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BMW’s Concept Link Offers a Glimpse into the Future
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BMW’s Concept Link Offers a Glimpse into the Future

BMW Motorrad built the Vision Next 100 series of concept machines to showcase its viewpoint regarding personal mobility in the next century. The Concept Link continues with this theme, displaying technologies that potentially will dominate city streets in future-just like extended connectivity and electric powertrains.

BMW unveiled the Vision Next 100 program during its centenary celebration last year, with a succession of concepts that cut across the company's brands – BMW cars and motorcycles together with rolls Royce and Mini. Now, during the first day of the yearly Concorso d'Eleganza held at the Grand Hotel Villa d'Este on Lake Como in northern Italy, BMW comes again with the Concept Link, a two-wheel motorbike that resembles a C650 scooter from the future.

Not surprisingly, the concept is based on an electric propulsion system, featuring a flattened battery pack arranged horizontally on the floor of the scooter, and an electric engine that conveys power to the rear wheel using a belt drive.

The styling of the Concept Link maintains a visual link to BMW'S current C 650 scooters, embellished with extended side panels that also act as aerodynamic protections.The design contemplates covered wheels, a trait that is common in the entire range of Vision Next 100 concepts and adds elements such as orange-colored electrical wiring into the bike's design.

According to BMW, the normal instrument panel will become outdated since a touchscreen will be used to display a wide variety of information. The display, which is programmable, can be controlled using buttons located on the handlebars and this ensures that the rider's hands will remain on the controls throughout. Important information like battery status, navigation and speed will also be displayed on the windscreen, right in front of the field of view of the rider. But we may presume that by the time the motorbike arrives on the streets, HUD (heads-up) systems will be a common thing when it comes to motorcycle helmets.

Since the scooter lacks an internal combustion engine and all its related bits and pieces such as the fuel tank, this leaves lots of useful room over its battery pack. This ensures a lot of space for the under seat storage compartment, which can be accessed via a sliding door located on the right side. And due to some advanced riding equipment, the cover will be controlled using hand gestures.

The coat shown in the photos is what the company regards as the motorcycle riding attire of tomorrow. The casual-looking jacket is made using water-repellent wool and will include very thin and separate elbow and shoulder protectors, along with active sections on the sleeves that hook up with the bike's electronics. This enables the rider to perform activities such as operating the storage access panel.

Even though the Concept Link seems to be quite advanced, it is not the self-balancing motorbike that will make helmets outdated or the shape-shifting, self-driving car of the future. In addition, Smartphone connectivity is not really new since it is already a standard feature in many motorbikes such as Kymco's AK 550 scooter and KTM's Adventure, and windshield display is also coming.

Because much of the technology used in the bike is commercially available even now, probably only the clothing sounds too advanced among the things that BMW proposes. But the power source prevents the Concept Link from turning into a mass-production reality. Just looking at the i3-derived battery pack of today's C Evolution scooter will make one understand why the latest design from BMW may remain a futuristic concept, assuming that most people will continue to put a premium on decent range.       

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