BMW’s bike division Motorad envisioned a motorcycle that is self-balancing, doesn’t need a helmet or a leather protective suit. The concept bike is designed for a future, 30 years from now according to BMW, in which tech has taken over our everyday lives an example would be self-driving cars. In this future. BMW will have the best features of that tech that will make motorcycles safer and more comfortable incorporated into its motorcycles while still giving riders that rebellious freedom they crave. So in a world of driverless vehicles you will still have full control your bike, most of the time (more on that later).
The design of the Motorad had to be grounded in something closer to reality. The designers decided to make the Motorad’s design hark back to the 1913 R32. The bike protrudes from its power unit when its ready to ride, BMW says this is for aerodynamics. The bike is framed in carbon fiber, which allows it to be more flexible. The engine will be emissionless.
As with vehicles of the future the Motorad will be filled with AI and data sensors. This is the tech that will allow the bike to be able to self-balance, as long as it is on. The onboard systems help with more than just self-balancing; they also correct the bike if the biker isn’t on the right line or angle for a turn. BMW are at pains to explain, that these features don’t make the bike self-driving as that will take away the rider experience.
In a world of self-driving vehicles, including a smart bike like Motorad, accidents will become a statistical improbability. BMW believes in the improbability of a crash so much, that they have done away with the helmet. Instead, a rider will have a pair of glasses that act as protection from the wind and a visual aid. The glasses will have an extended view beyond the rider’s field of vision. In designing the glasses, BMW did not want to disturb the rider or take away from the riding experience by having data continuously visually streamed to the glasses. So they made the glasses respond to gestures. While the rider looks straight ahead, there will be nothing displayed on the glasses; if the rider lifts his gaze he will see the rear view; if he lowers his gaze he will see a menu; if he lowers his gaze more he will see the route map.
BMW also redesigned how biking apparel will look like in the future. As there will be less accidents, there will no longer be a need for the clothing to be protective against scrapes and bruises. BMW designed a smart suit for its Motorad riders. The biker suit will be able to keep the rider’s core temperature at optimal levels regardless if it is hot or cold. The sleeves and leggings are fitted with vibrating features which will aid you in getting the turns and angles right. The neck stem will inflate as the bike gains speed, this is meant to relieve the cervical spine and offer a more comfortable ride.
It is easy to see how this bike will make it easier for more people to become bike riders, whether it will attract bike purists is another matter. Either way, BMW has come up with a truly exciting future for bikers.
Image: BMW Motorad