The future of motorcycling is – according to BMW – going to be based on three essential factors. They are:

1: No need for helmets or leathers because bikes are going to be self-balancing and super safe

2: Frame-assisted super steering that automatically adjusts as required

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3: Looking like a cross between the Batpod and one of the un-covered Tron lightbikes

Ok, that last one wasn’t from BMW. We added that bit in after seeing the Motorrad Vision Next 100, revealed yesterday in Los Angeles as one of the ideas for the future of transport by the German vehicle giant.

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The Motorrad Vision Next 100 is the part of the fourth and final concept from BMW. Whilst it might look pretty typical in the ‘here’s the future of motorcycling’ type of way there are some really interesting ideas in the package.

For a start, one of the main ideas is that the rider can do away with what we might call the current ‘traditional’ protective helmet and riding kit. That’s because the plan for the bike has, at its centre, a self-balancing mechanism that keeps the bike balanced whilst in motion and at a standstill. BMW says that this will combine with even more accelerated electronics packages so that riders of any skill level can push the bike hard and not fall off.

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The bike also gets the black frame triangle – something that nods to the firm’s 1923 R32 (it’s first ever motorcycle).

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Added to those touches are a hugely sophisticated wind/weather protection package, despite the lack of anything that actually looks like a fairing. A clever arrangement of angled surfaces and aero stubby ‘wings’ off things like the leading edge of the front suspension spill air and weather away from the rider as effectively as a full fairing does.

Frame-assisted steering means that when the rider turns into a corner the entire frame adjusts to make the steering that much more effective. The ‘Flexframe’ concept is also full adjustable and will change its attitude in relation to the steering parts of the bike to make the steering lighter at low speeds and more rigid when things get faster.

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Whilst the engine might look like a traditional Boxer unit that’s so typical for BMW, it is in fact just a styled-up outer that inside houses a zero-emissions drive unit. It also changes its shape by extending outwards to affect the overall bike’s shape for better aerodynamics and weather protection.

The 1970s-esque future visor (no helmet, remember) is live-linked from the bike so there’s no need for a conventional dash. The visor projects all the necessary information from the bike as well as social media applications as needed. On top of that the visor will show the rider the ideal line through corners and keep them updated on traffic issues ahead.

What do you reckon to these ideas outlined by BMW? Are they the sort of things that you can see happening in the next phase of motorcycle evolution or is this all just pie in the sky? We like the idea of a self-adjusting frame and engine shape depending on how we are riding, but no helmet? That bit leaves us cold…

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Tony Carter

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