2023 Motorcycle Live Guide | Everything you need to know about the NEC bike show

Top Bikes of 2024
Now that EICMA is over and while we’re waiting for Motorcycle Live, Simon Hargreaves and Martin Fitz-Gibbons (collectively aka Front End Chatter) get chatty about which are the best bikes of 2024


Event Guide: How to make the most of Motorcycle Live 2023

When and where
Ticket prices
Celeb spotting
Which manufacturers are there?
What is there to do?
Demo rides
BikeSocial stand
I’m a new rider, what should I look at?
Classics & Customs
Eating and drinking
Top Tips


Yes, it’s that time of year again! Motorcycle Live - the annual show where every element is dedicated to the wonderful world of motorbikes held at the NEC in Birmingham and stretched over nine days is within touching distance – and with 197 exhibitors, including 49 manufacturers across four exhibition halls, things might appear a little daunting. So, here is our comprehensive guide on what is happening, where and when, plus how to make the most of your visit.


The undoubted highlight is the Bennetts BikeSocial & BSB stand (Hall 3, Stand D40, next to the main stage) because if you’re a BikeSocial member (free by being a direct Bennetts customer, or via a monthly or annual subscription) then come and claim your exclusive booklet containing special show offers just for you! If you’re not already a member, then sign up here, or at the show and we’ll give you a 50% discount off an annual subscription. What a deal!


When does the 2023 Motorcycle Live take place?

Saturday 18th – Sunday 26th November 2023, from 10am – 5pm each day, although the bike park is open from 9am – 6pm.


Where does the 2023 Motorcycle Live take place?

The NEC, or National Exhibition Centre, is located eight miles from Birmingham city centre and is a series of 18 interconnecting exhibition halls cover 45 acres of covered indoor space. The location is connected to Birmingham Airport and Birmingham International Railway Station.

The post code for your Sat Nav for the NEC is B40 1NT.



How much are tickets to the 2023 Motorcycle Live?

In advance:

  • Advance Adult (19+): £23
  • Advance Adult (19+) + Zerofit bobble hat (rrp £20): £28
  • Advance Child (6 -18), when accompanied by a paying adult: £2.50
  • Child 5 and Under: FREE with paying adult
  • Car Parking: £10.95 when booked with your show tickets. (£17.95 if you pay on the day).
  • Bike Parking: free
  • Show Programme: £5 (digital copy & hard copy)
  • All online bookings are subject to a £2 booking fee per order
  • There is a chance to buy tickets on the day from the venue but that’ll be £31 (with no transaction fee), or you can still buy tickets online during the show but that’ll be £28.30 plus the £2 transaction fee.
  • Barclaycard holders receive a 5% discount when booking via a specific link on the Motorcycle Live website.
  • Group discounts: 10 adult tickets = 10% discount


Is motorbike parking free at Motorcycle Live?

Yes, it’s free, undercover, secure and you can park in an adjacent hall meaning that neither your pride and joy nor you will get wet. You can sail by the queues of traffic with a certified smile knowing that you’ll be saving £17.95 and about a one mile walk or a shuttle bus ride to the Motorcycle Live entrance. It’s also open one hour before the show opens and one hour after the show closes.

And if you want to leave any kit then the cloakroom is open from one hour before the show until one hour after, and you’ll be charged £2 per item. Or you could take a lock and a bag, or top box/panniers and store your helmet, gloves, etc. next to your bike for free.


How much does it cost to park a car at Motorcycle Live?

If you’re heading to Motorcycle Live by car then, once you’ve queued to get in, it’s £17.95, unless you’ve booked your parking in advance when purchasing your event tickets, then it’s £10.

TIP: head to the Birmingham train station where the access in to and out of the car park is less congested than the main NEC car parks, and the walkway from the station to the NEC is undercover. The 10-minute indoor walk is similar in distance as the NEC too, though get there early because there aren’t many spaces. It’s £12 on a weekday or £9 at the weekend.

If you’re really up for a saving then a number of local train stations offer free parking, and you could find a return ticket for less than £3.



Which celebrities and racers will be at Motorcycle Live, and when?

It’ll be famous faces galore no matter which day(s) you attend. Other than to promote their own book, merchandise, sponsor, or to announce their 2023 ride, there’ll be a raft of recognisable motorcycling personalities ready for your selfies:

Steve Parrish, James Whitham and Dave Thorpe and Peter Hickman are attending all nine days, while Neil Hodgson and Niall Mackenzie are John Reynolds are doing five each.

BSB Day takes place on Sunday 19th November with the likes of Tommy Bridewell, Glenn Irwin, Jason O’Halloran, Ryan Vickers, Christian Iddon, Kyle Ryde and Storm Stacey among those on duty.

FIM Day is Saturday 25th November and we’ll see a host of World Champions from all disciplines of motorcycling, including Jonathan Rea OBE, Ron Haslam, Dougie Lampkin MBE, Emma Bristow MBE, Ben & Tom Birchall, Paul Edmondson and David Knight MBE.

For the full list of riders that you might have heard of, head to the official Motorcycle Live site

And in the past, many familiar faces have been spotted browsing the show including HRH Prince William!



What exactly is there to do at Motorcycle Live and which manufacturers will be there?

New bikes and manufacturers

49 motorcycle manufacturers are exhibiting with bikes and stands of all shapes and sizes to ogle, sit on, register an interest in, test the brake lever while stationary. Key staff from each are also on hand to advise and recommend with an array of 2024 models on display, many seen for the first time in the UK, including:



Honda and BMW’s stands both contain a Rolling Road each (both in Hall 4) where you can learn the basic controls of a motorcycle.


Trade stands (retail)

Security, luggage, helmets, jacket, trousers, gloves, boots, body protection, bobble hats, snoods, personalised key rings – you name it, it’ll be on sale with many traders and manufacturers highlighting special show offers too. If you fancied a new <insert item of protective wear> then now’s the time to a) try it, and b) get some proper professional fitting advice. Some manufacturers won’t sell at Motorcycle Live but will offer a glimpse at their full and latest range with experts on hand to chat with.

Trade stands (advice)

Part of the beauty of Motorcycle Live is that you end up with a raft of new ideas about riding than you anticipated – you might book a tour of Peru, buy a brown and red leather jacket, or sit on a Harley for the first time. Among those 197 exhibitors are experts in all fields of motorcycling from custom fit ear plugs, trackers, rider charities, insurance (ahem), bike rentals, tour guides, cleaners, training, lobby groups, security, and more. Cruise up and down the aisles and you’re bound to come across a friendly face who’ll enhance the motorcycling part of your life.

Black Horse stage

At the rear of Hall 3 you’ll find the focal point to much of the interaction with the Black Horse stage playing host to a range of entertainment. Pick up a copy of the programme when you arrive or find the day’s activities listed on the Motorcycle Live social media channels, but among them will be:


  • Whitham Talks – racer-turned commentator, Jamie Whitham hosts a daily talk show with guests from all corners of motorcycling.
    • 11am everyday except Monday, 12.30 every day, 13.30 everyday except Friday, 15.00 every day, 16.00 each weekend day
  • Black Horse BIG Quiz – NEW for 2023, every day at 11.30 and you can join in from the audience.
  • Bennetts BSB Day – Sunday 19th November is dedicated to all things Bennetts British Superbike related with interviews-a-plenty and so many selfie and autograph opportunities with the main racers and champions from all classes, including the 2023 BSB champ, Tommy Bridewell.
  • R&G Wheel Change Challenge – you’re against the clock as you attempt to change the rear wheel of a superbike, with prizes for each participant plus daily and overall prizes for the fastest of each day or the overall event. Every day at noon.
  • Biketrac Stronger for Longer – how long can you hold a pair of 4kg Grab Bag chains? Try it at 14.00 each day.
  • Question of Bikes – a daily quiz held at 13.00 and hosted by Steve Parrish, sees team captains Jamie Whitham and Niall Mackenzie and their respective teams of riders and biking celebs go head-to-head with their fingers on the buzzers over multiple rounds of motorcycling trivia.
  • Arai – Through The Visor – every day at 14.30 an Arai expert talks about their latest products and welcomes a special guest to join in.
  • Parrish’s Products - daily at 15.30, Steve Parrish discusses protective clothing with Roadskin plus talks to OSET about their electric bikes designed for all ages.



Can I ride any new bikes at Motorcycle Live?

Yes! And it doesn’t matter if you’re 18 months old, if you don’t have a licence, or if you’ve got 40 years of riding experience under you belt, there’s something for everyone, and it’s all free:


  • Arenacross Youth MX Experience (Hall 4) – if you’ve taking children between four and 12 years-old this gives them a chance to try motocross on a purpose-built dirt track designed for novices and those more experienced. All kit is provided but places need to be booked and are £20 per child.
  • MCIA TryRIDE (Hall 2) – a free motorcycle lesson for anyone aged 14 or over, and is designed for those who’ve never ridden before, or who are returning to riding. All protective gear will be provided.
  • Test Ride Zone (Hall 3a) – 66 bikes from Honda, Benelli, Royal Enfield, Suzuki, Triumph, Norton, Zero CF Moto, Kymco, and Yamaha are available to be booked on a first come, first served basis. Full riding kit can be provided, and riders must have the relevant UK licence.
  • Electric Test Ride Zone (Hall 2) - all you need is a CBT or a full licence to test the latest electric motorcycles and scooters on an indoor track.
  • Experience Adventure (Hall 4) – at least ten bikes are on offer from the likes of Ducati, Honda, Royal Enfield, Yamaha and Triumph for you to test your off-road skill. All kit can be supplied as well as instruction but booking on the day is recommended and you’ll need the appropriate licence for the bike you wish to ride.
  • Kawasaki Superteen Challenge (Hall 3a) - Moto Tainer’s simulator is equipped with the new Kawasaki ZX-4RR… but there are four of them so riders can go head-to-head with daily prizes on offer.
  • EM Trials (Hall 4) – a trials experience for those aged 16 and over on an electric bike in 15-minute time slots.
  • OSET trials experience (Hall 4) – for ages 6 and over (so long as you’re at least 105cm but less than 90kg) then you can have a go on the electric off-road bikes for a 15-minute taster session. Kit is provided, booking is essential as are closed-toes shoes.
  • Honda & BMW Rolling Roads (both Hall 4) – Honda has an NT1100 with DCT gearbox to try, while BMW uses their A2-licence friendly G 310 R.



How do I get the most from a demo ride?

While you wait to get on the road, get familiar with the bike’s controls and make sure you know how to change the rider mode or traction control setting if that’s going to be important to you

Again, while you wait, get the brake lever and mirrors adjusted for your taste so you’re not wasting time or concentration on the ride itself

Can you flat foot? Are you legs too splayed? Is it too big or too small?

Get your phone out and take loads of photos of the bike and its details – you’ll want to reminisce as soon as you get home

Focus on what’s important to you, i.e. if you regularly carry a pillion and they’re with you, get them involved in the ride, or at least to have a seat before or after the ride to check for stability, comfort, room, weight distribution

Don’t get too close to the person in front, give them space and allow yourself plenty of breathing room too. It’s not a race either, there aren’t any prizes on offer!

Think about how the bike might fit into your life – is it easy to manoeuvre at low speed, does it have enough storage, or Bluetooth, or a USB, or cruise control, or a centre stand, or heated grips, etc.

Ask questions about the bike before the ride; does it have a slipper clutch, traction control settings, or a quickshifter?

What’s the weather protection like – if that matters? Is there a screen, is it adjustable? What about hand guards? Will you take it on track, in which case does it have a brake lever protector?

Maybe go armed with a list of questions to the manufacturer stand before, or after your ride.

Is there enough power, or too much? Where does the bike make that power, if city commuting with an average speed of 20mph mainly in third gear is your common ride then how does the bike feel at that speed in that gear, and how light is that clutch/accelerator ratio? Is it practical?



What’s happening on the Bennetts BikeSocial stand?

Yes, we have our own stand! Based in Hall 3A (Stand D40) right next to the main stage, where we’re sharing with British Superbike who have several championship winning bikes on display.

Members of the Bennetts and BikeSocial team will be on hand each day to help with any queries, so you’re bound to be welcomed with big smiles and plenty of chat.

Get more from motorcycling with BikeSocial, the UK’s biggest bike club. If you’re already a member come and collect your booklet with exclusive discounts offers to save £100s at the show and enter competitions with awesome prizes. If you’ve not yet joined ask about a show special half-price offer on the stand.

Try your hand at lock picking, and get advice on motorcycle security. The BikeSocial team of experts will be on hand to answer your questions about bikes, suspension, better riding, products and kit and help you get more from motorcycling. And we’ll have special guests, racers and biking celebrities on the stand most days too.



I’m a new rider, what should I look at?

If you’re new to motorcycling then you will easily be the best friend of virtually every manufacturer and exhibitor spread across the entire show. A2-friendly or lower capacity bikes are ten-a-penny, so choose to spend your time wisely. Whether you fancy going electric or sticking with good old-fashioned ICE, then make sure you heed as much advice from as many experts as possible, and while it may seem a little overwhelming to begin with, you can’t ever have too much information. Don’t make any rash decisions either – shiny, new motorcycles will be everywhere you look but do consider the extras, from safety gear, security and insurance – the costs start to add up.

That said, manufacturers will have their full ranges on show so you can spend the whole day trying them all for size. It’ll be easy to forget the one you sat on at 10.15am once you get to 4.15pm, so make notes or film each one. Get someone to take a photo of you on each so you can remind yourself.

Aside from the bikes themselves, you could try a sample at the MCIA TryRIDE or Test Ride Zone (see above for more details). Then there’s the clothing and helmet manufacturers, and insurance advice from the likes of Bennetts all at one show, so make the most of your time and the fact that everyone is all in one place!


Are there any classics or custom bikes at Motorcycle Live?

The show caters for all tastes, even if you didn’t know you were into classics or customs. The former will be centred around The National Motorcycle Museum and located in Hall 2 where many “exquisite and expensive bikes from across the decades” will be on show, including a 1903 BSA Minerva and a 1990 Norton F1.


What other features are there at Motorcycle Live 2023?

If all of the above wasn’t enough for you to while away the hours, then how about a lap of the Isle of Man TT course? Yes, there’s a simulator where you can witness the 37.73-mile Mountain Course from the eyes of the rider. Just let you lunch settle before you climb in!

And don’t forget to check out The Machine Shop in Hall 2 if you want to find out more about how to do a bit of basic bike servicing yourself, or have a go at welding.



What is there to eat & drink at Motorcycle Live?

While the dining options available at the show or in the adjacent plaza and atriums aren’t of Michelin star standards, there’s still plenty of options, and we’d certainly advise putting in the research to save yourself from standing in a queue for 10-minutes instead of spending that time pulling clutch levers around the show.

Whether you’re on expenses, on the go, veggie, vegan, gluten free, or looking for a more luxurious bite, the NEC can provide, to an extent. The biggest issue in the show itself, across the four halls, is the limited seating unless you’re prepared to picnic on the floor. Head out into the atrium (don’t forget to have your hand stamped so you can get back in), and there’ll be more options, from Starbucks and Subway to Wetherspoon and The Cornish Bakery. In fact, there are 13 food and drink outlets outside the main exhibition halls. But remember, they’re cashless. Here’s a complete list.


BikeSocials guide to Motorcycle Live_29


2023 Motorycle Live - TOP TIPS

  • Wear comfortable shoes, your 10,000 daily steps target will be obliterated
  • Just because it’s cold outside, doesn’t mean it will be inside so think about your layers
  • If you’re leaving after 4pm then it’ll be dark outside so the tinted visor won’t be helpful
  • Take a photo of the floor plan from the official website or on your arrival, then you won’t get lost
  • The four halls are laid-out in a horseshoe shape
  • Watch your step when heading onto manufacturer stands – they tend to use spotlights and lots of electricity which means the stands are raised to cover the cables
  • If you’re looking for a demo ride or to sit on a specific bike, then arrive early before the crowds
  • Take a backpack to make it easier to carry around the freebies and goodies without compromising the use of both hands. You could always sneak in your own drinks and snacks…