National Motorcycle Museum | World's largest collection of British motorcycles

Top ten reasons to put the National Motorcycle Museum on your list of places to visit in 2022 | Commercial Content

Hall 5 at National Motorcycle Museum

 

Hall 3 at National Motorcycle Museum

THE National Motorcycle Museum in the midlands is the largest collection of British, with more than 1,000 bikes on show. That alone is more than 1,000 reasons to visit the museum, although there is much more to the venue than just the bikes.

The collection also charts the motorcycle industry’s growth, from fledging curiosity, through the pioneer, veteran, vintage and post-war years. With such a depth and breadth to the museum, you’re sure to spot some famous machines that you’ve no doubt read about, and some curiosities you never knew existed.

To help you get the most out of your day at the venue, here are Visordown’s top ten reasons to give the National Motorcycle Museum a visit this spring.

 

1. You aren’t going to see a collection like this anywhere else!

The National Motorcycle Museum is recognised as the finest and largest British motorcycle museum in the world and originally opened its doors in October 1984, then with a collection of just 350 motorcycles on display. With 170 marques and over 850 British motorcycles now being shown at any one time, we certainly can’t show you everything that our five huge display halls contain! However, our (mainly alphabetical listings) are designed to whet your appetite as regards just how special a place The National Motorcycle Museum really is.

And it’s not just the size of the collection that catches the eye, pretty much every corner of every hall is inhabited by a special machine that either made history when it was ridden or raced or tells the story of an important time in a manufacturer’s past.

588cc Norton Rotary

2. You can view the 1992 SENIOR TT WINNER!

Steve Hislop made history on the 588cc Norton Rotary, winning one of the most exciting races ever seen on the Isle of Man TT Mountain Course.

The legendary Scots rider won the six-lap epic by 4.4 seconds after a 226-mile battle against arch-rival Carl Fogarty on a Yamaha. Hislop averaged a record 121.28mph to take Norton’s first Senior TT win since Mike Hailwood’s 1961 victory.

‘Hizzy’ was new to Rotary engines, having arranged his 1992 TT ride at a late stage. The 135bhp Norton NRS588, sponsored by Abus locks, EBC brake products and others, was set up for short circuits but brilliant riding overcame handling quirks. 

3. Get up close and personal with the race bikes you only ever read about

Hall 5 is a bit of a special place for me, and it’s always the hall I’m most looking forward to when I visit the National Motorcycle Museum. Why? Because race bikes!!

Entering this hall, you can sense the triumph and the tragedy that accompanies all the bikes in the room, it’s an extremely humbling experience. It’s littered with historically important, one of a kind racing machines, but even then, there are some standout bikes that really are must-see exhibits.

For starters, there is the display of World Record Breakers from the world of sprints and drag racing, for those that really feel the need for speed. Add to that all the ex-works Norton Rotary race machines, including the famous Steve Hislop Senior TT winning “White Charger”, Hall 5 really is unmissable.

National Motorcycle Museum Tour

4. Get the inside line with a guided museum tour

If, like me, you are not totally up on your classic British motorcycle knowledge, you might want to join up with one of the museum’s guided tours of the halls. You’ll be shown around by one of the museum’s highly knowledgeable volunteers, who’ll be able to tell you the hidden history of the machines on display, and answer any of those burning questions that the guidebook doesn’t answer!

The guided tours work best when there is a group of you heading to the museum, for more information on them, head over to the Tours page on the National Motorcycle Museum website.

5. Museum LIVE!

The National Motorcycle Museum isn’t just static displays and guided tours either, it hosts some of the biggest names from the world of two-wheels, from legendary racers through to celebrities from the world of television.

And 2022 is no exception, as later this year the venue will be hosting a series of shows featuring TV legend Henry Cole and Friends. The man himself will obviously be in attendance, alongside Sam Lovegrove and Allen Millyard. Not only that but we are also excited to welcome two motorcycle racing superstars who will join Henry and the crew on stage on both Saturday and Sunday

Held in the museum’s magnificent Britannia suite, TT legend and TV presenter Steve Plater will host these brilliant free to enter stage shows, which will be taking place on both Saturday and Sunday of the event.

Henry Cole and Sam Lovegrove will be holding special book/memorabilia/autograph signing sessions during the weekend.

Other superstar motorcycling personalities from the past and present will also be in attendance, check the dedicated event page for updates @ www.thenmm.co.uk.

1939 BROUGH SUPERIOR 1000cc GOLDEN DREAM SHOW MODEL

6. View the 1939 BROUGH SUPERIOR 1000cc GOLDEN DREAM SHOW MODEL

This piece of history was first exhibited over 80 years ago! Manufactured by George Brough Ltd., Haydn Road, Nottingham, only a handful of these machines were built during the early part of 1939, and even fewer exist now.

The engine was a 4 cylinder in the form of two horizontally opposed flat twins mounted one above the other and connected by geared crankshafts. Rather like an H on its side. Overhead valves were pushrod operated from twin chain-driven camshafts. The foot change gearbox was in unit with the engine and final drive was by shaft. Ignition was by a specially made Lucas Magdyno and distributor mounted on top of the gearbox. Plunger type rear springing was used, angular variation in the prop. shaft line being catered for by a flexible coupling at the gearbox end. 

7. The Raffles!

Okay, so you don’t have to physically go to the museum to be in with a chance of winning one of the prized machines from the collection. But if you wanted to check out some of the fantastic classic bikes that you could win, the only way to do that is by popping in a checking them out in the metal – so to speak!

Each year the National Motorcycle Museum uses its famous raffles as a way to raise the much-needed cash required to keep the doors of this famous building open, and thousands of pounds worth of bikes have been handed over since the first raffle to place.

There is even a raffle running at the moment, and there is still time to enter if you get in quick! The draw takes place on the 24th of April, and the top prize is a stunning 1955 Triumph 5T Speed Twin, followed up by a beautiful 1958 Triton 650cc Café Racer, and even a retro Sealey Tools roller cabinet!

To enter the raffle head to: www.nationalmotorcyclemuseum.co.uk

8. Forget the modern classics, view a real classic

With all their electronic assistance a modern or even modern classic motorcycle is a completely different beast to many of the vintage and pioneer motorcycles at the museum. When you look at what a rider back then had to juggle just to keep the engine on song, it makes you wonder how they kept their eyes on the road.

Ignition timing advance and retard controls, manual fuel and oil pumps, decompression levers, and tiller steering was commonplace on bikes in the early days of motorcycling… and many modern ‘bikers’ they won’t even know what they are for!

Wedding at National Motorcycle Museum

9. The ultimate wedding venue!

Do you want a unique wedding, but is a church too traditional? Is a registry office too bland? A country hall too expensive and flash? At the National Motorcycle Museum, you can combine your two biggest passions in life: the love of your life and the person you’re going to marry. 

The National Motorcycle Museum is the ultimate venue for riders. An award-winning venue with world-class facilities, seating anywhere up to 1000 guests. They even have a helicopter landing pad for the celebrities in your life.

This is every biker's dream, surrounded by the classics whilst the person of their dreams pledges you their love, life and their bikes. After all, “what's mine is yours”. Dribble over bikes you wish to ride, whilst drinking until you're legally unable to.

10. Become friends with the National Motorcycle Museum

With easy access and more activities that can be completed in one day, the  Friend Of The National Motorcycle Museum scheme is only £35 for the year and is essential for anyone wishing to support the greatest Motorcycle Museum in the world. Plus, you get…

  • Joining pack & membership card

  • Unlimited free entry to the Museum for one year

  • 10% Discount in Museum shop & restaurant

  • One Free “Bruce Main-Smith” photocopy set per annum (value can be up to £31.00)

  • Quarterly newsletter.

  • Discounts at a range of selected partners & service providers including perks and privileges at over 4000 Best Western hotels around the world.

  • “Friends only” competitions & giveaways every year.