*****Disclaimer, my opinions only******
If you want to see the TT, then you must of course go to the TT. If you want to take a bike to the TT then you must pay for the privilege.
I've been going to the TT since 2002, and more recently the Manx too, here are a few differences I have noticed between the TT and Manx GP.
Bike and rider return on the ferry for the TT from Belfast £215.
Bike and rider return on the ferry for the Manx GP, around £100 (last year I took the van with two bikes, wife and kids for around £230.
Good accomodation for the TT is usually booked in advance, and is passed from generation to generation, I know one gent who has stayed in the same room for the last 30 odd years.
I would guess accomodation for the Manx GP is probably available up to a few weeks before the event. I was in the Hilton a few times at the Manx last year and it was not busy.
During the TT there used to be a lot of fucking aboutery on the Street in the evenings particularly in the area of Bushy's Tent, I am sure Steve G would have seen this in '94 . Since about 2004/5 this has been clamped down on, and entertainment is now "provided" so wheelies and burnouts up and down the street will probably result in you having your dinner provided by the Manx Constabulary, and this dosent happen any more.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1HqiUeKpyg
Evening entertainment at the TT has also been tamed down a lot. I remember one occasion in particular, standing in a club, I think it was the Castle Mona, with my Father and another church going friend of ours whilst one lady ate a bar of chocolate out of where it had been hidden by another lady
Evening entertainment at the Manx usually involves some poor elderly gentleman trying to kick start a Goldstar after he's flooded it in front of a couple of dozen people.
During the whole TT fortnight, the circuit from Ramsay to Douglas is made "one way" to stop those people who drive on the wrong side of the road killing those who drive on the right side of the road. This sounds like a good idea but there are cones restricting the traffic to a single lane from Ramsay to above the Gooseneck, the Bungalow section, and from Keppel Gate, the whole way down past the Creg. These cones take a long time to put out, and collect, and this keeps the circuit closed while this work is being done. Speed limited areas are also extended for the TT.
During the Manx GP the road is open as normal to two way traffic with no restricted areas.
As I mentioned before, the circuit is closed while accidents are cleared up, this usually involves washing off oil, and I believe recently, bad accidents resulted in some resurfacing work, to prepare the track for the proper racers. Inevitably this results in a backlog of hundreds of bikes in Ramsay, who usually go bonkers when the "Mountain" opens again and somebody else falls off. I spoke to a Constable a couple of years ago who said that the record for the mountain circuit being opened, and closed again due to another incident was 57 seconds
. Although, on that occasion a 911 Porche shit itself and the driver kept going, dropping oil on the circuit for miles.
During the Manx GP this just dosent seem to happen.
During the TT police are out in force in relation to speeding and dangerours driving.
At the Manx GP they dont seem to bother as much.
During the TT spectators/tourists are mainly on sportsbikes.
At the Manx, spectators/tourists are normally on classic bikes.
At the TT when you eventually get onto the Mountain section you will be travelling with motorhomes doing 30mph, locals in ferraris and Evos doing 150mph, and bikes doing 180mph. This is exciting, especially when the chap in the camper decides he needs the racing line on the right hand kink half way up the Mountain Mile to prevent his cups and saucers falling out of the cupboards.
This dosent happen at the Manx.
At the TT you have to be up early to get a good vantage point.
At the Manx, you don't.
At the TT, there are classes for bikes up to WSB spec.
At the Manx (I believe) the max capacity for four cylinder bikes is 750cc.
At the TT nowadays the smallest class is 600cc
At the Manx they have classic bikes, I don't remember if there are still 2 strokes at the Manx.
The TT probably has a different (better?) atmosphere, because of course, it is the TT.
As I mentioned earlier taking a bike to the TT is fantastic, and of course you can use it for transportation while you are there. I was just trying to suggest that you might be disappointed if you paid $1000 dollars rental, and another $400 to get you, the bike and Mrs onto the island, expecting to spend every evening and non race day traversing the Mountain Course honing your racing line.
Look, the above are only my personal observations and ramblings (I do talk a lot of crap sometimes) from spending 3/4 weeks per year on the Island mostly on a bike, no doubt others will have had different experiences. You must, of course do what your head/heart tells you. I used to take an R1 and go bonkers with the rest of them, I now take a trail bike. I'm getting older now
In my opinions the best roads on the island now have grass growing up the middle of them. I took this video at the TT last year, as you can see the weather was crap and the Senior TT was cancelled. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLON-YEwmLI
A Gent I know who runs a small race team said that you only need three things to go to the TT. Thats two fat wallets and a strap-on liver
If someone asks you if you have ever been to the TT, you can appear slightly aloof as you tell them that you went to the Manx instead.