As part of an effort to celebrate its centennial year, BMW debuted a series of motor vehicles that show that the brand is committed to bold innovations for the future. The motorcycle is the fourth installment of the project, called Vision NEXT 100.
The Vision 100 prototype reveals BMW’s utopian aspirations. The bike in the collection likely would not be feasible for the foreseeable future because it utilizes some not-invented-yet technology. For example, it can remain upright without a bike stand– even though it also lacks a suspension system.
The motorcycle’s seeming improbability is no accident– BMW designed the motorcycle as a response to questions about the future. What will the future look like, and how will transportation respond to the infrastructure?
In the VISION NEXT 100 press release, Head of Design at BMW Motorrad Edgar Heinrich shared, “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. I firmly believe the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 sets out a coherent future scenario for the BMW Motorrad brand.”
He also said, “riding a motorcycle is the ultimate sensual and analog experience in a more and more digital world,” and the prototypes’ design reflects both of these considerations. The prototype has a dramatic look–at a glance, it looks straight out of Tron.
It has a sweeping carbon frame– basically a shell that stretches from the front wheel all the way through to the back wheel. The stark visual of the bike references the the R32, one of BMW’s earliest motorcycles. Despite the visual connection to its roots, do not expect this motorcycle to be mired in the past; BMW envisions this motorcycle to be radically different from past and current makes.
To turn the bike, the rider would intuitively lean in and put weight on the handlebars, a dramatic shift from how riders steer contemporary motorcycles. As previously mentioned, the bike would be able to stay upright at all times, even when stopped in traffic (this would be due, speculatively, to gyroscopic technology).
The bike presumably harnesses electricity for power– BMW says it is a zero-emissions prototype. It’s covered with reflective LED strips that would signal turns as well as increase the bike’s visibility to other drivers on the road.
Significantly, BMW does not envision its future riders wearing helmets. Instead, riders will wear protective goggles that have an interactive screen that enables them to see necessary information.
That’s right, this motorcycle is designed to be so accident-proof that the only protective headgear recommended will be the “Smart” visor. We can only hope that time takes us to such safe future streets. In the meantime, we look forward to seeing how technological advances continue to influence and drive motorcycle design and engineering.