On Your Bike: It's show time!
An Odyssey to stretch your bank balance
You can study a photograph of new bike in papers and magazines or in a sales brochure but there's absolutely nothing to beat looking at it in the flesh.
Quite often the picture does not do it justice and on the odd occasion seeing it ‘live' may prove a bit disappointing, too.
Just to walkround it, touch it, ideally sit on it, and then gaze on it from every possible angle has got to be the absolute tops. Then you go home and dream and do the sums.
Even if it stretches the bank balance, the harder part may be having to break the news to your wife/partner than there's a new addition to the family on the way.
This year's Odyssey bike show, which opens next weekend, will bring a lot of the above because there's a feast of new models for 2006 and some of them will be unveiled for the first time in Northern Ireland at the three-day festival.
Along with the new models, there's alsoa very strong line-up of sporting stars, ranging from Moto GP rider John Hopkins to British and European 250cc karting champion John Reilly. As well as the road and race machines, like Sete Gibernau's Moto GP bike, there are also other attractions like supermo-to, mini moto and kart racing plus trials displays.
The curtain goes up on the 2nd Adelaide & Roadwise Northern Ireland Motorcycle & Motorsport Festival next Friday at 2pm. Remember this is the show which has the backing of all the major dealers in the province. The manufacturers represented include Aprilia, Buell, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki, Triumph and Yamaha.
Looking at the line-up alphabetically, Aprilia's new Tuno makes its debut. The big v-twin is a good looker and the company must be hoping it will bring in much needed sales.
Buell, the sports arm of H-D, is showing its new XBDX Ulysses, a giant trailie to compete against BMW and KTM's models. Other new machines carrying the H-D logo are the FLHXI Street Glide, basically a stripped down Electra Glide and the FXDBI Street Bob, finished in matt black. Also new is the VRSCD Night Rod, from the liquid cooled series. This one is fitted with a massive 240 rear tyre conversion.
Honda is showing its new Blade, its sharpest sword yet in the superbike class, and initial test reports are very promising. Also on display will be the CBF 1000, a detuned Blade motor in an economy package, a big brother for the CBF600, acknowledging the fact that not all riders want super sportsters — and that they also want added value for their hard-earned money.
Another new model is the re-vamped Deauville v-twin tourer. It gets some extra ccs, taking it out to nearly 700, and a facelift including bigger panniers. The model fills a niche in Honda's line-up below its top tourer, the ST1300.
Kawasaki will show its ‘big gun', the new ZZR-1400, tipped to become the fastest sports tourer available, which will cost £8,995 on the road. There are reports that it will also be used to form the basis of a new super touring machine.
Also new is the factory's super sportster, the ZX-10R — the 1,000cc class this year is the most competitive for some time — the economy ER-6 twin, both in faired and unfaired versions.
The Austrian KTM factory excels in off-road machines, using the annual Paris-Dakar race to prove its supremacy. Its roadsters on display will include the 990 Adventure, the 990 Super Duke and the 950 Supermoto. You don't see many KTMs on our roads but no doubt that will change in time.
Suzuki's new GSX-R600 will take pride of place on its stand, a model sure to play a leading role in this year's 600 class. There's also an economy 600, the GSR 600, Look out for a giant custom, the M1800 Maurauder and also the GT touring version of the big 1,000 V-Strom, which comes with panniers, top box and heated grips for £6,999.
Triumph's model to shout about this year is the 675 triple cylinder Daytona, a sure winner for the factory. There's also the Scrambler, a nostalgia model with its twin high level exhausts and the Rocket Classic, the 2.3 litre triple painted in two of Triumph's original colours.
Yamaha will display the innovative R6, the 600 sportster with its fly by wire throttle, a first for any production machine. Also from Yamaha is the new R1 super sportster, the MT-03, the 660cc single cylinder and the new 1,000 Fazer, in both naked and half faired versions.
Also on display will be a good range clothing, helmets and accessories.
Opening hours: Friday, February 24, 2-10pm; Saturday and Sunday, 10am-5pm. Admission: £10 adults, children under 14 free.