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Motorcycle live 2021: From the classics to the electrics and everything in between.

Lee Elmore

 We were thrilled last week to make the journey down to Birmingham and spend a couple of days immersed in the bike world at this year’s Motorcycle Live event.

Lee Elmore, chartered legal executive and tour bike rider, was one of the team who made it down to check out the wide range of exhibitions and events.

“In the current Covid times, it was good to see the exhibits being relatively well spaced out and allowing people not to have to get too close,” he said.

With last year’s event being cancelled, due to Covid, we were so fortunate to see this year’s event still going ahead, and people were more excited than ever, turning out in droves to see the newest and greatest machines on offer.

“In addition to the usual wealth of new machines from mainstream and bespoke manufacturers, it was great to see some classic racing bikes from the 70s, 80s and 90s, from racers I watched as a kid,” Lee said.

“The flavour of the show, to me, seemed to be towards electric bikes and how these will work, in the real world, when compared to the petrol standard that we’ve been used to.”

The electric bikes on display featured both from the traditional manufacturers, such as Harley Davidson, as well as newer brands like Artisan electrics who specialise in smaller electric options.

They proved to be a controversial topic among bikers at the event and we ran our own poll on LinkedIn to see just how keen bikers were to make the switch.

As for Lee, who likes to go on long bike tours, “the reality is that electric bikes are going to be for town/city use for the foreseeable future.”

Lee Elmore and Matt Midgley testing out a Harley

“The reason being, simply, that the range between charges is always going to be too short by being restricted to the physical size and weight of the battery you can wedge into the frame,” he said.

“Most of the machines I saw had a range of around 60 miles, some less, very few more.

“Harley Davidson are pushing the electric agenda by, now, having their Livewire bike as almost a separate brand, having their own dealerships.

“These bikes are the main accessible machines that will do around 100 miles on a charge.

“However, from speaking with several exhibitors of electric scooters and “commuter” bikes, their own view is that without the charging infrastructure across the UK, these machines will be suited only for towns and cities as there are just aren’t the facilities in areas such as Yorkshire, Wales and Scotland to have fast-charging point in the middle of nowhere.

“So, unless there is a revolution in battery manufacture in the next 3-5 years, I don’t personally think we’ll see electric bikes become more prevalent outside towns and cities and I, personally, am happy to stick with my petrol-powered bike for now.”

Matt Midgley and Thomas Beech checking out the exhibits

Electric machines aside, he said it was great to see developments in safety features such as helmets and clothing.

“Helmet manufacturing is ever-evolving to make them safer.

“Developments in the construction of the outer shell to be stronger and allow the helmet to glance of the road in the event of an accident, plus developments of the helmet lining to stop the head from rotating/slipping inside the helmet are all pushed towards preventing brain injury, even in low-speed impacts.”

One of the key things he saw was how readily available jackets, vests and full suits containing airbags have become.

“Airbag clothing is fast becoming more accessible to the general public and not restricted to the racetrack.

Ryan Trigg tries out the Jumpstart Simulator

“These devices have motion detectors that pick up when excessive G-force is applied to the rider and detonate small charges, deploying the airbags in milli-seconds to protect the rider from serious injury in the event of an impact.

“While the costs are still high, you can’t put a price on your spine!”

It could have been easy for us write all day about the huge variety of things we saw, bikes we had to try out and people we met at the event.

“But that’s all for now folks!”