ExCeL front entranceThere’s a great bike show in London – it’s just a shame half of it is at Ally Pally and the other half is at ExCeL.

The Superbike Show at Ally Pally this year didn’t go down well – just a quick read of the londonbikers.com thread on the topic shows how disappointed people were with the overall event – very little there, not much sparkle. In fact, most people thought it was more of a bike jumble, with the great discounts they were getting.

Then there was the MCN London Motorcycle Show, set to be the best ever at a state of the art conference centre in London’s East End, there was a lot of potential, but one small problem; it was horribly clinical. No manufacturers were there except for KTM, Ducati, BMW and a few other small representations. There were a lot of smaller indie bike shops though, and that was nice to see, as well as the show regulars (like the woman selling pink anti fog sticks), but the prices were not exactly cheap. Very few bargains to be had (unless you were buying tools).

I came away with a nice selection of new tools at very good prices, as well as a signed book – Into Africa, by Sam Manicom – and rather sadly the best thing I bought was an airtight salt and pepper holder. So when a motorcycle show highlight is a condiments container, something is amiss.

The problem, I think, lies in that fine line between a venue that is cheap and has character, and a venue that is more expensive, but allows more visitors, and gives the exhibitors access to state of the art technology to sell their wares. MCN must be rubbing their hands with glee, it was packed yesterday, many more people than I saw at Ally Pally last year.

Ally Pally is a wonderful venue, when you arrive you feel part of the biker community in London, everyone parking on the pavement outside, there’s something very ‘London’ about the place that you don’t get at Excel.

I’m sure the MCN show is going to go from strength to strength at Excel, and we’ll see the Sportsbike show go the way of the do-do, but I think that’s a shame, and we’ve lost yet another important part of London’s biker history.

Patrick has a couple of interesting this to say about the show too, specifically about the new Ducati. It was rather nice, the only problem was that my arse completely blocked the air intake valves at the rear of the seat. Ducatis and fat people don’t mix.