11 December 2017

Fresh Metal: Best of Motorcycle Live 2017 ptIV

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.

Royal Enfield Motorcycle live 2017

The Continental GT650, a stylish café racer.

Royal Enfield Continental GT650 badgeContinental Motorcycle live 2017Royal Enfield NEC bike showBirmingham bike showMotorcycle Live 2017


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.

Interceptor Motorcycle Live 2017


Interceptor Motorcycle live 2017NEC bike showRoyal Enfield Interceptor INT 650 cropRoyal Enfield Interceptor rearOf the two, we’d probably plump for the café racer but its horses for courses and the Interceptor’s high bars and double seat will no doubt win over cruiser fans looking for a more relaxed ride.

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.

Motorcycle Live 2017
Essentially a sexed up version of the company’s existing SV650 roadster, it features the platform’s 645cc v-twin which offers up 75bhp and a modest 198 kilo kerb weight.

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.

NEC bike show SuzukiBirmingham Motorcycle show Suzuki motorcyclesSV650X NEC bike showMotorcycle Live 2017





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.

Triump Motorcycle Live 2017Top 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.

Triumph Motorcycles

Triumph’s new Tiger 800 XC.

NEC triumphNEC Motorcycle Live 2017Triumph tigerTriumph Tiger 800XC tankNEC bike show




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.

Triump Bonny NEC

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.

Bonneville Motorcycle Live 2017Birmingham NEC bike showTriumph Bonneville Speedmaster sideTriumph Bonneville Speedmaster front sideTriumph Speedmaster Bonneville engine





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.

NEC Motorcycle live 2017Yamaha MT09SP tankYamaha MT09SP rear shockYamaha MT09SP rear wheelYamaha Motorcycle live 2017Yamaha MT09SP top view





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.

That’s all folks!

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.

Don’t forget you can always share your opinions on The Principal Insurance Facebook and Twitter, on which you can also ping us any motorcycle insurance questions you may have.

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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