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The fast show

By David Neely

The curtain goes up tomorrow week on Northern Ireland’s annual three day motorcycle show at Belfast’s King’s Hall with the majority of the manufacturers represented and the star spot being taken by Honda’s long awaited new v-four, the VFR1200F.

The Adelaide Motorcycle Festival ’10, to give the event its full title, has something for everyone, ranging from the latest models, to a trials arena, race bikes, classic bikes, choppers, scooters and karts, stunt riders and an autojumble.

Racers, including our own Eugene Laverty, last year’s runner up in World Supersport, is one of the many bike stars and Shane Lynch from Boyzone will do the honours and open the show. The event in effect becomes an all-Ireland show this year as promoter Billy Nutt tells me no exhibition is being held in the Republic.

The undoubted two wheel attraction will be the new Honda. As the official UK launch for this model is on Saturday, February 13, the bike will not be put on display until then so if you’re particularly interested in seeing it you’ll need to plan your show visit carefully.

The manufacturers represented are Aprilia, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Jawa, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki, Triumph and Yamaha and the local dealers will have their latest, 2010 models on view. And it’s not just the ‘big stuff’ as commuter bikes and scooters will also be exhibited.

A newcomer is Jawa, a maker whose name will strike a chord with older riders. Back then the factory made sturdy, cheap, ride to work two strokes but, despite very limited resources for development, also produced some good competition machinery. Now based in the new Czech Republic, the current factory produces everyday road bikes and still leads in speedway; it also specialises in long track, grass track and ice racing machines.

Billy Nutt is enthusiastic about the line-up he’s brought together for this year and believes there’s something there for all two wheel enthusiasts. Part of the money raised goes back into bike sport and after the 2009 show sponsorship was given to off-road, short circuit and karting events. He’s also pleased again to have bike insurance specialists, Adelaide, as the main sponsor.

On the Aprilia stand there will be a selection of their current models. The Italian manufacturer is one of the smaller sellers here but Aprilia owners are very enthusiastic about the marque.

Ducati has a good range of bikes and on show will the 796 Motard, the Streetfighter and the Streetfighter S, the 1198 sportster and its variants. Many of the manufacturers have special finance rates on particular models and it’s worth inquiring on the stands for details.

Harley-Davidson, for example, say the high residual value of their models allows them to do special packages which means at the end of three years, for example, owners know the exact value of their machines.

On the Harley stand look out for the Ultra Limited, the Fat Boy Special, the Dyna Wide Glide and a new version of the XR 1200 flat tracker, the XR1200 X , finished in matt black.

Honda’s shaft drive VFR1200F will have a special unveiling ceremony on Saturday and I know some riders are waiting for a demo to be put into service so that they can test the machine for themselves. I’m looking forward to riding it too.

The basic version costs £11,596 and there are two special finance packages based over 36 months, one with 10% deposit (APR 6.9%) and the second on a 20% (APR 5.9%). With money being tight these days, it’s worth looking at all these scheme in detail and also checking, of course, what rates you can borrow from a bank or building society.

Also on the Honda stand will be the new Fury cruiser, the VT1300CX, value £11,995 and the VT750 Shadow Sprint Black.

Kawasaki’s ZX-10 super sportster always has a strong following here, thanks in no small measure to the track successes of Ryan Farquhar. Also look out for the Z750 and new Z1000 and the re-vamped GTR1400 tourer.

KTM’s launch last years of the SMT, a cross somewhere between a super moto and a trailie, has proved a big success for the Austrian factory. It was one of my favourite bikes of 2009 and there will be one on the stand kitted out for touring along with the 990 Adventure, again fully kitted.

Suzuki will have the 2010 GSX-R1000, the VZ 1500 cruiser, the fully faired smaller Bandit, the GSX 650F, the DL650GT, the v-twin complete with panniers and top box and the petrol shy FL125 City commuter bike. Look out, too, for one of the Relentless Suzuki race machines.

Triumph are bringing along some trick bikes, seek out a special Tiger with lots of special, uprated parts, along with a standard and SE version of the 1050 machine, the 1600 twin Thunderbird and a dressed Triumph America, a special version of the Bonneville.

On the Yamaha stand there will be the new XJ6 fully faired Diversion, the 600 budget range was released last year, the new V-Max, which comes in just under £20,000, (one has been sold here already), the R1 and R6 along with XJR 1300 and the FJR1300 tourer.

A couple of dealers are still hoping to bring in exclusive new models and if they succeed – the trouble is that there are very few of these bikes world wide –I will give details in my column of Thursday, February 13.

The show opens on Friday, February 12, at 2pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Prices are unchanged from last year: adults £10 or Euros10 , OAPs £5 or Euros 5. See you there.

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