Saturday, March 2, 2024
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Motorcycle live gets off to a flyer

Motorcycle Live 2018 is pulling in the crowds at Birmingham’s NEC, having opened on Saturday with a star-studded ceremony which saw no fewer than 11 former and current World and British champions grace the Black Horse stage.

An unexpected bonus in terms of new motorcycles was delivered by Norton. As well as unveiling its Atlas Nomad and Ranger 650 twins, the Doninghall Hall manufacturer gave the world its first look at the Superlight, a carbon-drenched race bike which uses the same 650 engine (basically the front half of the new V4 power unit). The Superlight, which looks similar to the £28,000 V4 RR, was scheduled for launch at the London show in February but a last-minute decision was taken to pull off the wraps early. All three new machines were attracting huge attention on the Norton stand.

Ducati was displaying three all-new motorcycles – the Panigale V4R, the Diavel 1260 and the Hypermotard 950. The Italian manufacturer also presented a number of updates to existing machines, including the Monster 821 Stealth and the new Multistrada 950 S, as well the new Ducati e-mountain bike, the MIG-RR.

Yamaha launched a host of new models, including the sports touring version of its innovative 3-wheel machine, the NIKEN GT, the Ténéré 700 adventure bike, the XSR700 XTribute scrambler, a track-ready GYTR specification YZF-R1 and a new range of premium XMAX IRON MAX Sport Scooters.

Triumph unveiled the Bonneville T120 Ace in collaboration with the world-famous Ace Café, as well a 60th anniversary Bonneville called the Diamond Edition. Suzuki meanwhile was showing a black version of the 2019 Katana, which will join the classic silver in the 2019 range.

BMW Motorrad launched the new BMW S1000R superbike, as well as the new R1250R and RS models, which are the naked and sport-touring versions of the brand’s flagship adventure machine, and the C400GT middleweight scooter.

Kawasaki was showcasing five new models – the Ninja ZX-6R supersport machine, the Z400 naked, the W800 Street and W800 CAFÉ and the Ninja H2 SX SE+ “hyper tourer” and the next generation Versys 1000.

Honda also unveiled five new machines, including the CB650R naked middleweight, the aggressive styled CBR650R, the CB500F mini-streetfighter, the A2-compatible CBR500R and the CB500X compact adventurer.

KTM launched the 790 ADVENTURE and 790 ADVENTURE R travel enduro machines, the all-new 690 SMC R supermoto, the 690 ENDURO R and the innovative SX-E 5 electric minicycle.

In the Piaggio Group stable, the Moto Guzzi V85TT was attracting attention as was an expanded Vespa GTS range including the GTS Touring, GTS Super, GTS SuperSport and Vespa GTS SuperTech models. Aprilia showcased the RS 660 twin-cylinder machine.

Husqvarna revealed this year’s Motorcycle Live competition bike – the flat-track-inspired SVARTPILEN 701 street explorer machine. To be in with a chance of winning this brand-new 2019 model, visit

Bennelli unveiled a concept large-capacity version of the Leoncino 800 and the 752S naked middleweight, while Kymco launched the SuperNEX electric superbike and Royal Enfield revealed its Concept KX bobber model.

At this year’s Motorcycle Live there are no fewer than 10 free chances to get on two wheels and the organisers say the show is not just for seasoned motorcyclists but is designed to appeal to wannabe bikers, those brand-new to two wheels, adventure enthusiast, and anyone keen to learn a new skill.

The impressive line up of day-one celebrities included:

Ron Haslam – 3 x World Championships 4 x British Championships; Dave Thorpe – 3 x World Motocross Champion; John Reynolds – 3 x British Superbike Champion; Niall Mackenzie – 3 x British Superbike Champion; Carl Fogarty MBE – 4 x World Superbike Champion; Leon Haslam – 2018 British Superbike Champion; Tom and Ben Birchall  – 3 x World Sidecar Champions; Ana Carrasco – 2018 World Supersport 300 Champion; Tai Woffinden – 3 x World Speedway Champion; Jonathan Rea MBE – 4 x World Superbike Champion.


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