I was in two minds whether to go to the show this year, the decision to go is an annual event that precedes the thing itself in March. The cost of £12 is one element, if we go as a family it means me forking out £48 before buying stuff at the show to feed everyone and perhaps even buy some sort of biking “bargain” from one of the stands. And this time I have a bike, so my interest has changed somewhat. The compromise this time was that just the two of us went, leaving the kids at home, and I viewed it as a little Wedding Anniversary present to myself.
We started out quite well, ever since the incident when I had to get towed from a field they had the cheek to call a car park, I have always driven in from the airport end of the RHS and parked where there is at least some semblance of gravel to help drainage and get some grip. I remember the parking charge as being £2 which is ok-ish, and what really worked out this time is that we were parked about 100 metres from the south entrance to the show, which itself is about 60 metres from the door to one of the main halls. The shortest walk I think I have ever had to get in, which was a good start.
Unfortunately the weather lived up to its reputation of Scotland in early March, and there was a biting wind and occaisional rain. But, come on, Scotland is like that, so it can’t be too much of a surprise. Especially as I have been riding the BMW through the winter since November, pausing when snow and ice appeared outside, I’m a hardened biker now (cough, aye right).
Even better was the fact that the entrance nearest to us had a cafe, and just in to the show was the BMW stand. Almost a perfect start! I had a wander around the stand, sitting on what I could. I’d love to like “normal” bikes, but I’m just totally the wrong shape for the current crop of sports bikes which seem to get smaller and smaller each year. BMW’s still seem to fit me, even if its the smallest bike they make. I must admit that the traditional full on tourers are not my kettle of fish, too much plastic up around me although I bet they keep you dry and warm. It was only at this show that I noticed that the single sided swinging arm at the back of the BMW bikes are on different sides between the R and K bikes.
If you don’t already know, BMW have a tradition of naming their boxer twin bikes with an R prefix. Hence my R1100RS is a two-cylinder horizontally opposed 1100cc motorbike, air cooled in the past, oil and air cooled these days. The K bikes tend to have four cylinders and liquid cooling, although they have had the odd 3 cylinder bike in the past. Up till the recent K1200, the four cylinders were in line across the bike i.e. laid on their side, but the K1200S introduced a new four cylinder engine with the crankshaft across the width of the bike, and canted well forward i.e. the top of the engine is angled towards the front of the bike. These days we also have the F bikes, which are either single cylinder (like the Dakar racing bikes) or inline twins. There is also the wacky HP2 Enduro which breaks the naming standard, but it is a bit different.
Examples of each of the types were on the stand, with the new R1200S, R1200GS (normal and adventure), R1200RT and HP2 representing the latest of the oilheads, albeit not the entire range as the R1200ST wasn’t present. For the K bikes there were the K1200S, K1200R, K1200GT, K1200LT all smart and shiney.
But, all with standard BMW prices to go with them, so it will be another 10 years before their second hand prices come down to a level which I can afford.
Rona and I then wandered around the rest of the show, and I caught up with Joe on the LMTS stand, and he seemed to be glad of a chat (also helps passing trade to show an interest too!). With all the accesories and clothing on show, I’m still of a mind to spend the money on further training – as long as the bike is running of course!