I love motorbikes!
The millions of tourists who visit Barcelona every year can’t fail to come away with the impression that the cityscape of the capital of Catalonia is dominated by the sunshine, the unique architecture of Gaudí, Domènech i Muntaner, Nouvel or Richard Meier, and motorbikes.
Barcelona is on a par with Rome as the European city with the most motorbikes, nearly 300,000 vehicles (30% of the total), and has the highest ratio of motorbikes per inhabitant. It comes as no surprise, then, to learn that it represents nearly a quarter of the Spanish market and has been one of the main actors in the recovery of the sector in the wake of the financial crisis, with growth of 16% in 2014, 18% in 2015 and 29% so far this year, according to the data of the Asociación Nacional de Empresas del Sector de las Dos Ruedas (Anesdor).
Motorbikes seem written into the DNA of Barcelona to the extent that the city and its industrial hinterland forged a bond with two-wheeled vehicles that made them a vital ingredient for improving its urban transport first, and then made electric vehicles a key element of its environmental sustainability.
This relation found expression in the trade fair Motoh! BCN which Fira de Barcelona organized until 2008 and is now reviving under the name MotOH! Barcelona. This rejuvenated three-day fair is aimed at both industry professionals and the general public, will be held at the Montjuïc site every year and will cover everything related with the motorcycle sector.
Visitors will be able to experience the newest models from the main manufacturers (BMW, Ducati, Harley-Davison, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio, Suzuki, Triumph, Yamaha…), distributors and importers of motorbikes, scooters, quads, accessories and components that operate in Spain, along with an attractive programme of activities in three main areas: MotohAcademy, with areas for training and testing vehicles; a leisure zone with simulators and exhibitions; and finally a space for demonstrations of trial bikes and velocity by professional riders.
All in all, the best reason for Barcelona to shout out: I love motorbikes!
Barcelona, part of the history of motorbikes
The history of motorbikes in Spain is fundamentally the history of motorbikes in Barcelona. From the earliest days of this form of two-wheeled transport, Barcelona has been one of its main growth areas in Europe. The first self-propelled vehicle in Spain was created in Barcelona: the tricycle designed by the Catalan engineer Francisco Bonet in 1889 could carry four passengers at a top speed of 6 km/h.
The first prototype bicycle was created by Rafael Antrás de Bidaburu, an engineer from Barcelona who built a petrol engine in 1901 to drive a bicycle. It had one horsepower and was used in the streets of the city barely 5 years after the creation of the what is considered the first motorbike in the world, the Hildebrand & Wolfmüller.
From that point, despite the difficulties caused by the different wars that ravaged Europe and Spain in the first half of the 20th century, Barcelona was a direct witness of the evolution of the motorbike through names such as Villalbí, Masó and Fusté until the city and Catalonia attained the final definitive fusion with the motorbike in terms of popularity and technical and industrial development in the 50s and the emergence of Sanglas, Derbi, Montesa, OSSA and Bultaco.
Montjuïc, where the show is being held, also features in the history of motorcycles as the setting for many great races, especially the “24 hours” competitions which were held there between 1955 and 1986.