Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Motorcycle Live 2013 @ NEC, Birmingham

OK, so every year MCN do an expo known as Motorcycle Live in both London and Birmingham. In fact, last year Emma wrote about the 2012 one. It consists of many stalls, large and small, of various companies showing off their services, bikes and products (and models - by this I mean girls, lots of girls...).

This year was no different, except that neither of us walked away having purchased anything and I didn't take any pictures (sorry for that...). Also, I wasn't really too impressed. I didn't really see anything that I hadn't seen before apart from the new Honda CBR 650 F that replaces the 600 cc version.

I am not entirely sure why they released a 650 in place of the 600, but stylistically it is pretty much the same, except the front headlight seems a bit more bulky. Perhaps they are trying to appeal to the same market at the SV 650, presenting the CBR 650 F as an all-round bike with 4 cylinders? (It always was a good all round bike, comfortable, powerful, good economy, great handling). Lets move on...

So the question is what did we do and what did we see? We were only in there for about 3 hours including a stop for lunch. If I browse through my goodie bag packed full of leaflets, calendars and any other freebies I can present you with the following:

Real Rider

So, Real Rider is an app for your smartphone (Apple and Android) that can track your routes as you ride and lets you share and rate these with other riders. But it is more than that. It is also an app that can detect if you have a crash and automatically contacts the ambulance service with your location and medical records.

Real rider isn't the only company providing this service. The route tracking is free, but to use what they call REALsafe you need to pay a subscription of £25 a year. We were also told that some insurance companies may pay some of this for you or reimburse you in your policy, but not many have caught on to this yet.


website: http://www.flybikefly.com

We found this service rather interesting. FlyBikeFly is a company that can transport your bike to one of their depots in Europe, meaning you can just fly out there, pick up your bike and begin your touring adventure.

The only problem I have with this is that all their depots are in Europe, such as Nice, Malaga and I believe they have one in Prague. It would be nice if they added locations that are further afield so that you can bring your favourite bike and do tours in pretty remote places. That being said, this would save a lot of time and allow you to focus on the trip in hand rather than trying to get yourself down there in the first place. Not sure on prices, but check out their website for further details.

Carole Nash

website: http://www.carolenash.com

For the obligatory free calendar.... oh and they do bike insurance :).


website: http://www.kriega.com

This was requested by me as I quite like Kriega gear. They are primarily a luggage solution for all types of bikes, from sports bikes to adventure and off-road.  If you have a sports bike, check out their US-Pack system with up to 70 litre of rear storage. Personally I am planning to fit this to my next bike :).

Hotel Gran Paradis

website: http://www.granparadis.com/en/

Luxury 4-star hotel in the Dolomites region of Italy. Not too expensive (€76 a night for bikers per person in the summer), but if you are looking for  something a bit up-market with great views and roads then check it out.

Hotel Sonnegg

A 3-star hotel in Austria. They are a biker friendly hotel, the owner rides himself, and are able to give you all the local knowledge you need - where to ride, stuff to see and do etc. A double room including their "Joker Card" (which gives you free entry to stuff) in the summer is €67 per person per night. This does not include local tourism taxes.

A Few Other Hotels....


location: Kaunertal, Germany

Hotel Condor

website: http://www.hotelcondor.com/en/hotel-condor/welcome.html
location: Dolomites Region, Italy

Hotel Enzian

website: http://www.hotel-enzian.com/
location: Landeck, Austria

Hotel Waldblick

website: http://www.hotel-waldblick.de/
location: Schenkenzell, Germany

After seeing all these hotels and locations I want to go on holiday again....


website: http://www.stahlkoffer.com

OK so these guys do aluminium panniers, top boxes etc. for the "Global Adventurer". Not sure why we picked this up as its not suitable for what we ride but hey - if you have a BMW GS or perhaps a KTM Adventurer then this might be what you are looking for.

Gasthof Hochalmspitze

website: http://www.hochalmspitze.com

Yes.... we are back to another hotel. We had a chat with the guy there, in fact I think it was the first stall we came across. Really knowledgeable, great to talk to. Looks like you will have a great time if you go. Its in the Carinthia region of Austria. Most of the promotion by hotels seemed to be for Austria. OK if you insist maybe I will go and visit....

And that pretty much sums up all that we saw at the NEC this year. Hopefully some of these are of use to you and if anybody wishes to comment on some other things they saw that we perhaps missed, then feel free :)