Motosalon, There's Life In The Old Dog Yet

Stephen Edwards, foto: Jan Altner 13.3.2018

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It seems like winter goes on for ever when your bike is stuck away in the garage, no racing to watch on TV and the closest to motorcycling action is to sit reminsicing over what has been. A little glimmer of optimism is lit when exhibition time comes around and we get to look at what the manufacturers are tempting us with, for the year ahead. So it was that 'Moto Salon 2018' opened its doors, this past weekend, in the Brno exhibition centre.

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All the major brands were present at the show and whilst it is not on the scale of events in places like Milan, there was still plenty to see. The big four Japanese manufacturers had good size stands showing their wares. Honda, in particular, covered the full range of their offering, though, for me personally, it was Kawasaki that had the most interesting display of the Japanese manufacturers.

This was largely down to the presentation of the Kawasaki Z900RS, their new retro styled machine. This genre of bike is very much in vogue right now and given some of the significant machines that Kawasaki have made in the past, this could be a rich vein for them to exploit by breathing new life into old, long gone models. The original Kawasaki Z9 was something I lusted after when I was a youngster but could never afford. It is thus a real pleasure to see it back again and Kawasaki made a nice job of presenting the new bike alongside a pristine example of the original, in matching brown/red colour schemes.

The most significant new machine on display was perhaps Ducati's new V4 Pannigale, fresh from its official Czech launch just the week before in Prague. This is the first four cylinder, full production machine, the Italian marque has offered to the public. It shall undoubtedly be something quite special in its own right especially in its true habitat; the race track. Detailed reviews shall come later in the year.

Of the other big European manufacturers KTM, BMW and the Piaggio group all had sizeable stands that attracted a lot of visitors The same can be said of the American brands with Harley-Davidson doing an excellent presentation as did Indian, though on a much smaller scale. It was, however, some of the smaller marques that made an impression on me as there were some famous names making either a come back or a stronger message than before.

I think specifically of Benelli, FB Mondial and MV Augusta in as being visible. I am not getting into the politics here of who owns what and why but safe to say that these three brands are being put into the public eye more prominently than before in our local market. MV has never been away but I don't recall seeing as many machines in local shows as they had in Brno and they look absolutely gorgeous in living up to the heritage of a true iconic brand. Rieju is also steeped in history and whilst they were not so prominent there were a couple of machines bearing their name on display. Again I hope that we shall get the chance to test and review all these bikes in the year ahead to bring you more details.

As an overall event the Brno show covered the full gambit and their really was something for everyone, from cheap scooters, the newest of electric bicycles and motorcycles, retro, cruiser, touring and right on through to the most exotic and expensive of track oriented technical perfection. Here's looking forward to a good season ahead and holding my thumbs/crossing my fingers for the weather to start playing its part.

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