. The Bobber launch was superbly organised and filled to bursting with bearded, Belstaff jacket wearing bikers, free drink in hand and primed for purchases. So far, we have only had the pleasure of owning a Street Twin, which, for the base model, is a truly brilliant motorcycle. Triumph have really made their mark in the scene, hats (or helmets) off.
You could argue BMW started the interest of the general populous in retro bikes with the fantastic R nineT a few years ago. BMW have seen big things from their initially limited run R nineT and this year, have further capitalised on its success with exciting variations and many custom options. With four R nineT’s spending time at Spyder Club since their launch at the beginning of 2014, it’s safe to say it’s a popular bike with our membership and trip guests, indeed, eight members and trip guests have voted with their wallets and bought their own.
Whilst the R nineT can be given some of the credit for the eruption of the retro scene in the UK, the Moto Guzzi V7 has been a steadfast option for many years. At this year’s Motorcycle Live show, the Piaggio Group stand had on display in their Moto Guzzi area the most beautiful V7 model. The V750 with its chrome tank and brown leather seat was a real show stopper. The V7 is often at the top of many group tests and whilst Spyder Club has never owned one, we house the Moto Guzzi press fleet so have been lucky enough to ride one on a regular basis, they really are fantastic, simple fun.
We have owned a Ducati Scrambler, and we’re big fans. Again, a simple, cracking, great motorcycle. Retro bikes tend to do without the modern gizmos many bikes now have bolted on and that’s one reason to love them. With enough power on tap to make you smile, these bikes make huge sense on damaged, busy English roads. All the bikes mentioned are great on our B roads, however we have enjoyed the Ducati Scrambler on the flowing bends on the Route Napoleon where it kept many a big bike at bay.
The show wasn’t all about the retro bikes, as usual it was filled with so much we would like to buy, the Spyder Club wallet ached at the thought. The new KTM 1290 Super Duke and Adventure look stunning and as the current Super Duke and Adventure are already just that, the new ones are only going to be better. The new colour schemes on the fantastic BMW R1200GS and RS look great, as do those on the Ducati Monster 821. We love the Ducati SuperSport, one will be on the 2017 Club fleet for sure.
Of course you can’t pass by the Aprilia stand without ogling the RSV4 and Tuono, well we are bikers! The V4 engines are just to die for, and now we hear there’s another Italian V4 on the way, that’s a back to back test ride we’ll definitely want to organise for our members and trip guests.
It’s been a while since the Club had a cruiser, the last being a Victory Judge and Hammer S; great fun and having been, at that time, predominately a sports and naked bike riders, it showed us a more relaxed and laid back style of riding that isn’t to be sneered at. Another Polaris marque is the Indian, as yet we haven’t had the pleasure of riding one, but the Scout looks to be a popular contender.
Two more honourable mentions to the Moto Guzzi Flying Fortress which looks incredible and of course the new Norton V4 which simply has to be seen to be believed.
The bikes are of course the stars of the show, however there was a lot of other things to spend your money on, or dream about. Whether planning your trip to the Isle of Man TT or the annual European tour, testing your next bike or trying on the next set of leathers or helmet, the Motorcycle Live show has a mass of things to see and do. But let’s face it, us exhibitors know that every morning, when the doors are flung open, the masses flock straight to the manufacturer stands so they can sit on all the new bikes, and we wait until you all filter through to the other stands from 11.00 onwards.
And so, another year at the NEC, Motorcycle Live show is done, and with it the Spyder Club season. We are already full speed ahead with plans and ordering bikes for the 2017 season which will be here before you know it. It’s a tough job deciding which bikes to add to the fleet but one thing’s for sure, with over 160 different motorcycles being ridden by Spyder Club members and trip guests since we started in 2008, we’ll be pushing to break the 200 mark before our tenth birthday.