A year off, new organisers? A fresh start for the Bike show?
Well… with a year off and new organisers everyone was hoping for something a bit fresh from the Bike Show this year, maybe something to drag it out of the rut of disappointments of the previous years. This is something pretty hard to report on though, so I have to have a moment of honesty in what I thought about the NBS. I left this show at the end of the day feeling a bit let down by the whole event. I still think the problem with this show is that it still doesn't know what it wants to be. Should it be a trade show, showing off all the latest products with big glitzy stands from all the importers and manufacturers? Or should it be a bike Car Boot sale? At present I think its trying to be both, only with it sitting in the middle, its failing to hit the mark of either side. It has a real lack of identity.
The amount of space in the Expo hall was telling me everything, there wasn't going to be a lot to see, lots of the big players missing, only Santa Cruz and Hope out of the big guys in the UK were in attendance. There is so much scope, so many things you could do, not just showing off new gear, but even that this year was seriously lacking. I wont even mention the 4x track . Is it just me thinking up crazy, impossible ideas? Or do vital things just not get thought about. If the right people are reading, get in touch with me, and we'll discuss things.
But anyway, enough of the doom and gloom, there were some things to see. Empire bikes were there, you may have seen them in Dirt a few issues ago. Wasn't able to put my finger on why I like it though, its cast, so there is no fancy machining or hydro-forming going on, its a single pivot, so nothing to write home about there either, but it looks stunning, and yes maybe it hits a note because it looks like a Honda, but I didn't think of that until someone had pointed it out to me, I just think it looks great.
Santa Cruz had the usual caged setup showing off all of their hardware, and the first showing of the new Santa Cruz Bullit, which looks fantastic, Jungle are now also bring in Synchros kit, so keep an eye out for more information on all that soon.
Ride Central were geared up right in the middle of the hall, unlike your conventional stand more like a mass sprawl all over a pick up with banners and bikes everywhere. Whether it was intentional or just the aftermath of a heavy night out in Birmingham was unclear but yes, we did finally see a Radical in the flesh. Look out for a full review on one here soon.
They say that white is the "in" colour at the moment, but if you put a little bit of white with an emerald green bike, it just looks superb. Solid Bikes, Mission 9, deep green with some limited trick looking white fox 40's, would make you buy it alone on the colour, but if you're not that shallow, I hear it rides pretty well too.
Ever wanted a side car for you bike? Kinky Bikes were there to show off this bit of madness, I was given a quick razz around the hall, which had me laughing, cue a big hill, some body armor, and some Wallace and Grommit styleee downhill antics? Just hang on tight, otherwise you will end up in the pain cave.
Hope had their Pro 3 on show, looks like they are only going to be available in prebuilt wheel-sets. And its all about gearboxes still. DaBombs effort here currently running on a Suntour system, but moving over to a Nicolai number. More information will be available soon.
The shows one redeeming factor though, was the king of dirt competition. Most of the riders were going big all afternoon, although you wouldn't know from the guys watching in the "Free grips mosh pit" as they only started cheering when indeed free grips were being hurled at them. There were a good field of riders though, all pushing each hard, the big tricks coming in the final, but by then most people had gone home.
After the show we hit broad street in Birmingham for the Between the tapes premiere, Clay Porters new film, my favorite kind too, all about racing, those films need more tapes in them. And it was a good film, with lots of beer consumed, then onto an after show party, where it all got messy. We did our own take on Urban Free Running on route to get a kebab and by 9am Sunday morning, we were in A&E with a broken Rob. Beer plays with your life kids.
Keep in on the wheels…