BMW has recently introduced its vision of the future of motorcycling – a sleek concept bike that’s self-balancing. The new Motorrad Vision Next 100 concept motorcycle would supposedly be so smart that you wouldn’t need a helmet, or a padded suit. The key would be a self-balancing system that keeps the bike upright whether or not you’re moving — newcomers would not have to worry about toppling over, veterans could push limits further than usual.
This new so-called Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 concept vehicle is one in a series of BMW concepts that aim to anticipate where its future vision is going, and how the incorporating new technologies and connectivity features will change the driving experience.
Unlike a conventional motorbike, this Vision Next 100 doesn’t use suspension (damping is taken care of by the tyres), but instead mounts wheels and frame as one ‘Flexframe’ unit. Move the handlebar, therefore, and it isn’t the front wheel that turns, but the entire frame. In addition, there’s a stabalisation system to ensure that it never topples over, although BMW does not explain how this works.
In addition to the advantage of making it more difficult to fall of the bike, the stablisation tech also means it does not requite a stand when parked. However, BMW says it will be more than a decade until such tech is available to buy.
Like the other Vision Next 100 concepts, you’re not going to see this motorcycle on the road any time soon. However, it might not just be due to the grand technological ambitions. While a self-balancing sys could prevent you crashing the bike yourself, it would not protect you in many serious collisions. What if you are forcefully ejected from your vehicle? Regulators would likely require some kind of helmet, even if it is not as cumbersome as what you wear today.