The future is looking brighter for motorcyclists thanks to the visionaries at BMW Motorrad who want to “make life a ride” with the VISION NEXT 100 concept, a nifty, self-balancing motorcycle that doesn’t require a helmet. Yep, all you need is a pair of high tech data glasses and some biker gear borrowed from an episode of “Star Trek” or “Aeon Flux.”
At first glance, BMW’s concept motorcycle looks like a refined mash up of a Dodge Tomahawk, a “Tron” light bike, and BMW’s first motorcycle ever, the R32 – an iconic machine with deep roots in the company’s early aviation days. The concept follows the futuristic BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce Vision Vehicles.
The stunning creation was recently revealed at the “Iconic Impulses” exhibition in Los Angeles, California and the full project is titled “BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100: The Great Escape.” Did you see that? BMW Motorrad cleverly managed to sneak a subliminal Steve McQueen reference in there to boot.
“Motorcycling is about escaping from the everyday: the moment you straddle your bike, you are absolutely free. Your bike is The Great Escape,” says Edgar Heinrich, Design Honcho at BMW Motorrad in a recent release.
In order to create the ultimate riding experience, Motorrad looked way ahead — decades instead of years — to create this concept, which is touted as “the essence of the motorcycle as the perfect synthesis between human and machine.”
Now how we get there is a question for another day, but the motorcycle itself is pure BMW. The black frame triangle, white lines, iconic logo and a futuristic, yet beefier boxer engine are all easily recognized traits on first look.
The naked bike is powered by a zero-emissions solution, according to Motorrad, unlike the gas powered R32 of 1923 or the Beemers of today. For now, we’re guessing that this machine runs on electricity. The design of the polished aluminum powertrain is inspired by the iconic BMW boxer engine and is by far the coolest feature of this concept bike – if, of course, you are a fan of that particular engine layout.
Fat rubber wheels look like giant donuts and the bearings and joints are well hidden. The frame appears as one integrated unit covered with a matt black skin. BMW calls it the “Flexframe,” with frame-assisted steering, and “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 rest of the motorcycle and seat appears to be made of carbon fiber bits, illuminated LED strips and black licorice wiring. Insert “whoa” here.
Though the powertrain design may be the coolest feature, the best feature of this future machine is its ability to self-balance on the road and while stationary. If you’ve ever had a motorcycle knocked over or dumped one on a slick surface, then you will love this futuristic functionality.
If Motorrad can build a bike today that will never tip over a top priority then it will be time to shut up and take my money. Until that day, we’ll be waiting patiently, cash in hand, ready to ride and planning a great escape of our own.
source: motortrend.com by Ed Tahaney