Multi Bike Garages: MCN Dream Garage
Motorcycle Live featured 12 iconic bikes in the MCN ‘Dream Garage’
As Multi Bike Insurance specialists, we can't get enough of interesting bike collections gathered under one garage-roof, and regularly feature collections owned by customers and well known 'faces' in the bike industry in our Multi Bike Garages interview series. So we were excited to be invited to display one of our bikes this year at the Motorcycle Live show in Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (NEC) on the Motorcycle News stand, which featured 12 iconic motorcycles in their incredible ‘MCN Dream Garage’ display.
In preparation for the MCL show, the team at MCN created a shortlist of bikes they’d like to own in their dream garage. Well, when I say shortlist, it was actually pretty huge… with almost 100 bikes!
The final list of 12 bikes were eventually chosen to represent a collection that could actually fit in a garage (otherwise it would have been called ‘dream warehouse’) - giving the fictional owner an iconic bike to ride each month of the year.
Yamaha YZF-R7 OW-02 (2000)
One of those legendary motorbikes chosen to be featured in the MCN Dream Garage, and displayed at the NEC, was the BeMoto R7… The original [proper] Yamaha YZF-R7 OW02 749cc inline-four superbike cum supermodel.
Sold as a limited edition run of 500 bikes worldwide, to enable Yamaha to meet the homologation rules necessary to participate in World Superbikes, the now iconic Yamaha YZF-R7 was ridden by Noriyuki Haga in the ultimately ill-fated 1999 WSBK championship and became an instant classic with its stunning looks and incredible engineering.
We've had this bike for a number of years now and it comes with us to shows, so you may have seen it at the MCN Festival in Peterborough or the Scottish Motorcycle Show.
Anyway, enough about our beloved classic Yamaha OW02; what else did MCN select to sit alongside it and why?
Bikes Owned by Richard Hammond
Two of the bikes on display, the Suzuki GSX-R1100 and Ducati 916, are owned by Richard Hammond (fondly known as ‘The Hamster’ on Top Gear before moving on to The Grand Tour); a motoring journalist best known for his car antics, but actually he’s a bike lover first and foremost.
Suzuki GSX-R1100M (1991)
In our own Multi Bike Garages series, we always ask the question “Which motorbike would you choose if you had to pick one?” and seemingly the GSX-R1100 is that bike in Richard’s impressive collection.
The GSX-R1100 is one of those bikes we’d all love to own, it represents a bygone era where more-power was what we all wanted… What’s changed? I hear you ask.
The 1127cc air/oil-cooled beauty wasn’t famed for its handling or cornering, but the increase in power to 120bhp and significant reduction in weight vs. its predecessor, meant it went like the clappers with masses of torque and was the bike you wanted to be seen on (and were most likely to lose your licence with).
Ducati 916 (1994)
The Ducati 916 is a work of art, designed by the legendary Massimo Tamburini who also penned the MV Agusta F4 750; two of the most stunning sports bikes ever imagined. It was an instant classic when it was released, and with that Desmo V-twin engine paired with a Termignoni exhaust, the 916 sounds just as good as it looks.
The 916 wasn’t all fur-coat and no knickers either… Carl Fogarty MBE or 'Foggy' as we all know him, topped the WorldSBK all time winners league table for many years with 59 wins between 1988-2000 and 4 championship titles between 1994-1998 (all on Ducati 916 series motorcycles) - that is of course until the “King of the Jungle” was dethroned by Jonathan Rea who notched up 118 wins and 6 World Superbike championships.
Henry Cole's Suzuki GT750J 'Kettle' (1972)
The GT750 was one of the first Japanese bikes with a liquid-cooled engine, which was soon given the ‘Kettle’ moniker in the UK, probably earning the nickname because it broke with the air-cooled norm of the times, but maybe because it could overheat and produce some boiled water?
It was part of that game-changing generation of big-bore ‘Super Bikes’ from the late 60s / early 70s, following in the footsteps of the Honda CB750 and in the same category as the Kawasaki Z1. Whilst it may have helped create the Superbike class, in reality it was a heavy beast with a 738cc 2-stroke inline-triple that only produced around 67bhp, so was better suited to touring… Hence the Gran Tourismo branding.
The Suzuki Kettle sums up the era, with its out-there paint schemes, such as this Candy Lavender example, perfectly suited to flares, chunky heels and long hair. Talking of which, this is the very bike that Henry Cole and Allen Millyard restored on their TV show (a US import).
Yamaha TZ250 (2001)
This production GP racer is owned by Bruce Dunn, BeMoto content-contributor, test rider and all round bike expert, who still wins races on it when he has time. After all, it takes a lot of time to maintain and it isn’t cheap to replace increasingly rare parts on a 40 year old bike.
At only 100kg with a 249cc 2-stroke v-twin producing 91bhp, this pocket rocket can reach an amazing 164mph and carry incredible speeds through corners with a stiff chassis and some slick tyres, plus a pilot with 30 years experience of racing TZ250 bikes… It also helps that Bruce is not a tall fat bloke of course!
TTS Superbusa (2022)
This weapon of a bike is based on a Gen 3 1340cc inline-four Hayabusa with a supercharger. Visualised by Kar Lee of Kardesign and engineered by Richard Albans of TTS Performance, it produces a whopping 380bhp to power it to over 220mph… Yes, this is the bike that Suzuki should have made to rival the H2R - for the hell of it.
Featuring a specially made TTS Rotrex supercharger and intercooler kit, the aptly named Superbusa (it even has wings) produces twice the torque of the standard Suzuki Hayabusa and has clearly been uprated in various ways to handle the power and ensure it stops.
Read a full review of the TTS Superbusa by Kar Lee written for BeMoto, including footage of the CarWow drag race against a 260mph-plus Koenigsegg AGERA RST supercar.
Royal Enfield Interceptor 750 Series II (1970)
Sadly this 736cc parallel-twin, producing 52bhp, was the last of the British built Royal Enfield production motorcycles in 1970, although the brand is still alive and kicking under Indian ownership as the world’s oldest continuous production motorcycle manufacturer. The owner of this bike works at the modern-day Royal Enfield - ‘the global leader in middleweight motorcycles’.
Check out our recent review of the 2024 Royal Enfield Himalaya.
Harley Davidson Sportster Custom
This luminous 1100cc V-Twin Sportster was previously displayed at The Bike Shed in London and built by Ben Hall, a seasoned custom bike builder (and General Manager at Watsonian sidecars). It may not appeal to traditional Harley owners, but it has a unique back-story inspired by Ben’s son’s design for his dream BMX.
You can see some of that influence in the handlebars (complete with bicycle bell), cast wheels and a seat design that mimics the quirky BMX seat fashion of sticking up in the air by customising a H-D Dyna Glide mudguard, which also houses the tail light.
Kawasaki H2R (2015)
If you were at Motorcycle Live in 2014, you may recall the ear-splitting sound of the H2R being revved to crowds of admiring onlookers at regular intervals. Chris ‘The Stalker’ Walker was doing the rounds with the H2R on a personal mission to deafen the UK biking population (we have a video of Chris revving it up in a hall at the MCN Festival in 2015 as well).
This supercharged 998cc inline-four sportsbike changed the game with a claimed 310bhp and a top recorded speed of 250mph, set in Turkey by 5-time World Supersport champion Kenan Sofuoglu in 2016. It exists purely to show off Kawasaki’s engineering prowess and looks amazing with its stealth bomber styling. It also spawned the supercharged H2-SX sports-tourer and super-naked Z H2.
Arc Vector (2023)
This stylish carbon cafe racer is hand built in Coventry UK, by a team of ex-Triumph engineers, leading the way in futuristic looking electric motorcycles. It has a monocoque chassis, hub-centre steering [and looks] like the Bimota Tesi 3D with a 115bhp electric motor, powered by a 399v battery pack and a claimed range of 270 miles with a rapid charge in only 40 minutes.
This is all very impressive and Tron-like, but at £90,000 it’s up there with the equally expensive Arch Motorcycle, i.e. only Hollywood stars like Arc Vector owner Ryan Reynolds and Arch Motorcycles founder Keanu Reeves can afford to ride them (probably more suited to open roads in the US anyway).
Honda CBR900RR Fireblade (1992)
The 900RR Fireblade is the genuine OG of Superbikes… The daddy. The one I had a poster of on my bedroom wall with those supermodel looks and drilled holes (alongside a slightly less attainable Ferrari F40).
The Blade didn’t just look incredible, its agility and stability were legendary. With an 893cc inline-four producing 122bhp, and due to an unflinching commitment to saving weight by the life-long Honda designer Tadao Baba (it was around 185kg vs. rivals in excess of 200kg), it wiped the floor with its competitors.
Thornton Hundred SC RR (2023)
If you were at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed you can’t have failed to notice this 400bhp ‘Super Charged RR’ (SC RR) - based on an 1160cc Triumph Speed Triple RR - being ridden, sorry… drifted, by owner and creator Jodie Millhouse.
Aside from the obvious mental power, there’s a lot more to it than a typical over-powered drift bike. There’s some serious tech and engineering on display, including methanol injection in place of an intercooler (the methanol is stored inside the custom extended swingarm), carbon-fibre winglets that move and act like DRS to reduce drag under hard-braking and some brilliantly named Thornton Hundred Artificial Intelligence (THAI) thrown in as well… Something clever to do with gyroscopes and sensors connected to the ECU.