The BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 has been revealed at a special exhibition organised by the German manufacturer in Los Angeles.
The concept bike follows on from the BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce “Vision Vehicles”, as part of the brand’s centenary celebrations. Collectively, the quartet of vehicles aim to demonstrate how BMW designers envision the future of mobility.
As the first two-wheeled Vision Vehicle, certain design elements make the motorcycle almost instantly recognisable as a “genuine BMW”, including the black frame triangle, white lines and boxer engine forms.
While the black frame triangle makes a reference to the first ever BMW motorcycle, the R32 made in 1923, on the concept bike it appears as a single, integrated whole that extends from the front to the rear wheel.
Dubbed “Flexframe”, it allows the bike to be steered without the various joints found on today’s motorcycles. Turning the handlebar adjusts the entire frame, changing the direction of the bike. The amount of strength needed to steer depends on the situation: at standstill, the Flexframe allows a light steering whereas at higher speeds it remains rigid.
In the middle of the triangle frame sits a style feature and historical reminder: the power unit. Designed and created in the image of the traditional BMW boxer engine, it actually consists of a zero-emissions drive unit. Its outward appearance changes depending on the circumstances: when the bike is resting, the power unit is compact, extending outwards only when the bike sets off, to enhance aerodynamics and protect the rider from the elements.
The electric motor’s polished aluminium finish contrasts with black-coloured body elements such as the seat, upper frame cover and wings – all of which are made of carbon.
Beneath the seat shell, two thin, red, illuminated strips form the rear light and indicators – picking up on the typical double-C form of the rear lights on today’s BMW Motorrad bikes – but with a futuristic twist.
At the front, integrated into the frame above the front wheel, is a large, metal reflector incorporating the two vertically positioned, U-shaped elements that make up the daytime running light.
Damping, meanwhile, is provided by the tyres, whose variable tread actively adjusts to match differing ground conditions.
BMW designers claim active assistance systems of the future will radically improve stability and safety by automatically balancing the motorcycle, both out on the road and when stationary.
Information exchanges between rider and bike will therefore take place largely via a visor, which essentially consists of a pair of data glasses stretched across the wearer’s entire field of vision.
As well as providing wind protection, these glasses project relevant data in one of four designated display areas. These are in-turn controlled by the rider’s eye movements: looking up or down changes the content that appears, and looking straight ahead switches the information off completely, leaving the rider to focus even more fully on biking experience. Information is only projected onto the visor on request, or to alert the rider to the fact that action is needed.
“The BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 embodies the BMW Group’s vision of biking in a connected world – an analogue experience in a digital age,” says Edgar Heinrich, head of design at BMW Motorrad. “Normally, when we develop a motorcycle, we tend to think 5 to 10 years in advance. On this occasion, we looked much further ahead and found the experience especially exciting. There are some very attractive prospects.”
Source: BMW Motorrad