Friday was the preview night to this years BSMC (aka The Bike Shed) ‘new wave‘ motorcycle show, an event which has gone from strength to strength since the first show in May of 2013. Though back then the ‘Event‘ was a lot smaller and inportantly free to both exhibitors and visitors alike.DSCF7758Two years and five shows later you can now not only visit a BSMC event in London, but in April the BSMC crew crossed the channel and set up a show at the Carreau du Temple in Paris. And it doesn’t stop there, with BSMC’s show planned for Madrid, Berlin and possibly Los Angeles. Clearly making the ‘Event‘  pay-to-view, as well as charging builders to display was a good money making idea for the BSMC.

This and their planned quarterly magazine should go a long way to help the BSMC crew to expand into their planned 9,000 sq ft venue in east London’s trendy quarter of Shoreditch, where they can show the world a range of custom motorcycle built by others, while punters eat and drink artisan burgers and beers and perhaps get a £30 haircut, but I trust not at the same time.


Moving away from their roots in Shoreditch, this years event, like last year was the trendy Tobacco Docks in the City of London, a venue which was built in the early nineteenth century as a bonded warehouse designed to offer security for precious and highly desirable goods contained within. Today its now the chosen location to show a selection of precious and highly desirable motorcycles surrounded by nineteenth century industrial architecture.DSCF7529

The selection of bikes at this years show was as diverse as last, with old faces making an appearance again for this years event. I did notice that there were plenty of BMW’s, with notable builds from Ton-Up garage , Down and Out and Side Rock Cycles, all demonstrating that the classic german machine is the bike of the moment, then it does have a great looking engine, which would be the jewel in crown for any build. There was also a showing of some really nice and unmolested classics including a Triumph TT and an original 1970 Flat Track Triumph.


I returned to the Tobacco Docks on the Saturday, thought I nearly wasn’t allowed in due to my name disappearing from the guest list and even a call over the ‘crew‘ radio didn’t resolve the issue with a firm “NO ENTRY to Bonnefication” – clearly three years of supporting the show and allowing them to use images taken by Bonnefication only gets me one days free entry. DSCF7696The issue was resolved due to my own quick thinking and once again I had chance to view the bikes and meet the people I missed on the Friday, including the guys from Macco Motors, Jawbone, Bell, Dave at Jack Lilley, Shaun and crew from Down & Out as well as Sam from Motone, though after meeting so many people I started reintroducing myself to people I had already met… then thats beer for you.DSCF7754

The crowd Saturday was impressive, often making it hard to view the bikes but by mid-afternoon the crowd had thinned, making it possible to take a another look at a few gems as well as few details of the bikes on show, which often reveals a few dirty secrets that a well taken photoshoot hides.DSCF7753

The Triumph Twins on show was a big improvement on the first event in 2013. With excellent builds from both Macco Motors, Down & Out Moto as well as Alo’s, Jack Lilly and Jawbone who brought along a modified T100. Other features at the show was a chance to enter Motolegend competition to win a very nice David Beckham T100 replica, something I was keen to do.

Triumph had unveiled a very nice Barbour flat track factory built custom in a very fetching black and blue combination which featured upside-down forks, tracker seat and cool number boards with ‘1936‘ graphics. DSCF7605The BSMC show was also my chance to finally get to see TFC1 and TFC2 from last years Triumph Biker build Off. The level of detail and finish on these two machines is staggering, a level of detail thats wasn’t lost on many bike builders at this years show. Once these bikes have done the rounds, I might see if I can get to ride them, fingers crossed.

Overall a good show, though my need to see more bikes left me disappointed. I did think it would be bigger this year, as there was space for plenty more bikes in the area the BSMC had rented. Perhaps a less prestigious and fuller venue is the way forward. DSCF7707Maybe that would lower the fees those displaying bikes would need to fork out. Add to that getting and staying there could put a serious dent in the average bike builders pocket, good for the BSMC, not good for the industry. DSCF7659The highlight of the BSMC show for me was getting to meet the people who I have spoken with over the last seven years of doing Bonnefication and that alone made my weekend and the expense of getting and staying there worthwhile.DSCF7744



Founder Blogger and Owner
  1. Hey Tim,

    I’m glad you enjoyed this year’s Bike Shed London Show. Sorry if you had small amount of hassle getting in for free. We had an insane guest list this year from multiple sources and it was very complex for our team to manage. We weren’t expecting the volumes – and also had a lot of pretend journos/bloggers and pretend VIPs all giving our volunteer door staff the third degree on a 300-person guest list. “…don’t you know who I am?” …If you’ve ever managed a door to an event you’ll know it’s a tough job.

    As for the show itself we actually had about 30 more bikes than last year, but every one was curated by us, and if they’re not up to scratch we don’t exhibit them. Our show can only be as big as the number of high quality builds on offer from the UK and Europe. We had 30% more space at Tobacco Dock, knowing we’d have more bikes and more visitors, and we doubled up the food, drink, retail, barbershop chairs and had about 30% more art too. We also had to space the bikes out more than last year (but only in the corridors) to allow for the 10,000 people that came over the two days.

    Since you brought it up costs; “good for the BSMC but not good for the industry” your readers should know that we kept the average price to exhibit bikes flat on last year’s Pro builder rates, which was flat on 2013. Semi-pros pay very little and shed builders exhibit for free. For what it’s worth, the price we charge the bike builders doesn’t even cover the cost of the plinths, the floor space or the facilities we bring in, but it does mean we avoid no-shows, and helps to cover some of the genuine costs we risk in putting on such a complex show.

    Our exhibitors often comment what good value we are compared to other shows, and I’d be very interested to know if you could find a single attendee who had a bad word to say about what they get for their modest contribution. If you find any, I will refund them.|

    In terms of the price we charge visitors, we thought £15 for a weekend pass with free cloakroom in a pristine heritage central London venue was very good value, and we haven’t had a single negative comment from any visitors. We don’t want to use a cheaper venue out of town because our events are about the whole experience, which includes the venue and the hospitality. It’s part of our DNA to put on a high-end show. There are some great spit’n’sawdust events out there (which we go to and love), but The Bike Shed isn’t one of them. These are values we won’t ever compromise on. All the money we make is ploughed back into the event, doing things like upgrading the broadband, the number of cleaners, renting a full bar (to sell proper pints), hire more bike-parking floors, and a while bunch of punter-driven upgrades.

    Our new fulltime home in Shoreditch (coming soon) is privately funded – and is another huge personal risk for me, my wife and the small team who put most of their energy into Bike Shed. We are, and will remain proudly amateur and punter-driven.

    I guess we can’t expect 100% positive reviews of all our shows, and perhaps any modest success we have may breed some resentment from a few quarters, but I hope you will respect our right of reply to your article. Meanwhile, we will continue to run the best shows we possibly can, with a primarily amateur volunteer crew of bike-riding aficionados, and we promise fair prices and good value for money to exhibitors and visitors alike. We are happy to be challenged to justify any decisions we make on our scale, prices, costs and content, but we prefer to be judged by a combination of attendance figures, smiling happy visitors, exhibitors and sponsors. This most recent show has given us the best feedback we’ve ever had.

    Paris and London 2016 are booked, and we do want an additional European show in March to start the season off next year (maybe Milan), while we also have invitations from the US to consider taking up. If we can do these properly, then we will.

    We make no apologies for growing and expanding, (most people seem to approve) but we are trying to do this organically and in the same true spirit that set us in motion four years ago in 2011.

    See you on the gate at our next show? If you struggle with the guest list again please ask anyone with a radio for Dutch to come and say hello. I’d also be happy to provide accurate information to help you write your next review.

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