The biggest news of the year that came out of the Hamamatsu factory was the release of details of their 2017 1000cc GSX-R Superbike. Still clearly a member of the GSX-R family, the vast majority of improvements are internal with the biggest external cues to the new bike are the monsterous exhaust and changes to the light cluster. I will admit, I've never ridden a GSX-R although I have flirted with the idea of picking up one these last few years, mainly as the offers that were available from local dealers, were seriously tempting. In reality, before this update, the GSX-R had barely changed since the K7/8 released in 2007 and this bike is being touted as the most important Suzuki since the K5 standard barer. To give it some context, the K5 is what BMW based their world conquering S1000RR superbike on. Only time will tell if this bike will reignite peoples interest in the blue brand, or whether this bike will still be knocking around in 2027.
As part of the same stand, which was nicely placed next to their new bikes, there was an excellent collection of their former race bikes, with a few of Barry Sheene's bikes and some of their endurance racers thrown in to. A fantastic collection.
Royal Enfield are pretty much at the forefront of retro biking. Their bikes have barely changed in design, with a few exceptions to accomodate for emissions regulations, so it was nice to see their take on the Adventure bike, the Himalayan, sitting opposite their little hipster stand. Buying an Enfield is, for me, a lifestyle choice, not a motorcycle choice. The bikes are crude, tiny and their build quality isn't up to the standard of the Japanese giants. Saying that, you cannot deny there is something about their little cafe racer bike the Continental GT.
I very much doubt I'd actually own one, but you can see how they will make people smile.
Most of the press regarding BMW after Motorcycle Live was sadly due to the theft of several of their TYCO race bikes from after the event. Their stand at the show was one of the busiest, only second to Ducati in terms of consistant crowd numbers.
The only real new bikes on show were the G310GS and some additions to the R-NineT family. The mini GS is a strange one. Having ridden a 650GS earlier this year, I have confirmed with my inner monologue that I don't like small GS bikes. If you want the modern GS experience, you need to buy one of the big bikes and the reason they are so successful is their road presence, speed and ease of riding. The mini GS is of course a marketing exercise and a great way to introduce rich learners to the badge and it will work. The bike will no doubt be great for buzzing around town centres and with a 'lofty' perch and the right badge, it will certainly attract people despite its lack of actual potential.