Neil Winn profile picture Neil Winn 4 years ago 7
Bikes

The 10 Best Bikes At The Brilliant MCN London Motorcycle Show

The MCN London Motorcycle Show always features an eclectic mix of new releases, and this year was no different. These are our favourite bikes of the show!

Remind me later

Best retro bike: Triumph Thruxton R

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Personally, I’ve never lusted after a Triumph, but the Thruxton R has changed all that. Now I’m seriously tempted to sell a kidney and buy one of these things. The Moto Guzzi V7 II Stornello, BMW R nineT and Yamaha’s XSR900 were all in attendance at the MCN Show, but the Triumph blew them out of the water. The small manufacturer from Hinckley has managed to blend classic Cafe Racer looks with modern technology much more convincingly than the other manufacturers.

Both Thruxton and Thruxton R models receive traction control, ride-by-wire, LED day-time running lights and ABS as standard. And the R model also gets treated to Brembo calipers, floating discs, fully-adjustable Showa suspension and Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa tyres; necessary to keep the 1199cc beast of an engine under control. Estimated to cost around £12,000, the R is not cheap, but just look at it!

Best superbike: Aprillia RSV4 RF

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The Aprillia RSV4 has won world championships, dominates motorcycle magazine group tests and is argubly the best looking superbike on sale, but for some reason, buyers just aren’t interested. Hopefully the new Aprillia RSV4 RF can change that. The 2016 RF has received beautiful ‘Superpole’ graphics, a new Ohlins suspension setup and an advanced track day telemetry system which can be accessed through your smartphone.

The whole bike drips with quality, and the dark red forged aluminium alloy wheels are true works of art. With 201bhp at the crankshaft and an already near-perfect chassis set-up, we fully expect this bike to blow every other superbike out of the water in 2016. At £18,135 it’s an expensive machine, but it looks like it’s worth every penny.

Best middleweight: Ducati 959 Panigale

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We absolutely loved the Ducati 899 for its incredible handling and all round usability. The only area the bike lacked in was overall horsepower. Thankfully, the new 959 should have sorted that. With 157bhp and a weight of 200kg, the bike should be a blast.

The 959 has been designed to meet the new Euro 4 regulations, hence the huge exhaust. The new pipes have come in for some serious criticism from the automotive press, but they look much better in the flesh. The ‘middle-weight’ Ducati is expensive, starting at £13,095, but we expect it to fly out of showrooms.

Best naked bike: Yamaha MT-10

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Another bike which drew a huge crowd was the Yamaha MT-10. Super naked bikes have been under going something of a resurgence lately, with all the big players - BMW, Kawasaki, Ducati, KTM and MV Agusta - all offering brilliant models. Finally, Yamaha has entered the ring, and has done so in style.

The new MT-10 looks stunning in person. A mix between a Terminator T800 and a superbike, I overheard multiple people asking to put down an order. And no wonder. The bike receives the 2015 R1’s ballistic cross-plane crank motor and sophisticated electronics package. This bike is destined to be a wheeling riot. Expected to cost £9999, this could be the bike of 2016.

Best concept: Suzuki GSX-R1000 L7

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It was brilliant having the opportunity to finally see Suzuki’s new GSX-R1000 L7 in the flesh. The plaque next to the machine stated that the bike is still officially ‘a concept’, but come on, who’s Suzuki trying to kid? It’s pretty much an open industry secret that the show bike is basically 100 per cent ready to go into production.

Crowds were gathered around the bike all day, but the overall consensus seemed to be one of disappointment. In person, the new GSX-R’s aesthetics looked very similar to the 12-year-old GSX-R1000 K4. However, only a fool would discount this bike. The Suzuki is filled to the brim with clever tech: ride-by-wire throttle, 10-level traction control, launch control and a quick shifter, which works up and down the gearbox, should bring the Gixxer back up to speed with the rest of the competition. The new MotoGP derived variable valve timing system - a first for the class - should improve throttle response by optimising valve timing; very clever stuff indeed. The bike is expected to go on sale later in the year for around £13,000. We can’t wait to ride it.

Best ‘what the hell is that?’ bike: Ducati XDiavel

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First released back in 2011, the Ducati Diavel has always been a unique proposition. A mix between a cruiser and a superbike, it was never going to sell in big numbers, and for 2016, Ducati has embraced this attitude, basically going completely crazy with the design. The bike is all new from the ground up, with a new 1262cc Testastretta DVT engine connected to a clever belt-drive system. But it’s the overall appearance of the bike that is extra special. The XDiavel receives a crazy cast alloy rear wheel with a massive 240/45 ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II fitted. The big Duke certainly drew a crowd. We’d love to take one to a track day to go superbike baiting…

Best looking bike: Bimota Tesi 3D Race Cafe

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Based solely on aesthetics, the Bimota Tesi 3D Race Cafe stole the show. Every detail on the bike is absolutely exquisite. In fact, it was genuinely hard to know where to look. My attention was first drawn to the famous Tesi double swingarm arrangement which, for 2016, is made from carbonfibre. The detail in the weave is absolutely incredible and evokes memories of the iconic Britten V1000.

Everything melds together beautifully. The front swingarm is attached to the stunning Ohlins race shocks, which are in turn mounted to the perfectly machined billet frame spars. The only thing I spotted which is massed produced was the torquey and characterful 803cc Ducati Monster motor. Price hasn’t been confirmed, but we expect this to be one expensive machine!

Best adventure bike: CRF1000F Africa Twin

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The MCN show also allowed us to see the most highly anticipated bike of the year, the Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin. With its twin-spar aluminium chassis, 998cc parallel-twin engine and full suite of advanced electronics, the bike has rocketed to the top of the adventure range.

The bike should be as competent in sub-saharan Africa as it is on the London commute, and for that, we love it. The bike looked drop-dead gorgeous in white, and for £10,499, we expect this bike to be one of Honda’s biggest sellers in 2016. We can’t wait to review one for you guys.

Best starter bike: Ducati Scrambler Sixty2

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The 803cc Ducati Scrambler, released back in 2014, was a huge sales success for Ducati. So it makes sense that they would want to expand the range. The new 400cc Sixty2 - named after the year the original Scrambler was released - also promises to be a success for the every growing Italian company.

With a smaller displacement, the Sixty 2 will be A2 licence compliant, meaning that 19+ year-old riders in the UK will be able to take their test on their Ducati, and afterwards won’t need to restrict it. The bike looked fantastic in the flesh and the quality of the build was second to none. BMW, with the new G310R, should be scared.

Best touring bike: Super Duke GT

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The current KTM 1290 Super Duke R is unquestionably the most bonkers naked bike on the market; a complete and total animal. So it came as somewhat of a surprise when KTM unveiled the Super Duke GT late last year. Only the crazy Austrians would convert the maddest bike on the market into a touring machine - brilliant.

But this move isn’t as mad as it would first appear. The Super Duke is roomy, the 1301cc V-twin has bags of low down torque, and the upright riding position is perfect for long-distance touring. When you think about it, this bike has the potential to be an incredible continent crusher.

To create the GT, KTM has re-tuned the engine to make it more suitable for its new touring role. The fuel tank has been enlarged to 23 litres, the frame has been strengthened to take new panniers, and the bike has received an adjustable screen. On the tech front the bike also features cruise control, a quickshifter, and semi-active suspension. The GT looked brilliant in the flesh and we think it’s going to be a big seller for KTM, even with its £15,999 price tag.

If you want to see these bikes in person, make your way to the Excel Centre London for the last day of the show: 14th February.

So tell us CTzens, which bike would you love to get on and ride?