BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100 Concept: Tomorrow on two wheels
Unveiled at “Iconic Impulses. The BMW Group Future Experience” in Los Angeles, the BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100 Concept offers a look at how its motorcycle design may evolve in tomorrow’s world. The fourth and final dream machine to be created as part of BMW’s year-long centenary celebration, it shares links with both the past and the future. “The Motorrad Vision Next 100 Concept embodies the BMW Group’s vision of biking in a connected world – an analogue experience in a digital age,” notes Edgar Heinrich, Head of Design at BMW Motorrad. "Normally, when we develop a motorcycle, we tend to think 5 to 10 years ahead. When designing the BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100, the team was thinking decades in advance.
Melding man with machine
Representing “the perfect synthesis between human and machine,” the Motorrad Vision Next 100 Concept gives its rider a new level of freedom while providing high levels of performance and safety. While the bike’s triangular frame is a direct link to BMW’s original R32 motorcycle from 1923, here it embodies a unique Flexframe configuration that ties the package together while dispensing with many conventional design elements. Turning the Motorrad Vision Next 100’s handlebars actually modifies the frame orientation to provide steering input. The Flexframe also modifies effort levels, reducing it at low speeds but keeping it comparatively rigid at higher velocities. BMW also uses a gyro-based self-balancing system that prevents the bike from ever tipping over. While helpful for novices when the Motorrad Vision Next 100 is stationary, the setup also enhances its agility increasing its appeal to experienced riders.
A Digital Companion for all seasons
A host of active and passive assist systems in the form of a full-time “Digital Companion” take things even further. They ensure BMW’s 2-wheeled wonder can anticipate what lies ahead and both alert the rider and take corrective actions when necessary to prevent a crash. This advisory information is delivered through a special augmented reality visor that extends across the rider’s entire field of vision.
"The bike has the full range of connected data from its surroundings and a set of intelligent systems working in the background,” explained Holger Hampf, Head of User Experience at the BMW Group. “The display and operating concept works so subtly that the rider can enjoy an entirely natural biking experience, trusting the bike completely and enjoying complete freedom and ease.” He points out that different data are accessed by looking up or down but the system effectively disappears from view when the rider’s eyes are focused straight ahead. Coupled with the other intelligent assistance safety systems that make this concept bike virtually crashproof. BMW says it also eliminates the need for a conventional helmet.
Along those lines, the Motorrad design team also reimagined the rider’s suit. Rendered in a lightweight, weatherproof black fabric, it dispenses with normal armor elements but does monitor body temperature and pulse rate and provides automatic heating/cooling. It also incorporates an inflatable neck support that deploys at higher speeds and can even deliver navigation instructions via haptic inputs to the rider’s arms and legs as well as issue emergency alerts when a cornering angle is becoming too severe.
BMW didn't offer many drivetrain or suspension details about this stunning freedom machine Heinrich calls “The Great Escape.” However, it did say the Motorrad Vision Next 100 Concept is powered by an electric motor – although exactly where it or the battery pack are located remains a mystery. Finished in polished aluminum, we do know those boxer-style pseudo cylinder casings are tucked in when the bike is at rest but extend when it gets underway. The seat, upper frame cover and fenders are made of carbon and the admittedly modest suspension is provided by the tires themselves, each of which feature variable tread materials that can actively adjust to differing surface conditions to deliver the best possible grip. How much of the Motorrad Vision Next 100 Concept’s trick tech ever makes it to a showroom remains to be seen. But it is operational and there’s no denying it definitely looks cool.
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