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BMW Motorcycle Concept Looks Far Ahead (with video)

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You may remember that famous quote from auto pioneer Henry Ford: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” With its VISION NEXT 100, BMW tries to look beyond what consumers might expect from a motorcycle as it speculates about future design and technology following its celebration of the first 100 years of the firm.

So many of the designs and features defy our current concepts that I simply leave you with the press release from BMW discussing them:

Following the BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce Vision Vehicles, the BMW Group has now revealed its next progressive solution, this time for the world of motorcycling: the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100. It was unveiled on 11 October at the “Iconic Impulses. The BMW Group Future Experience” exhibition in Los Angeles.

The Great Escape

“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. 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, Head of Design at BMW Motorrad, outlining the core principles underlying his brand’s Vision Vehicle.

The BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 stands for the ultimate riding experience. Liberated from the need to wear a helmet and protective clothing, the rider is able to enjoy the forces. Acceleration, wind and nature as in touch with the surrounding world, savouring every moment. The design of the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 represents the essence of the motorcycle: the perfect synthesis between human and machine. Every detail is of the highest quality and the design incorporates all the most striking visual aspects of BMW Motorrad bikes across the ages. These elements, however, have a contemporary twist, both visually and in terms of function.

The iconic elements in the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 make it immediately recognisable as a “genuine BMW” and include the black frame triangle, white lines and classic, boxer engine forms. The bike itself, however, is powered by a zero-emissions solution.

The BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 unites the past of the BMW Motorrad brand with its future and is a powerful expression of both.

The frame triangle – a classic icon reinvented

The black frame triangle of the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 is a deliberate reference to the first ever BMW motorcycle, the R32, made in 1923. On the vision bike, however, it has been reinterpreted to form a functional sculpture linking the front and rear wheels with a dynamic sweep. Bearings and joints are nowhere to be seen; instead the frame appears as a single, integrated whole.

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Viewed from the side, the frame of the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 lends it the character of a naked bike, with ergonomics to match and a seat in the roadster position. The clever arrangement of surfaces protects the rider from wind and weather as effectively as a full fairing. The surface of the frame is covered in matt black textile, its silky sheen and fine lines highlighting the characteristic forms and representing a contemporary reinterpretation of this classic BMW detail. The BMW logo is optimally displayed on the dark frame. It is illuminated in the familiar blue and white colours while driving.

Flexframe – frame-assisted steering

The Flexframe appears as a single, integrated whole that extends from the front to the rear wheel of the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100. Being flexible, 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 very rigid.

Powertrain – inspired by the BMW boxer engine

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. Its polished aluminium finish confirms the superior quality of this component.

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Minimalist form, maximum quality of details

The slender-looking BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 clearly expresses its qualities as a riding machine. The front is minimalist in design and enhanced with high-quality details. 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. It also acts as a wind deflector and, in combination with the small, integrated windshield, helps to optimise the air flows.

Body elements such as the seat, upper frame cover and wings are made of carbon.

Beneath the seat shell, two fine, 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 new, futuristic twist.

Damping is provided by the tyres, whose variable tread actively adjusts to suit ground conditions and ensure the best possible grip in any situation.

Analogue elements in the digital age

Overall, displays, cables and buttons are a rare sight on the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100. But amid the clear forms of its front is one element that immediately stands out: a red rocker-switch on the right-hand end of the handlebar. This obviously mechanical element blocks or releases the throttle grip and is a homage to the analogue days of original biking.

The hand levers with their outward-facing joints are also a reminder of days gone by.

BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100:

What kind of world will be home to the motorcycle of the future?

“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,” explains Edgar Heinrich.

When designing the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100, the team was thinking decades in advance. In tomorrow’s world, connectivity and digitalisation will be all-encompassing. Most vehicles will be driverless, and life will be organised largely by digital services. More and more of the world’s population will be living in urban areas.

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Digital technologies for an analogue experience

Building on the benefits of the digital world, the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 takes the analogue riding experience to a completely new level. The unique sensation of freedom is made possible by intelligent connectivity between rider, bike and the outside world – a combination that also allows the prediction of critical situations on the roads. In conjunction with the active assistance systems, these connected elements help keep riders of the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 in complete control of their ride. As well as anticipating what lies ahead and alerting the user when action is needed, they offer active rider protection and will consign the helmets and body protectors of today to the history books.

“Self-balancing” – active, intelligent assistant systems

In certain situations, the active assistance systems of the future will also enhance stability and safety by automatically balancing the motorcycle, both out on the road and when stationary. Novice riders will benefit from additional guidance in all riding situations and from a bike that will never tip over.

The BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 rights itself while even stationary, remaining upright when the rider has dismounted. The balancing systems also work out on the road to ensure a particularly agile and dynamic riding experience with even lighter handling, which seasoned riders will appreciate, and all the benefits of assistance systems to enhance their capabilities even further. The BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 helps every biker become more proficient and enjoy an even more positive riding experience. Every trip becomes a journey of freedom, from beginning to end.

The Digital Companion – Connected. Ubiquitous. Discreet.

When combined, the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 bike and the special rider’s gear that has been designed to accompany it form a single functional unit: a Digital Companion that provides the situational information and active support the rider needs. But because biking is essentially about the experience, the Digital Companion remains in the background: though constantly active, it works away unnoticed until required to issue an alert via the user interface or provide active assistance, for instance. Unless the rider or circumstances require it, the Digital Companion remains silent.

“A key point with the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 was to make sure the constant digital presence doesn’t undermine the analogue riding experience. 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. As interface designers, our job is to deliver the right amount of the right information at the best possible time and place,” explains Holger Hampf, Head of User Experience at the BMW Group.

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The visor – the right information at the right time

Information exchanges between rider and bike take place largely via the visor. This essentially consists of a pair of data glasses that extends across the wearer’s entire field of vision. As well as providing wind protection, it shows relevant data in one of four designated display areas. These are 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 bike has the full range of connected data from its surroundings and a set of intelligent systems working in the background, so it knows exactly what lies ahead. By collating the data it has gathered, it can suggest ideal lines and banking angles, or warn riders of hazards ahead,” Hampf continues. When suggesting lines and angles, the Digital Companion appears in the lower third of the field of view, represented by an upturned triangle from which two horizontal lines extend outwards. Like the display in an aeroplane cockpit, this symbol indicates the current banking angle and ideal lines. If the bike’s current position does not match what is suggested, the rider can correct it as necessary. If he or she responds too late or not at all, the bike will correct itself. The Digital Companion’s advice not only helps novices to learn more about what they and their bikes can do. It also supports experienced riders by allowing them to challenge themselves and continuously improve their skills.

Looking upwards activates the rear-view function in the visor, allowing the rider to see what is going on on the road behind. Lowering the eyes to normal levels opens a menu from which the rider can select an option by pointing a finger. Looking further down opens the map view showing the rider’s chosen route.

Smart. Active. Flexible – rider’s equipment

The rider’s gear accompanying the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 is integral to the unique overall experience. In classic black and white, the airy suit enhances the sense of freedom and is both fashion statement and weather-wear. Depending on conditions, it warms or cools the user. While the diagonal zipper across the chest is reminiscent of traditional motorcycle clothing, the flexible, banded structure of the suit and shoes is inspired by the muscle areas of the human body and provides body support and relief whenever needed.

At higher speeds, the neck section inflates to provide extra support for the upper vertebrae and improve overall comfort. Variable openings offer additional ventilation. Unlike present-day suits, however, the futuristic outfit for riders of the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 offers no safety features, because the bike’s intelligent assistance systems make them superfluous. Instead, sensors in the suit keep track of the wearer’s pulse rate and body temperature and provide the right level of heat or cold. The suit also delivers navigation instructions via the vibrating elements in the arms and legs, and alerts the rider when the banking angle is becoming critical. Rider and machine form a single functional unit to offer a more intense riding experience than ever before. Edgar Heinrich sums up: “The BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 unites the best of both worlds – digital and analogue – for the ultimate emotional experience: The Great Escape.”


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69 Comments

  1. Skif says:

    All these futuristic motorcycles have looked about the same since 1993. At least this one is also a submarine. That’s why she’s wearing her scuba gear.

  2. Provologna says:

    The thing most striking is how friendly, happy and approachable appears this lovely woman. She appears to have infinite capacity for deep, loving, thoughts and conversation.

    Second is how comfortable appears the riding position in the top most image.

    /sarc off

    • Tom K. says:

      /sarc back on: In 1974’s “Blazing Saddles”, Harvey Korman’s character calls Madeline Khan’s character “The Teutonic Twit” (or something similar). Provologne’s description fits perfectly.

  3. spokes says:

    All I can say is check out the lyrics to the song “Red Barchetta” by RUSH.

  4. Norm G. says:

    this bike stands proud and self-balancing at the intersection of TRON and no tank seams.

  5. Random says:

    Given BMW’s heritage I thought their future bike would be something that allows on and off roading in any kind of terrain. Put those adaptive tires to a good use! Float over rivers or something. Self balancing not all that necessary if you can lower the seat height. Seems there will be no unpaved roads in 100 years.

  6. ABQ says:

    In a future world of self driving cars this will be the self driving motorcycle.
    Just sit on it and let it take you from your future tiny home through the over-populated urban sustainable environment. When you get to the edge of the biodome you may pass my grave with the epitaph stating:”I WOULD RATHER DIE”

  7. D3 says:

    Odd, when I think of the future of biking it usually involves me slicing up people in electric, self-driving cars, specifically designed to be hyper aware of my presence to a degree their ‘drivers’ would never be able or indeed care to. It certainly doesn’t involve me riding a bike that appears to have had every ounce of lust or personality removed from it, but hey I guess that’s German design for you.

    • DCE says:

      You don’t understand – human-piloted vehicles (of any wheel number) will not be allowed to interplay with autonomous vehicles because it will be legislated unsafe. So human-piloted vehicles will be initially relegated to back roads only, and then to only private land.

  8. Ricardo says:

    I like the lady only.

  9. Daimyo says:

    Came to MD to hear the old folks complain that it’s not a 60’s styled two-stroke, wasn’t disappointed!

    I really like it.

    • mickey says:

      Well the young people won’t be on here commenting about it, they are too busy playing weird video games .. And I doubt if that group will EVER ride motorcycles, because you have to go outside to do that, and it takes some effort.

    • Provologna says:

      I’m sure you miss the irony of your complaint.

      My favorite line from Hello Dolly, wherein General Store owner Horace Vandergelder (played by the inimitable Walter Mathau) says, scolding his two young store clerks for their errors: “All you pay a man to do before he’s forty is make mistakes!”

  10. MGNorge says:

    Ooh! I think I see a prop and sequences from an upcoming movie!

    Some of you may find this interesting – http://blog.caranddriver.com/germany-votes-for-eu-ban-on-sales-of-internal-combustion-vehicles-by-2030/?src=nl&mag=cdb&list=nl_dvr_news&date=101216

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Some of you may find this interesting”

      yeah, i saw that the other day. though as the last line of the article eludes, the whole of the JUGGERNAUT that is the German auto industry has yet to weigh in. Deutschland will ultimately not doing anything that irreparably harms the “crown jewels” that are Daimler, “Bey Oom Vey”, and VAG. understandably, it’s too valuable. though now that V-Dubs “diesel gate” scandal has shown their engineers to be the LIARS that i knew them to be (and UNABLE to defeat the Laws of the Universe like i’ve always said) they will likely adopt the domestic DPF/SCR/DEF after treatment system across the EU. Norm G’s writings have been all over THAT wall for some time. VW’s $15 Billion dollar fine (ie. a big wet bite out of their a$$) and the lawsuits coming back at them from their own network of dealers/franchisees stamps an exclamation point to the end of my phrase “NO FREE LUNCH”.

  11. Frank says:

    Oh…and especially when you offer the hybrid and all electric versions.

  12. Frank says:

    Absolutely stunning! And not to worry BMW, by the time this becomes a marketing reality, there will be enough sophisticated, well-heeled urbanites who will appreciate it.

  13. CrazyJoe says:

    This reminds me of one of those movies featuring a boy riding a friendly dragon. It has a brain, a flexible backbone, wisdom even. No i’m not high but with self driving cars in the not to distant future what’s going to keep the driver interested. Hanoi I understand is banning motorcycles. How far behind are the rest of us before we do the same? Maybe the future is a 100% safe motorcycle? But it has to be more. Why not companion like a dog, the loyalty of a horse the danger a dragon.

    I’ll have to hold out for a bagger version. After all my future robotic wife will need a comfortable place to sit.

    • Dave says:

      Love it.

      I think along the same lines. I ride a conventional moto too, but the act of clutching shifts and braking front & rear & lubing chains is antiquated to all of the people who aren’t interested in riding anymore.

      There is an automatic moto experience somewhere in the future. Integrated and safe. Controls are: Throttle and one brake lever (or pedal) and no gauge cluster (HUD in helmet or eyeglasses). This motorcycle’s engine isn’t visible from the outside of the bike and it takes no fuel (electric). It has high performance, but not ridiculous (think SV650) and with all the on-board tech, it’s extremely hard for a reasonably experienced rider to crash. This company will also partner with a clothing maker to offer a waterproof, stylish, and climate controlled (heated/vented) jacket, powered by the bike. C’mon Zero, we’re rooting for you!

    • MGNorge says:

      Your “future” wife will be a hologram (travels light!)

      • CrazyJoe says:

        OK to be serious for a moment. Coming back from a casino in Tennessee trying to make it back to gatlinburg at night in fog and rain. First time with a GPS. I got to see every turn before the fact until I came to the new bypass which wasn’t on the gps. The road was so new it was unpainted and didn’t reflect light. Driving went fromm extremely easy to extremely difficult. So why not some heads up display that could see better than a person.add a coach that can help you turn better and keep you out of trouble. Warning gravel ahead. BReak hard now. Might be life saving.

        • MGNorge says:

          Those could be quite useful. Hmmm? I guess we better start workin’ on it!

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “add a coach that can help you turn better and keep you out of trouble. Warning gravel ahead. BReak hard now.”

          virtual VR46. “stick out and dangle leg under braking in 3, 2, 1…” (Rossi voice)

      • Tom K. says:

        Would the hologram have a volume control? Maybe the future won’t be so bad after all…

  14. redbirds says:

    If this is the future of motorcycling my somewhat advanced age is truly a blessing. BMW’s design team needs to give up whatever they’re smoking or shooting up.

  15. HM says:

    If this is where we are headed? There is no way that I’d ever wish to be any younger,this only confirms what I already know,I was simply born too late!

    • Tom K. says:

      By the time technology permits this design, and slicing through towers of adamantine steel via your Krell metal autocycle, the entire concept will be obsolete. Why not just strap on your antigravitational backpack and eliminate the need for roads altogether? Zooming through the metropolis in three dimensions would definitely be an improvement over just two. In fact, molecular disintigration and reintegration via wireless pods may even replace that, providing we can perfect flypaper technology first. Until we reach the shining pinnacle of our civilization, and are able to project matter anywhere on the planet through mere thought, powered by an 8000 cubic mile, self-sustaing machine – guess we should start pouring the foundations for that now, eh?

      On a more serious note, how do you think a line of these, properly chromed and fringed, of course, would look parked outside your local watering hole?

  16. Denny says:

    Aaaand… what is this for?

  17. tc2wheel says:

    Not the most ergonomic riding position.. certainly not ideal for long hours in the saddle.

  18. Chris says:

    It looks absolutely beautiful until the blonde gets off.

  19. Provologna says:

    Wow! Computer generated renderings of imagined non-existent products! Awesome!

    (Yawn…)

  20. Fred says:

    It closely resembles the 2009 plastic model creation that Honda made as a show special as a teaser for the coming 2010 VFR1200F.

  21. todd says:

    I guess I won’t be buying any BMWs 100 years from now then.

  22. Grover says:

    i wonder what Harley’s will look like in 100 years…

    • Bob says:

      I hope about the same. Maybe “Bold And Exciting New Colors!” for the 2117 models.

    • MGNorge says:

      What Harleys will look like in 100 years? Much the same except the “extendo” cylinders will be upwards, in the shape of a “V” with a repeating sound clip of “Potato, potato, potato”!

  23. Bob says:

    Memo to BMW: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

    • WSHart says:

      How ” Back To The Future”.

      Looks like something squeegeed out of the backside of the Indominus Rex of Jurassic World fame, after it feasted upon old BMWs, chocolate flavored ex-lax and dry dog food. In other words, kibbles ‘n’ shiiiiiitssss.

  24. jim bottomley says:

    Actually, I really like it even though my main focus is Vintage these days. Lean & clean & a blonde!

    Jim B

  25. Jim S says:

    Interesting; what would riders of the Excelsior Super X board tracker think of the YZR M1? Probably similar impressions to what we’re seeing here. It’s easy to dismiss the concept; as Isaac Asimov said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. It appears we to are unable to grasp the possibilities today but readers of motorcycledaily 100 years from now will be complaining that their Vision Next doesn’t have a beak and could be so much more!

  26. tygt says:

    So we’ll still have ’70s style stereo amplifiers (@1:17), and lots of pavement?
    I was hoping that in the next 100 we’ll get rid of asphalt for the most part… I’d prefer a teleportation booth, even if it means I don’t need to ride a motorcycle any more.
    In the meantime, I’ll keep my full-face helment – nothing like getting hit on the forehead by a large bee at 80mph.

    • Dino says:

      We should have the roads to ourselves in this far future, since all the cars will be flying (and probably driverless as well!)

    • Provologna says:

      Did you like the intro bed room scene in the 2nd Star Trek prequel? Cpt Kirk is in bed w/a pair of tailed aliens (purple?), w/vinyl LP turntable playing through tube audio power amps?

  27. xLaYN says:

    Future call, says ergonomics doesn’t matter.

    ———–

    In 100 years probably we will have similar machines but with different materials and way more efficient.

    In my books a half heavy, double the efficiency and “CB1100” looks with carbon fiber instead of all the steel would be a “OK”.

  28. DT 175 says:

    Troy courser will ride the crap out of it…

  29. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    I dont often use the term ‘amazeballs’ but I will for this thing. Amazeballs

  30. WJF says:

    so safe you don’t need to advertise the rider wearing a helmet….

    • Vrooom says:

      That was my thinking too. I hate when advertisers do a flashy add that will play to a lot of non-motorcyclists and show the rider without a helmet or often without protective riding gear.

  31. My2cents says:

    The answer to a question nobody asked.

  32. Melt-Down says:

    Oh BMW,

    go home,

    you’re drunk!!

  33. Andrew says:

    Why do these pointless exercises always wind up looking like the bastard child of a TRON LightCycle and the Batcycle? Ergonomic disasters with ridiculously fat tires that scream “cornering is for p*ssies!” Styling from people who OBVIOUSLY do not actually ride. Spend the money on useful R&D instead, eh? Show real innovation in powerplants, control systems, energy management… How about a hybrid bike, for example? How about a bike with adjustable ergonomics for different uses? How about easy-to-customize bodywork so you can go sport, touring, naked at will? There’s lots of room to push the envelope without this kind of nonsense wasting everyone’s time.

  34. Dino says:

    Where is the cup holder?

  35. Trpldog says:

    Heil Hideous.
    Totally pasteurized sanitized riding.
    Man I love my snorting, quaking, spitting, get around the apex fast Buell. I bet on song, this sounds like my Casio watch.

  36. mickey says:

    Well they are going to have to come up with something since the German gov’t is outlawing ICE machines

  37. Tom R says:

    “Liberated from the need to wear a helmet and protective clothing, the rider is able to enjoy the forces. Acceleration, wind and nature as in touch with the surrounding world, savoring every moment.”

    I certainly will NOT savor a junebug in the face at 75 mph.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      There is a laser array at the front that targets and vaporizes incoming june bugs.

      • Tom R says:

        Cool. Now if it would just vaporize any Prius that are always getting in my way.

      • RichBinAZ says:

        Will the laser array take out rocks, cigarette butts, big gulps and other things thrown out the car windows. Then can it cope with ladders and mattresses dumped by trucks.
        I was going to say rain will hurt too… but Rain + BMW = 0

  38. Fivespeed302 says:

    Do the people who designed this thing even know how to ride?

  39. GoodlyRun says:

    Ummm…No.