Personally I find that once every three or four years is often enough to visit Motorcycle Live, the main UK bike show of the year. This year I went on my own and the weather was even mild enough that I rode the 250 mile round trip rather than driving. Of those 250 miles 245 of them were on dual carriageways or motorways so the ride wasn't anything special but it was good to spend that much time on my bike and remind myself how capable over long distances it is despite it's small engine size.
So here are a few photos I took at the show:
I'm not usually a fan of retros but this one looks a lot better than most. MC Show 1 by Keith Whitten, on Flickr
In one corner an off road course had been built with opportunities to try KTM1290s, Honda Africa Twins or Triumphs from the twins range. There were plenty of low speed drops keeping the marshals busy running to help pick up fallen bikes. Riding slots were all booked until late afternoon but I got lucky, picking up a 'no-show' slot after just ten minutes waiting. That got me 15 minutes on an Africa Twin. The only downside being that I had to take the DCT (automatic) version. The dirt was pretty much like modelling clay, moist but not slimy or sloppy, and in some places ruts were appearing. Despite weighing 240kg and being on primarily road tyres the bike coped pretty well and I managed to stay upright throughout my session. I even got a 'well done' from the instructor for confidently tackling the railway sleeper step-downs. MC Show 2 by Keith Whitten, on Flickr MC Show 3 by Keith Whitten, on Flickr
Nice report. The Kawa really looks like an 80ies bike.
The riding position felt really close to my CBR250R. If that little nose fairing can keep the wind pressure off the rider's chest then it could be my personal holy grail of a bike that's comfortable at both motorway speeds and slower roads and has good overtaking power.
The Africa Twins on the off road circuit were supplied by the Honda Adventure Centre (website here) who provide training courses for off roading on Africa Twins and CRF250 Rallys. I don't know where the KTMs and Triumphs were from.
I did have a brief perch on a Ninja 400. The riding position felt a little more compact than the 650 I rode recently and similar to a CBR250R but with the seat sloping down towards the tank more then was comfortable for me. I find that with the seats on most sportier bikes so maybe I have a different shaped backside to most of the population?