The 11th HK Motorcycle Show on November 6 should, as in previous years, highlight the diversity of the city’s biking community. Free to enter, enthusiasts will bring virtually every kind of machine to Central – from the fastest superbikes and hulking tourers, to the oldest classics and dinkiest scooters.
It’s a tribal event, too. Walk from the front of City Hall to the IFC elevated walkway, and you might see mods, rockers, cafe racers, and even smart Vespa-loving Gregory Pecks and Audrey Hepburns of all ages in their riding finery. The event also promotes the passion and the affordability of biking in China, according to the event’s organiser, Classic Auto-cycle Museum. Central could be packed with machines, and here are five stand-outs.
This year’s show is themed “Macau GP 50th”, to celebrate a half-century of success of the Guia Circuit, and Hong Kong bikers’ contribution to it. The show will also feature dozens of bikes that have raced at the Guia Circuit and are expected to make a parade lap there on November 19.
One of the many classics in this pack is the 1969 BSA A65 Thunderbolt owned by 76-year-old Sun Bun-yung, alias “The Oldest Biker in Hong Kong”. Sun says he has been riding bikes since 1957. He bought his Thunderbolt new, for HK$10,000 from BSA dealer Shun Hing Garages in Wan Chai, and used to drive it everywhere in Hong Kong. Now, he says, he just rides around town with occasional runs out to Yuen Long.
Sun enjoys the carnival atmosphere of the Motorcycle Show, and particularly the chance to discuss bikes with other riders. However, he wishes the government would provide more parking spaces for bikes and, above all, teach Hong Kong motorists to show more respect to bikers.
Hongkongers love scooters, and Vespas are particularly popular. The Scooter Power: Hong Kong Vespa Lovers’ Facebook page has more than 1,480 members, scores of whom are expected to swarm into Central for the show. It’s a special event for the local Vespa world, as the make is 70 years old this year, with dealer Power Vigor offering three commemorative models, beginning with the PX 150 SE70, from HK$40,800. Standard Vespas start at under HK$40,000 for the Primavera 150 (HK$33,800) and many clean second-hand models are available online for under HK$20,000.
However, the Vespa to watch tomorrow is Lui Yiu-kai’s mod-mirrored 1971 Vespa Sprint. The thirty-something textile colourist says he fell in love with Vespas when he saw one on an air-conditioner advertisement 15 years ago, and has studied the bikes ever since. He found his dream machine on the internet and restored it himself. His mirrors possibly cover every rear-view angle, and the bike was named best European scooter at last year’s show.
Lui enjoys taking his scooter to Hong Kong Island’s south side for barbecues with other mods. He has noticed a trend towards cafe racers and local a rise in rocker-dom, but by all accounts Hong Kong’s mods and rockers appear to get along just fine.
Norton dealer Nick Yeung embodies Hong Kong rocker-dom with an 79-horsepower, 961cc Norton Commando 961 Cafe Racer Mark II. “I ride it for the lifestyle and its casual look,” says the Power Asia Motorsport chief. “It’s unique – a pure cafe racer bike in a modern vintage style, and I take it for social rides anywhere in Hong Kong.” Riding is catching on in Hong Kong, “especially with female riders, and Japanese and European modern classics are getting popular”, Yeung says.
Like other cafe racers, he is looking forward to the Motorcycle Show. “It’s the biggest bike event in Hong Kong, and shows the diversity of [club and bike] cultures among local enthusiasts.” His company is exhibiting at the event as the exclusive local distributor of BAC Mono, Ohlins, Spidi, Hedon, Grifter, Nannini and Bimota and Norton motorcycles. The company’s Kowloon Bay store is also becoming a cafe racers’ haven for pasta and coffee, televised MotoGP, and the latest helmets and bikerwear.
Harley-Davidson has gone quiet since it launched the 1.8-litre CVO Pro Street Breakout, alongside some Gibson guitars, this summer. However, look out for a Street 750 with a 750cc Revolution X V-Twin engine and “blacked out to the bone” and a 1,690cc Fat Bob that is big, bold and “knows how to make an entrance”, Harley says. “Subtle is a word that isn’t in its dictionary.” It sounds a perfect ride for legislative councillors. Ducati expects to launch its latest bikes in Lung Wo Street, Central, at the show, so look out for the Diavel Carbon, the 959 Panigale, the Ducati Monster 1200 S, and maybe a fresh surprise.
Kawasaki dealer Titanic Moto Centre will present the new 2017 Kawasaki H2R, with a 300ps supercharged engine, the make’s most advanced electronics, suppler suspension and the promise of an “even more exhilarating experience”, according to the dealer’s spokesman, Alexander Tse. He rides a restored classic Z1000 Z1-R, which may also be at the show. “We rebuilt the engine, repainted, changed most of the parts to new, and so on,” he says. “I have lots of fun riding it around Hong Kong”.
More professionals and more women are taking to bikes in Hong Kong, Tse adds. “They enjoy riding for both leisure and stress relief” and to get through traffic,” he says. “There is no better way of skipping Hong Kong congestion.”
The diverse Motorcycle Show also enhances the overall image of biking, Tse says. “To move forward, we would like to see more events to share the fun of biking, like group touring and enjoying the scenic routes of rural areas.”
The Motorcycle Show, Edinburgh Place, in front of City Hall, Central; open 9am-6pm; Concours Prize-giving 5pm; entrance free