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11 December 2017
Time now to wrap up Motorcycle Live 2017 with the fourth and final Fresh Metal, our review of the best new bikes seen in Brum.
Some will no doubt argue we’ve saved the best for last with our A-Z format meaning our final chapter embraces Royal Enfield, Suzuki, Triumph and Yamaha.
For these four manufacturers Motorcycle Live 2017 was clearly the place to introduce their latest and finest wares. Well it is the UK’s biggest bike show, this year attracting over 107,000 bikers to the NEC.
Royal Enfield unveiled a pair of 650 twins in the form of the Continental GT and Interceptor.
Click thumbnails to enlarge.
Both feature the manufacturer’s new 648cc air and oil-cooled parallel twin together with a fresh Harris Performance designed steel cradle chassis. That SOHC eight valve motor is designed more for smooth and consistent performance, than fierce and grunty power. That translates into 47bhp and 51.5Nm of torque, relatively moderate in the wider scheme of things but heftier than the incumbent 535cc unit.
Whichever tickles your fancy, both come with twin shocks, 18″ wire-spoked front wheel, single disc brakes to front and rear and ABS.
Suzuki unveiled but one new entrant to it’s line-up, the SV650X.
Clip-on bars, a circular slotted lamp cowling, introduction of a preload adjustable fork, larger tank are key elements of the new look. But there’s also a pleasing new café racer style seat to yield a more head-down riding style.
So, whilst not a game-changer, this is nonetheless a tidy looking middleweight addition.
Triumphed roared into the NEC with a streak of new Tigers.
The new line-up features a pack of variants within new 800 and 1200 ranges.
The leaner 1200s have shed as much as 10 kilos, mainly through a trimmer engine and chassis, with no fewer than six versions of the model on offer.
Top of the range is the 1200 XCa which offers both brains and brawn. There are 32″ aluminium rim wheels front and back to offer a bit of give off-road, with the tech wizardry including six rider modes – Rain, Road, Off-Road, Off-Road Pro, Sport and Rider – enhanced cruise control, semi-active suspension, adjustable screen and Shift Assist.
Meanwhile Triumph reports that the 800s have benefited from no fewer than 200 updates. These include refined cruise control and full colour TFT dash.
The lower cc model also claims those six rider modes and engine refinements which should make it more off-road friendly. The first gear has been shortened to give greater traction and low speed control and acceleration.
We can’t leave Triumph without mention of the latest iteration of the model that made the marque’s name.
We speak, of course, of the Bonneville and the all-new Speedmaster. Here we see the British manufacturer stepping on American toes with a Bobber derived cruiser, replete with rear sub-frame to carry a suitably cool pillion.
A bigger tank, softer and deeper seat and mid-mounted pegs demonstrate the new machine’s touring credentials, whilst the well-proven T120 remains its mighty beating heart, offering a generous 106Nm of torque.
It’s a clever move by Triumph, extending the Bonnie’s reach especially for those who like to stamp their own mark on their machine. There are countless opportunities for customisation, from the aesthetic to the practical.
Key refreshes to Yamaha’s exceptionally well received MT range saw the company bringing to the fore a new MT-09SP and updated MT-07. Well, if you’ve found a winning formula…
The MT09SP features a cracking suspension set-up incorporating an Ohlins shock to the rear, telescopi forks to the front, both fully adjustable. forks.
It looks the business too, what with those striking 10 spoke blue wheels and aggressive, angular lamps.
Also on show was the XT1200ZE Super Tenere Raid, a bike designed, says Yamaha, for the long distance adventurer. This explains why globe-gobbling Nick Sanders is something of a flag-waver for the 110bhp rally machine.
Truth be told the additions here are largely practical rather than performance enhancing. So you get wind deflectors, a higher screen, wind deflectors and twin 37 litre aluminium side cases.
It’s not one, then, simply for nipping down to ASDA, but for putting in some serious distance and tackling terrain even trickier than the UK’s increasingly potholed roads.
Well that brings us to the end of our alphabetical journey through the best of the new bikes to have graced Motorcycle Live 2017.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the ride. As we’ve said many a time before, as with everything and everywhere, biking is a world of opinions. Some of you might have swooned at the sight of Ducati’s Panigale V4, others at Brough’s Pendine Sand Racer, Honda’s Gold Wing or perhaps Norton’s 961 Commando California.
In the meantime, we’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. We look forward to seeing you next year at one of some 50 shows the Principal bike and specialist motor insurance teams will be attending next year. First stop is London for the MCN London Motorcycle Show. We hope to see you there!
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