My Top Ten Bikes from Motorcycle Live 2023

Posted by

I attended Motorcycle Live 2023 which is held annually at the NEC in Birmingham in November and runs for nine days.

I love this show and have been going for many years now, there is so much to see and do and of course there are so many lovely, shiny bikes to look at 🤩

There are dedicated days for BSB and FIM where you can meet some of the riders, I believe there were 18 World Champions attending the show this year which is fantastic.

There were live interviews on the stage, the R&G wheel challenge and other events happening on the stage throughout each day.

You could have a go on an electric bike, take part in Experience Adventure or head out onto the road with the Test Ride Zone and you didn’t even have to bring your own bike gear, all the kit is provided for you.

New to the show this year was the Kawasaki Superteen simulator where you can experience the thrill of racing the new ZX4-RR around the iconic Donington circuit!

I thought I’d share with you my top ten picks of bikes from the show. There were so many bikes to choose from, so some of you may disagree with my choice, let’s see……

Number 10: CF Moto – 700CL-X Sport – £6,399

The more I look at this bike, the more I like it.

I felt very comfortable sitting on the bike and with a seat height of 795 mm my feet were nicely planted on the ground.

The engine is a 693 cc 2-cylinder inline 4-stroke with maximum power of 51.8 kW / 8750 rpm and torque of 61.2 N m / 6500 rpm giving you 75 hp. 

The CL-X Sport is equipped with ABS, ride-by-wire throttle, slipper clutch, cruise control, Brembo brakes, KYB suspension, clip-on bars, ignition protection, rollover sensor and LED lighting. 

The CL-X Sport felt like a nice bike and weighs approx. 205 kg. I would really like to check this bike out in more detail as you seem to be getting a lot of bike for your money. 

I will see if I can get one on loan ….. 😎

Number 9: CCM Heritage ‘71 – price tbc

This is no doubt a cool looking bike indeed but what endeared me to this was the history behind it.

Alan Clews, the founder of Clews Competition Machines (CCM) was a talented rider competing in scrambling and trials but needed a better bike so he built his own. 

Fellow club members were so impressed with Alan’s bike that they then wanted a bike and CCM was born.

The Heritage ‘71 uses the same trellis frame that can be found on their Spitfire range, there is a pair of stylish titanium silencers, bespoke 7-spoke Dymag race wheels and fully adjustable Ohlins Blackline suspension and twin-disc Brembo brakes.

The single seat is beautiful in itself and sits on top of a machined block of aircraft-grade aluminium which has the signature of the late Alan Clews with a unique enamel heritage badge completing the rear.

The engine is a 600 cc single cylinder, four stroke, liquid cooled pushing out 55 bhp with 55 Nm at 5,500 rpm of torque.

The bike weighs just 145 kg so is nice and light but the seat height is 855 mm so not so good for those of us of a shorter disposition!

This bike is limited to just 71 individually hand built bikes so you will need to be quick if you want a piece of CCM history.

Number 8: KTM 790 Duke – price £6,999

KTM are celebrating 30 years of their iconic range of motorcycles and brought back the “Original Scalpel” due to high demand this year.

The 790 Duke sports a 2 cylinder, 4-stroke, parallel twin 799 cc twin motor which sits in one of the lightest frames around. The liquid cooled 8 valve dohc delivers 87 Nm at 8000 rpm giving out 105 hp.

There are four riding modes to choose from – sport, street, rain and track. Track gives you full power output with the option to turn the traction control down, smooth out the throttle, and switch off the anti-wheelie.

The Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC) is a lean angle sensitive traction control system. This reduces engine output smoothly and, depending on the selected ride mode, the MTC allows for several levels of traction slip at the rear wheel. This can be turned off.

Motor Slip Regulation (MSR) works the opposite of MTC which means there is no chance of locking up the rear wheel under downshifting or abrupt throttling off.

As with many of the KTM’s, I am not sure about the headlight design but having said that, when I see this headlight I immediately know it’s a KTM. What do you think?

The 790 Duke is one bike I do want to review 😎

Number 7: Ducati Monster SP – price £13,995

Engine: 937 cc (57 cu in)

Power: 111 hp (82 kW) @ 9,250 rpm

Torque: 9.5 kgm (93 Nm, 69 lb ft) @ 6,500 rpm

Dry weight: 166 kg 

Seat height: 840 mm / 850 mm high seat accessory / 810 mm low seat accessory

Having previously reviewed the Monster and having been extremely reluctant to hand it back, I was of course endeared to this SP version with the MotoGP inspired livery. 

The colours are those of the 2022 official team’s Desmosedici GP and comes with Öhlins suspension, Brembo Stylema® calipers and Termignoni homologated silencer.

The steering damper on the Monster SP improves stability under acceleration and cornering.

I absolutely loved how the Monster I previously had on loan to review handled, looked and made me feel when I was riding the bike. The grin I had when riding enforced just how good the bike was.

I need to see if the Monster SP is able to give me that same grin factor …..

Number 6: Yamaha XSR900 – price £10,610

The Legendary red colour drew me to this bike – they remind me of my friend’s classic Yamaha with the red and white colour scheme.

The XSR900 features the latest in Yamaha’s Deltabox frame chassis which were first developed for Yamaha’s racing bikes of the ‘80’s. 

Sporting Yamaha’s high-torque CP3 890cc engine producing maximum power of 87.5 kW (119.0PS) / 10000r / min and 93 Nm (9.5 kgfm) / 7000r / min of torque.

The Brembo radial master cylinder and 298 mm dual front discs offer high levels of braking power and precise controllability and the fully adjustable USD forks and link-type rear suspension system are easy to set up to suit you and your riding style.

The wheels are Yamaha’s latest superlight Spinforged wheels and there is an array of electronics. The R1 derived six-axis Inertial Measurement Unit controls the Lean-Sensitive Traction Control, Slide Control System (SCS) and front wheel LIFt control system (LIF).

I definitely need to see if this bike rides as cool as it looks 😎

Number 5: Norton Commando 961 CR – price £17,499

The Norton stand had many beautifully crafted bikes on display but it was the 961 CR that caught my eye, I mean just look at that rear end!

The original Commando was designed in 1966 and the new 961 CR is a modern reincarnation of the classic Nortons which were a favourite with the Ton Up Boys with quality components, precision engineering and traditional craftsmanship.

So, you can tailor the bike to how you want it – as standard, the 961 comes with a traditional finish to the engine which allows for the natural colours and textures of the manufacturing process to show through but you can have this painted black if you prefer.

Likewise, you can do the same with the frame, finishing kit, stitching and the pinstriping on the bodywork and even down to how polished you want the engine cases!

Engine: 961 cc Norton air-oil-cooled pushrod parallel twin engine with dry sump lubrication

Power: with 76.8bhp @7250rpm of power and 

Torque: 81 Nm @ 6300 rpm 

BHP: 76bhp 

Brembo brakes front and rear with Ohlins Upside-down forks – adjustable for preload, compression and rebound damping and fully adjustable Öhlins twin shocks with remote reservoir on the rear.

Seat height of 810 mm and a weight of 230 kg

This is one seriously cool bike 😎

Number 4: Indian Motorcycle FTR – price £12,995

The Indian stand at the show was really interesting with an array of lovely bikes and apparel to cast your eye over.

What caught my eye was this rather good-looking FTR in a stealth gray/orange burst colour. With the twin exhaust pipes and the number plate mounted over the rear wheel, this is a very cool looking bike indeed.

Originally designed after their championship winning FTR 750 flat track racer, the new FTR boasts a 1203 cc liquid-cooled American V-twin engine with 123 hp and 118 Nm of torque.

The FTR comes with fully adjustable front suspension and piggyback rear shock; fully adjustable 43mm upside down front fork and single, exposed rear shock and Brembo 4-piston mono block callipers.

Weighing in though a little on the heavy side (for me at least) at 233 kg wet, I would really relish taking one of these out to see if it rides as cool as it looks 😎

Number 3: Triumph Thruxton 1200 Final Edition – £15,095

The original Triumph Bonneville T120 Thruxton was a major player in motorsport way back in history and the first Thruxton was born in 1958 after the first Thruxton 500 race win.

The new Thruxton was launched in 2016 culminating in this exclusive limited edition Thruxton Final Edition marking the final production run of this iconic bike.

Powered by the High-Power 1200cc twin cylinder, liquid cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle engine with 112 Nm peak torque and 105 PS peak Power pushing out 103 bhp.

The racing inspired Competition Green metallic paint scheme sets this bike off beautifully with hand painted gold-line detailing with the gold heritage logo and Final Edition seat cowl branding.

Each of these Final Edition bikes will come complete with an exclusive alternator badge and an individually numbered Certificate of Authenticity which will have the bike’s unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), signed by the Thruxton 1200 design team and Triumph CEO, Nick Bloor.

Nice 👌

Number 2: MV Agusta Superveloce 98 Edizione Limitata – price tbc

This was soooo very nearly my number 1. This is a beautiful bike 😍

The Superveloce 98 Edizione Limitata celebrates 80 years of history and is produced as a numbered run of just 300 in the rather gorgeous Rosso Verghera colour scheme which is a tribute to the foundations of MV Agusta history.

The ‘98’ referenced on the rear tail is the size of the historic engine designed in 1943. A certificate of authenticity accompanies this bike.

The Superveloce 98 has an in-line 3 cylinder 798 cc dohc engine with 147 hp max power @ 13.000 R.P.M and a compression ratio of 13.3:1.

The bike weighs 173 kg or as little as 165 kg with the racing kit 😎 with a seat height of 830 mm sporting a single sided swing arm which I do love to see on a bike.

I definitely need to get a test ride on the Superveloce 😍

Number 1: Langen Lightspeed – price £37,000 plus VAT

As soon as I saw this bike, I knew this was going to be my number 1 bike of Motorcycle Live 2023. 

The Lightspeed is absolutely stunning 😍😍😍

When you are up and close and personal with this bike, the attention to the little details are mesmerising – the rear light is super cool 😎 and the front light incorporates an air intake!

Boasting a 1,190 cc V-twin engine pushing out 185 horsepower @ 10,600 RPM and an impressive 138 Newton-meters of torque delivered at 8200 RPM at the crank.

The Lightspeed boasts a power-to-weight ratio of 1000 brake horsepower per tonne.

You will have to be quick though if you want one of these gorgeous bikes as the launch edition is limited to 185 for the UK with production set to begin in 2025. 

There are plans to make an additional 370 bikes available to the rest of the world, with production set to begin in 2026/2027.

I need to start saving …….🤩

So that’s my Top 10 from this year’s Motorcycle Live. There were truly so many bikes on my list that it was hard to keep it to 10.

Did you go to the show this year? What was your favourite bike?

I’m looking forward to next year’s show already 🤩