The website for Motorcycle Live 2011 looked promising (motorcyclelive.co.uk) with a promotional video being played on an iPhone held by a gloved motorcyclist.
The glove could even be changed, depending on your favoured style of riding; Classic, Fighter, Sport, Alive, Off-Road and Custom – though the video was the same.
The cover of the program looked promising too. Another photo of an iPhone being held in the hands of a gloved motorcyclist. This time there were no choices – only sports gloves. Not sure how well an iPhone would go when gloved. I’ve always taken my gloves off to use the touchscreen. Gloves are just too bulky for all but the most basic function and, unless they are special purpose touchscreen gloves, simply don’t work.
Once inside the NEC in Birmingham, my hopes of being able to see the latest high tech gadgets for motorcyclists were soon dashed. This was a typical show, designed to sell new bikes, and the kit you need to wear when riding them, like helmets, boots, leathers etc. Infact there was very little tech on display. GoPro’s were the most common item, being sold by many of the retailers and exhibitors. But I don’t recall seeing the Hero2 at all. They must be trying to clear the older model (pricing was good) or waiting for new supplies of the Hero2 to arrive. On a few occasions I felt like telling potential customers to wait for the Hero2 as it was well and truly worth the wait and extra cost.
Plenty of heated clothing too and battery optimisers. Most bikers in the UK are in hibernation now although some like me had arrived on two wheels, most likely to take advantage of the free undercover bike parking!
So it didn’t feature that much of what I most wanted to see. But it was still good. It’s never hard to look at new bikes and kit.
What was really good was the variety. There were bikes for all riding styles and preferences. The halls were layed out into Zones including:
Custom Extreme Zone
Off Road Zone
In terms of motorcycle tech and gadgets, apart from the GoPro’s and a few other helmet cameras there was the usual assortment of GPS and communications systems. These comms units just seem to be getting more and more expensive even for a basic bluetooth headset.
I spent a few hours wandering around and found the time passed quickly. There is plenty to see even if you are not planning to buy anything but do keep an eye open for a bargain. There are some top shelf tour operators in attendence also. Go and say hi to John from Alpine TT (alpine-tt.com) who runs possibly the best value European tours (all with a UK departure) of all the quality operators. Even if you are not wanting to tour as part of an organised group you may still find inspiration and ideas for travel destinations.
The show runs until 27 November and there is plenty of entertainment and activities if you tire of looking at all the new motorcycles and scooters.
So get along and check it out.